I’ll be honest here, this isn’t just for reading business books. What I’m going to cover ought to suffice for pretty much any physical text from which you wish to squeeze maximum value. This isn’t a how-to on studying though…there are plenty of those around. I’ll be focusing strictly on that space that falls between studying for tests and reading for pleasure. One last note: much of the inspiration for this post comes from Tim Sanders’ Love Is The Killer App, an odd but invigorating little book that Rosa recommended to me.
This is the bottom line, right? If you’re serious about your career, your industry and even your contacts, you can’t afford to not read regularly. After all, somebody is reading all those books that are coming out each month, and it’s probably the competition for your next client or new gig. At the very least, the information you’re exposed to by regular reading provides great material for icebreakers and small talk. At the very best, it’s a meeting of minds when you run into someone who has been thinking like you and who cites similar influences.
Beyond all that, reading is the trailhead to "personal mastery." Personal mastery just means that you have a clear sense of calling, of self and of vocation. Reading widely helps get the ball rolling. Pay attention to what really gets your heart pumping and what puts you to sleep, and continue down the ‘heart pumping’ road. Reading alone won’t give you personal mastery–you have to actually do stuff, not just read and think about it. But reading will give you the clues about where to start and what to do.
What should you read?
With so many business-oriented titles coming out each month, how do you choose what to read? There’s always Amazon, of course. Amazon has some great features, including their purchase circles section, which lets you browse who’s reading what. The purchase circles thing is a great idea, but when you browse companies (where you’d expect to find the most business-oriented material), you usually come up short. Amazon also lets you browse other people’s wishlists, which are often a great place to start. Once you’ve clickeda few interesting titles, Amazon will start making recommendations for you which work pretty well, most of the time. On the whole, Amazon has a lot to offer, but it takes some work to dig up the most relevant business titles.
Fortunately for us business readers, there’s 800CEOREAD. 800CEOREAD has been around a while and it shows. They’ve got a deep passion for business books and the recommendations you find there are probably the best place to start. Browse your industry sections as well as the bestseller sections on their website. Be sure to visit the 800CEOREAD(er) page, their blog, the book excerpts blog, and the recommendations section.