I recently read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.
IMHO this is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read.
Not only that, it also contains dozens of lessons for writers.
For example, here are just a few of the things I picked up:
1. Be passionate and the best at what you do
Why was Anthony Bourdain able to rise to the top of the cut throat New York restaurant business? Simply because he was extremely good at what he did (as well as passionate). The point is simple: be excellent at what you do. While this may seem overly simplistic you’d be surprised at how many people simply don’t care.
2. Write conversationally
If you’ve ever watched one of his TV shows this book will really surprise you. The reason why is because it reads exactly the way he talks. There’s almost no distinction between the way he sounds on TV and the tone of this book. It’s really amazing. This is something you have to apply to your writing. It’s highly important that you write in a conversational tone and avoid sounding overly formal.
3. Work fast
The most important thing I learnt from this book is the importance of speed. In the restaurant business speed is paramount. No one wants to wait hours for their food. If this happens they will simply walk out. This is why restaurant kitchens operate like a production line. The only goal is getting orders out as quickly as possible…while still maintaining quality. This is something you absolutely have to apply to your writing. In my experience most clients are extremely impatient. They want the job done NOW.
4. Tell stories
Kitchen Confidential is basically a series of anecdotes involving Anthony Bourdain’s time in the restaurant business. One of the most famous of these is his, “why you shouldn’t order fish on a Monday” story. In this story he basically promises to reveal insider information. He does this throughout the book and this is what makes it so compelling and hard to put down.
Anyway, if you haven’t read this book yet it’s certainly worth picking up.
P.S. The reason why you don’t want to order fish on Monday’s is because fish isn’t sold over the weekend…meaning any fish you order on Monday is old fish from the week before.