I am putting together a “reading list” for the year. Having a blog about career development, coupled with a desire to advance in my profession, gives me motivation to read voraciously. I can learn from a broad array of authors and genres. I can write reviews. I can apply the insights I gain. I can follow up with additional blog posts about my successes and lessons learned.
My reading list includes books about the 80/20 principle, which states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our efforts. A corollary principle is that 80% of our efforts are rather wasteful since they only produce 20% of our results.
I am also planning to read about leadership, sales and marketing, history, and some fiction. Of course, I will also have technical readings related to my niche, including books about finance, accounting, taxes, and so forth. But as a “key member of my company’s management team,” I cannot afford to narrow my focus too much. I do believe in the power of specialization, niches, and focus. However, having a rather large base of knowledge can help “cross pollinate” so that I can combine insights in a fresh way from various disciplines. This can increase a professional’s distinctive capabilities, contributions, and value. This can help set a person apart from the pack.
Someone said that a leader has to be a reader. I believe this is true. Reading opens the mind to new thoughts. These thoughts, when shared winsomely, can lead to influence. And influence is the essence of leadership (stay tuned for a review about a book on that very topic).
Choose your reading material carefully so that you can gain the maximum value from the books and articles you peruse. I am excited about the development potential from reading great material that shapes my perspective of the world and my place in it. When coupled by practical, day-to-day experience, reading great books provides a winning combination of theory coupled with insights into practical application.