I’m sure that we have all heard the saying “you are what you eat” sometime in our lives, from our doctors, probably from our spouses and of course our mothers, but I am a firm believer that you are what you read.
Reading can nourish the brain just as much as broccoli and dreaded brussel sprouts nourish the body, but just like food, it’s important to pay attention to what you are “feeding” yourself. Oh trust me, I’m not suggesting that you need to cut out doughnuts and romance or spy novels, but like anything, particularly in the current economic environment, it’s important to have a healthy balance.
Biographies, historical books and yes, business books can teach us so much, not only about the past but about how we might improve things for ourselves, our communities, our families and, yes, the companies we work for or own. But don’t be fooled into thinking that business books are solely geared towards CEOs of large companies, with statistics that will make your head spin and cure your insomnia. In fact, pick up one of these books and you may find a better way to handle that argument with your teenager, how to work with that dysfunctional management team, or make your PTA meetings more productive. You may even find that you’re so satisfied that the other book sitting on your nightstand,
Unfortunately, like nutrition, the sheer volume of business books on the market and their varying topics can be as intimidating as the grocery store full of nutritional labels. To get the most out of what you read consider joining a book group specifically geared around business books and topics. One such group would be BizBookBriefs (www.b3annapolis.com), featuring Bob Shannon of First & Main Business Consulting and Jeff Cochran of Exclamation Communications Inc out of Annapolis Maryland. Groups like this not only introduce you to books that have relevance in today’s workplace but are a great place to meet fellow business leaders in your area. Don’t just stop there; ask someone you admire, a friend, colleague or mentor, what they are reading. Just like food, you are more apt to try something that someone you trust recommends. Consider what your boss or manager is reading; chances are if it’s important to them it will be or should be important to you too. Choose books that are relatable to you and your current job, or better yet the role you really want. Be honest with yourself and determine something you want to improve; if you are a sales person who struggles to “close” then try “Getting Naked” by Patrick Lencioni. If you are feeling stuck in your routine but making no progress, check out “The Power of Habits: Why we do what we do in life and business” by Charles Duhigg. If you are a woman wondering about the next step in your career, pick up “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg.
The point is, just like your mother used to say, “How do you know you won’t like it, until you try it?” So this summer as you pack your beach bag, board that plane, or browse the endless options on your Kindle give a business book a taste and feed your brain.