Reading is one of those things that is hard for a lot of people. People want to read more, but things like…life tend to get in the way. But more than not, reading grows you! If it’s a book on leadership, it will affect your leadership. If it’s a book on writing, well, hopefully it will help your writing.
The important thing is to be reading something that is going to enhance your life in a good way. It is very easy to be putting trash in your head just as easy as solid material. And by the way, not all leadership books are good. Some stink. If you have one of those, throw it away. You don’t have to read it just because it was in the business section of Barnes & Noble.
Why is it a must to be reading? Because, as we say in EntreLeadership, “Your capacity, intelligence, education, character, ability, and vision are limiting your organization.” So to the extent that you are putting good solid growth stuff into you, you’re growing. To the extent that you’re not…you’re not! It’s really up to you to make the decision as to how much you want to increase your intelligence, or your vision.
Now, it would be really easy for me to give you some examples from a leadership book that I’m reading. (Which happens to be The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins.) Instead, I want to go with a less predictable direction. Anyone who really knows me knows that I reeeealy love to cook. It’s something that, when done right, just makes me happy. And in the last year I purchased Thomas Keller’s books named after his famous restaurants, French Laundry and Bouchon. I’ve been to Bouchon, a French bistro, quite a few times. But French Laundry, which serves a nine course tasting menu, takes reservations four months in advance. Unfortunately, due to my schedule, my vacations aren’t planned out that far in advance.
Now, both of these books are huge. In fact, they weigh almost six pounds each. And the other day I decided to open Bouchon and just…read it! I know, I know, why would I just read recipes? Well, because it’s not just recipes. In fact, a great deal of the book explains what a true bistro is, does, and serves. Keller also lays out a ton of information on why certain preparations are important. For example, so many people use some sort of liquid, or butter with their roasted chicken. And they don’t completely dry it before putting it in the oven. All of these cause the chicken to steam in the oven, therefore drying out the chicken from the inside.
Never thought you would get cooking techniques in a leadership blog did you? Anyway, I read through the stories in the book and the next thing you know my mind is buzzing with ideas. In fact, I started to create recipes in my head. I came up with two ideas that I had to test. I even had friends coming over that night, so I was able to try my creations on them. Crazy thing they loved them both! (And these are friends I can trust.) All of that because I read some stories from an incredible chef. That’s the importance of growing your capacity. The more you read, the more you mind will create. The more you create, the more you can accomplish. It’s your choice.
What types of books have you read that have started your creative juices flowing?