Read the World Challenge
I love learning. I love reading. I love a good book. I love to share my love of reading.
I have noticed that when I diversify my reading – different cultures, genres, generations – I have more creative ideas.
Has that been your experience as well?
Looking at my reading habits, I go through phases where I only read books from one genre, then I move on to another, and another, and so on. I am going to be more intentional about my reading, and I would like you to actively participate in the Read the World Challenge. The idea is to read a book a week, and for each month, make sure that you read a book written by an author from a country that’s different from where you were born and/or living now. At the end of 52 weeks, you would have visited at least 12 countries, and the seven continents. Please note that only one of the books you read each month has to be by an author, born in a country on that continent. If you want to diversify your reading, you could attempt to read, two books by authors born in different countries from your own.
UPDATE TO THE READING CHALLENGE
The Read the World Extreme Reading Challenge has been updated to the Strategic Reading Challenge, so participants will read books for career development to acquire the 10 skills needed for future jobs. The monthly requirements have been changed. Please read Strategic Reading Challenge: Read Books for Career Development.
All images in the post are clickable!
Reading for Transformation
Why join the Read the World Challenge?
More people are losing their jobs to automation, some of the automation comes in the form of robots. As explained by Marty Neumeier – author and speaker who writes on the topics of brand, design, innovation, and creativity – the type of work that’s being replaced by robots, have certain characteristics.
- Talent Driven
To ensure that your position is not replaced by a robot, the best work to produce is creative work. Marty Neumeier says, “Be a genius in a narrow slice of the world… Learn from what artists do…. Crossover between art and business.” These are clues that the kinds of books we should be reading during the Read the World Challenge should lead us to produce more creative work.
The intent of this challenge is not to read for the sake of reading, instead, we are reading to transform our lives. We are reading to promote new ideas and creative concepts.
So what does this mean?
We are going to read books that matter, books that will stop us dead in our tracks. Books to make us think. We are reading books so that we can produce creative work. In the article, How to Win a Nobel Prize, the following quote made me think.
“…We now realise that the future is not simply a natural extension of the past and the present. Scientific innovations and technological breakthroughs shape and form the future. The power of the human mind can be divided into two major categories. One involves the processes of analysing, understanding, selecting and making discretionary judgements. The other embraces the ability to create new ideas through perceptiveness and imagination.”
That’s what we are after, not necessarily to win a Nobel Prize, but to create new ideas through perceptiveness and imagination. We want to extract great ideas from the books we read, then combine those ideas to create something new. This process leads us to produce creative work.
At the end of the year, we should have gained new skills, be able to perform our jobs more effectively, and generate better ideas. The goal is to become more valuable to ourselves, to our employers, and to our clients. We are going to engage in active learning, so at the end of a month, if things go as planned, we would have read four books. But that is not enough, we are going to connect the ideas from the four books, not necessarily an easy task, but one worth doing.
Imagine the cross-pollination of ideas! It’s been shown that people remember more of what they learn, when they teach it others, so I recommend that you join my LinkedIn Group, Leaders Are Great Readers, and let’s discuss the books we read while on the Challenge. Please also sign-up so that you receive the weekly prompts, that’s customized for each month.
To get the most from the books you read, buy some beautiful notebooks to capture your thoughts and ideas from the books you are reading. You may be tempted to write your notes on your computer, but studies show that comprehension and retention increase when you take notes by hand. But taking notes is not enough, you have to remember to re-read your notes. Research in learning science recommends time-spaced learning, so after you have taken notes while reading, review your notes a few hours later, then the next day.
Further Reading: 5 Training Hacks from Great Professors
Read the World
Although there is a lot of structure to the Read the World Challenge, participants also have a lot of choice about which books to read. Ann Morgan challenged herself to read a book from every country in the world. You can see the names of the books she read during her year of reading the world. We are attempting something on a much smaller scale, and our goals are very different from hers. To make sure that she achieved her goal, she read close to 200 pages each day. The point is to schedule your reading into your day. If you are in the Read the World Challenge, you should be all in.
Read the World: Month One
This month we are visiting the continent of Africa. Although there are 47 countries in Africa, Morocco and coastal islands – Cape Verde, São Tomé and Príncipe, Madagascar, the Comoros, the Seychelles, and Mauritius – are considered African countries as well, which brings the total up to 54.
- Read a book written by an author, born in an African country.
- Read a book about your industry/niche that will allow you to develop skills or give you a new understanding about the way the industry works.
- Read a book that will help you to develop your personal brand, and position you as an expert.
- Read a book for entertainment.
- Read a book to improve your writing – written communication is a prized workplace skill.
Read the World: Month Two
This month we are visiting Antarctica. Although not many people are known to be born on the continent of Antarctica, many novels have been set there. You can get ideas at Goodreads: Popular Antarctica Books.
- Read a book set in Antarctica.
- Read a collection of comics.
- Read a book that helps you to perform your job better.
- Read a book about current events.
- Read a classic on your bookshelf that you have always wanted to read.
Read the World: Month Three
This month we are visiting Asia. There are 50 countries in Asia, so you have a lot of choice here. There are some books that were written centuries ago, so for this month it would be fascinating to blend the old with the new. Books to consider include: China Rich Girlfriend (New); Wild Swans (New); The Three Kingdoms – Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3 (Old); Journey to the West; The Art of War; The Dream of the Red Chamber; Gandhi an Autobiography; The God of Small Things; and the Bhagavad Gita.
- Read a book written by an author, born in Asia.
- Read a book written over a century ago, then read a retelling of the book. This counts as two books for the month. Examples include: Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds vs. The Wisdom of Crowds; The Age of Innocence vs. The Innocents.
