July 16, 2013
Skip the Cliffnotes. I wish I didn't read cliff notes all through high school and college or just skip around and never finish the entire book. Taking it a step further, I wish I took notes and created an archive of those notes to every book I read so I could refer back to it and get the main points. (Derek Sivers has an awesome list online here ). I first thought about this when I was in Amsterdam. I was in the Anne Frank house having a look but could not remember anything about the story besides the basics. I know I was required to read it in high school, but I probably just read the sparknotes and surely did not read it cover to cover. It would have been handy to have an outline or notes to whip out and review before the visit.
Read Early and Often. I wish I would have read more when I was younger. (See Skip the Cliffnotes above). I read books for leisure very occasionally through high school and college. I only started reading for personal enrichment during my senior year of college when I had a lighter course load. I think the knowledge you get from reading (or any new skill or technique) scales over time. I actually read about that idea somewhere. So the sooner you pick it up, the bigger impact it will have on your life if you use that skill or knowledge every day. Much like the time value of money where interest creates its own interest over time and you reap bigger rewards.
Best Deal in Life. You can get someone's work over 1,2,or 10 years condensed into a book for 10 dollars. Actually, I just bought 5 books today for $7.50 at a goodwill store. I may never read them but who really cares because I just got 1000 pages of knowledge for less than a subway footlong (they are about 8 bucks here in OZ, I miss 5 dollar footlongs). I think the mere fact that I have them on my bookshelf makes me feel smarter and offsets that $7.50.
Winners Read. The best guys in their field read. Every boss I have had or upper level manager read more than anyone who worked under them. I just listened to ultramarathon legend Scott Jurek's book, Eat and Run. In it he talks about reading every imaginable book on performing in endurance sport and healthy diet (he is now a vegan). Dean Karnazes said once he reads 200 books a year. He is a flawless human being though. Tim Ferris, mega internet personality who wrote 3 best sellers said in a podcast that he reads 2-3 books per week. I don't think these guys are watching TV for 4 hours a day either. It doesn't matter what line of business they are in - copper mining, running ultramarathons, or writing NY times best sellers- or even what they read- the best in their field just read.
Something that I don't do enough of is read. I wish I read more but I tend to prioritize other things like work, going for a run, or getting more sleep.
Picture is me, doing a pull up, looking out a window. Fremantle.