Chapter Structure

We want writers to interpret the following parts with boldness and artistic flair.

A general note is that once the per-chapter word count is determined, the writer should make an effort to be consistent in allocating similar words to each section. For example, if each chapter is decided to be about 5000 words, then each part 1 should be given roughly the same percentage of those 5000 words from chapter to chapter. Of course, the actual word count per section will depend on the style of book. In a narrative-driven business book, for example, the bulk of those 5000 words will go to the opening and closing stories, whereas in a pop-sci book, the majority will go to parts 2 and 3. In rare cases, we may decide together that one or more of the 5 parts isn’t necessary at all for the kind of book being written (like, we don’t need parts 2-4 in a memoir).

All those caveats and explanations aside, here are the 5 parts:

Part 1: Opening story. Tell a personal story that illustrates the theme of the chapter without identifying the theme explicitly, and without giving away the end of the story. For example, “I used to work every day from 5am-11pm. I felt productive, driven, and dialed in. Then my wife told me she wanted a divorce.”

Part 2: Introduce the theme. For example, “The above story tells you how bad I used to be at work/life balance, without even knowing I was bad at it. And as it turns out, work/life balance is really important! In fact, it’s the bedrock of sustainable wealth building.”

Part 3: Give some proof. Find studies, well-reported news articles, and/or primary research to prove your theme. For example, “According to a 2016 Yale study, people who worked no more than 6 hours per day are 50% less likely to get divorced.”

Part 4: Give some action items for readers to implement now that they have all the info above. This may take paragraph form or be a numbered list of quick-win tasks that can help the reader take action in their daily lives. For example, “How does all this translate into YOUR daily life and work? Well, you can start by…”

Part 5: Return to the opening story. Tie the whole thing up with a bow by showing readers how that opening story turned out. For example, “Last week, my wife and I celebrated our 20-year wedding anniversary. As I presented her with a beautiful necklace, I knew that we were more in love than ever, and that we wouldn’t be sitting here today if I hadn’t figured out work/life balance.”