They apparently had the same problem — their brand was “person who writes books” but their actual business model became “person who gives lectures for five-figure fees.” The demands of the two roles are very different.
- Josh Levin on Jonah Lehrer: “He stopped being a writer and became an idea man”
- Stephen Marche on Niall Ferguson: “Articles and ideas are only as good as the fees you can get for talking about them”
Ideally, a public lecture should be an advertisement inducing people to read your book and engage with your argument presented in full. What a disaster if the book becomes an advertisement for the lecture instead.
Update: Stuff on this theme is all over the place today: here’s Daniel Drezner on “Intellectual Power and Responsibility in an Age of Superstars” and Justin Fox on “the rage against the thought-leader machine.” Both pieces are great.