Last week I spoke to an association of 30 business people who admitted to me they did not read blogs, and did not read books. They had all been given my book, Managing with Aloha as part of their welcome gift for the event we were all attending, and so I felt compelled to pepper my speech with some not-so-subtle commercials for my book’s content: I was determined to entice them to read it!
I should point out that this was a group of very successful business people — among other things, their gross sales had to qualify them to be in attendance in the first place. So I suppose you could make the argument that it is possible to be successful without reading a lot. However, imagine how much more successful they will be when they start reading in the business genre. Not “would be,” “will be.” I have faith in them.
Train yourself to fall in love with reading. Believe me, once you start it won’t be hard to do.
Don’t force yourself to read anything you’re not interested in. This is one of those cases where you don’t have to finish what you start. There will be a lot of better options, and I don’t want you to sabotage your own efforts because it’s a chore — reading should be joyful, intriguing and fascinating.
Don’t say that you don’t have time for it, for you do: you need to choose to spend your time that way, and allocate it. Stop watching junk on TV and read to learn something new.
The other “secret” is to prepare yourself for the opportunities you have to read.
Get a new inbox or basket that is strictly for your Reading-To-Do so that you are never wanting for something to read when you do have time. Start a book stack on the corner of your desk or on your nightstand. Be ready for those pockets of time when you are waiting somewhere (I have something in my bag to read anytime I’ll be caught in line someplace) or enroute somewhere (most of the books I read are read on planes and in shuttles) or when you can’t fall asleep.
I have 3 Reading Stacks / Places. They are separated because they represent different time pockets and different reading habits for me.
1. A shelf with a queue of hardcover books waiting to be read. Among the dozen-plus waiting for me there right now are Blink, The Wisdom of Crowds, The Companies We Keep, What Management Is, and The Success Principles.
My habit: I read books twice at minimum. I study them. I mark them up. I do look for bigger time pockets or sequential ones, for I know I’ll have a hard time putting the book down once I get into it.
2. A stack of magazines and newspapers to read. Usually I have Worthwhile, Fast Company (yes, I still love them) and Oprah’s O Magazine there (very underrated in my opinion). Sometimes Wired, sometimes the Harvard Business Review, and an assortment of local Hawaii community magazines. Newspapers.
My habit: This collection is for my mid-sized pockets of time. I’m going to cut them apart or rip out pages, only keeping what I’ll use later and tossing the rest. If something looks interesting but I run out of time to read it then and there, it’ll go to my place number 3.
3. Unbound assorted papers to read, such as an article I saw on the internet and printed to read later, advertisements and flyers that come in the mail, and programs for possible conferences I might want to attend and need to decide on. Note that this is all leisure time/ non-critical reading separate from my business-related inbox.
My habit: These papers are kept in a basket on the floor near my desk. Nice looking basket because of the pure and simple pleasure of having something that looks artistic and interesting, and with a handle so I can carry it around with me when I have the time to sink into my sofa, or I want to take it outside and sit on my porch some nice cool evening.
However these are my quickest reads/ quickest dispatches – this is the basket I’ll rummage in when I want to fold something up and keep it in my pocket or bag for a 1-5 minute pocket of time. If I do watch TV, this reading fills the annoying commercial breaks. In the basket I also have a pen and some 3×5 cards for any notes that result, and a plastic grocery bag if I’m not near a trash can — most of it will get tossed when I’m done reading it.
These 3 places are duplicated for me in the two places I need them to be: my home office on the Big Island, and my second office/travel hub on O‘ahu. When I have time to read something, the worst possible thing is not having that something to read.
In the course of my presentation for that group I spoke of, I made a few book recommendations that are not included in the Recommended Reading List printed in the ending pages of MWA (and that Todd Sattersten reprinted here.) They appear elsewhere on Talking Story, however I promised to list them here to make it easier for the group to find (as I said, they’re new to blogs too.) This will be repetitive for those of you who are already in The Ho‘ohana Community, however another reminder can’t hurt if these aren’t on your bookshelf yet.
Currently my top 3 recommendations have been these:
Getting Things Done by David Allen
– Learn more: improve your personal productivity.
Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi
– Learn more: improve your professional relationships.
The One Thing You Need to Know by Marcus Buckingham
– Learn more: improve your management and your leadership.
Excellent points. I’ll throw out a simple approach.
Reading improves your life. Whether it’s just for entertainment or business reading, you will learn something.
I plan on continuing my learning process until I’m dead.