Do you ever rank the books you have read from a prior month or even a quarter? This is my first experience in doing so, and I’ve learned a thing or two about my reading habits.
When doing any kind of ranking, there has to be a bottom part of the list. And that begs the question, “Should those books have even been read?” On the other hand, I’ve also been
Ranking the Top 12
I read 7 books and listened to 5 more for a total of 12 books. My 2019 reading plan calls for
- Molly’s Game was outstanding. I had never seen the movie nor heard of Molly Bloom. I found the book by random chance during an Amazon search. The description looked good at the time along with the Jackie Onassis look-alike on the cover. I read it in just a few days as I had a hard time putting it down.
- The Education of a Coach was my second David Halberstam book. The author writes Bill Belichick’s story, a biography that casual sports fans will enjoy. This is also a book every CEO and consultant will sense is relatable to their work.
- Fortune’s Formula is hard to explain. The author weaves more than a dozen men and women around Kelly’s Formula over a 50-plus-year time span. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around what I read–but I still liked it to the very end.
- Before the Exit was a fun, quick read about one CEO’s experience in selling his business. Bo Burlingham’s Finish Big is one of the best books in this category. However, every owner can get something out of this fascinating book.
- It’s Not About “Me” should be required reading by every employee in every business. It should be required reading in high school. Start with your sales teams, and work your way from there. Get this book for yourself. Then read it a second time.
- Let My People Go Surfing is the one book that kept me thinking. I don’t have to agree with the Patagonia business owner’s political beliefs, but I admire and appreciate his business philosophies. My best advice with this book–have paper and pencil in hand while reading.
- Leonardo da Vinci was a laborious read. I’m still glad I got through it, but I was worn out by the end. While the book is in chronological order, it’s dense with facts and details and lacking in
narrativeat times. I now possess a heightened sense of awareness that every business and non-profit has a few da Vinci’s working for them. We’re blowing it with them as da Vinci’s cannot be managed–don’t even try. Yet, we still need them on the team.
- Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street–I’d like to tell you more about it, “But I prefer not to.”
- The CEO Tightrope is a quick and easy read where the focus is CEO leadership.
- Change and the Bottom Line is one of several business fiction books written by Alan Warner. The fiction part is awful, but he scores big for trying.
- Improving the Bottom Line is another title by Warner. I wanted it crossed off my list quickly.
- Designing Metrics is a short book on performance measurements. I design performance measurement systems for clients. So this little guide is weak for experts, but it’s helpful for managers who are new to this science. Stick to Stacey Barr if this you work in this field.
Learning Through Ranking
My ranking experience is useful in that I’m forced to question my reading selections. But not every book can be a home run. Impossible.
Why read the books at the bottom of the list? What you don’t see above is that there are about 5-6 titles that I either skimmed or read more than half the content. I just happened to finish the 12 above because I wanted to. But I will still get better at being more selective in what I choose to read.
By ranking, I can also critique whether or not my reading is fairly balanced. I have to accept that most of my books will be the instructive type. Ranking, therefore, reveals the weaknesses or gaps of our reading programs as I’ve done for my January 2019 books:
Books On Tap for February 2019
I’ve already started four books and I am more than 20 percent complete with each title:
- I’m in a book club where we’re reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I’m enjoying it.
- I’m 40 percent through Flawless Execution. If you read and liked Hope is Not a Method, this is a great follow-up.
- How to Take Smart Notes is an addicting read by Ahrens. Every high school and college student should be required to read this book. This will not be the last time I read this book.
- I read Adler’s How to Read a Book when my kids were young. I have a few chapters left and I feel as though I’m reading it with fresh eyes.
Since late 2017, I’ve been wanting to read Power Broker. I’ll start it this month.
How was your January reading? What will you be reading this month? Remember, the education of a financial leader
Title Photo Credit: Phil Roeder