- Read a book that blend disciplines. An example is Mark Cuban’s How to Win at the Sport of Business.
- Read a book that you normally would not read. Examples include: Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, If Mayors Ruled the World, Gamestorming, Business Model Generation and The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
Read the World: Month Four
We are travelling to Australia/Oceania this month through the books we read. There are 14 countries on this continent. Books include: Picnic at Hanging Rock, True History of the Kelly Gang, The Thorn Birds. By simply doing a search on Google you have many choices.
- Read a book written by an author, born in Australia/Oceania.
- Read a book that will teach you a new, marketable skill.
- Read a book to help you master social media.
- Read a classic literature written by a woman.
- Read a business book outside your industry/niche.
Read the World: Month Five
Europe, here we come! The continent of Europe includes 51 independent states. Many of the classic literature we know of, and have enjoyed, were written by authors born on this continent. You can have a lot of fun this month.
- Read a book written by an author, born in a European country.
- Read a classic that you have always wanted to read.
- Read a graphic novel that’s a retelling of a classic book.
- Read a book about someone’s journey – inner or outer. Examples include: Walden, Into the Wild, and Wild.
- Read a book about your favorite hobby to become better at it.
Read the World: Month Six
This month we are reading North America, which includes the Caribbean and Mexico. This is going to be so much fun. There are 23 recognized independent states in North America – the largest are Canada and the United States.
- Read two books written by authors born in North America. This counts as two books for the month.
- Read a children’s book that you didn’t read as a child.
- Read a book that was adapted to film. Watch the film, then compare and contrast it with the book.
- Read a book from another industry.
Read the World: Month Seven
This month we journey to South America where there are 12 independent countries and 3 dependent territories. Some very famous writers like Isabel Allende and Gabriel García Márquez were born in South America. You will not have a problem finding books to read from this continent.
- Read a book written by an author, born in South America.
- Read a book specifically to solve a work problem that you are having.
- Read a book that has less than 100 pages. In celebration of Penguin’s 80th birthday, they published short classics that you can complete during your commute (Little Black Classics Box Set). This is also the perfect way to Read the World because many countries are represented.
- Read a book about how to learn.
- Read a book about ideas. Examples include: Non-Obvious, Social Physics, The Misfit Economy, Ideas That Matter: The Worlds of Jane Jacob, and 50 Big Ideas.
Read the World: Month Eight
This month we are doing something a little different, we are reading women, and we are reading different genres of books written by women.
- Read an autobiography/biography of a woman. If it’s a biography of a woman, it must be written by a woman.
- Read a ChickLit, just for the heck of it.
- Read a murder mystery written by a woman.
- Read a classic written by a woman.
- Read a book that deals with a serious topic that’s written by a woman.
Read the World: Month Nine
This month we are reading men, and like last month, we are reading from different genres.
- Read an autobiography/biography of a man. If it’s a biography of a man, it must be written by a man.
- Read a murder mystery written by a man.
- Read a classic written by a man.
- Read a book that deals with a serious topic that’s written by a man.
- Read a science fiction book written by a man
Read the World: Month Ten
We are revisiting North America this month, simply because there are so many books that you can easily access.
- Read a book written by an author, born in North America.
- Read a book written by an author, born in the Caribbean.
- Read a book written by an author, born in Canada.
- Read a book that teaches you negotiation technique. A popular one, that’s often recommended is How to Sweet-Talk a Shark by Governor Bill Richardson.
- Read a book that teaches you how to be a better presenter. Examples include: Talk Like TED and 15 Minutes Including Q&A.
Read the World: Month Eleven
This month we are revisiting Asia simply because two of the most populous countries – India and China – in the world are on that continent.
- Read a book written by an author, born in India.
- Read a book written by an author, born in China.
- Read a book about Japanese philosophy.
- Read a science fiction novel.
- Read a book about science.
Read the World: Month Twelve
We are revisiting Europe and Africa because so many countries are on those continents.
- Read a book written by an author from Europe.
- Read a book written by an author from Africa.
- Read a book about psychology. Examples include: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, The New Birth Order, and Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
- Read a book about a religion.
- Read a book about philosophy.
Where has the time gone? Imagine you have been participating in the challenge for 12 months, and if you were reading a book each week, you have now read 52 books for the year. Give yourself a pat on the back. What have you learned about yourself? How has the way you perform your work changed?
If you feel as if you cannot read a book each week, I still want you to still join the challenge, because you will benefit from the experience. Reading with intention is a transformative experience.
Actions to Take to Participate in the Read the World Challenge
- Sign-up for Read the World Challenge.
- Spend three hours deciding which books you are going to read during the first three months – that’s 12 books – of the challenge.
- Schedule your reading. Will you read a set number of pages each day, or for a set time period?
Reading List – Books Mentioned in This Post
- China Rich Girlfriend
- Wild Swans (New)
- The Three Kingdoms – Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3
- Journey to the West
- The Art of War
- The Dream of the Red Chamber
- Gandhi an Autobiography
- The God of Small Things
- Bhagavad Gita
- Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
- The Wisdom of Crowds
- The Age of Innocence
- The Innocents
- Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture
- If Mayors Ruled the World
- Business Model Generation
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane
- How to Win at the Sport of Business
- Picnic at Hanging Rock
- True History of the Kelly Gang
- The Thorn Birds
- Into the Wild
- Social Physics
- The Misfit Economy
- Ideas That Matter: The Worlds of Jane Jacob
- 50 Big Ideas
- Little Black Classics Box Set