If you think I’m going to tell you that you should be reading more, I will not. That’s a discipline you have to create for yourself. Can you learn without reading? Yes, but you are putting yourself at a disadvantage. If you are not a reader, hopefully, my reading list will inspire, maybe.
Over the past week or so, I’ve interviewed 4 or 5 young men for a CFO position. All but one reads, and the one that does had not heard of the titles I passed his way. I’m not talking obscure business books either. My sample size is small, but are young professionals ignoring one of the most powerful ways to stretch their cognitive abilities?
We read to expand the mind’s muscle to take on and absorb new ideas and challenges. It’s up to the machinery above that drives us to keep growing professionally. Reading alone does not lead to success. But it’s a great starting point.
I’ll Say it Again, Read Widely
If I can beg you, don’t just read business books. Whether I’m reading about art, history, or philosophy, I bring my business paradigms to the table. That’s the beauty of reading well beyond our professional discipline. Accordingly, my April reading list is somewhat broad, but for good reason.
My list is in the order that I finished the books during April (2019) –
- I found Kitchen Confidential a bit dull and boring. I started it once, put it down, and finally stuck with it. Some of my takeaways are in this post.
- I read The Halo Effect annually. I promise that you’ll be a better reader of business books after this excellent analysis of so-called biz classics.
- I read one work of fiction each month. April’s selection was The End of the Affair. Well, at least I finished it. Can someone please explain to me why this is considered a classic in some literary circles?
- As I get older, social injustices continue to surface in my mind. That’s why I found The Woman in Berlin powerful but haunting. The book is a short diary of a woman who survived a 40-plus day hell as Russia was taking over Berlin near the end of World War II. This book is not for the faint-hearted.
- Lean In by Sherly Sandberg is outstanding. She’s writing to a female audience that presumably wants to be moving upward in their careers. But this book is for guys too. I applaud the work of this gifted leader.
- I listened to the book Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss. It’s so good, I need to go back and read it so that I can take notes. A former hostage negotiator teaches his readers how to negotiate with plenty of scientific research and real-life examples.
- I’m a fan of Farnam Street, the blog. So I listened to The Great Mental Models. Wait for the Kindle or hardback to come out. The audio version is okay but the reading experience would have been far better had the author focused on the reader by providing a PDF with visuals and notes.
- I will read anything where Donald Wheeler’s name is attached to a book. Mark Graban’s Measures of Success is an excellent read if you want to brush up on process behavior charts.
- I’ve read Future Ready twice before, but I had never taken notes. So I read it again so that I can review it later on this site. Stay tuned.
- Freedom’s Forge was probably my favorite book of the month. At times, it’s dense with too many historical details during the war production era of World War II. However, I enjoyed learning about a business leader I now hold in high esteem – William (Bill) Knudsen. If you like studying business history, add this to your list.
- At the end of every calendar month, I’ll read a book that I can easily consume in one day. My pick was Khan’s The One World Schoolhouse. I enjoyed reading how Salmon Khan risked a career to run Khan Academy full time. It was not easy, and he almost quit. The last chapter is priceless regarding his views on education.
It’s your turn, what what your favorite book last month?