I was visiting with an executive who is focused on innovation for an F500 company. In his lobby, I discovered a bookshelf full of books on leadership, entrepreneurship, and personal and corporate execution.
Lost in Books
I picked up The Circle of Innovation by Tom Peters. I knew the author because he was the consultant back in the early eighties who wrote In Search of Excellence.
I used to read all his stuff because he is one of those world-class business thinkers. He is always writing on the next new thing, the newest trend in corporate thinking. He is full of ideas which prompt thinking and change.
My friend, the executive, appeared to take me back for our meeting. He saw I was lost in my reading and said, “I am a great buyer of books but not a great reader of books. I am a glancer of books.”
“That’s what I do, too,” I said. “I read reviews, visit bookstores, and get so interested so fast in books. I am an impulse buyer of books. I have them stacked all over my home office and collected in my Amazon digital library.
An Invisible Weight
“From time to time, I have to clear out the physical books to be less overwhelmed and overcrowded. The digital library is easier as the old books simply scroll off the display. But each book I purchased and didn’t read is like a to-do which I never completed. They really weigh on me to the point of being overwhelming.”
But I love having the books. Just looking at the titles gives me ideas. And I love ideas. I love new ways of looking at the world, my faith, startups, personal improvement, and entrepreneurship. There is so much to know and learn. I wish I could just hold a book and gain all its insights and knowledge. But that’s not how it works.
I am also one of those people who is reading three books at once. Usually two nonfiction and one fiction. I tried to read two fiction books at a time, but I kept getting the stories and characters mixed up.
Too Much to Read
Daily I read a selection of articles from the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, and AJC. I also try to read the magazines I subscribe to, but much of the time, the best I can do is scan their table of contents to see what’s topical these days. There is just too much to consume.
I listened to a short video recently by a blogger who read 44 books this year. And all the books were business and self-improvement books. I think that amount of reading is staggering. I was not the only one impressed with this feat. Many of his followers wrote to him and asked how he did it.
He gave two pieces of advice. One: Schedule your reading time. Two: Only read what interests you.
Readily Apparent Truth
When he said this, I knew he was right. In fact, I schedule time each morning, first thing, to read the Bible. The Bible is one long book. It has over 1,500 pages in ten point type. This is intimidating.
I will soon finish reading the Bible. I started on January 1st and will finish on December 31st. It is the only book I schedule to read each day. It is also one of the books I own which I have the greatest interest in. So I meet his advice on both counts. And here I am telling you it works.
But what about all the other books I bought over the years that I didn’t read?
My 2018 Reading Plan
I think with a reading plan, I’ll be able to get to them in 2018. The average book is about 300 pages. If I read one hour a day, in addition to my Bible reading, then I’ll finish one book every ten days. (I am assuming thirty pages per hour.)
Therefore, if I am diligent and read for one hour per day, each day throughout the year, I’ll finish 36 books in 2018.
I will also read through the Bible which takes an additional half hour per day. Imagine. In an hour and a half per day, I’ll read 36 new books plus the Bible.
Now that’s exciting. I’ll tell you how it goes.