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The Clever Strategy That Turned an Unknown Book Into a Bestseller

There's a better way to leverage influencers.

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This story appears in the March 2017 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

UJ Ramdas had an idea he knew people would love but that no publishing house would ever take seriously. Here it is: a mostly blank book. See the problem? And blank journals such as Moleskine are a dime a dozen. “We didn’t even approach book publishers,” Ramdas says. But those blank pages weren’t a gimmick. They were a carefully considered, earnest offering -- a space for journaling, which Ramdas claims is a key to a more productive life. “I believe it was the author Robert Cialdini who said, ‘If you think about what you want to do and write it down, you’ll be more likely to do it,’” Ramdas says.

Kevin Sarasom
UJ Ramadas

He began journaling regularly at age 19 and, now 29, is still enthusiastic about it. But he knows it can be a hard sell. Most people won’t spend 15 to 30 minutes a day “introspecting,” as he does. That’s why he set his sights on a measly five. What if we take everything we know from the principles of psychology, and we Trojan-horse some personal growth in a beautiful bound book? he thought. He and his friend Alex Ikonn cofounded a company called Intelligent Change and created that book -- The Five Minute Journal, a well-designed, mostly blank space for jotting down goals in the morning and considering achievements at night, sprinkled with words of encouragement.

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