I read about one business book a week. I get to about 80-100 in an year. Not all are good but I get my fair share of good business books every year. I have been doing this for more than ten years now and it has served me well. People ask me why I am obsessed with books. I am providing my reasons with a sincere hope that some of you will identify them as your reasons too:
My first company was the fastest company on earth. It started and crashed in a matter of months. I experienced the value of experience first hand. I don’t have time to learn all the lessons through my own experience. It might be costly.
2. Saving money:
The first thing to know is we may not be able to afford bringing in the thought leader to consult for us. Second, the thought leader may not have the time to consult with us. Reading their books may be the simplest way to get inside the mind of the thought leader. Thinking about this, you will see that its a steal to pay a $20 or $30 for a book.
3. Research for a song:
Good business books are well researched. I know of several authors having reasonably sized research times that spend months or years before they have enough material for the book. Two great books that come to mind immediately are:
4. Deal with change:
Change is the only thing that is constant they say. The time has now come to upgrade the saying. We have to now say “Change at breathtaking speed is the only thing that is constant.” You need (lots of) help to deal with that change. Business books can be great resources to start preparing yourself for the change.
5. De-commoditization Insurance:
Knowledge workers are getting commoditized at a rapid rate. If you are a knowledge worker, your competition is now global. If you are doing commodity work, there will be someone else in the globe that can do for a fraction of your cost. You HAVE to do something special to NOT be displaced. You can try to invent what you should do differently on your own or you can learn from thought leaders.
6. High ROII:
The return on investment for an interaction (ROII) for a good business book is very high. For a few dollars and a few hours in total, the kind of education that I can get is just awesome.
7. Keeping my mind sharp:
A good business book makes me think. Just like the body needs exercise, the brain needs exercise too. Reading a goob business book or two per week is like taking your mind to a gym.
8. Relationship Building:
There is a saying that all great leaders are readers. While there is no research to prove that conclusively, in my experience I have found that this is true. Since I want to build relationships with great leaders, reading helps me start an intellectual conversation and continuing to read helps me keep the conversation going.
9. Insights on current business concerns.
Business books become famous for several reasons. One of the reasons is the topic of the book. People buy a book because they have concerns in that area and they think that reading that business book will take care of those concerns. By looking at the themes of business books that are getting “hot” I can get an insight into what topics are of prime interest to business people. Being an entrepreneur, these insights helps my own ventures.
Hopefully I have made you think about investing a few more hours of your time to read business books 🙂
Now, how much returns you will get from a non-fiction and/or business book will depend on how much you put into this exercise. A while ago, I wrote a note on my thoughts about reading a non fiction book. Here is the link:
For a list of books that have inspired me recently, you can take a look at my squidoo lens