Weiss Advice Issue: 238, May 2023
I encounter a great many people whose reading is confined to business books or biographies of business leaders. That’s pretty damn boring. Let’s call it “one dimensional.”
There are thousands of books in my library (hard copy, although now I read on an iPad but I always buy the book itself, and I do have a “library” where I smoke cigars). I’ve read every word on every page in every book—the same thing I did in college, believing that’s why I was there in the first place. I read history, fiction, warfare, philosophy, science, biographies, science fiction, politics, psychology, sports, humor, and so forth. If I pick up a book, I finish it, with the exception of four that were so bad I tossed them.
My wife claims I can talk to almost anyone about almost anything. I can’t match the depth of a pilot on flying, but I can certainly talk knowledgably and hold my own. Since I was graduated from Rutgers in 1968 I’ve never NOT had a book that I was reading, and sometimes a “backup” of a dozen. It’s not unusual for me to read three at once for variety.
The key is that I can apply what I read and can recall useful information. I do this by applying it immediately. And there’s always a “one percent” that makes it worthwhile. Margaret Wheatley wrote a book long ago called Leadership and the New Science which was mediocre, and when I used her as a speaker she turned out to be a cynical bore. But in that book was a point about processing information and consciousness that vastly improved my effectiveness.
If you want to be a person of interest, read authors of interest.
If you’d like a list of a hundred or so books divided by topics that I created for my community, just write me at email@example.com. And, of course, you might try reading some of my books!
If you’d like a new tool in your kit, buy my newest book, just released, Sentient Strategy, on Amazon. And if you can give me a five-star review, I’ll invite you to a Zoom session on the role of strategy in society, in May, for free.
© Alan Weiss 2023