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Should a Business Book Be Written in First or Third Person?

TL;DR: Third-person narration is more common than first-person narration in business books, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. Keep reading to find out which one will work for you.


It’s all about perception: whether you write your book in the first or third person can change how readers interpret your message. Usually, business books employ third-person narration, but there are merits to writing in the first person as well. If you’re thinking, I don’t know what you’re talking about! Don’t worry! If you haven’t heard these terms since a high school English class, we’ve got you covered.

First Person vs. Third Person: What’s Best for a Business Book?


Understanding First Person vs. Third Person

Let’s get the grammar lesson out of the way: First-person narration is when the story is written from “my” perspective. The author is speaking directly to the reader:

First-person: “I am the global authority on safety pin manufacturing and will share my knowledge with you.”

The third person uses the pronouns “he,” “she,” or “they.” This perspective shares the author’s viewpoints from a supposedly neutral or unbiased viewpoint. The third person is the most commonly used perspective in publishing—you’ll never go wrong with writing in the third person.

Third person: “Bobby is the global authority on safety pin manufacturing and will share his knowledge with you.”

Should a Business Book Be Written in First or Third Person?

Should you speak directly to the reader as “I” or maintain a more distant “they” perspective? Much of that decision will hinge on the type of story you’re trying to convey.

Reasons to Use First Person

1. First-person narration encourages direct engagement with the author, fostering a deep, intimate connection.

2. Sharing personal anecdotes and experiences in the first person can enhance authorial relatability. (Example: I may be a CEO, but I’ve had plenty of struggles that I’ve had to overcome, just like you. Here they are.)

3. First-person perspective can encourage active participation in the narrative by speaking directly to the reader.

Reasons to Use Third Person:

1. Third-person narration feels authoritative, and in business, credibility is key.

2. Some readers may prefer the impartial tone associated with the third-person perspective, increasing the book’s potential audience.

3. Many authors find it easier to present multiple points of view and perspectives in the third person. This is helpful if the author wants to present multiple narratives and viewpoints. (Example: customer testimonials.)

Is It Okay to Switch Between First- and Third-Person Writing?

Whether a book is in the first person or the third person, keep it consistent. Switching perspectives can confuse the reader. However, some storytelling situations may benefit from a perspective shift, such as sections where the narrative is exploring customer experiences. This “in-between” style is often seen in fiction when the narrator and the main character are separated. (Examples: The Lovely Bones, Orlando, Christine)


Ultimately, writing a business book in the first or third person hinges on various factors, including the desired tone, audience preferences, and the author’s objectives. By understanding the nuances of each perspective and considering how they align with your message, you can choose the voice that elevates your book’s impact. Whether you opt for the personal connection of the first person or the authoritative stance of a third person, the key lies in crafting a narrative that resonates with your audience and communicates your insights effectively.

Ready to write your business book with the perfect narrative perspective? Get started with DIYBook’s free 7-day trial and tailor your message for maximum impact.

Author Barabara Basbanes Richter, Founder of DIYBook
About the Author

Barbara Basbanes Richter founded DIYBook, an affordable and easy-to-use book writing program. She also founded In Ink Ghostwriting, a full-service ghostwriting firm helping politicians, pundits, scientists, CEOs, professional athletes, and others get their stories into print.

Under her own byline, Barbara’s writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Daily News, The Vineyard Gazette, Humanities, The Sewanee Review, Fine Books & Collections, Literary Features Syndicate, High Country News, Ravishly.com, Westchester Magazine, and other outlets.

Barbara is a fluent French speaker, and her translation from French to English of Mademoiselle de Malepeire was called a “clever, inspiring gem.”

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