Initial Thoughts to Which Books I am Reading to Master the Skills You Need
Experience is so much better than theory, isn’t it? But there are times when you have to theorize to get the process started. For the upcoming year, one of the biggest goals for me is to master the skills you need to thrive in 2020.
A few months ago, I read an article by the World Economic Forum, that reported that to thrive in 2020, we have to master complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, people management, coordinating with others, emotional intelligence, judgment and decision making, service orientation, negotiation and cognitive flexibility. With that piece of information, I aligned my reading challenge to the 10 skills.
After I read a book to learn each of the 10 skills needed for future jobs, I will craft book summaries for those who are unable to read the books to master the skills. I made a promise to myself that I would only write book summaries if the books are worth it. As a side note, I’m familiar with all the skills except for emotional intelligence and cognitive flexibility.
The Journey Begins to Master the Skills You Need to Thrive in 2020
I’ve never enjoyed reading business books because I find them so dry and often very boring. For years, I stayed away from them. But in life, it’s about moderation. And the most successful people, even though they seldom read business books, they’ll read them if the books contain information they can use. Many of the books I’m reading to learn the 10 skills, to me, are downright fun. Should someone be having fun while reading to learn, to master a skill?
To start the process, instead of spending money to buy new books, I decided to take an inventory of the books I already own. I have lots of books that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet. I also looked inside my Kindle app to see what books I had downloaded. There are a few websites that I visit daily to see what free books are on offer. The books are free only for a few days. The books are either free or priced at a steep discount to help build buzz around the books. The authors expect that if people get the books for free, or at a discount, and if they like the book, they will write a favorable review.
Additionally, there are times when I buy an e-book from Amazon, when I also buy some of the recommended and related books. This results in a lot of books inside my Kindle app. So, when I checked on what books I owned to teach me the 10 skills, I was pleasantly surprised. What pleased me the most, was that most of the books weren’t dry, flavor-of-the-month, books, but books that came at the topic from an interesting angle.
I like that. I don’t want to be like every other professional. And I want that for you as well. The books I’m reading are forcing me to think critically, and to challenge my perspectives and beliefs. Right now, I’m convinced that some awesome book summaries will emerge from the process, because of the kinds of books that I’m reading.
In another post, I mentioned that some of the skills are related. It makes sense to learn the skills together. And I think that translates into less time, so you can focus on applying the skills.
For instance, complex problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and judgment and decision making skills are related. Many books also tie the skills together. But since I have started reading the books to master the skills you need, I’ve discovered, that for instance, emotional intelligence is also tied to problem solving, decision making, people management, coordinating with others, service orientation and negotiation.
Since emotional intelligence is new to me, in the sense that I have never read about it before, I’m finding it difficult to master. But that’s not surprising since practice makes perfect. I read Emotional Intelligence 2.0, and though it’s a good book, and I took notes, I do not feel that I’m qualified yet to write a book summary. This is an unfamiliar situation for me. What I’ve decided to do, is to read a few books without taking notes, to familiarize myself on the topic. And I think I need to get back on track taking online courses to master the skills.
So far, the books I’ve read that I plan to turn my notes into book summaries include:
Books I Plan to Write Book Summaries For
Critical Thinking Box Set: 76 Lessons on How to Become a Critical Thinker, How to Analyze Information by Keeping Your Brain Healthy (no longer available for sale)
The Thinker’s Guide For Students On How to Study & Learn a disciplineMiniature Guide to Critical Thinking: Concepts and ToolsThe MacGyver Secret: Connect to Your Inner MacGyver and Solve AnythingMeconomics 101A Technique for Producing Ideas: The simple, five-step formula anyone can use to be more creative in business and in life!Be creative (Brilliant Little Ideas)The Bright Idea Box: A Proven System to Drive Employee Engagement and InnovationThe Art Of Decision Making: How To Make Better Choices In Love, Life, And WorkThe Idea Hunter: How to Find the Best Ideas and Make them HappenForget a Mentor, Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your CareerOne Minute Mentoring: How to Find and Work With a Mentor–And Why You’ll Benefit from Being OneSprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five DaysMeaningful: The Story of Ideas That FlyEmotional Intelligence 2.0Master the Art of ConnectingHow Successful People Think Smart: 7 Ways You Can Develop Their Mind PowwerThe Fearless Mindset: The Empowering Secrets To Living Life Without Fear And WorryThe Art Of Being Prolific: How To Be Ten Times More Productive With Your Day
Why These Books for the Journey to Master the Skills You Need to Thrive in 2020
From the book titles and subtitles, you can easily guess which books align with the 10 skills. But you may not correlate some of the titles with skills needed for future jobs. And that’s okay. You never anticipated the Avil Beckford factor. It might just be that I think too much. It’s important to learn the 10 skills. However, the skills are useless unless you apply them. Even so, I think that there is something missing. The most successful people have mentors and sponsors, that’s why you’ll notice books on that topic. When you master the skills, it’s helpful if you have someone to open doors for you to accelerate your success. It’s another part of your journey to success.
