๐Ÿ“š A Bookish Chat with 'Intentional' Author David Amerland @DavidAmerland #Intentional #Interview

David Amerland is a Chemical Engineer with an MSc. in quantum dynamics in laminar flow processes. He converted his knowledge of science and understanding of mathematics into a business writing career that’s helped him demystify, for his readers, the complexity of subjects such as search engine optimization (SEO), search marketing, social media, decision-making, communication and personal development. The diversity of the subjects is held together by the underlying fundamental of human behavior and the way this is expressed online and offline. Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully is the latest addition to a thread that explores what to do in order to thrive. A lifelong martial arts practitioner, David Amerland is found punching and kicking sparring dummies and punch bags when he’s not behind his keyboard.

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TWL: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  How did you come up with the idea to write your book?

David Amerland: The seed for Intentional: How to Live, Love, Work and Play Meaningfully started blooming as I was finishing my previous book The Sniper Mind a lot of the cutting-edge neuroscientific research I had collected for that book which, for various reasons, was not included found its way into this one. But it was the pandemic which made it a project that was imperative to bring to life. The core question of Intentional is “how do we behave?” and how we learn to behave in various unexpected situations so that we can respond in a way that helps us not just survive, but thrive. Well, as we are gradually emerging into he post-pandemic world it is becoming increasingly clear that we do not have the answer to that. Or, at least we don’t have the answer to that without first doing some deep thinking to help us better understand how we function as individuals. Intentional provides the steps necessary to get to that answer.

TWL: How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?

D.A.: Every writer who’s written a book loves to think that absolutely everybody will want to read it. We know that’s not true. Even the smartest and most popular books have a target audience. And that is as it should be. A work that’s aimed at virtually everybody is really aimed at nobody in particular. Intentional is a book that’s aimed at those who understand they need to change their life, change their everyday practices and struggle to understand how to do it in a practical way that will help them achieve the outcomes they want in their life.

TWL: What part of the book was the most fun to write?

D.A.: Every book has a section that is a journey of discovery for its writer. The first chapter was the most fun for me to write. It takes on the subject of “Life”. This is the province of philosophers and ethicists and theologians and biologists. I had to tackle it from a perspective that made it accessible and also added that “aha!” moment for the reader that helps them relate to the writing. Writing it I had to remind myself that I must never take myself seriously, just my work and that helped me find the right balance.

TWL: How did you come up with the title?

D.A.: This is a book whose title literally wrote itself. Everything contained in each chapter is about intentionality, the ability to understand that every action, every choice and every decision has meaning. Meaning makes our life purposeful. We now know that a sense of purpose unlocks a series of neurobiological responses in us that allow us to better manage our mental and emotional states. This benefits us from a physiological point of view but it also benefits us from an attentional point of view. What we pay attention to is what we focus on. What we focus on is what we are most likely to succeed at. As you can see the hardest part was to come up with the subtitle for the book. I could have gone in many different directions and still not quite encompassed the far-reaching effects being intentional has on our life. In the end what I and my editor came up with left us the most satisfied.  

TWL: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

D.A.: In writing it I also had to critically examine aspects of my own life and choices. Readers think that writers have this god-like approach where knowledge and advice flows from them from some perceived higher authority. In reality writers mine their own lives. We use ourselves as the primary test subject. If what we write resonates with us we then feel confident that will resonate with our readers.

TWL: What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book?

D.A.: The voice in your head is not the same as the voice on paper. One is thinking and the other is doing. Thinking about writing is definitely important and you must always do it. But you must also sit down and write, however flawed and imperfect the words may be. You can only improve what’s on the page in front of you.

TWL: How do you use social media as an author?

D.A.: I make social sharing part of my writing process. I share thoughts, ideas, insights and discoveries. I feel giddy while writing and by sharing it I get to test some of it, for sure, but I also feel way less lonely and isolated and through the sheer act of sharing I spread my excitement and maintain my focus. Once a book is over I use social media to extensively talk about it. I often share additional insights and information which have not found their way in the book but are a sort of addition to it. This makes the social media buzz around each book an integral extension of it rather than derivative noise.  

TWL: What other books are you working on and when will they be published?

D.A.: I am currently working on several book ideas that are at the treatment and early, exploratory research stage. They are making the rounds with publishers through my agent, as these things do. It’s a sort of Darwinian process where the one deemed to be “fittest” will survive and go to the next stage. The process itself can take up to a year during which I continue to think about and research all of them. By the time “the one” is chosen I will have maybe another year or so of research and writing in front of me. So, my next book is at least two years away from now.

TWL: If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?

D.A.: I have always been a big John Grisham fun. The way the legal mind works and how it ties words and concepts to real-world issues fascinates me. I’d love to spend a day watching him in action.

TWL: Finally, what message are you trying to get across with your book?

D.A.: Life cannot be lived in autopilot. The solution to all the complex problems we face right now will come out of intentional actions and conscious decision-making.  

TWL: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

D.A.: Our world is changing. We all, intuitively sense this change but are unsure how to respond. What we don’t all see is that the change, really, is us. We are changing. We are changing in our behavior, our beliefs and our attitude. This makes it imperative that we better understand how this is happening to us and get a real good grasp of what we can do to guide this change we are undergoing to our benefit and to the benefit of the world around us.   


Author: David Amerland
Publisher: New Line Books
Pages: 218
Genre: Nonfiction


Live your life the way you want to. Manage stress better. Be more resilient and enjoy meaningful relationships and better health. We all want that. Such life leads to better choices, better jobs, loving romantic partners, more rewarding careers and decisions that are fully aligned with our aims.

What stops us from getting all that is the complexity of our brain and the complicated way in which the external world comes together. The misalignment between the internal states we experience and the external circumstances we encounter often leads to confusion, a lack of clarity in our thinking and actions that are not consistent with our professed values.

Intentional is a gameplan. It helps us connect the pieces of our mind to the pieces of our life. It shows us how to map what we feel to what has caused those feelings. It helps us understand what affects us and what effects it has on us. It makes it possible for us to determine what we want, why we want it and what we need to do to get it.

When we know what to do, we know how to behave. When we know how to behave we know how to act. When we know how to act, we know how to live. Our actions, each day, become our lives. Drawn from the latest research from the fields of neuroscience, behavioral and social psychology and evolutionary anthropology, Intentional shows how to add meaning to our actions and lead a meaningful, happier, more fulfilling life on our terms.

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  1. Thank you so much for some splendid questions that made me think about how I do what I do.


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