I read a lot of books. And in any given year, I read over 150 books, often closer to 200. But many of the books I read, I wouldn’t say shape my thinking. I get something from every book that I read, even the bad ones. But I know that I have to read many books to find the rare diamonds. However, I can honestly say, that there are 8 books that shaped my thinking in 2016. And surprisingly, most of them I read in December 2016.
Why is that?
Some Initial Thoughts on Books That Shaped My Thinking in 2016
Many who read this blog, know that I am hosting the Strategic Reading Challenge in 2017, which is geared to helping professionals learn the 10 key skills they need to thrive in 2020. The skills needed for future jobs. I have to learn those skills as well.
I’m knowledgeable about 80 percent of the skills, though I didn’t learn them formally. With that in mind, I decided that I would learn the skills with participants of the Strategic Reading Challenge. In my effort to serve others, by trying to find the right books to teach the 10 key skills needed for future jobs, I lucked out.
Additionally, they say that necessity is the mother of invention, and it has been my experience. Books are very expensive, and borrowing books from the library to learn key skills, doesn’t cut it for me, since I need the books to refer to. These books are investments in the future.
I decided that I would look at the books that I already own. I’m a bookaholic, and I often buy books faster than I can read them. Sometimes when I’m buying a book on Amazon, one or two of the advertised related books catch my eye, and I end up buying them. Consequently, I own some very good books, some of which are very much off the beaten path.
My Journey to Most of the Books That Shaped My Thinking in 2016
Life seldom ever works out the way you expect it. Because of the specific nature of the Strategic Reading Challenge, I believed that my target market consists of professionals aged 25 to 45 years old. During a conversation with a colleague, she indicated that most people in that age group are busy raising kids and would appreciate book summaries.
That got me thinking. I’ve been writing hybrid book reviews/summaries (SummaReviews) since 2004. During that time, people have complimented me on my book summaries. I remember a comment from a friend over 10 years ago, she told me that after reading what I’d written, there was no reason for her to read the book, since I’d done such a good job summarizing the book. At the time, I thought that was a “major failure” since my intent was to get more people reading.
On the other hand, though, there are several connections on LinkedIn, who keep track of me through my updates. And when I refer a book, they automatically buy it. Just a few days ago, someone that I don’t know, messaged me on my Facebook business page to tell me that he loves my book summaries. Based on what the colleague said about my target group raising their kids, I decided to take the plunge to craft books summaries to teach the 10 employability skills, and offer them for sale.
Related Post: Summary: The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone.
I realize that there are quite a few companies that offer book summaries for sale. My differentiator is that the books I summarize for now, will teach the 10 key skills. Even though what I plan to offer is somewhat different, that’s not enough. The books I read must be excellent books, yet off the beaten path. I started with books I already owned since a lot of them are off the path books. I like to discover alternative ways of thinking and doing things. I like to take the road less traveled. I’ve always been a quiet rebel (an oxymoron I know). That’s why I already owned so many of those books.
I’m the first to admit, that not every book that’s off the beaten path shaped my thinking, but a few of them did. I started off the reading process to learn complex problem thinking, critical thinking, creativity, and judgment and decision making because these four skills are related. And it is my thinking that it makes sense to learn the key skills in groups. After reading two books on emotional intelligence, I realized that it’s related to the other four skills as well.
How Does a Book Shape Your Thinking?
That’s an interesting question!
For a book to shape my thinking, obviously, it has to make me think deeply. But it also has to make me question the way I do things. It has to make me question the status quo. It also has to make me want to become a better person, evolving into a better version of myself.For a book to shape my thinking, obviously, it has to make me think deeply.Click To Tweet
A book that shapes my thinking, has to move my thinking in such a way, so that I know what to do with the information – the next logical step. It really upsets me when I read what could have been a good book, and I wonder, so what do I do with this? This means the book has to be practical as well.
It’s worth mentioning that out of the eight books that shaped my thinking, one is a novel.
