Sean Penn has established himself as an author with his first book. Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff is a humorous story about a man making a living selling septic tanks. On the side he works for the United States government as a contract killer. Sean Penn spoke of what it felt like to complete a film in comparison to finishing a book. He said a film was a collaboration which required adjustments to the ideas of others. This can lead to disappointment or pride depending on the ideas. He stated the book was all his and left him with a more complete feeling.
Sean Penn admits part of the reason he wrote the book was because he did not want to collaborate with anyone else. He came to a crossroads in his career where he was worn out from the expectations and personalities of others. He said once he finished his book the publisher made the decision and he did not feel like he had to give in. He would not discuss his plans for the future but stated he did have something cooking. He also said he did not have anything planned regarding acting. He is currently enjoying writing as opposed to acting. He will most likely use his creative energy in the future for books and not films.
Sean Penn has received numerous book reviews from colleagues and friends including Sarah Silverman and Salman Rushdie. His writing has been compared to Mark Twain, Charles Bukowski and Hunter S. Thompson. He said when he was acting if he mentioned an affinity for a particular actor it become part of the storytelling influence. This often led to him being attributed for liking actors he had never seen or more recently authors he has never read. He believes the influence of a writer is the freedom and excitement apparent in their words. This can influence the words of the author.
When Sean Penn became unable to find new ribbons for his typewriter and had no expertise using a laptop he started writing at night using longhand. He reviewed his work in the morning and his assistant took the dictation. He wants to write faster than his fingers are capable of. He said he used a parallel movement in his book to increase superficiality. He believes not working towards inclusion means working toward divisiveness. He stated anyone looking for an opinion piece is reading the wrong book. His book skewers the way culture worships branding. He believes whether a brand is self assigned or assigned it represents a crisis in the eyes of the consumer. He will not define his book as a brand because he feels this would be too light and ironic.