There are a few books on creativity, problem solving, decision making, critical thinking and ideas. These books are closely interwoven. There are a couple books on service orientation, but the angle that the authors approach the topic from is different from what you’ve ever seen. And based on what I’ve read, the kind of knowledge we learn, will separate us from others, giving us a competitive advantage. What most of the books have in common, is that the authors appear to be crying out in the wilderness, based on what they’re saying. But I love what they’re saying because they are forcing me to question what I think I already know about the skills.
I’m not saying this lightly. Many of you know that I read a lot. But some of these books I just read, are incredible books. In this age of unprecedented change, business as usual is not an option. Professionals have to find better ways of doing things, putting the customer first. Those who succeed, have to create products or services that improve the lives of others. In Zero to One by Peter Thiel, the author says your offering must be at least 10 times better than what is available. If you lead with the needs of the customer, you’re more likely to create a product or service that people want and need.
When I first aligned the Strategic Reading Challenge with the 10 skills needed for future jobs, it was simply about learning the skills, so you and I could thrive. Now that I’ve started reading the books, I realize that I was a bit naive. What’s needed is an out of the box thinking and approach to learning the skills.
In the book, Meaningful, the author recommends that you create a product or service that addresses a meaningful problem that people have. Right now, most people create a product or service, then market it to customers hoping that they will buy it. She believes that that’s the wrong approach. The book is about service orientation, although I don’t think that’s what the author had in mind. In the book, she also mentions invisible problems. We may be doing something a certain way. We may not like doing things that way, but we do not have any choice, since that’s the only way we know to do it. Even though it’s not great, we become comfortable doing things that way. That’s an invisible problem. How can you find invisible problems to solve? Solving invisible problems can lead to disruption.
[I] t’s seeing the invisible problem, not just the obvious problem, that’s important, not just for product design, but for everything we do. You see, there are invisible problems all around us, ones we can solve. But first we need to see them, to feel them. -TONY FADDELL, CEO, NEST
What does that have to do with you? For years, I’ve been telling people to take notes while they read, and to extract the five big ideas from the books. What if we were more intentional about the process? We have to learn the 10 skills to thrive in the future. By learning the 10 skills, what would you be able to do for a customer that you cannot do now? Customers can be inside or outside an organization. By learning each of the 10 skills, what kinds of customer problems would you be able to solve?
Perhaps it’s this mindset that’s needed when coming up with ideas from the books. This is new thinking for me. And it happened because I was not reading the types of books that others are reading. And the combination of books to read is important for me. I didn’t have a grand plan, I think it’s synchronicity and serendipity. All I wanted to do was to cut down the expense of buying books, by reading the books I already owned.
Concluding Thoughts on Reading to Master the Skills You Need to Thrive in 2020
Learning the 10 skills won’t be a walk in the park. Some skills will be easier for you to learn than others. Because something is difficult to do, doesn’t mean you should shy away from it. It just means that it will take more effort on your part to master the skills. Although it was not intentional to begin with, I’m extremely grateful for the books I’ve read so far.
When considering which books to read to master the skills you need to thrive in 2020, I want you to be very intentional about the books you choose to read. Read more than one book on the subject to get varying viewpoints. Do the unexpected.