Does reading business books help you get better at your business endeavors?
We live in a world of metrics. Data is king. People want to know “will this work?” About everything they do.
So, this is a good question to ask: Does reading business books help you get better at your business endeavors?
And, recently, I have been doing a little poking around on this question And, I have concluded that the answer is …it depends.
(By the way, so far, I have found more anecdotal evidence rather than hard metrics about whether or not reading such books will help you get better).
And, yes, there are some pretty hefty fans of book reading, from Bill Gates, to Warren Buffet, to Tom Peters and Phil Jackson, among others.
And, I admit that I am biased in this arena. I have read, and prepared and presented synopses, of business books, every month since April, 1998. I present these to business leaders, and to leadership teams within organizations. I tell them what is in the business books I present – the key principles, the lessons, the stories, and my own lessons and takeaways from reading the books.
I know that people find these useful, because they keep coming back to our open-to-all event in Dallas, the First Friday Book synopsis, and organizations keep having me come back for additional presentations.
But, I am sort of reading the books “for them” – at least, for most of them. I do not kid myself. Though some read the books for themselves after my presentations, most do not. So, I feel an obligation to give them useful, practical, practicable takeaways.
But, back to the question: Does reading business books help you get better at your business endeavors?
If you need to know “how do I do this?’, and a book tells you how, then yes, reading the book will help you get better.
But, here is what I especially think. We are so busy doing our jobs that we do not have time, or take time, to think about our jobs; about the bigger picture. We don’t step back, and think about things.
And…no offense intended…a lot of people don’t know how to just sit and think .
At this moment, I am reading a book titled How to Think More Effectively: A guide to greater producitivity, insight, and creativity published by TheSchoolofLife.com. (It is one of the few physical books I have read in a while). It is simply a book to help people think more effectively.
I think that reading a good book is an exercise in thinking. You read a line, or a paragraph, or a chapter, and then you stop and ponder. You think things over. And, if you develop the ability to do that effectively, then reading a good book becomes an invaluable tool.
This is not speed reading. This is slow, stop and think, read some more, stop and think again, reading. Reading that is deliberative.
In Jocko Willink’s new book, Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual, he tells of a Navy SEAL exercise where all of the SEALs had their weapons trained ahead, focusing their gaze right down the barrels of their guns; in the direction their weapons were pointed. He stepped back, “high ported” his weapon, and then took a look around at the whole, bigger picture of the challenge facing them. He expanded his field of vision, and then things became clear about what to do next.
Reading a good business book can be like high porting your weapon. It can expand your field of vision, and make things more clear about what to do next.
So, yes, reading business books will help you get better at your business endeavors — if you learn to ponder, to expand your vision, and then to act on what you have thought thorough and learned.
So…what are you reading next?
You might want to check out some of my synopses. Each comes with the audio recording of my presentation, along with my comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handout. Click here for our newest additions.