So, Why Is Stellar Presentations So Damn Short?

February 27, 2012 · 5 comments in Stellar Presentations

My new book, Stellar Presentations is 76-pages on length and costs about 10 bucks. I estimate it will take two hours of your time to read it. Four times in the three weeks since I launched the book, people have complained that the book is too short and that I should add more chapters to make it worth the money I’m asking.

As I so often do, let me tell you a story to illustrate a few points:

A woman drives her Mercedes into a garage. The mechanic asks her what the problem is.

“I’m not sure. It just doesn’t sound right when it’s idling,” she says. The mechanic lifts the hood and asks her to start the car. He steps back and listens for a few moments. Then he turns and carefully selects a wrench from the arsenal of wrenches on his workbench. He asks her to race the engine for a second. Listening closely, he selects a different wrench. Then ge tells her to let the engine idle again.

He takes the wrench and taps the carburetor once. The engine immediately starts humming perfectly.

“You’re a genius,” she gushes. “It’s perfect. How much do I owe you?”

“265,” he answers and her jaw drops down.

“You only looked at my car for 5 minutes. How the Hell do you charge me $265 for just tapping my carburetor one time” she demand to know.

The mechanic doesn’t hesitate in his answer. “Lady, I only charged you $15 for the tap. I charged you $250 for knowing where to tap.”

I find it mildly amusing that people who complain about the brevity of my book keeps saying I should add more words  and chapters to it. So far no one has argued that it is over priced.

It took me approximately 350 hours to write the 14,000 words in Stellar Presentations. It took me 30 years as a consultant, a writer and a speaker to acquire the knowledge I put into the book. I wrote a short book because people planning to make business presentations are very busy people.

I think that’s worth ten bucks.

I can make the book longer. I can add a few more of the stories I like to tell. But I will not be able to impart greater wisdom for people who want to understand the strategy of public speaking as well as the specific tips I have on making a talk stellar.

I could make it longer, but that would not make you a more successful speaker. I could charge less money, just like the mechanic could charge less for tapping the carburetor. But I don’t think that would be fair to either my theoretical mechanic or me.

And as far as price goes for either that mechanic or me, you get what you pay for.


Lawrence Fox February 27, 2012 at 6:45 pm


When “retailing” advice or consulting it is always more difficult tto establish a price point than one-on-one–since by the time your client has hired you, she’s already convinced that you’re worth the time and the money. (And a book is more of a “retail” experience than a “consulting” experience, don’t you think?)

Don’t let the complainers get you down. They’re “price-shoppers” (to a certain extent). The rest will understand the value that they’re getting.


shelisrael February 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Lorenzo, Thanks. My wife and I LOVE Italy and would love a reason to return.

lorenzo baraldo February 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm

i hope one day to hear your presentation in italy. For me you’re a stellar author.

shelisrael February 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Joel, You have given me an idea. Anyone who reads my new book and contracts me as their presentation coach will get a $50 rebate on the first hour of my fee. Joel, if I get one taker for one hour, you get a free dinner with the noted two authors–you and me.

Joel February 27, 2012 at 11:48 am

You’ve had clients who have paid you hundreds or thousands of dollars for advice as valuable as that which is in the book. To get that kind of counsel for $10 is a bargain, Shel.

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