Q&A I recently hosted re. “The Actionable Literacy Project”

Chris Taylor's Profile Picture
The Actionable Literacy Project is a 12 interview DVD compilation, containing candid and unedited conversations with Best-Selling, business book authors.  The conversations focus on employee success principles for the 21st century; explaining how “doing your job” isn’t enough any more… and what to do instead.

Q&A with Actionable Literacy Host, Chris Taylor

Tell me about the project?

Over the course of 2010, I travelled around North America, sitting down with leading business and personal developement authors to discuss the ideas from their most recent books.  The Actionable Literacy Project was 13 months in the making, spread over 7 cities and made possible thanks to the generous authors and their dedicated staffs.  With the permission of the authors, we compiled the interviews into a DVD and companion booklet that sells for $25.  100% of the profits (roughly $20/DVD) are being donated to Room to Read; an organization dedicated to spreading global literacy.

Where’d the idea come from?

It started from a keen desire to learn more about what was going on in the heads of these brilliant authors AFTER they’d published their books. Understanding printed materials to be nothing more than a snapshot in time, I wanted to know how the ideas have evolved since.   It was only after I was half way through the interview series that I decided to put the DVD together as a fundraiser for Room to Read.ÿ

Who’s in the series?

I was fortunate enough to be able to record conversations with truly leading thinkers in their respective fields:

Seth Godin
Gary Vaynerchuk
Roger Martin
Simon Sinek
Gina Mollicone-Long
Max Lenderman
Sally Hogshead
Andy Nulman
Dan Pink
Dan Heath
Steve Farber
Sir Ken Robinson

This project wouldn’t have been possible without these generous individuals taking a chance on me and donating their time.

How’d you get the authors to agree to be a part of this?

I think you’d have to ask them.  I sent them emails, and they replied.  I mean, authors are human beings, too, right?  I learned this year that when you show genuine interest in their work, ask intelligent questions, and act from an authentic desire to help spread their messages, most authors are open to conversation.

So is there a “business model” in here, or is this simply a labour of love:

This is absolutely a labour of love for me. I’ve personally “donated” over $20,000 and taken 34 flight this year to make this DVD a reality. ActionableBooksÿ(my company) profits $0 off this entire project. We don’t even recoup the $20,000 spend.  But that’s not the point. We have our own income streams, completely separate from the Actionable Literacy Project. This is a project designed to:

  1. 1. Spread the messages of the 12 authors to new markets. (win for the authors)
  2. 2. Raise awareness and funds for Room to Read (win for Room to Read)
  3. 3. Provide rich, extensive content for a low cost (win for the consumer)
  4. 4. Provide brand awareness for ActionableBooks (win for my company)
  5. 5. Enable me spend time with some of the leading thinkers of our time (win for me)

We love the win-win-win-win-win.

Any big learnings from the experience?

Two big learnings:

One, There is a fundamental shift taking place in the skills, knowledge and attitudes that employees of the 21st century need to possess.  Some of these authors spoke about why that is and others discussed what those new traits are but they all agreed – we have a responsibility to ourselves to make that shift as soon as possible.

You mentioned two big learnings?

Right.  When you take 34 flights in a year, you should really have a frequent flier card!

For more information on The Actionable Literacy Project, or to purchase the DVD, visit:


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