Most of us have at least one addiction. Maybe for you it’s reality TV, or pop tarts, or lemon-scented shower gel. I’m not sayin’. I just judgin’.
March 5, 2012
Me? I’m addicted to business books. Well, business books and crystallized ginger. I know! Weird. Your turn to judge.
Before you get your undies in a bunch, it is possible to be addicted to business books. I mean if you can be addicted to eating plastic, you can be addicted to anything.
Let me share with you the severity of my affliction: Guy Kawasaki’s book The Art of the Start caused me to miss Super Bowl XXXIX—and the commercials. I was an hour late to my own wedding rehearsal because of Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited. (In case you’re wondering, the wedding itself went off without a hitch. I was only 15 minutes late, thanks to Napoleon Hill’s classic, Think and Grow Rich.)
I’d rather read business books than do almost anything else. I get excited when my flight is delayed because it’s more reading time for me. And the invention of the Kindle was like a revelation—I am now mainlining business books like there is no tomorrow. That is how addicted I am to business books.
So why should you get hooked on reading business books?
1. Value. You can watch the greatest speeches of all time. You can spend the day with a genius. One day with the master, while pretty friggin’ cool, pales in comparison to a lifetime of knowledge consolidated down to one book. A business book gives you full access to the author’s brain, organized perfectly into categories (chapters), and the notes are already taken for you. Just fork over $20 and you receive endless value—because hey, you can read it over and over again and still discover something new.
2. Availability. A book is yours, to take with you wherever you go, to pick up when you have time, night or day, to start and stop, and flip through as you wish. Try calling the guru at 3am to hear his thoughts. I don’t think that call would go down to well.
3. The Great Ones Are Easy to Find. I have yet to find a site that offers hundreds of reviews of speakers, or specific speeches/seminars. (Hey—new business idea for one of you go-getters out there.) Just browse Amazon or Barnes & Noble and you’ll be able find something great just by looking for books with the most reviews. I usually wait for a book to hit the 200-review mark, and then check out the best and worst reviews before I decide if I want to buy it.
Here’s how I read a book:
With a pen (and a highlighter on occasion.).
I underline every inspired, useful thought, and fold the corner of that page so I can easily refer back to it. I jot down notes on the back pages of the book (or use the Kindle tracking functions). When I’m done with them, the best books look like they’ve been tagged by a gang of mini graffiti artists.
Some business books suck. Some are awesome. Most have something of value, a golden nugget that will help us improve our chances of making it as entrepreneurs. The best business books give, and give, and give more. They open our minds, or help us push past obstacles, or validate some of the choices we’ve made so far. The great business books, the classics, well—they do all of that and more. And for $20 (or less). That’s mind-blowing.
So, because addicts don’t like to party alone, I’ve decided to make it my mission to get you hooked, too. Whenever I discover a new business book that’s worthy of my pen, I’ll post my review of the book here, on this blog.
Here are the rules I’m playing by:
1. I will NOT review and/or recommend a book that I have been asked to recommend. I never recommend anything when asked because a) it’s not real, and being not real, well, blows, and b) I have a few major sponsors (thank you AMEX for being the biggest one… I think I love you) and my agreements with them restrict me from promoting stuff. The only loophole I have is, I can share stuff that I have not been asked to promote. (So by asking me to review your book, you’ve pretty much killed your chances of me discovering the awesome stuff you make and do and talking about it here.)
2. I use Amazon’s affiliate program (and you should too) for tracking purposes and to generate HUGE volumes of income. Well, if you consider five and ten cents per referral to be huge, that is. I don’t spend my pennies willy-nilly, mind you. I might splurge a couple of times a year and buy a pair of socks, maybe a pack of gum. Once I bought a slice of crystallized ginger with a month’s worth of profits… and it was worth every penny.
Whew. I feel better just having shared my addiction. I’m not planning on getting any help for it, though. It’s served me well—helped me grow three successful businesses, for starters—and it’s just too much fun to quit.
What are your favorite business books? Tell me in the comments below.
Bonus: If there is a lot of discussion about book addictions below, I’ll work up another post about my second addiction… Charlie’s Angels posters. And I mean the real Charlie’s Angels, you know, from the 70s—when feathers was not just about beautiful hair, they were connected to roach clips too.
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