I have a lot of books.
(Which might be the understate of the year.)
I’d say I have about a 50/50 split of fiction and nonfiction.
When it comes to what matters most, quantity of books you’ve read, or how fast you read or how many books you have on yourself are far less important (minuscule) compared to absorption and application.
In the past I’ve been guilty of reading great book — one that feels impactful — and immediately jump to the next book after I finish it, applying nothing to my life. If you’re reading a book for story or for escapism, that’s one thing. But if your reading a book for information or insights you can use to change your life, why read at all if you’re not going to test out what the author is suggesting?
Meaning, when you read a business book, how much do you actually apply to your own business? What lessons are you testing? What actions are you taking?
The most illuminating example is a cookbook. A book filled with literal instructions on what to do and how. But if all you do is buy it and look at the pretty food pictures (and then go order a pizza), what do you have left?
Having hundreds of books on your shelf is impressive. Yet, its more impressive to watch you in action, and see you’re cooking skills from experience.
Someone with a business and a great business book is better than someone with just a business and no desire to read. However, someone with both the insights from other great leaders and entrepreneurs, AND the boldness to apply them to their own ventures blows the other two fools out of the water.
We need to read and let a book sit with us. Like a hearty meal, or rich dessert, we need to digest it, and take time to question and ponder how we can use it to our own advantage.
Digesting books does come with a problem though.
How will you possible keep up with the hundreds of new shiny books coming out, waiting to inspire you??
And the honest answer is you can’t. You have to choose.
You have to vet, and refine what it is exactly what you need to learn in this moment, this phase of growth that you’re in. (Just in time learning, as they call it in computer science.)
Are you digesting your books? Or are your just zipping through them like they are a reality tv show? Are you testing what they are saying and seeing if they work for your own life? Or are you just living vicariously through them?
The best books are the ones that challenge you and push you to change your life.
The best books are the ones that are used.
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner