Time to read

No time to readQ:  I would love to read a book just for my satisfaction; instead I have stacks of business books that I will never finish.   Do I have to wait until I retire to read a good book?

A.    At times I voice the same complaint—if only I had uninterrupted time to lose myself in a fiction book.  Tom Wolfe’s 2012 sizzling novel Back to Blood has been on my bookshelf eclipsed by business books including my current read, Flash Boys Ah ha!  I just realized that the business related books that I read captivate me.  I really enjoy them.

I am not glossing over the fact that I often find myself slogging through research and background materials to be rewarded with 10 -12 key points and ideas. Still, I wonder: Have I constructed artificial boundaries between “fun vs. not fun,” “leisure vs. business”?

You may want to begin by asking:

  • Why is this book on your desk?  Recommended by friend, colleague or senior leader?  Or a gift?
  • Did you promise a specific person that you would read the book?  Why? By when?
  • Will you feel “guilty” or avoid the person if you haven’t read the book? stack of books
  • Are you interested in this topic?

Now is a good time to make your life simple and decide.  Is the book important enough to read in detail or can you get by with skimming?  What is the level of conversation you are likely to have about the book’s content:  in depth?  passing comments?  If your professional circle requires that you are up to date on the latest book, follow the practice of my former colleague whose vast and timely knowledge was buoyed by subscribing to a book summary service.

Here is how getabstract describes their offering:

Our selection of titles condenses the best applicable, innovative content available in business books … from the world’s most influential authors and businessmen. Read key talking points in 10 minutes and become part of the conversation.

OK, I confess I haven’t made the leap yet. But writing this blog makes me stop and think.  Now may be a good time for me to break an outdated practice. The summaries provide a landscape of new books with key points and nuggets of new information that I will be able to read in 10-15 minutes.  What have you discovered reading this blog?

Tom WolfeWith my newfound time, I will turn to Tom Wolfe.  What will you do to create time?

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