Book Club June 2, 2020

How I Try To Read a Business Book

Wit Sumathavanit @witsuma

Inspired by this Original Article of Seth Godin. This actually hits very close to home. For someone who find most business books rubbish, Seth Godin’s books are the rare gems. And he’s managed to publish so many of them! They’re not tomes but are timeless principles and stories to take with you on the road.

  1. Decide, before you start, that you’re going to change three things about what you do all day at work. Then, as you’re reading, find the three things and do it. The goal of the reading, then, isn’t to persuade you to change, it’s to help you choose what to change.

The best books are there to change your life. If you allow it so. Seth’s advice to pick three things are powerful. The attitude change will have much longer lasting effects than scanning books for some “actionable tools”. Numbered list alone doesn’t change lives. But with an open mind numbered lists might actually do. I’ve had that happen on occasion and the liberation was delightful. Really just pick one thing.

  1. If you’re going to invest a valuable asset (like time), go ahead and make it productive. Use a postit or two, or some index cards or a highlighter. Not to write down stuff so you can forget it later, but to create marching orders. It’s simple: if three weeks go by and you haven’t taken action on what you’ve written down, you wasted your time.

You’ve finished the new amazing book. Hard won wisdom of another person floating around in your head. But does it touch your heart? Three weeks from now what is going on with the three things? If the book hasn’t touched your heart has been mere entertainment.

It also needs to be considered that true changes depends on many conditions. Maybe its the right book and not the right time. Rereading it years later might be what it takes. Maybe its not the right book for you. Just because a book has sold millions of copies and smart sounding people raved about it has nothing to do with you.

  1. It’s not about you, it’s about the next person. The single best use of a business book is to help someone else. Sharing what you read, handing the book to a person who needs it… pushing those around you to get in sync and to take action–that’s the main reason it’s a book, not a video or a seminar. A book is a souvenir and a container and a motivator and an easily leveraged tool. Hoarding books makes them worth less, not more.

Physical books are not the only things that are hoarded. Most importantly, the knowledge and wisdom that could have been unleashed in the world. That can be out there helping a lot of people. Manifest the book in your lives. Use the principles in your business. Treat your customers with grown compassion. True wisdom is not hoarded in someone’s mind, it grows being shared with the world.

Follow me on Twitter: @WitSuma
Originally from My Blog: Builders' Sun

  1. 2

    Your words do magic on me.
    I stood and brought the "Zero to One" book on computer table with a highlighter to start reading it from today.

    1. 2

      That's a highly recommended book by many! Best wishes to find the three things :)

  2. 1

    great work man!

    1. 2

      It should also work for audiobooks too!

  3. 1

    Recently I started reading one of the business classics: In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies by by Thomas Peters and Robert H. Waterman Jr.

    I found a lot of similar practices between this book and Agile development, e.g., mindset towards experimentation, bias toward action.

    I don't have a particular approach, just read and take notes.

    For anyone interested, I started a weekly newsletter that has a section about Indie Hackers books. Check it out here:

    1. 1

      I'm sure Agile development has longer roots. The techniques are just things that have been around probably.

  4. 1

    When are YOU going to write a book @witsuma?

    1. 2

      I'm going to write a book? Well eventually my blog posts would go over 20k words lol. Some hack job can turn that into the book. Or I can finally use the amazing Airtable bookgen template I found.... hmmm.

      1. 1

        Haha absolutely my man! I look forward to it in the near future!