Line taken from its original context may be surprisingly curiosity arousing, thought provoking or even misleading. Fifteen lines from some of my favorite books:
- “Sugar is cancer” – Tom Rath, Eat Move Sleep: How Small Choices Lead to Big Changes
- “Everybody is in sales.” – Daniel Pink, To Sell Is Human
- “Everybody works on straight commission.” – Brian Tracy, The Science of Money: How to Increase Your Income and Become Wealthy
- “There are leaders and there are those who lead.” – Simon Sinek, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action
- “Ask no more or less of anyone than you would of your own child.” – Bob Chapman, Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family
- “What if optimism is a learned skill, one that can be permanently acquired?” – Martin Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
- “Spend your free time the way you like , not the way you think you’re supposed to .” – Susan Cain Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
- “There’s a common belief that creativity flourishes when criticism is withheld, but this turns out to be false.” – Adam Grant, Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
- “You can’t extinguish a bad habit , you can only change it.” Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change
- “Once a person stops searching for information and self-knowledge, ignorance sets in” – Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not!
- “We give too many fucks when our coworkers don’t bother asking us about our awesome weekend.” – Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
- “Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship in your life.” – Neil Pasricha, The Happiness Equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything
- “One word, one action, or one thought can reduce another person’s suffering and bring him joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life
- “People often experience big breakthroughs… and then find a way to avoid relishing their achievement.” – Gay Hendricks, The Big Leap: Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level
- “Stop asking what’s in it for you and start giving gifts that change people.” – Seth Godin, Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future
After finishing this classic, I got to say that this is exceptionally well honed book. The structure is great and the key message seems to be clear: you will find it much more advantageous for everyone to further your cause when you start with kind words.
The title of the book and the structure is brilliant. You can clearly see the vast amount of study and practice it has taken the author to put this all together in a such clear and concise manner. Wisdom is age tested, and carefully structured to this book.
Some of the content can seem rather repetitive after a few examples around the same topic. However this also creates a more interesting reading experience on subsequent reading times.
Mostly because those a bit outdated examples I chose to give 4 / 5 rather than full five. Definitely a book worth of reading and studying again and again.
Reading quality sources increases our awareness quicker than pure action does. This quality of information is transformed into awareness, which then should be transformed into action as well. Action then in turn provides feedback and experience from which we can build a solid foundation for wisdom.
What is quality information? As example, books that have passed through the filters of many and are recommended by many and the message of the book is relevant to us at the moment.
This is because well researched and written book is certainly standing on the shoulders of giants. There are discoveries, upon discoveries presented there in very thoughtful manner. When you are reading such book, you will know from the first pages and lines that this is a material to be studied for a lifetime.
The more you read, the more aware you become. By starting to have conversation with the quality material you will deepen your bond with the knowledge, and make it easier for yourself to apply the knowledge and wisdom daily. You will start to master the material, eventually becoming master yourself.
Yesterday I was lagging three books behind my reading goal for this year and now I am lagging two books behind. I am really proud that I was able to read and study both of the books in such focused manner.
Both of the books had to do with personal development, one book was by Lauri Järvilehto, a Finnish philosopher and his book Tee itsestäsi mestariajattelija (“Make yourself a master thinker”) and the second one was Sisäinen sankari (Inner hero) by Jari Sarasvuo.
Some topics can feel rather intimidating as the Lauri’s book did for me. I had browsed and glanced through it several times, however never quite got there to read it deeper. Not until on Friday I happened to see what the book description promised “a stress free life.” On conscious level I didn’t particularly feel like I am stressed however, that promise seemed so good that I decided I’ve to read the book. So on the Saturday I decided what’s important: my reading goal and to read the book.
I am amazed what this kind of decision to focus does: I made quite a bit progress and by lunch time I had finished 60% of the book. Next I took fresh air and ate lunch outside. After lunch had a rather long nap, after which I was able to continue reading and finished the book in timely manner.
From the book I actually also learned about human mind and focus as well. Unlike my earlier understanding that came from Mihaly Chikzenmihalyi it appears human consciousness appears to be more limited than I’ve thought. Instead of 110 bits of conscious capacity, according to Ap Dijksterhuis and Loran Nordgren have estimated our conscious capacity varies between 10 – 60 bits per second. If one unit of information is about 8 bits it would be about 1 – 7 units depending on how tired, hungry and what else we are.
We are more unconscious than we know. This is interesting topic that I’ve been pondering a lot. Most of our seemingly conscious actions become so automatic that they are being done unconsciously. In fact if you look at drunk and tired people, they may be unconscious and not register much what is going on at all, yet they somehow find their ways to operate in the world.
Key take away here is that the conscious is more limited than we know. We should use the limited consciousness to harness the capabilities of habits, which is essentially outsourcing the important things to our unconscious which is far more powerful than we could hope our conscious to be.
We can learn all the important skills and habits, most important decision is what to prioritize and finish right now?
I guess is fair to say that most of our thoughts are not that high quality. However, it’s not to say that there isn’t some good quality thoughts mixed in.
However, how one can recognize a quality thought from the stream of many? Most of the people cannot, and the state of the things reflect that.
To know a quality thought, we must learn to recognize some. Usually success (results) in an area of life or another is good indicator that they must have some thoughts that actually work. Also books for example often have at least some quality thoughts. With the effort of writing a book this tends to be the case, but is not any sort of guarantee.
Thanks to the sheer quantity of thoughts, most of our conscious stream is not quality. In fact probably the best bet is indeed to look for quality thoughts outside: books, people who read book and people who have practiced thinking.
