WISDOM – Business bookworm top tips

Countless people want to read more or to get back to reading yet it can be a difficult process. Here are some tips that help me to stay on track with my reading appetite for non-fiction books.

#1 – Know your classics

The more you read, the more you realize that business books tend to build on top of each other. It does make sense, as, in every discipline, people tend to drill down on the experience they gathered. As global knowledge progresses, people tend to absorb extra new knowledge and then to experience on the back of such knowledge. More recent books consequently tend to focus on most recent knowledge addition, on a specific topic. This indeed applies to business books.

Although I don’t recommend for the benefit of time that you read every single book in a chronological order, I would advice to follow two simple rules: build first overall knowledge in the discipline, second read the milestone publications. After these two steps, you shall be ready for the more recent specific books. Let’s say you wish to build up your marketing skills; instead of going straight to the latest digital marketing book, I would advice to spend time to read a couple of general marketing books and a handful of milestone more specific books (already recognized as of major influence) before you consider anything else. This process will help you to make the most of the new and specialized book, as you would already have significant background on that discipline.

#2 – Keep reading lists

Either a Favorite-Read, a To-Read or any kind of topic orientated list will do. Such list, first, gives a sense of achievement, also it helps you to pause and reflect on your reading and learning journey. Given the brain relies heavily on idea association, seeing the book names together facilitates memorization of key concept and cross-checking of learnings. I also use reading lists to answer the recurring question: “what do you think I shall read?” or “where shall I start?”.

My personal reading lists have now been shared across thousands of curious readers, namely thanks to social networks. I am personally a fan of Kit.com that offers an intuitive and attractive interface to store your reading lists. Sharing my reading lists also helped me to gather new reading suggestions.

#3 – Take notes

Although it slows down your reading journey, I encourage that you take notes while reading non-fiction books. This contributes to idea generation, reflection and memorization. It also saves a lot of time when you are trying to get back to a concept you encountered. I usually take notes both directly on the books and on notepads (or iPad) depending of the use I have in mind. I encourage you to write directly on the books the initial thoughts arising while reading. It’s been of invaluable use for me, namely writing down real business situations that could be relevant to the concept I was reading, then I can carry on the reading and come back later to reflect on this experience.

#4 – Talk about your readings

I used to remain discret about my non-fiction reads. I had the idea that most people are not interested in such topic and have only remote interest for any kind of business related pages you read last night. Yet, I started to realize that as people would see me carrying books that tend to ask questions about the book itself or my reading habits. This is powerful ice-breaker, including in business situations and made me realize that there are much more readers around me that I imagined. Talking about my readings also helps me to practice my summary and synthesis skills. I also tend to get challenged on the concepts from the books – while I would sometimes simply accept the books as wisdom raw material – which contributes to build up my personal thinking. Finally, I got fantastic book recommandations from very experienced readers by the simple fact of talking about books.

#5 – Gift books

One of the reasons I write is to express the need to share this wisdom with my friends. Regularly I experience during my reading the urge to share a great piece of knowledge because I genuinely believe it could help the people I deeply care about. Yet, life teaches us that unsolicited advice is usually detrimental to both the adviser and the advisee. To bridge this gap, I started to buy several copies of the books I really consider useful for me, and regularly gift them to my friends, business relationships or people who helped me. Not only the action of giving a book tends to be regarded as a very generous gesture – as you not only provide an item but also the wealth of the content – it nudges the receiver of the gift to pay attention and maybe prioritize this book. For instance, when my girlfriend gift me books, I will tend no only to try to read it soon (to show gratitude) but I tend to pay extra care as someone I care about and that knows me considered it was worth my time and effort.

I hope you enjoyed this short pieces of advice!

#keepreading & #keeplearning