Tips on Reading for Business

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The only difference between where you are today, and where you'll be a year from today, are the books you read and the people you meet.
- Charlie Jones

My philosophy is that when I make mistakes as a business owner (and yes, that is definitely a when - not if - situation) I want them to at least be new mistakes.  There's no sense in reinventing the wheel and repeating the same errors past entrepreneurs have made.  So if I can learn from their wisdom and stories and apply them to any challenges that come my way, I am going to.  As a result, I try to read about one business-related book per week.  As you can imagine, this takes some discipline, but it is not as daunting a task as it may seem at first.  Here are some tips for including more business-related reading in your workflow:

Set a Goal That Works For You
I am aware that everyone reads at varying speeds, so I know that one book a week may not be realistic for everyone.  If that seems too much for you, make it a goal to read one business-related book per month.  This way by the end of the year you will have read twelve new books that will help shape your perspective and views on business.

Create Room in Your Schedule 
I do listen to e-books in the car and sometimes while working out, but I find that if I try to listen to them while I am working, I don't retain the information as well as I do when reading a printed copy.  In order to have time to actually read, you have to be purposeful about incorporating it into your daily workflow.  The best way that has worked for me is to use the block scheduling method and add a time slot specifically for reading.  It can be for 15-30 minutes each day before you check your email, or just after your lunch break, or whenever works best.  The key is to turn off and unplug from any distractions and be diligent about keeping that time specifically set aside for reading.

Set Up Your Budget To Include Books
You can't read books if you don't plan on having money to buy them.  Create a line item in your business budget to include business and educational books.  Fortunately, reading doesn't have to be expensive, and it will be one of the best investments you make for both yourself and your company.  I have ordered many books through Amazon's used book program at reduced rates, and have even found some of them for as low as 21 cents!  Standard shipping for the used books is $3.99, so you can stock up your business library for less than $5 per book in some cases.  That is the equivalent of a latte at Starbucks.  If you don't want to purchase them, make a standing appointment to visit your local library. 

Last month I asked some of the wedding industry professionals on Twitter to share their favorite business books and beginning Monday on Twitter I will be featuring some of their recommendations, as well as some of mine in a series called "Leaders are Readers".  You can follow along on Twitter here.

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