Welcome Rudy A. Mazzocchi, award-winning author of the Equity medical thriller series, and now of the nonfiction book for entrepreneurs, Storytelling, recently released by Twilight Times Books.
Mazzocchi is a medical device and biotechnology entrepreneur, inventor, and angel investor, with a history of starting new technology ventures throughout the U.S. and Europe. He has helped pioneer new companies involved in cardiology, oncology, orthopedics, neurosurgery, ophthalmology and even embryonic stem-cell development, and has been the recipient of many technology and business awards, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Healthcare and the Businessman of the Year Award. In this interview, Mazzocchi talks about his inspiration for the book and the writing life, among other things. For a full biography, visit Wikipedia.
Find Rudy A. Mazzocchi on the Web
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, Storytelling: The Indispensable Art of Entrepreneurism. When did you start writing and what got you into non-fiction / business?
I initially started writing suspense/thriller novels based on my real-life experiences as a start-up CEO in the medical technology industry. I was privileged to witness the research and early-stage development of hundreds of new medical sciences under development – many of which might not be commercially available for another decade.
After having received my third entrepreneur/business award, I was once again nominated a second time for the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. During the interview process, the judges repeatedly inquired about what I thought was the single most important element to my success. After a bit of quick soul-searching, I came to the realization that it was all about my ability to tell the story. In explaining myself, it became enormously revealing that this artof storytelling really determines the difference between success and failure. The group of judges encouraged me to write this book and use real-life examples to provide analogies of the essential elements of this art. It was published less than a year later.
Did you have any struggles or difficulties when you started writing?
My biggest challenge in writing, either fiction or non-fiction, is fighting the guilt that often comes with being self-absorbed in a task that takes time away from your family. I have a very demanding career as a start-up C.E.O. that requires a 110% commitment of time, dedication and fortitude to establish, finance and manage these medical technology company. Down-time is rare, so those precious free hours during the weekend are priceless moments that need to be dedicated to family… and even scarcer, for those friends who find reasons to stick around. Sneaking away to complete research or to fine-tune a manuscript is extremely difficult.
Who is your target audience?
The initial audience is the first-time entrepreneur who is contemplating the steps to establish their own company. Since the release of this book, it has become more and more apparent that this topic, storytelling, is not taught or even discussed in the majority of university business/entrepreneurism programs. I’ve even witnessed seasoned executives fail in their ability to convey the proper story. It has resulted in the decline of companies and destroyed many promising careers.
The broader audience includes anyone who needs to incorporate storytelling in their daily routine, whether they are school teachers, sales professionals, department heads, or current senior executives of large organizations. Storytelling is a dynamic art that needs to evolve as the audience does, and as the story moves forward over time.
What do you hope readers will get from your book?
I’m hopeful that the readers gain a strong appreciation for the element of storytelling and how it can strongly impact the likelihood of success. This book was written in such a way to respect the intelligence of the reader, not to lay out exactly what a storyteller needs to do in a step-by-step process, but to establish a philosophy of this art, and to show the reader how to utilize it through a collection of the real-life experiences of this author.
How do you keep your narrative exciting?
I attempted to accomplish two different things in writing this non-fiction book; 1) to use my fiction writing experiences to create action scenes to entertain the reader while they’re learning about important skills, and 2) throughout the book I tried to give the impression that the reader was presenting me with questions, interrupting me along the way, as if I were standing before them in a classroom.
How do you celebrate the completion of a book?
Interesting question… I don’t! Writing is very therapeutic and enjoyable to me. There’s almost a “let-down” when I finish the editing of a final manuscript because… in my view… the fun part is over and the work then begins. Promoting a new book is an enormous challenge. It’s hard to break above the pack and standout among all those great books and their authors that are released very day. Therefore, I only celebrate when I achieve certain self-established goals; e.g. achieving a certain number of 5-star reviews, winning a literary award, or hitting a certain sales goal.
How do you define success?
With my novels (The EQUITY Series), I have related success to the achievement of receiving literary awards by my peers and/or well-established book reviewers. This became the validation that I needed to encourage me to continue my writing. It was the moment I started viewing myself as a real author and just not a writer who had something interesting to say.
With my non-fiction book (Storytelling), I have established a different definition for success. Here I strive to have this book become mandatory reading in university business/entrepreneurism programs throughout the country. If this material is taught at a center of higher education, then I believe it to be a major success. (By the way, this is being considered by twenty-eight universities as I respond to this question!)
What advice would you give to aspiring writers whose spouses or partners don’t support their dreams of becoming an author?
As I indicate in a dedicated chapter of this book, I believe everyone should attempt to “write”. I’ve even recently convinced my own 75-year-old mother to write her memoir. The key is to manage your own expectations. Write for the purpose of self-gratification… first and foremost… then with the notion that it would be appealing to another reader. It can be done with the intention of either entertaining or providing knowledge.
When you start out to become an author, you are flexing your entrepreneurial muscles! It takes dedication, time, energy, sacrifice and the support of those around you… just like being a true entrepreneur. You need to solicit the support of your spouse or partner… by using the storytelling skills provided in this book. (Yes, that’s a promotional ping right there!) Make them a part of the process, otherwise you’ll never make it to the end of that long journey.
George Orwell once wrote: “Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” Comments?
Oh, come on George! It’s not that bad.
I obviously disagree. As I stated above, I believe the “exhausting struggle” comes after you finish the book and need to do everything humanly possible to promote it. The writing of your book should not be a horrible, painful experience. At times, the editing process becomes rather painful, but it’s like pruning those grape vines… a necessary process that is designed to optimize the best possible harvest.
Writing can be a struggle, but when it does, simply take a break, revisit your outline, and take a fresh approach. If you don’t enjoy it, I strongly suggest you take up golfing. It will require about the same amount of your time and be equally frustrating.