8 Books That Shaped My Thinking in 2016
The 3 Gaps: Are You Making a Difference: This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who frequently reads this blog. This is one of the best books that I have ever read. In The 3 Gaps, you’ll find what you need to craft your core values. After reading the book, it will take you seven hours to identify and write down the values that are important to you. This is an important book because when you have a decision to make, having a set of core values will make the decision-making process a bit easier.
Related Post: The 3 Gaps by Hyrum Smith – My Thoughts.
Game Changer: This is a science fiction novel. In the book, there is a technology where you can upload years of broad and deep knowledge into your brain – matrix learning. While I’m reading the book, I’m thinking, this is cool even though it pure fiction. Or is it? I researched matrix learning, and discovered that it will one day be a reality – and not in the distant future. It closer than you think.
What I loved about the book, is that it looked at the negatives of the technology. In Game Changer, not everyone has access to the technology, you must have a brilliant mind first. What this book did for me, is make me start looking at acquiring adjacent skills, not just the skills needed to perform my work effectively.
Matrix Learning: When Science Fiction Collides with Real Life.
The Sorites Principle: This is a long book, and I must admit that I haven’t finished reading it yet. But what I have read so far, has shaped my thinking. In a nutshell, the premise is that the regular small steps you take, have a cumulative effect. That means that if you decide you want to learn a key skill, and every day you take steps to make that a reality, imagine how much you would have learned over the year.
The MacGyver Secret: Back in the day, I really loved the TV series, MacGyver. The main character, MacGyver, found himself in very difficult and tricky situations, all the time. Using only the materials he had access to, he always solved the problems he faced. Imagine if you have an inner MacGyver that you could tap into? That’s what this book is about. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been tapping into my inner MacGyver and having success.
Meconomics 101: What? What the heck is Meconomics? “Meconomics is a set of strategies that help you to identify and use the three lenses – Self-Image, Entertainment, and Pamper to talk the customer’s benefit language.” Meconomics is customer-centric and not seller-centric. It’s a better way of approaching customer service. I’ve been using the information in Meconomics 101 to craft a better tagline. Haven’t completed the process yet, since it’s a work in progress and a new way of thinking. The book has many great ideas worth exploring, and loaded with many exercises.
Meaningful: This is another wonderful book that shaped my thinking. It is also customer-centric and not seller-centric. Most people create products and then market them to prospects. What Meaningful recommends, is that you create a product or service that addresses a meaningful problem that people have. See the subtle, but important difference?
Sprint: This book is written by a Google employee. It walks you through a problem-solving process that allows you to solve big problems, and test ideas in five days. Sprint walks you through the process of what to do each of the five days. I love the case studies because they bring the concept to life. After I have written a few book summaries to enable people to learn the 10 key skills, I want to take the time to test the sprint process for myself. It’s a good way to test ideas before investing a lot of resources.
The Idea Hunter: I’m interested in ideas and where they come from. I loved this book because it walks you through an ideation process. I wanted a framework to think about idea generation and development, and The Idea Hunter does a good job.
The 3 Gaps: Are You Making a Difference?Game ChangerThe Sorites Principle: How to harness the power of perseveranceThe MacGyver Secret: Connect to Your Inner MacGyver and Solve AnythingMeconomics 101: 16 Ways to Improve Your Marketing, Selling and Business Management for Today’s ConsumersMeaningful: The Story of Ideas That FlySprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five DaysThe Idea Hunter: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make them Happen
Concluding Thoughts on Books That Shaped My Thinking in 2016
Many of the books I read in December are related to each other. And not in a very straightforward way – perhaps the connection is the information in the books are adjacent to each other. In the back of my mind, I am creating a mind map that shows the connections among the books. When I create the mind map on paper, I think what I find will be surprising. What are your thoughts on the 8 books that shaped my thinking in 2016?What kinds of books shape your thinking?Click To Tweet
Did you read any books in 2016 that shaped your thinking? What kinds of books shape your thinking?