In his introduction to the paperback edition of Built to Last, Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (2002) writer Jim Collins states: ‘What is the true price of a book? Not the fifteen- to twenty-five-dollar cover price. For a busy person, the cover price pales in comparison to the hours required to read and digest a book …’ How true.
Luckily, to quote Jim Collins again: ‘Most people don’t read the books they buy, or at least not all of them.’ I am one of those people, although I read lots of books, I buy them at a slightly higher rate. And people keep telling me about these other great books that have to be read. Recognizable?
So how do I deal with this. I allow myself a long-list. Date, source, title. When I have finished a book, I scan the long-list and ask myself: what is the purpose, what is the outcome if I buy and read this book? Will the knowledge acquired contribute to my priorities? Does the book fit the circumstances under which I am considering reading it? When positive, it is entered on my short-list. Then I make a choice, rather intuitively.
Next issue, how to get the most out of the effort. The majority of books will not help you retrieve that elusive bit of information that would be so helpful if you could only find it! So, having learned the hard way, I make notes in an app my smartphone. I let my associations trigger my notes. What feels most important to remember, what has relevance for one of my projects, what do I want to further investigate. And, last but not least, how do I implement my learning, what will be my ‘next action’. And that is where the return on my investment starts.
And what is your way to get the best return for your investment?
Published earlier on 9/3/2010