Reading for Success

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_B5nNZ6dCV3s/THSFyvl8BqI/AAAAAAAAR88/07j3h4jYD14/s1600/1)+Mouse+can+often+be+found+with+her+nose+in+a+book.JPGRunning a business means two more things more than just doing the work of the business.  First, it means actually running the business: HR, payroll, office stuff, etc.  I dig this kind of stuff because I think of it in terms of systems and enjoy having a role in making those systems and making them better.

Second, it means sales.  Ruh roh.  Not that I don't like networking and making the case and closing the deal.  In fact, I quite enjoy these tasks.  It's just that, as an introvert, I find them incredibly tiring.  So I do them, but I need to make sure I recharge afterwards. 

Usually, that recharging is through reading books.  There's something about the silence and solitude of reading that is comforting, energizing, and fulfilling for the introvert.

What a pleasant surprise, then, to read in The Economist earlier this month that business leaders ought to do more solitary reading.  The article takes a dim view of what often counts as personal development for the business leader: inane retreats, gab fests, and pep talks by the industry's latest gurus.  It argues instead for time with Plato, Confucious, and Dostoyevsky.  It elevates Gates and Welch for carving out time to read and think without interruption.  And it touches on this contemporary notion of "mindfulness," which is usually some combination of meditation, centeredness, and deep breathing.

At last, some business advice I can get behind.  So, I'll still go out and press the flesh some evenings.  But, other evenings, when I crawl into bed and put my nose between the pages, I can consider that time well spent too.
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