Tips for Getting the Most from Reading Business Books

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Reading business books is a great way to take control of your own personal development. Here are some tips for getting the most from that reading.

Have a plan. You'll get more out of your reading if it has a purpose. For me, that means a goal of some kind and records so you can track how you're doing.

Start with books that others have found useful. Here are four lists for inspiration.

Todd Sattersten: "Starting Your Personal Reading Program."

Bret Simmons: "So you want to be a good leader? These books should help."

Michael McKinney: "Classic Leadership Books."

I've done several lists over the years, but one that seems to fit well with the lists above is "Influential Books by Management Gurus."

Read about the book before you read the book. Reading reviews in the business press or on Amazon can enrich your learning. If you read good reviews, one of three things may happen.

You'll discover that the reviews have told you everything you need. You'll decide that the book is not a good investment of time and effort right now. You'll be prepared to get more from the books you choose to read.

Take notes. Notes help you remember the important things. I suggest keeping a list of key points with page numbers. Put that in the front of the book when you're done and you'll have a quick review handy whenever you need it.

If you're not getting what you want from a book you're reading, stop reading it. Move on to another book that gives you value. Life is too short to waste reading books that don't help in some way.

Share what you learn. Recommend books that impress you to others. You can do that in the comments to this post.

 Other Posts on Reading Business Books

Crafting Your Personal Development Plan

Finding Good Business Books to Read

Starting Your Personal Reading Program

Wally's Working Supervisor's Support Kit is a collection of information and tools to help working supervisors do a better job. It's based on what Wally's learned in over twenty years of supervisory skills training. Click here to check it out.

 

 

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  • 4/7/2010 4:18 PM Marci Johnson wrote:
    Greetings Wally! I enjoyed this post. As a lifelong learner, I can confirm that your tips are right on target.

    I would, however, add one more to your list.... don't just limit your reading to the popular press business books. Why?

    I was always very good about reading the latest business books that were being touted in the press. And as a result, I thought that I was doing a pretty good job of keeping up with developments in the leadership industry.

    That lasted right up until I started back to school last time. Once I started reading some of the academic press related to leadership, I realized that I had been missing out on some significant developments -- simply because the popular press wasn't covering them.

    So, the one item I would add to your list of tips is: include popular press publications AND academic publications in your intential and thoughtful reading list.

    Cheers!

    Dr. J
    www.executivespot.blogspot.com
    Reply to this
    1. 4/9/2010 7:39 AM Wally Bock wrote:

      Excellent point, Marci. There's actually a progression you can follow if you want to pick up business/leadership trends early. Academic journals have things first. Then more popular academic journals like the Harvard Business Review or the Sloan Management Review. After that you see the topic showing up on blogs, in tweets and in books.


      Reply to this
  • 4/7/2010 5:09 PM Angie Cervantes wrote:
    I agree about reading books that others recommend. Here are just a few of my favorites:

    1-Linchpin by Seth Godin - If you feel the need to be proactive, think of new & creative ways to solve problems and don't see the sky as the limit but as a short term goal, you're a Linchpin. And if you're not a Linchpin now, you need to be. Workplace rules and structure are changing and the new wave of success will be among innovative and fearless go-getters. Don't let yourself be just another cog in the wheel.

    2-The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell: In short this book explains how small changes can make a HUGE impact.

    3-Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson: Often times new businesses are run by enthusiastic, intelligent experts in a field that is setting out to make a difference with what they know. But usually they don't have a clue about marketing. How are customers going to find you? This book gives great insight into the necessary steps to market effectively and reasonably on any budget.
    Reply to this
    1. 4/9/2010 7:40 AM Wally Bock wrote:

      Thanks for sharing those, Angie.


      Reply to this
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