It wasn’t too long ago that finishing a book was more of an investment than I was willing to make. My business took priority, and as far as I was concerned, I didn’t need books that couldn’t be just quickly scanned. Arrogance breeds in success. And I’d only had a little success. God forbid I’d been an overnight success. I would have been a total asshole.
Somewhere along the line, I smartened up. I made books a priority. Here are some practical tips on how I managed to do that, as well as some of my favourite books from last year.
1. Build a real list
Ignore the trends. Talk to mentors or other successful people. Listen to their podcasts or read their blogs and go with the ones that have made a difference for them. Build a nice fat list of books that could help you. I always make it a habit of asking people which book made the biggest impact in their life. For every 10 books most people read, there might be one that moves them. Save yourself the time, and find that one book right away.
2. FOCUS ON THE THINGS YOU NEED TO LEARN RIGHT NOW
Order the list. Start with the things that you need to learn right now. Me, for example, I want to focus on money managing and revenue growth in the next year, so my reading list has been ordered to match my goals. Everything I read is something that speaks to my immediate problems.
3. MAKE READING PART OF YOUR SCHEDULE
I set goals and deadlines for each chapter/book. I share those deadlines with others so that someone else knows if I’m not being accountable to myself. Social accountability is powerful stuff. I don’t want to let people down, or appear to be less than committed. So it keeps me on-task.
4. TEACH IT
As sort of another way to force myself to be accountable, I started sharing what I learned on my show each week (on my Facebook page every Wednesday at 830PM EST). This made a huge difference in the way I studied the material (I had to refer back to passages multiple times to plan my show) and remembered it. If you have the chance, I highly recommend teaching the material you learn to someone else. Keeping a journal of what you’re reading could give you about the same effect. Or even an old fashion highlighter forces you to read the important stuff twice. Take that one step further and tag each page where you highlighted something important so that you might return to that important material in the future.
There. That’s what made me a hungry reader. Here are the best things I read last year to get you started…
My Best Books of 2016
Eat that Frog (My Gamechanger of the Year)
Let me sell you on the title since it’s something that throws a lot of people before they know what it’s about. The “frog” is the ugliest, hardest thing on your to-do list. The book is really a guide for hacking yourself to not feel intimidated by the most important tasks. By getting them out of the way first, you become a much more effective person who also gets to enjoy feeling relaxed a lot more often. It’s a book that can change the way you approach responsibilities for the better, for life. I highly recommend it.
The Alliance is an important read for everyone, but even more important for those who are dealing with mercenary mobile employees. The Alliance examines how to create genuine loyalty and a sense of ownership from employees through transparency and a clear understanding of each person’s motivations. It’s a book that can help you make mobile employees into a real team.
SCRUM is required reading for anyone managing a large mobile team. It’s hard for me to even explain how I managed this many people before I found SCRUM, because it changed absolutely everything about our organization for the better. I have to credit Trello here, too. It’s a CMS that was built around the same cards-to-columns way of assigning tasks, and I couldn’t imagine a better one for SCRUM.
Bonus Mention: Tools of the Titans
Tim Ferriss’ chunkiest volume to date. You know everything in the book if you’ve been following his show, but here, all the specific techniques and habits have been condensed into a single potent collection. Check it out.
This year I plan to read one book, every week. I am a slow reader, so bigger books may take me two weeks. I spent so many years not reading at all, so I need to catch-up. I hope you will join me, and expand your mind this year.
Which book changed your life most? Is there a book out there that I must read? Help a guy out and let me know in the comments section!