- (Photo: Courtesy Howard Books)
Ken Coleman is the author of "One Question: Life Changing Answers from Today's Leading Voices." In the book, he asks figures such as Robin McGraw, President Jimmy Carter, and Malcolm Gladwell one question about topics including succeeding, sustaining, and surviving. He spoke with The Christian Post about the questions' origins and how he chose whom to ask questions of.
The Christian Post: Where did you get the idea for asking leaders "one question"?
Coleman: I was doing some yard work, coming off a disappointing opportunity, and was licking my wounds, thinking through the fact that I needed to create a platform for myself. I had interviewed A-listers from every walk of life, and it just hit me: What if I were to launch and audio blog and go in and edit out the best questions and answers to the best interviews I had done? I just thought it was a really good idea … We have an Attention Deficit Disorder in our country-what if I could edit my interviews and get to the heart of the matter? It quickly became popular, went viral, and was even a hit podcast on iTunes. Fast-forward a bit, and a best-selling author connected me with his agent, and the rest is history. I never set out to make a book, but because of the success of the audio project, it worked as a book.
CP: How did you choose which leaders to speak with?
Coleman: Before I ever chose the guest, I spent about a day and a half thinking about the big questions of life, the big topics of life, and I looked at it personally. I sat down and asked what the big questions and topics were that I had asked. I mapped them all out and put them into three categories – the three seasons of life we seem to all go through at some point in our lives: succeeding, sustaining, and surviving. I categorized the topics, then I began to pick 3-5 names of people I felt had the experience and the expertise to answer those questions.
CP: What did you learn through this process?
Coleman: The short and easy answer is that I learned something from every person. These are big questions, and I learned a lot. I learned that in asking the "one question," which is a different question for every person, I felt that the guests enjoyed being asked just one question and they liked the concept of asking themselves what they are still learning. I enjoyed learning that a question is such a valuable, valuable tool. I don't want to just help people – I want to drive home the message that a question is a powerful tool and if we use it well, it can yield great results.
CP: What are your future projects?
Coleman: Right now I'm really thinking that graduation will be a great time for people to read this book. I think this is life wisdom – it will be relevant for the next 30 years. I don't know what's next, but I'm trying to trust God. I don't see a starting line anymore, so I'm trusting God to lead me to what's next. I want to create a curiosity revelation.
A research study shows that when we're younger, we ask hundreds of questions per day but by the time we reach 18, we're only asking 2-3 questions every day. At my house now, I gather my three kids together and have them ask any three questions they want to. The natural reaction of a parent is to stop the questioning, but when you look at the kids and tell them they can ask anything, their faces light up and you can see their brains start working. The whole point of it is not what you're trying to inform them but trying to teach them that asking questions is fun and we should ask questions and keep learning.
To learn more about Ken Coleman and "One Question," click HERE.