To Read Or Not To Read

A Busy Person’s Guide to Reading

“You are the same today that you are going to be five years from now except for two things: the people with whom you associate and the books you read.”  – Charles Jones

Who has time to read? I mean, I am running a business, a family, a life. I work from home so my commute time (which used to be filled with conference calls, podcasts, audiobooks and NPR) is now non-existent.

Don’t get me wrong: I love to read. Self-improvement books are my go-to. I live to learn. But who has time now? I have had a book sitting by my bed for months, unopened. When visitors come over it makes me look cultured. I swap it out every so often so if the same friends come by they’ll think I’ve moved on to new topics.

Sound familiar? This year I was looking into a well-known audio book subscription thinking THAT might help me when an ad popped up (I think on Facebook) that piqued my interest. It touted: “Key insights from 2000+ bestselling nonfiction books, transformed into powerful packs you can read or listen to in just 15 minutes.”

Audio cliff notes for my self-help books? Sign me up.

The app is called BLINKIST. It’s incredibly simple to use.

Download the app to your smartphone and you can listen or read a book for free a day. If you want more than one book a day, you can purchase a subscription and even download to your Kindle. I went all in for a yearly rate – no regrets. I have a queue of books I want to read/listen to and every time I am in the car for more than 15 minutes I click on the app and it plays the next book in my queue. When I am traveling/flying I enjoy reading the Blinks too.

Here’s just a sample of books I “read” this year:

  • 59 Seconds, Richard Wiseman
  • A Very English Scandal, John Preston
  • An Invisible Thread, Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski
  • Catch Me If You Can, Frank Abagnale and Stan Redding
  • Da Vinci’s Ghost, Toby Lester
  • Flat Earth News, Nick Davies
  • Get Smart!, Brian Tracy
  • Getting Things Done, David Allen
  • How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less, Nicholas Boothman
  • How to Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie
  • I’m Ok, You’re Ok, Thomas A. Harris
  • In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
  • Meetings Suck, Cameron Herold
  • Napoleon’s Buttons, Penny LeCouter & Jay Burreson
  • Nonviolent Communication, Marshall B. Rosenberg, PhD
  • Streaming, Sharing, Stealing by Michael D. Smith and Rahul Telang
  • Super Brain, Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi
  • The 10X Rule, Grant Cardone
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey
  • The Big Picture, Sean M. Carroll
  • The Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown
  • The Chimp Paradox, Prof Steve Peters
  • The Creative Habit, Twyla Tharp
  • The Four Tendencies, Gretchen Rubin
  • The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben
  • The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management, Stephen Denning
  • The Road Less Traveled, M. Scott Peck
  • The Run of His Life, Jeffrey Toobin
  • The Story of Sushi, Trevor Corson
  • What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School, Mark H. McCormack
  • Where Good Ideas Come From, Steven Johnson

And there were about 25 more – all since July! Some of these I’ve read before (7 Habits, How to Win Friends, Road Less Traveled) and I wanted a refresher. Others I now want to read the entire book because the Blink was SO GOOD.

I also like how they recommend books. I don’t have time to “figure out” what I need to be reading. They make recommendations and have books in categories such as Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Health, Science, Money, and Parenting. They even have a whole list of NYT best sellers. So there is something for everyone!

But overall, I feel like I read a lot this year! I learned a great deal about leadership, business, idea generation, innovation, and how to improve my productivity. So imagine that in 5 years if I can read 50 books a year – Mr. Jones would be proud (per his quote) and I’ll improve “who” I am!

No excuses. Start reading.