As I sit here starting to put together Experiencing Rush: A Listener’s Companion (2014) and look back over my dissertation (“Permanent Change: Rush, Musicians’ Rock, and the Progressive Post-Counterculture,” 2003), it’s perfectly obvious that we do lots of great research and writing for our Ph.D. dissertations.
However, despite what every academic career guide says, it’s also perfectly obvious that we should not be adapting our dissertations into academic-press products for a couple of hundred colleagues, a couple of dozen academic libraries, and (if we’re “lucky”) a couple of thousand people who will never get past the excessive jargon, overly-technical analysis, and so on.
We should be adapting our dissertations into intelligent, non-fiction books for hundreds of thousands of people in the general public, such as through thousands of bookstores and public libraries, in e-books and public talks, and so on.
There are only famous non-fiction writers (including a certain curly-haired one of my acquaintance) because 95% of academics do the former instead of the latter 95% of the time. There are also tens of thousands of exploited adjunct instructors purely because almost no-one has bothered to figure out how to do something way more useful than that.