Then also one alternative is to start practicing thinking, which can take a while. And while at it, it might be good idea to write some thoughts down so at least you’ll recognize a good one from the bad one eventually.
To learn, one must be willing to learn without expiration date.
Magic of the learning happens with the attitude of openness, humility and curiosity. The best are awake and trying to constantly learn.
First thing is the preparation: those who are eager to learn are also prepared, both mentally and physically. Have you ever tried to absorb knowledge with an empty stomach?
Even if we recognize something we rarely know.
Even if we know something well enough to teach it, there still comes up something to learn.
So where exactly the learning stops? Answers is, it doesn’t. The road to mastery is the passionate learning and practice every day until the end of days.
Surrender yourself to the learning and make a note of everything, not just the parts what are highlighted and require. Often in the coaching people just write or draw what is being drawn to the flipchart, even though 90% of the themes spoken are not being drawn or demonstrated anywhere. So why record only 10?
Mostly this is due to laziness and lack of herd behavior to support to writing. Yet Even if you would attentively listen and write half of the references that come up, you would be way better off that most. Then if you would actually study those books and examples mentioned in during the training you would probably be in the top 10%.
Most importantly you would be actually learning.
There is tremendous value of repeat reading the things you’ve read past year or even few months.
Having read three to four books a month, I’ve started to put increasing amount of value of returning to the same book. On my kindle, I get the highlight notes, which is about 10% of the total book. Those I revisit rather frequently which is awesome and they serve as incredibly assistance in my writing as well.
While highlights are great, they are still only part of the book. We forget most of it like the forgetting curve shows.
When it comes to great books, they should be read more often (especially nonfiction).
As example, I read Road Less Travelled about a year ago. I thought it was a great book. Now that I read it for the second time, I noticed how little I had understood of it. Certainly I had taken key points from there and even applied much of the lessons there, but the second time only deepened my understanding, gave me totally new perspective and again several points to work on.
I feel like this is a book worth of studying several times, if not for a lifetime.
When it comes to books like this, it’s not the quantity of how many we’ve read, but how well we’ve internalized the message and the lessons there.
Right of the bat this book went to “why didn’t I read this earlier?” –category, which I now actually created on Goodreads now for this kind of books that resonate very deep in me.
I’ve been familiar with Simon Sinek’s Ted Talks. This book dove much deeper than that, which was exactly what I was expecting. Whole book was captivating reading experience despite the fact that they were mostly running around a few certain examples of companies, and especially leaders around of those companies.
From the beginning thought, I liked mostly about the definitions.
“There are a few leaders who choose to inspire rather than manipulate in order to motivate people.”
I dislike the word motivation, because the motives behind the action are rather unknown. Simon Sinek wonderfully described why I disliked motivation that much: because it does not tell very well the intent behind and is it for the good. Simon Sinek also managed to capture the difference between inspirational leader and someone who just manipulates action.
Another thing is focus. Focus to the why and focus to what really matters.
“When you compete against everyone else, no one wants to help you. But when you compete against yourself, everyone wants to help you.”
This books points the way towards your why, so I recommend it with the full 5/5 stars.
Learning is breakthroughs at the time. When the year changed I had a breakthrough in my reading and that has had tremendous effects in other areas of my life as well. I’ve doubled what I used to read in month. And now I am ready believer that that I could double it again in time and when it is the time for that.
What I noticed through all this is not that much how much I read, but what I do with the books which are read. Although in casual conversation there might be references to the books, even present a few ideas here, some recommendations there… Yet it does not itself convince much change.
This is when I realized how much of what I’ve read I apply to my life on daily basis. Most influential books are of course starting their own life inside of me. Ideas take such a strong shape that they automatically shape my actions and decisions as if it were the new normal. There is no going back. Even better, I do not need to consult other people what I do, because I know I am doing the right decision.
Be careful what you read, those ideas might become reality.
This listing is I originally posted as a Quora answer. However, I guess it would be interesting since there have been some rather simple adjustments I’ve made to my reading habits past year which are really effective and most of these habits have to do with attention, focus and time management rather than the reading technique.
My reading best practices:
- Reading while commuting & reading while queuing. I carry Kindle with me to most of the places I go.
- Reviewing notes/highlights.
- Reading books that are very interesting to me at the moment (80% nonfiction 20% fiction)
- I’ll have a long and short lists of books that are currently interesting. Usually the short list is very short and at the moment there is only few books to which I don’t access through Kindle.
- Qualifying a book before buying or starting to read it: I’ll check the descriptions, reviews and authors a bit before deciding that if it’s the right book for the right moment. I’ve found out that the most interesting books do manage to create the urge to read it, which then helps to finish the book very quickly as well.
- Goodreads reading goal tracker, makes it public and also a good way to manage to read lists.
- Breaking down the yearly reading goal into a book / daily level to keep reading. I.e. reading 10% of the book or X number of pages. Reading 10% book a day means of course that it takes ten days to finish a book which is 36,5 books a year.
- Summarizing the key learning from the book into a one or two things, so I can describe it to anyone shortly.
- Discussing about the books I’ve read and I am reading. Discussion opens up new perspectives.
- Reading books during weekend mornings, (I replaced my news reading habit).
- Researching before buying / starting to read a book.
- Allowing myself not to read fully all books: for studying purposes its better even just to skim and find what’s useful instead of spending the time to read the whole thing.
- Writing about what I’ve read: well at this point very at least I’ve to have the thing internalized somehow and it also lets me to revisit the book again.