I often am tempted to read advice books and other related material that purports to provide simple, easy steps to success within some realm or another. Each time I do, I am both surprised at how straightforward success should be, as well as how easy it is to collect simplistic assertions into operational philosophy. If there are lists of rules for success in any arena, then there must be rules for being successful in presenting lists of rules. Here is what I think they are...
Rule #1: Do not exceed seven rules. Seven is a good number because most people can juggle seven ideas in their heads without too much mental calisthenics. If you are confident in your audience, you may go up to eight rules, but you might mask the eighth rule by just calling it a 1/2 rule, providing a total of 7 1/2 rules. Certainly don't provide fewer than five rules, or else your audience may feel short-changed. Six is doable, but odd numbers resonate more than even numbers, so your best bet is to stick with seven.
Rule #2: Provide a key failure event that justifies your expertise. Without having hit rock-bottom, you do not have the "chops" that demonstrate why your rules for success lead to success. Therefore, you must be able to demonstrate that the problem from which you have derived your success philosophy is identical in concept to your audience's, but is of much greater magnitude than any of your soon-to-be followers'. Make sure that your failure event not only affects you personally, but also causes grief to some larger collective (family, friends, company, etc.).
Rule #3: State your rules in kindergarten language. The concept that the secrets to success can be summarized in a list of rules presumes that your audience is looking for a solution that can be implemented just by following a series of simple instructions. The easier you make the rules sound, the more effective you will be at converting followers.
Rule #4: Secure a high-profile champion. The higher the profile, the better. By associating with a person in a position of authority, you implicitly demonstrate their support, even if they never have explicitly provided it. (see: scientology)
Rule #5: Finesse Challenging Questions. Invariably, someone may ask you why you are peddling your ideas in books, CDs, DVDs, courses, and workshops, instead of spending your time actually practicing what you are preaching. The best approach to this question is to promote your goodwill and beneficence in providing this life-altering advice to as many people as possible (who can afford the collateral material).
Rule #6: Include lots of stories. People are bored by formal processes and are afraid of spending time doing hard work to achieve their goals. Alternatively, people love to listen to stories and may be encouraged by the suggestion that the experience of others may directly provide them with positive impact. These stories may be enhanced to a greater degree when you substitute animals (especially cute, furry ones) as the protagonists in your tales as you demonstrate your kindergarten principles via anthropomorphization. (see: Aesop)
Rule #7: Exploit Licensing Potential. Once your rules have taken off, be sure to have an array of additional products available to your followers. First of all, they will have formed into their own community, and need insignias, etc. to recognize each other in alternate venues (i.e., ones you don't get paid for). Second, possible issues regarding failures need to be met with questions as to whether the program is being carried out to the letter of the law; missing some of the accompanying items may be contributing to the failure...
Rule #7 1/2: Take yourself very seriously. If you don't, how can you expect others to?