Books, and more: How do you choose what’s next?

December 29, 2009

It’s quite obvious that I spend an exorbitant amount of my time reading. Going through a book or two a week I’m often asking myself the “Which book should I read next?” question. Finishing a book last night, I started thinking this morning about my thought process in picking my next one. So why is this process important? Because of the importance I place on what I do AFTER I’ve read the book.

I read because of the concepts I learn, the characters I meet, and the ideas I generate. I read for entertainment. I read because of the content I’m then able to teach to others. And I read all sorts of things – fluffy non-fiction, novels, business non-fiction, motivational parables, nutrition books, financial books, biographies, and on and on and on. If I pick the wrong book for rightnow, I will have to force myself through it. I won’t learn as much, I won’t remember as much, and it surely won’t be as enjoyable.

After all, how can I move my business forward if I’m not taking the best advantage of my time reading new things? If I’m not really learning? The answer: I can’t.

And I’m not one who likes wasting time. :)


There is a time for each book and I have to accept the fact that sometimes I simply don’t feel like reading about a frustrated business man climbing a mountain but am totally feeling a fluffy autobiography about a wonderfully goofy, depressed, mommy-blogger. You can’t fight it.

It’s kind of like what I’ve heard my Dad say for ages about his golf swing. In the moments before you take your swing you run every, single tip and reminder and new instruction through your head about how to attack the ball, all of the logical stuff. And then you promptly flush it all out of your mind, think NO thoughts, take a deep breath, and swing away.

Review all of your considerations, think logically. But in the end you just have to go with what comes naturally.

Because if you don’t? It won’t work. You’ll fumble, things won’t go smoothly, and you will most definitely not get the result for which you’d hoped.

Sometimes I know which book is next before I even walk up to the bookshelf. Other times I stand and stare and mull it over for a few moments until the answer pops out. Once in a while I have to pick out four or five and consider them separately. But every time I consider all sorts of things…am I going to hear an author speak in the near future and want to make sure I’ve read their work…did I recently read the first book in a series and want to immediately follow-up with the second…am I tired today and want to read something light and entertaining…which book has been sitting on the shelf the longest…am I working on a project a specific book might help complete…

…you get the point. It’s a quick process but a surprisingly important one that can affect your business more than you think.

And you know what? This process could relate to practically any decision.


So, what say you? Do you think your reading choices (whether they’re books, magazines, websites, blogs, etc) impact your business?

Disclosure: Links are Amazon affiliates.

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  • Rod

    After catching up with Twitter every morning I have the sometimes daunting and always overwhelming problem of TOO MANY TABS open on my browser, (and yes that did need to be shouted) and I never know where to start. There is so much information out there and my problem is, I want it all. Lately I have had no time for physical books because blogs and news articles dominate my research day. For the last couple of weeks though, I have forced myself to slow down and only read what will impact my business in the now and bookmark those that I may need later down the road.
    So to answer your initial question…absolutely the things you choose to read impact your business. Like you mentioned, there is no better way to learn new techniques, collect perspective from those who have done it before, or even unwind and forget the stress of business thereby helping you to jump back in the frey. My 2010 will consist of more books in hand though, I miss not staring into a screen sometimes.

    • Annie Sorensen

      Hey Rod, I think choosing what to consume and learn next is as important to plan as every other part of our day. I agree with you, I often have found myself overwhelmed with information that I end up consuming info that's not necessarily on the top of my list of priorities! Slowing down and taking a step back for a brief moment? Definitely a must.

  • Leader4hire

    Looking back at this year, I read somewhere between 30 and 40 non fiction (business related) books and maybe 10 fiction (entertainment) books.

    Most of the books I've read I have actually purchased, but I also check out books from the library (yep, the library). For Christmas and birthday (in November), I told everyone that might care that if they felt inclined to give me a gift, they should give me a Barnes and Noble gift card. In November I purchased 7 books from birthday money. The day after Christmas, I purchased 13 books. These books range from marketing to sales and media to leadership, business success and online. Early this year – in February I purchased about 10 books at once.

    So, I guess looking backwards, it seems that I buy books in bulk based on what I “know” I need to read. The individual purchases through out the year and the trips to the library are the books I “feel” like reading at that moment. So I would say that I view my reading two ways – planned educational reading (bulk purchases) and impromptu impulse educational reading based on a current topic or interest.

    I read too many (and not enough) blogs and tweets and status updates. I'm like Rod too, where I have too many browsers open at one time. I also seem to exhibit OCD too by delicious bookmarking anything and everything that catches my eye.

    In short, reading absolutely impacts my business decisions – but only because I feed myself books that can grow my business mind. Somehow I just dont think Harry Potter is going to 'really' improve my sales skills or my marketing mojo…

    Leaders are readers.


    • Annie Sorensen

      Leaders are most DEFINITELY readers. Every, single one. Thx, Justin!

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  • Travis Lusk

    I read a lot of online stuff. Not so much traditional books, but a lot of blogs, online mags, etc.

    They constantly spark ideas for me, and I try to do them/write about them. So yeah, I'd say they impact my business.

    I think it's foolish not to if your in the online space.

    • Annie Sorensen

      “I think it's foolish not to if you're in the online space.” <– Online space, or any business space…don't you think?

  • Pingback: Justin McCullough's Book List for 2009

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