These and other greats of literary history have much to teach the writers of today. No-one, however, could benefit more from becoming a student of these masters of the written word than the commercial bid writer. Their philosophies are enduring, and the principles that guided their work are as relevant to twenty-first century proposal professionals as they must have been to the disciples of their living years.
This funky and fun little read is an assembly of the enduring and pithily expressed wisdom of over 100 authors, strategists, philosophers and other accomplished figures. It features 47 smart little lessons from Jordan Kelly, on Research, Thinking & Strategy, on Writing, and on Editing, Re-Writing, Practice & Perfection – reinforcing the timeless advice of these sages.
You’ll gain insights like:
- What an ancient Chinese military general (and author) can teach you about strategy, and how to use those learnings to outsmart and outmanoeuvre your competition.
- The criticality of understanding the difference between strategy and tactics (a distinction your competitors probably don’t understand, and one you can capitalise on).
- What the Bible says about the need for ensuring you have a wide range of sources contributing to your bid strategy.
- Two world champion boxers offer the self-same admonition: Understand the importance of a consistent, yet fluid, strategy.
- Hemingway said most people never listen; Shakespeare also stresses the wisdom of listening over speaking.
- Peter Drucker says the most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said (it’s also the way to develop the most client-centric strategy possible).
- Henry Ford and Richard Nixon agree: Very few people truly think.
- Einstein admonishes: Never stop thinking.
- Twain and Pascal comment on avoiding self-centricity (which is rampant in almost every bid, tender and proposal).
- What Shakespeare and Emerson say about a bidder or tenderer not being blinded its own light.
- What Shakespeare, Thoreau and F. Scott Fitzgerald have to say on the topic of knowing your reader . . . and the foolhardiness of writing about something you don’t understand.
- Substance and substantiation: Why the greats say writing comes more easily if you have something to say.
- Kipling’s famous, timeless quote on how to ensure you identify and include all the relevant facts in everything you write.
- Famous French poet and essayist Charles Peguy says one writer tears his words from his guts, while another pulls them lightly from his overcoat pocket. Which is best, and which type of writer are you?
- Chandler equates a certain speed with quality of output. Fast or slow, and why?
- W. Somerset Maugham speaks of style . . . and why you shouldn’t try to adopt one.
- Stephen King on the use of long words instead of short ones . . . as relevant to bid writers as to great novelists. Hear it direct from the master of suspense.
- 1000 words buys you the Lord’s Prayer, the 23rd Psalm, the Hippocratic Oath, a sonnet by Shakespeare, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and several more pieces of iconic literature. Why do so many submission section contributors ramble?
- More opinion in the short copy versus long copy debate.
- A classic quote from Mark Twain that highlights the need for planning word count-restricted response sections even more carefully than non-limited sections.
- Samuel Johnson makes a point about the transparency of writers who plagiarise and imitate.
- Shakespeare on writing with purpose – one of the primary keys to a strong and compelling submission.
- Whoever said, “Being a good writer is 3% talent; 97% not being distracted by the internet” chose to remain anonymous. That’s a shame, because they have a great message for bid teams.
- What Hemingway, Michener, A. Bronson Alcott and Mark Twain all have to say about first drafts.
- The magic of editing: All the greats agree on this one above all else.
“The wisdom of great writers such as Shakespeare or von Goethe applies as much to bid writing as to life generally.
“Jordan Kelly has illustrated her valuable lessons on preparing and writing successful bids with apposite quotations from a range of authors over the last 2,500 years.”
Director – Infrastructure & Projects Group
Corporate Finance Advisory
“This book really works.
“This is a fascinating little book, and a hell of a lot of research and experience has gone into it.
“It provides so much valuable instruction in such a simplified and absorbable, and really entertaining, manner. People give me business books all the time and to be honest, I rarely look forward to the read. They’re so dry and boring.
“But this book really works. You’ve brought to life the wisdom of these famous authors and philosophers etc to show us how to tell our story, as bid writers.
“Bid writing is about getting your story across – and doing it in a client-centric and compelling way. This book provides real insight into that skill, and that’s huge.
“A little book like this, sitting alongside an engineer to help him confidently translate his knowledge on to paper, is a real power tool.”
General Manager – Northern Region
Auckland, New Zealand
“A fascinating entertainment-educational hybrid. A delightful way to learn!
“This is a delightful book that provides insights from truly great writers into their craft. It’s the sort of book that a reader can dip into at any time and come away with real pearls of wisdom that will assist in any writing assignment.
“I love the way you’ve brought this wisdom and advice together in a way that delivers real and useable value to your reader, and the way you’ve built on them with your own knowledge and experience to create a fascinating entertainment-educational hybrid. What a delightful way to learn!
“Jordan, these really are great books (with reference also to ‘The Bid-Writer’s Style & Grammar Guide’). I have learned heaps from them. The test now will be to put the learnings into action.”
Polson Higgs Business Advisors
Dunedin, New Zealand
“The Greatest Minds in History Add Weight to the Learning Experience
“This a must-read, as well as a truly valuable check-list for any bid manager or writer.
“The many references to some of the greatest minds in history (not limited to great authors, in fact) add considerable weight to the learning experience. My personal favourite – on the importance of a fluid strategy – is Mike Tyson’s gem, ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.’ Having been punched in the face more than once in bidding large infrastructure projects, I will value this and the many other lessons Jordan shares.
“Powerful and highly readable in its simplicity, the book highlights well the key attributes of successful bid submissions. The style is original and provides effective illustration of its points, as regards the qualities inherent in the better-written bids.
“For me, it reinforces all that is important in the preparation of a well-structured response e.g. a well-researched strategy to underpin the entire process, a proposal that fully acknowledges and addresses the prospect’s situation, and the acceptance that Ernest Hemingway was largely correct when he said, ‘The first draft of anything is shit’.”