The Story of a Serious Book Reader – Worth a Careful Reading…

It’s not often that I begin a blog post with this line, but please — read this post. I think it will be helpful.

A friend told me a story about a man he knows.  This is a man who is quite successful, by any definition of the word successful. And he is a man who has had a…life-change for the better.

Here’s show I put it on twitter:

I am a fan of TED Talks, podcasts, NPR, articles, blog posts, tweets, documentaries… But, I heard a story today about a man who had his mind changed, and shaped, by a multi-month, serious book reading plan.He read many books, in full, and they changed his thinking and ultimately, his actions. — There is no substitute – read books. Entire books. Serious books.

The story of this man is this:  he learned of a list of books.  It was in an area that he decided he wanted to/needed to learn more about.  So, he followed the list, book by book.  He read the first book on the list, then the second, then the third, then the…  you get the picture.

He read the books carefully, thoroughly, fully.  He pondered what the books said.  And, he became convinced of some things; he changed his mind about some things.  And really, he changed more than just his mind – he changed some things about his life.

What books are in your serious book reading stack?

What books are in your serious book reading stack?

This post is a reminder:  there is no substitute for reading books. Books of substance; books that call us to change for the better.  These books that he read were not “self-help” books (there is nothing wrong with such books). But these books were histories, and studies of social conditions, tackling major issues like racism and poverty.  These were…dare I say it…serious books.

And he took his reading of these books seriously.

So, here’s the challenge:  do you read serious books in a serious way?  Note the plural – “books.”  One serious book is not enough.  It takes a stack of such books; a longer-term exposure to the substantive challenges and teachings available is such books.

Yes, I love TED Talks; and I read articles; and listen to speeches. And I spend more time than I should on Twitter.  But there is no substitute for reading serious books, in a serious way, over the long haul.

Take a lesson from this person who did so.  It might change your life for the better.


I present synopses – pretty deep dives – of books.  I do this for companies, city government leaders, leaders and employees in organizations of many kinds.

I start with my two business book selections each month at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas, which is in its 22nd year. And I do the same for books dealing with issues of Social Justice for CitySquare at the monthly Urban Engagement Book Club, also in Dallas.

My synopses are not a substitute for reading the books for yourself – but, it is a pretty deep dive into the key content of some really useful books.  My business book synopses are available to purchase at the “buy synopses”: tab at the top of this page.  Each synopsis comes with my multi-page, comprehensive handout, and the audio recording of my presentation. Click here for our newest additions.


And click on these links for some pretty good lists of books to get you started, and whet your appetite further:

there is always the right book to read next

there is always the right book to read next

Business Books:

You should read these 30 books – Book Suggestions from Randy Mayeux of the First Friday Book Synopsis (ok – 30, + a few)

Books on Issues of Social Justice:

Here is the line-up of books for the 2018 Urban Engagement Book Club – focusing on books dealing with social justice issues

Here’s the line up of books I will present on Social Justice Issues at the 2019 Urban Engagement Book Club

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