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Influence is not Transitive

When I was younger, we had a family friend named Walt who was a really good cook.  He was funny and cooked fancy stuff and had opinions on all kinds of things.  He was the man who taught me to tear plastic wrap off the roll without folding it over on himself.

He talked about writing a cookbook for some time, and actually even started, I think.  But then one day, he said he was done with the cookbook, because Pierre Franey had written “the cookbook he wanted to write.”

I got a copy of that cookbook, and was honestly pretty disappointed with it.  It was BORING and sounded nothing like Walt!  The lesson is that the voice is just as important as the ideas conveyed, and influence is not transitive.  Pierre’s cooking expertise was everything to Walt, and Walt’s cooking opinion was everything to me, but Pierre’s cooking expertise was meaningless to me.

When I read posts like this one  from Jacob at www.earlyretirementextreme.com I wonder what I could possibly offer as a writer, since he so perfectly covers everything already.  This stuff is so unbelievably good, I can’t imagine ever writing anything more meaningful than what he tosses around on his blog, not to mention his book

But I am one of those people who is capable and actually prefers to read everything from a book, and many people are not that way.  Jacob segments a very specific market for his influence, and I think my potential market is very different.

Ultimately I write because I enjoy it, irrespective of readership.  I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from friends lately, which is very meaningful and encouraging.  I’ve also received more than one comment from people I haven’t seen since elementary school (Jigar, are you out there?) and it makes me feel I might have a future in writing.

So if you’re reading this, thanks for reading.  I’ll keep writing, if for no other reason than this stuff is not transitive and my voice might ultimately matter.


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