About half of my lifetime ago, while working for the family business, the key managers and myself were forced into taking an in-house course on goal-setting. We met once a week for a few months with some guru-type who made us do all sorts of exercises and tried to get us to form new, better habits.
One thing we had to do each week was to set some work goals and some personal ones. Then, when we got together again, we took turns reporting our successes. One time, “Gerry”, who came to us after we had acquired his family company, announced to us with glee, “I finished my book!”
Wow, we all thought, none of us had even realized that Gerry was writing a book. “What is your book about?” someone asked. “Um, I didn’t write a book, I finished reading a book”, he replied, sheepishly.
All this to say that everyone looks at books a bit differently. Most people rarely even read them, and very few people write books worth reading. But great books can be so inspirational.
I go through phases with my reading. Using my Kindle, and now my iPad, I will often have 3 or 4 books on the go at the same time. My normal method is to read a chapter of one book, then a chapter of another, rotating through them. Some of the people to whom I have mentioned this method look at me like I am crazy, as they only read one book at a time.
Different strokes for different folks. With today’s technology there is almost no excuse NOT to read though. You can finish one book from an author and immediately download the sequel or another in the series.
These days I find references to books through Twitter and will often download a book that sounds like it will be useful or inspiring. The trouble often comes when I have so many books piled up to read (figuratively, since they are electronic) that I know that I will never get through them all.
I have recently started to do more skimming or speed-reading just to be able to get to them all. But I still feel guilty that I might miss some nugget somewhere when I do that. I am trying to convince myself that it is better to read about 50-75 % of 20 books than to read 100 % of 10 books. It depends on which books, of course.
If I have books on the brain this week, it is because I had a visit from a friend this week, who told me that he is working on the third edition of his book, and he asked me about whether or not I would ever write a book. Hmm, not sure, I replied. But my mind started spinning.
The very next day I had a phone meeting with someone that I had only met once, briefly, a couple of weeks ago. We were talking about my re-branding as I make the move from the family office space, over to the field of family business advising. He is currently working on a book himself.
Then he mentioned,“You know, when you start to write a book, you would be amazed at how it changes your focus and helps you put things into a new perspective and helps you figure out what is important” (paraphrasing, I wish that I had written it down so I could quote him verbatim).
So this week two different people who are each working on books (writing, not just reading) mention writing a book to me. Neither one said, “Steve, YOU should write a book”.
But that is what I heard.