Read a book! You’re too busy? All the more reason.

I know when life is getting to me, it’s when I stop reading (fiction especially) because “I don’t have time”. What I do have is time that I waste on apparently being busy, doing things that could be started, completed and given me time to read. That’s why this article resonated with me. 

It’s that moment when you sink into the seat on the train home from a stressful day at work, relieved to lose yourself in a Kate Atkinson bestsellerfor 20 minutes. It’s easing yourself under your duvet at bedtime, prising open Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, desperate to discover Sue Trinder’s fate. It’s those two minutes snatched with Jane Eyre while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil. 

Reading a book is one of life’s biggest joys, but could it also be a way of coping with the difficult times in life, from bereavement to relationship problems? 

New research suggests that reading could be hugely beneficial for our mental health, with classic books written by authors such as William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens being proven to help relieve depression and chronic pain. In a new study published by Oxford University Press, “challenging language” was found to send “rocket boosters” to our mind that can help boost our mental health….

Full article here

The Monday Morning Quote #591

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view

…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it”

Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird

The Weekend Read – The Go-Giver

I was listening to Bob Burg, the co-author of this little book speaking the other day and it took me back to when I first read it. I had been persuaded that what I needed to succeed was to work hard and faster than everyone else. It went against the grain but if everyone else said that’s what I should do who was I to question them. Thankfully I was soon disabused by Bob Burg & John David Mann who wrote this parable of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success, he is a true go-getter, though sometimes he feels as if the harder he works, the further away his goals seem.

During the book the authors outline their five laws of “Stratospheric Success” which are:

The Law of Value

Your real worth is defined by how much more value you give than how much you get paid. Before thinking about profits, first ask yourself, does this serve others? A great business delivers unbelievable value; when you you focus on giving value as a way of life, the money will naturally follow.

The Law of Compensation

Your income is decided by the number of people you serve and how well you serve them. The bigger your impact, the more money you’ll actually earn.

The Law of Influence

Your influence is defined by how often and how much you focus on others’ interests first. The best way to build strong relationships is to focus 100% on helping the other person, without keeping track of how much others owe you or how much they gain. When you add value to others freely, people are naturally attracted to you, like you and want you to succeed, and you essentially build an army of personal ambassadors.

The Law of Authenticity

The biggest and most valuable gift you can offer is yourself. Every human being craves genuine connections and relationships. Hence, the best gift you can offer someone is your authenticity, simply by being yourself rather than pretending to be someone else. No amount of manipulation skills or techniques can be as effective or valuable as your authenticity and sincerity.

The Law of Receptivity

To give effectively, you must be open to receive. Giving and receiving are 2 sides of the same coin. There can be no act of giving without a concurrent act of receiving, just like how you cannot exhale without inhaling. Practice  receiving–the next time someone pays you a compliment, simply accept it graciously by saying “thank you” with a smile.

I am not suggesting that there is only one book that will change your ideas and improve your life but the change will come from little books of wisdom like this.

Available HERE

The Weekend Read – How to Live on 24 Hours a Day

Probably the first time management book, written by the prolific novelist and writer Arnold Bennett was published in 1908. Its messages and lessons are still relevant and as important now than they were 112 years ago. The context has changed but the distractions have not if anything they are greater. This was part of larger work “How to Live”.

The author starts with the statement of the Daily Miracle, “You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. A highly singular commodity, showered upon you in a manner as singular as the commodity itself!”

He points out that, “The supply of time, though gloriously regular, is cruelly restricted.”

As Steve Jobs said, “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”

Bennett points out the ways we can choose to waste time, and as this was in pre-screen days we have much more to choose from in 2020. He encourages the reader to make small but gradual changes to avoid early failures and to be happy with small victories.

If you are struggling with time management and want to take things back to fundamentals, this small book will make you think and provide sound advice for you to adapt to your needs.

There’s a good summary on Wikipedia.

Available from The Book Depository.

10/2020

 

 

The Weekend Read – The E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

On the inside cover of my copy I see that I bought this in February 2001 – it was first published in 1995 and I wish I had read it even earlier than that, it would have saved me much pain and heartache and probably saved me a small fortune.

Its subscript describes the book, “Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It”. This is one of THE books (possibly THE one book) that anybody contemplating going into business for themselves should read, and then re-read.

I return to it every couple of years, it is packed with wisdom and sound advice. It is invaluable.

One review says, “Gerber points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business.” and continues…“shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business, whether or not it is a franchise.”

I quote below from Sam T Davies’s review which you can read on his website HERE and where you will find reviews of other good business books.

The Book in Three Sentences

  1. Most small business owners work in their business rather than on their business.
  2. People who are exceptionally good in business are so because of their insatiable need to know more.
  3. Understanding the technical work of a business does not mean you understand a business that does that technical work.

The Five Big Ideas

  1. “If you are unwilling to change, your business will never be capable of giving you what you want.”
  2. That Fatal Assumption: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work.
  3. The Entrepreneurial Seizure occurs the moment you decide it would be a great idea to start your own business.
  4. “Everybody who goes into business is actually three-people-in-one: The Entrepreneur, The Manager, and The Technician.”
  5. We all have an Entrepreneur, Manager, and Technician inside us.

The E-Myth Revisited Summary

  • Michael believes that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.
  • “If you are unwilling to change, your business will never be capable of giving you what you want.”
  • That Fatal Assumption: if you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work.
  • The Entrepreneurial Seizure: the moment you decide it would be a great idea to start your own business.
  • The technician suffering from an Entrepreneurial Seizure takes the work he loves to do and turns it into a job.
  • “Everybody who goes into business is actually three-people-in-one: The Entrepreneur, The Manager, and The Technician.”

You can buy the book from The Book Depository HERE

2020/3

Stupid behaviour – Gillian Tett – The Silo Effect

“Why do humans working in modern institutions collectively act in ways that sometimes seem stupid?

Why do normally clever people fail to see risk and opportunities that are subsequently blindingly obvious?

Why, as Daniel Kahneman, the psychologist put it, are we sometimes so ‘blind to our own blindness’?”

– The Silo Effect, page ix

Read more here

Book Depository

2020/2

Sleep isn’t for Wimps.

I had a nickname in my first year at university – “The Midnight Rambler” – I didn’t sleep very well and used to wander around the halls of residence looking for people with their lights on to share a coffee and have a chat. (I suppose the coffee was a clue…)

I finally got around to reading “Why we sleep” by Malcolm Walker and wish it had been compulsory reading 40 years ago, I might have had a more productive life rather than a more manic one. I grew through a period where it was considered macho to go without sleep, I remember the plastic surgery firm at Withington Hospital boasting at 11pm how they had been in theatre all day and were just about to go back there. I always said that I needed less sleep than others – in hindsight I was wrong.

Walker talks about productivity and the effect that sleep (or its lack) has on it. He quotes this article and makes the point that KPIs in most companies are measuring things that are easy to measure – revenue, goals accomplished, profit, new customers etc. Most of these are affected by employee traits creativity, intelligence, motivation, effort, efficiency, effectiveness, sociability, emotional stability and honesty. All of these are systematically dismantled by insufficient sleep.

Would you let a surgeon who had only had 4 hours sleep operate on you? I wouldn’t. 

Would you let a woman who only slept for four hours a night run a country? I wouldn’t do that either.

It’s a great book that will frighten you and convince you to make an early night and sufficient sleep a part of your routine.

Buy it HERE.

 

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