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Since Peli posted about something on his reading list, I thought I would follow suit, only I want you all to give me something to read.
Here's the deal:
I don't really care about business. I REALLY don't. Most of the time, when I read business articles, it's a struggle to keep my eyes from rolling back into my head. Mergers, acquisitions, tax-dodging shenanigans, etc....ugh.
You might be saying to yourself, "why is this chick going to business school? And why on earth did they let her in?'
Well, first, I never told them how much I don't care. Second, I really do want to learn these skills -- marketing, negotiation, leadership, accounting, finance, etc. I want to learn them and then apply them in my world, 'cause lord knows most nonprofits need a little management help. (Or big-bad-biz needs some help being a little nicer.)
I compare it to taking the bicycle repair class I took a few years ago. Mostly, I was broke and wanted to know how to patch my own tubes, change out my hubs, and adjust my derailleur. It's useful knowledge, and I am still friends with the people I met in that class. However, I don't talk about bikes or how they work and I couldn't care less about buying fancy parts. I certainly don't read magazine articles about 'em either.
As you can imagine, I am a bit worried about getting immersed into all of this stuff and being so bored I want to poke out my own eyes with the prongs of my laptop's power cord.
So can you guys recommend anything to read that might interest me? Might make me want to learn more?
(And don't yell at me. I know. I'm not saying that what you do isn't valuable, it's just that it doesn't light me up.)
I think The World Is Flat is a pretty good place to start. The guy who wrote it is NOT a business writer, he's a journalist, so the writing is really engaging. There are parts that may bore you when he gets into some of the endless examples of modern supply-chains and whatnot, but for the most part it's an amazingly compact little gem that gives you the holistic answer to, "What the hel is going on with the world right now?" viewed through a political/social/business lens. I'm probably making it sound boring, but it's really good.
I think for the most part "business books" are boring. The books most people cite like Liars Poker and Den of Thieves are more like old war stories, not really like you would learn much about business from those (you'd learn a little about business history I suppose). I think social-science books like The World is Flat and just reading anything that you find interesting in the Wall Street Journal is the best way to go.
I saw an article yesterday on BW about a Cornell professor that just came out with a book on economics based on stories about real world economic enigmas. Like, where are there braille markings on drive-through terminals.
I thought it might be a interesting way to get a feel for economics - for people that are bored by studying economics.
Yeah, he was on a local radio show here....I didn't catch a lot of it 'cause I was in and out of the room with the radio, but he sounded interesting and readable.
Though I have to say, I am less worried about econ; I love econ, especially macro stuff. I think I'm actually most worried about finance. Do you guys ever read Allan Sloan? He writes a biz column for Newsweek, and most of the time I think he's speaking ancient Greek. Huh? What? Sometimes I even try really hard to follow the mechanations of what he's describing, but I usually give up.
I suggest a different approach: read The Economist.
You can tackle one article at a time and the content is more varied than hardcore business. There's sociology, book reviews, a summary of affairs by region, etc. I'm a strong enthusiast of The Economist. I started reading it about 4 years ago and I read it regularly now.
I also have a friend who graduated from Stanford's MBA program and he said that to keep up with current affairs you needn't read the WSJ, FT or any of the daily newspapers. You could just read The Economist and the Harvard Business Review and you'd be up to speed with any discussion on current affairs.
Aaudetat, you should try on "Winning" of Jack Welch. I really enjoy reading it.
If you don't like finance, maybe should try something on marketing? They are fun and easy to read. from top of my head, "the rise of PR" of Al Ries is pretty good (some of his arguments are forcing, but there are some interesting too)
After reading for a while, I think I should take a class on speed reading or learn how to improve my reading efficiency. I read too slow. It usually takes me a week (20hrs) to read a book about 300-400 pages.
do you guys have any ideas how to read better?
Aaudetat, you should try on "Winning" of Jack Welch. I really enjoy reading it. If you don't like finance, maybe should try something on marketing? They are fun and easy to read. from top of my head, "the rise of PR" of Al Ries is pretty good (some of his arguments are forcing, but there are some interesting too) After reading for a while, I think I should take a class on speed reading or learn how to improve my reading efficiency. I read too slow. It usually takes me a week (20hrs) to read a book about 300-400 pages. do you guys have any ideas how to read better?
That's a good rec too, Darren. Thanks.
As for reading speed, I wonder how your speed is in Vietnamese. I am wicked-quick in English, but am super-duper slow, painfully slow, in French. I think slow reading in a second language just goes with the territory.
In Vietnamese I read very fast. The book that takes me 20hrs to read in English, if it were in Vietnamese, it would not take me more than 4hrs to read (I'm a reading addict. I began to read when I was 5).
But I really want to read faster in English too . There are too many things to read in B-school, so I will be far behind the class with my slow reading.
I think the best way to improve the speed of your reading is to stand by the side of train tracks and try to read the ads on the trains as they whiz by. In time, you'll be able to read very quickly.
Just kidding (was that even funny?) If you're a quick reader in your native language then I assume your slower reading speed in English isn't because you don't have the right technique, but rather you haven't read anyhwere near the volume of material in English that you have in Vietnamese. That said, there are techniques taught in many speed-reading courses (such as looking at words in large "clumps" rather than just one, two, or three at a time) that may help.
I would suggest reading a book by Norman Lewis. I think the title is "How to read better and faster". I read it a decade ago during college. The title is quite cheesy and sounds like a video professor title on home shopping network. However, the tips and techniques suggested helped me develop lifelong good reading habits.
In Vietnamese I read very fast. The book that takes me 20hrs to read in English, if it were in Vietnamese, it would not take me more than 4hrs to read (I'm a reading addict. I began to read when I was 5). But I really want to read faster in English too . There are too many things to read in B-school, so I will be far behind the class with my slow reading.