Is the Answer to your question, your challenge, “Read a Book” – Well, maybe; sort of…

(Note:  this is one of those “if the shoe fits” articles).

—–Doc Martin

Have you ever watched Doc Martin?  The beloved fictional British doctor always had the right diagnosis at the critical moments.

He knew because he had been trained; he knew because he continued to study; he knew because he stayed current by reading.

Throughout the series, he was reading articles from Lancet.  In fact, in one episode, he was reading a Lancet article aloud to his not-yet-toddler son.

If only it was as simple as reading just one publication a month to keep current!

A former CEO, now coach, likes to tell me that no one has time to read books.  Not the top leaders.  They are too busy…leading; strategizing, making decisions, making the tough calls.  They do not have time to read books!

If they are dealing with a challenge, and the suggested solution is to “read this book,” they will rebel.  Their body tenses up.  They hate the idea…  They might order the book.  They might crack open the introduction.  But, they will not read the book. And, if they do try to, their mind will be so cloudy with all the issues that they face, they simply will not learn what the book has to tell them.

I suspect that this former CEO is correct.

Oh, there may be a few exceptions to this.  But the vast majority of people will not actually read the books they wish they could find time to read.

And so they do not find and access wisdom that really could help them.  And it hurts their work; it hurts their company; it hurts their people.

My former colleague Karl Krayer used to say that people do not have time to read the books; nor do they have time to read the book summaries they subscribe to… In other words, the books’ stack, or the summaries’ stack, is a tower of guilt and unfinished work.

Back to Doc Martin; people would go see him, ask “what’s wrong with me?”, and he would tell them.  He was a marvel at diagnosis.  He would give them prescriptions: take this medicine; adopt these practices.  They did not always take their medicine.  But Doc Martin was so clear with his words.  They knew what to do; they just had to execute the strategy!

Doc Martin was correct because he was well-trained, he kept current, and he was wise and smart.

Today’s business leader needs to be able to call a Doc Martin and ask “what is wrong with me, Doc?”  They don’t want to be told to “read this Lancet article,” or to “go take this class.”  They want an answer.  And, when given the answer, it is up to them to execute.

So, who do the business leaders of today ask when they need an answer?  Which fix-me-Doctor can they call upon?

Whoever they call upon, it has to be someone well trained, well-read…current.  Someone who does read the books and articles. And keeps up.

And then, that current expert can say:  “here is your answer; your solution.”

But, how does the current expert, called upon to fix so many problems and challenges, stay current himself or herself? They too do not have time to read the books.  Not enough of them.

And! Plus articles. Plus podcasts. Plus TED Talks. Plus….  Well, it is all so overwhelming.

My area is book reading.   Actually, make that book selecting, and then book reading.

Click on image for full view

Click on image for full view

I help people stay current with my book synopses.  I do those deep dives, prepare comprehensive synopses handouts, and then present them orally.  For 25+ years, and over 600 books, we have presented synopses of the most critical business books at the First Friday Book Synopsis.

And, I have a confession to make.  I still feel behind.  There is so much information – good, useful, actionable information- – coming our way.

But, 600+ books is not nothing.  And, people who have discovered my synopses realize that they get enough from them that they can figure out what portion to adopt, and then execute.

Finding the right, actionable information – the right solution; the right answer — is the challenge for everybody.

My book synopses might help…

You can purchase my synopses presentations from the buy synopses tab at the top of this page.  On that page, you can search by book title. And click here for our newest additions (Note:  I have added my synopsis of Poverty, By America, presented at the other book club at which I speak monthly, to these synopses available for purchase).

Each synopsis comes with my comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handout, plus the audio recording of my presentation delivered at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas.

And, please check out these “bundles” of synopses, arranged by key categories, for your own self-paced learning, at my companion site,

One thought on “Is the Answer to your question, your challenge, “Read a Book” – Well, maybe; sort of…

  1. Jay

    Spot on. Yes, the volume of information existing is overwhelming. We appreciate your selections and synopses. Had the conversation with a friend of mine recently about what percentage of the literate public are actual “readers.” We think the numbers may be minute. Tons of folks buy books but possibly fewer actually read the books they bought. I flagellate myself every so often when I finally get around to reading a book that has been on the “to read” bookshelf and realize that it had the answer to a problem that presented itself some time ago.

    Interesting your point on Doc Martin gaining knowledge from his voracious appetite for books. To your point about finding solutions in books I saw somewhere that Bill Gates often reads the theses and dissertations of graduate students – this information often gets bound and shelved with innovative ideas which never made it to a book in circulation.
    Hope more folks realize the answer to their challenge.


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