I have no doubt that Erik Wahl is a well-received and engaging speaker, though I have never heard him speak. He writes with confidence, and perhaps his thoughts are more polished and refined when limited to just enough time for a speech, rather than 200-plus pages. In this format, sadly, I found it difficult to grasp exactly what Wahl is trying to say, as he often rambles, contradicts himself, and stretches to make examples fit his chapter titles.
Many authors struggle with self-aggrandizement in their writing, relying too heavily on examples from their own lives. Wahl is the opposite, talking about himself briefly and offering no concrete examples on how his principles have affected his creative process. He speaks in broad strokes, making it difficult to understand how to utilize his advice.
After reading The Spark and the Grind, I struggled with what I could say about this book. I decided to peek at the reviews on Amazon, and to my amazement, there was only one negative review out of 69. Sixty-eight reviewers rated Wahl’s book with five stars, immediately raising a red flag about a book that was released only three weeks ago. While there are a few interesting but underdeveloped concepts found within, The Spark and the Grind is far from a five-star book.
Great speeches do not always translate well to the page, and perhaps that is the issue here. The dust jacket boasts that Wahl is “one of the most sought-after speakers on the corporate lecture circuit.” I have no reason to doubt that claim, but his writing certainly does not measure up to his reputation.