Managers, you need to READ

The more I read, the more I’m convinced that reading is a habit Alaka‘i Managers must cultivate.

You must. You need to read for your own good.

Reading is your window to the rest of our fascinating world, and the world is a wonderfully big, and varied place.

Management consumes us (managemeant even more so). As we dig in to all the details of our daily work, we tell ourselves to “focus, focus, focus” and we get isolated despite all the people who surround us in the workplace.

They’re in the same boat: Our company and its existing network insulates us in a cocoon of directed attention, and we don’t fight it. We may even be grateful: We feel it’s all we can handle right now anyway, and we aim to get better with whatever’s currently at hand.

But we can’t lose sight of this caution: If we aren’t careful, insulation will stealthily morph from comfort to incestuousness and isolation. We hear about certain things in passing, and we say, “When in the world did that happen?”

I can sense your heads nodding out there. It has happened to me too. Repeatedly. Still will if I’m not careful to prevent it, and reading has become my salvation, and my guarantee. It pulls me out of the fray so I can gain better perspective, and see fresh new inspirations.

The trick is to do it on your time, but be sure you do it!

A confession: I have a double standard about subscriptions. I ask Alaka‘i Managers to please consider email subscriptions to Talking Story so we can remain connected to our Managing with Aloha like-mindedness, but I myself have been steadily unsubscribing from nearly all the email subscriptions I’ve had in the past, or I filter them to a “newsletters” folder so they don’t clutter up my inbox.

This is NOT to say that I don’t read subscriptions anymore, for I do; I’ve cultivated a reading habit where I batch read them when I’m in the best frame of mind for consuming them with deep reading, curation and annotation instead of scanning or skimming. And I seize my opportunities for that very pleasing reading rhythm on a daily basis.

In that regard, I’m a better subscriber for authors, bloggers, journalists and other writers than I’ve ever been before. I’m an appreciative reader, and I’m a better user of what they’ve so generously shared with me. In turn, I share better too, with you, with my companies, with my family and assorted networks (like Tumblr).

Reading represents the choices you make, and the habits you have.

If you’re one of those people who’ll say, when completely honest, “Sorry Rosa, I just don’t read books, haven’t since I got out of school.” I’m sorry that mandated experience soured books for you, but reading covers a lot more ground than that these days.

Reading isn’t just about books, magazines and newspapers. And books? They’re a classic example of change in that category of “When in the world did that happen?” Reading this right now, and feeling like I’ve gone back to school on my own time, but in the best possible way: The Fall of the Roman Empire : A New History of Rome and the Barbarians [Kindle Edition, see footnote] — way back when, my teachers never had the option of choosing it for me. Publishing has exploded in variety and diversity thanks to the web, and printing has changed: What we read ‘on paper’ today looks (and is) remarkably different from what we read a mere decade ago.

Reading gets connected to your lifestyle, tools and tech habits too, and because of the curator you choose to be. For example, I’ve noticed that my RSS-reading on the iPad is very different from when done on my MacBook: I consume more on the iPad, but I annotate and curate more on my MacBook. I still prowl bookstores with a voracious appetite, but my in-store habits have shifted, as I prowl with my iPhone in hand, retrieving the book recommendations I’ve indexed in Evernote, or free-sampled on my Kindle.

Read lightly. Read deeply. Mix and match the two, and become more interesting.

The value of ‘Ike loa [lifelong learning, Chapter 11 in Managing with Aloha] is not just learning how; it’s also learning about.

You don’t have to consume all knowledge deeply; you can just wallow in a good portion of it, and let your proactive choices seep into you lightly” sort of like basting your character with a golden glow which helps you appear healthier — because you are.

CrazyThere’s absolutely no doubt about it: Reading increases your awareness in a multitude of ways.

It gives you the balance we call understanding and ‘reasonableness,’ for it helps you be humble (the nourishing food of Ha‘aha‘a), yet more confident, all at the same time.

Reading boosts your repertoire for conversation, and so it makes you a much more interesting person. And who doesn’t want that?

[See #8 on this list: Twelve Rules for Self-Management.]

I love history: It was my favorite subject in school. However I didn’t go looking for Peter Heather’s book, it was a radar blip I keyed in on, due to my habit of checking in for’s Kindle Daily Deal. It cost me just $1.99 — if you have a Kindle, bookmark this page and try reading genres which are new to you.

From the Archives: Deliberate Inputs

As electioneering ramps up here in America, I get very concerned about what Bill Davidow has called “Life in the Age of Extremes.” There is much ‘other possibility’ within the extreme polarity of being Republican or Democrat in ideology. We must all be working on our own Deliberate Inputs to interject more hope into life.

Being hopeful, can be a direct result of Ha‘aha‘a, the value of humility, and the way we’ve spoken of ‘finding decisions’ here at Talking Story: Can you see with your ears? How open-minded are you, and how willing are you to weigh the opinions of others? Much of it is about proactive listening, so you can choose to live with a greater confidence — it’s a confidence that you’ve uncovered and discovered the best answer, because you’ve gone looking for it. It’s cultivating an optimistic attitude which will align with your values, keeping positive expectancy in your life.