The ‘Playbook’ Approach – Rookie Father’s Subtitle and What it Means

There’s a simple reason why Rookie Father was written as a ‘Playbook.’ What it means and the mission to provide advice that’s actionable for new dads.

Self-help books could use some ‘help’ themselves, in my humble opinion.

Speaking as an author who has yet to claim ANY sales regarding my forthcoming book, Rookie Father, I thought I’d share my perspective in advance to provide some clarity around the use of the word ‘playbook’ and why it matters. The book goes on sale next week.

There are a multitude of self-help books that sell millions of copies annually. Most if not all of them are penned by distinguished scholars and I tip my hat to them. I admire their work and the efforts they have made.

Self-help titles are geared toward women, more or less, and it’s worth noting why men have not gravitated toward this genre of literature.

We are men—we shun help when we truly need it. We possess fragile egos. Challenge me on that assumption and the result will make me defensive because… I’m a man.

Doubt me? Ask any man who’s driving and lost (without access to navigation) if he wants to pull over and ask for directions. The male ego on display thereafter will confirm what I am telling you. Perhaps this is genetically encoded – we were the hunters for God’s sake, which required men to find and kill their prey out in the wild!

Thus, the use of the phrase ‘self-help’ is a nonstarter for most guys. And for new dads…layer in a screaming infant, four hours of sleep, and a demanding job, and the last thing a man wants is a book that reads like a Master’s thesis.

A ‘playbook’ represents something different. This approach stems from the experience I garnered working at Men’s Health for nearly ten years (on the business side). Their editors possess a multitude of talent when it comes to providing advice for men. This had a great impact on me, as well as being raised by a pragmatic single mother.

The ‘playbook’ approach to writing delivers succinct and practical information in bite-size pieces. It is delivered in a manner that encourages ‘content snacking.’ The reader can skip through different sections or chapters, find practical advice, and review real-world examples. Rookie Father was written solely to benefit the reader.

A ‘playbook’ is not written like a traditional ‘self-help’ book. These works tend to follow a pattern that does not represent actionable advice. Here’s how they usually read:

  1. The author presents a challenge that people, who share a similar experience, need to overcome.
  2. Research is presented – distinguished journals or publications are cited that validate the challenge.
  3. Hard numbers are then shared to illustrate just how big and serious the challenge is to society.
  4. The author mixes empathy with hope: a gentle touch encourages the reader to consider a new direction.
  5. The benefits are then presented in a manner that provide guidance and a suggested remedy, which further ensconces the author as a bonafide expert on the matter at hand.
  6. Page count per chapter: 15-25 pages total.

This is all well and good, but it begs the question… who is the author writing for?

The alternative I present in Rookie Father takes a playbook approach. Chapters run 1-2 pages long with few exceptions. A father can dive in, get what he needs, and get out without spending a ton of time processing data. Traditional self-help titles read like a thesis paper and they often feel like the author wrote it to impress his/her peers in the academic world.

Besides…dads have got shit to do! When it comes to giving advice… get on with it I say!

Will the ‘playbook’ approach resonate more or less with new dads? We will know soon enough as the book is scheduled for release on February 1st.

My hope—if you are a new dad raised in absence of a father, there are 19 million of us who share a similar experience. Rookie Father was written to provide actionable advice so that you can provide your children with a better experience.

Our children deserve it.

Onwards and upwards – Kendall

Readers can pre-order Rookie Father here:

Endorsements received to date:

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