• Somer Hackley

Book journey week 8: The magic is in the stories


People learn through stories.

When I think about the non-fiction books I love this rings true. I just never realized it.

Michael Lewis’ character development has always stuck with me; that’s what I still remember about Flash Boys, Moneyball and The Big Short.

Malcolm Gladwell is a fantastic storyteller; that’s what drew me into Talking to Strangers.

Priya Parker’s The Art of Gathering teaches in stories, giving examples of specific parties, how they came to be, and their evolution. I think of her book every time I set an intention to gather and want to be a great, inclusive host.

When I first set out to write this book it was essentially a “Dummies” book on executive search.

I wrote about how it works and gave advice on what executives can do to best position themselves. Let’s get you inside Hamilton’s Room Where It Happens, so you can get access to the positions you want, and understand why things are happening as they are.

I wrote and wrote, but I never finished the book. Companies started recruiting again and work picked up. I was busy. But that wasn’t the reason I stopped writing. If I’m going to publish a book, I want it to be great, and I knew that what I put together wasn’t the best that I could do.

The Creator Institute centers the book around stories.

I have an idea of what my chapters will be, but the stories are the anchors. I view each story as if I’m dropping dye in water. Some bleed into each other. Some are bright, some more intact than others, and eventually I’ll stitch them all together. Each chapter will have a lesson through the eyes of executive search professionals/recruiters, and equally important through the eyes of executives who have been through all this before.


I approach each conversation with curiosity, versus thinking I have all the answers.

I can’t begin to tell you how honored I am that people are sharing such vulnerable stories, so that the book’s future audience can skip the line and implement their advice now. Each conversation I have hits home with me and gives me new perspective; I’m listening so intently and digging before moving on.

I realized through all these stories that this book will have an additional benefit that I didn’t expect: empathy. Any executive search professional who picks up this book will see first hand the exact emotions candidates go through during the process. New job seekers who read these pages will come away with lots of actionable advice, and also comfort that they’re not in this alone.

We’re all in this together.

My recent Saturday writing spot at Radio Coffee in South Austin.

Read about Week 7 of my book journey in our newsletter and stay on the blog for more executive search tips.

#BeDistinguished

Somer Hackley CEO, Distinguished Search


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