Curated Leadership for Today's World

what’s on your shelf?

Posted on 23 March 2011

Books were a constant presence in my house for as long as I can remember. I was started on the habit of reading at a very young age; so young, in fact, I think I read How to Win Friends and Influence People and The Power of Positive Thinking before I cracked open The Pokey Little Puppy and Green Eggs and Ham.

But in all seriousness, I clearly understood the criticality of reading personal development material at a very early age. After earning my degree and beginning my professional years, however, I found myself reading only things that taught me the “know how”. I read regulations when I was in the Air Force. I read technical manuals and procedures when I was in the semiconductor industry. I read contracts and policies when I was in the defense contracting world. I knew every single rule, regulation, and clause interpretation in the books.

But for all the brain smarts I packed into my head, I was not growing in wisdom; knowledge, perhaps, but not wisdom.

Just as there are people we meet who have varying degrees of impact upon us, the same is true of books. We need to read material that doesn’t just stimulate our thinking on the left or right sides of your brains; we need to read material that will stimulate our hearts. Material that will show us not only the “know-how” but the “know-why”!

So take a look at what’s on your bookshelf. Is it solely comprised of technical manuals, contractual documents, or corporate policies and handbooks? Or are there books sprinkled in between that will develop you as a leader? You can’t have one without the other to truly be effective. So make sure you are getting a balanced reading diet to ensure you’re operating at peak efficiency!

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