So, how do you stop and think in this too-much-information-to-assimilate-all-at-once world?
You spend a day – a full day – focused on one book.
And, what books do you focus on for a full day?
Books that have “stood the test of time.” Not necessarily “really old books,” but books that have been around long enough that they they have earned our respect and attention.
And, why would you focus all day on one book? Because a well-written book deserves undivided attention, and if carefully paid attention to, there is a chance that you might “get it,” implement it, and become far more effective.
I thought of all this as I read about another brilliant practice led by Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon). One begins to think this guy may be some kind of business genius. I previously posted about his practice of having his S-team (his executive team) members read the same document, in silence, with pen in hand, for the first 30 minutes of their meetings. They then discuss what they have read in silence. (Start your Meetings with Silent Reading of Shared Documents; Paper Documents! – A Brilliant Practice from Jeff Bezos).
Now I read that for his executive team retreat this summer, the retreat revolved around three books – one full day per book.
And what books did he choose. Not three “new” books, but three modern day business “classics.”
From Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Had his Top Execs Read these Three Books by Jon Fortt:
This summer he (Bezos) spent time at Lab126, a Silicon Valley outpost about a mile from Apple headquarters where Amazon engineers hash out hardware designs. And he also hosted three all-day book clubs with Amazon’s top executives, capped by nice dinners at the end. Bezos said he used the books as frameworks for sketching out the future of the company.
Which books? Bezos was kind enough to share the titles:
The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker
The Innovator’s Solution by Clayton Christensen
The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt
They are, of course, available on Amazon.
Now, let’s look at the publication dates for these three books:
The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker — first published in 1967
The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen — first publiushed in 1997
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox — first published in 1984
Get away from distractions for three days. Spend one full day per book. And let these discussions help you sketch out the future of your company. Sounds like a smart move to me.
Here is a blog post I wrote about The Goal: “The fat kid is the bottleneck!” – (Eli Goldratt’s The Goal, and a thought about expertise). And here, in another post, are my takeaways from The Goal: The Goal: Business Success is no Accident: Here are the 5 Steps – My Takeaways from The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
The Effective Executive and The Innovator’s Dilemma were both published before we began the First Friday Book Synopsis, so we have not presented synopses of these books. (We started our monthly event in April, 1998). The Goal was also published before we started our event, but I did “go back, and pick up” The Goal, and presented my synopsis of it in August, 2012. You can purchase my synopsis of The Goal, with my multi-page, comprehensive handout plus the audio of my presentation at our companion site, 15minutebusinessbooks.com.