Dan Linssen – Who’s to Blame?

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Title: Who’s to Blame? Living Along Society’s “Fault” Line.

When things go wrong, we tend to look for who messed up so we can assign blame. While this feels natural, blame never solves the underlying problem. Even worse, it carries enormous costs to Society, to our organizations, and to us as individuals. To fully understand why we engage in such destructive behavior, the book examines the cultural, psychological, and situational underpinnings of blame. But it also explains why blame is completely irrational from a functional standpoint. Guidelines on how to reduce blame in our daily lives, plus a rescue plan for when you’re on the receiving end, help the reader kick the blame habit.

Tell us something about yourself.

Since retiring from the working world about 5 years ago I am currently “re-inventing” myself to remain productive throughout my “retirement” years. Since then, I’ve taught college business courses in the United States and France, wrote my first book, and began creating a speaking and consulting practice. I’ve also assisted my wife in launching her own entrepreneurial venture and started a rock and roll band.

My 35-year business career was anything but traditional (much more like what today’s young person can expect) working 2-4 years at one job, then moving on to another new opportunity. My longest tenure was my last – 9 years as VP of Operations for a national container and logistics company. In between I worked as a stockbroker, did management consulting work at a large CPA firm, provided customized business training for a technical college, and held a variety of middle management jobs in diverse industries.

What inspired you to write this book?

Throughout my life I watched blame destroy people, cripple organizations, and create gridlock in society. Several times I looked for a good, comprehensive resource, but could never find one. So I decided to write it myself.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

Any first-time author knows the biggest obstacle is trying to find a publisher who will take on the project. Having always been a “do-it-yourself-er” I decided to avoid the traditional publishing game. Instead, I found a small local publisher, Foremost Press, willing to help connect me to a book designer, printer, and the distribution networks. The rest I did myself.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

Writing this book forced me to become an expert on a subject most people know little about, but deal with every day. It fundamentally changed the way I respond when something goes wrong.

Through the publishing process I learned that producing the finished product means nothing. Unless you have readers, your book is meaningless. So the real challenge for today’s author is building a base of people interested in the subject.

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

For at least a full year before the book is released I would use blogging and social media to develop an interested following.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

When I read for fun I like to look backward. (Looking forward is too scary!) I’m a big history buff. Reading about how our predecessors dealt with life is pretty fascinating to me. Historical fiction (like Newt Gingrich’s Civil War trilogy) trips my trigger. I also read the entire Harry Potter series – probably the best fiction of our time.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

Next, I hope to tackle America’s broken educational system. Sorry, the details are under wraps at this point.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

Forget the big publishing houses. What they’re looking for is a tightly-formulated, commercial idea they can use to sell tons of books. They’re far less concerned about your original thinking or creative contribution to the world. So unless you’re producing some recipe (Six sure-fire ways to…) think about how you want to communicate your idea to the world. Decide who is interested in your subject. Build a following. Then produce your own book. You will be the master of your own destiny.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

If you’re (1) fed up with the “blame game” and shirking of responsibility, (2) concerned about blame-related dysfunction in your organization or family, or (3) frequently find yourself the scapegoat for a problem, this book will be a game-changer for you.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

You can find the book at Amazon.