There is a growing sense that we need to find a way to “think again.” Adam Grant, in his book Think Again, said it directly.
The idea behind his book is this: we could be wrong about something. Make that we are wrong about something – some things. And, since we are wrong, we need to find out as soon as possible that we are wrong so that we can abandon ideas and practices that are wrong, and seek to find ideas and practices that are right; helpful, useful, effective…
We have to learn. We have to learn in order to change.
To grow is to change. And to have changed often is to have learned much, wrote John Henry Newman. (Yes, I am aware that there are a couple of versions of this famous quote).
So, how do we learn? How do you learn?
I do most of my learning from reading – reading books. And, I have a thought or four about how you might think about your own reading discipline.
#1 – Read more books.
No matter how many books you read a year, there are so, so, so many good books you never get around to. It really is an overwhelming number.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb put it this way: The library (i.e., your personal library) should contain as much of what you do not know as your financial means, mortgage rates, and the currently tight real-estate market allow you to put there. (from his book The Black Swan).
As wise as that is, you really don’t have to spend much of your own money. Go back to your library, and start looking for books to read. They have plenty that you have not yet read that could teach you so much. (If they don’t have the book you seek, unless it is brand new, they can get it through inter-library loan services).
So…read more books.
#2 – Read more books about subjects and topics that are new to you. That you do not know much about; or, anything about.
The world is wide, and there is a growing accumulation of knowledge in every field. Pick a field you know nothing about, and read a book in that field. In this Google era, there is a wonderful phrase to type into Google: “What is the best book on ___________?” Pick a field, type it in, get the book, and start reading.
#3 – Read more books that take a different view than what you already hold.
Recently, I read a book on racism by an author that I…pretty much completely disagree with. I’m more in the “yes, racism is real, and it is systemic” camp. I came to that conclusion through my own life observations, and by reading practically all of the best selling books dealing with the issue.
But this book takes a different view. I read it; I did not have my mind changed; but, maybe, I learned a little about where he, and some other people, come from.
You will find “other views” all around you. In August, at the First Friday Book Synopsis, I will be presenting the new book on Jack Welch, The Man Who Broke Capitalism. Needless to say, there will be people who say that book has it wrong. (Check out the famous Milton Friedman quote on the purpose of corporations).
Jack Welch “broke capitalism.” Seems like a subject made for differing views, doesn’t it.
#4 – Read more books that help you…expand your thinking.
I always wish I had read more books. But probably my biggest deficiency in the book reading department is that I do not read enough novels.
And I have read plenty of articles arguing that such a deficiency is…not good for me.
Novels expand your thinking and your emotions. That’s what the articles say. I need to read more novels!
You can come up with other reasons to read more books. But, regardless of the reasons, I think you will agree with this. It is a good practice to read and learn from good books.
What’s the alternative? You could read fewer books… But, reading fewer books seems like a mind-shrinking idea, doesn’t it?
So, pull out your schedule, schedule some serious chunks of time to read some more good books, and…get reading!
Maybe you would find my synopsis of Think Again by Adam Grant useful to you. Click here to purchase it. (It comes with my comprehensive handout + the audio recording of my presentation).