Have you ever taken a small child to a playground only to find they used the swing to hit another kid instead of to have fun? The right way to use a swing might seem obvious to you, but not everyone sees the world your way.

When you make a point as an author, make it. Then consider whether there are exceptions. Is your point relevant to everyone who picks up your book? Might some find it harmful or misuse it?

“Be yourself” is an example. You might assume your reader, being themselves, will be funnier, more relaxed and more creative. But what if your reader is driven by furious rage? Or, by nature, a prankster? Does your point apply? If your advice is to get exercise every day, should they check with their doctor first? If you want them to start a self-managed share market portfolio, should they have paid off their mortgage?

Make your point—don’t go beige. But consider who might misunderstand it. As an author, you have a responsibility to address controversial issues with some care.

What is the best (or worst) advice you have ever received?