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Summer reading list bolsters personal, professional development

Leanne Hoagland-Smith | ~Sun-Times Media

Leanne Hoagland-Smith | ~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 19, 2011 11:00PM



With the continued strides or rather leaps in technology, there is a plethora of ways to expand your mind and for some they may never have to go to the library again. Of course, I still enjoy the library as an oasis in a crazy busy world where silence reigns, calm returns and focus reappears.

Since 2008, I have shared a recommended summer reading list of 12 books that are worth your time to read. These titles have ranged from leadership to sales to customer service to even self improvement.

For those who want to stay ahead of the flow, having a professional development plan that includes reading one book per month is no longer an option, but a requirement. Of course the second challenge after reading any book is implementing just one idea from that book. For knowledge alone is not power. Applied knowledge is where true power lies.

Here is my fourth annual summer reading list, again to help you stay ahead of the flow.

1. “The Art of Possibility,” by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander

2. “Tell to Win,” by Peter Gruber

3. “The Stuff of Thought,” by Steven Pinker

4. “Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude,” by Jeff Gitomer

5. “People Buy You,” by Jeb Blount

6. “Working with Emotional Intelligence,” by Daniel Goleman

7. “Coaching for Emotional Intelligence,” by Bob Wall

8. “Primal Leadership Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence,” by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee

9. “Thinking Inside the Box,” by Kirk Cheyfitz

10. “Power Speak,” by Dorothy Leeds

11. “Your Destiny Switch,” by Peggy McColl

12. “Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty,” by Ram Charan

As I have written in the past, if you are thinking you do not have time to expand your knowledge, to stay ahead of the flow, then ask yourself this question? Do you waste 12 minutes in any 8-hour workday? Actual productivity research suggests the actual wasted time is around one hour. What this means is you have a least one hour per week to read because this wasted time does not cover the other 8 hours in your day nor weekends.

Possibly putting together a reading schedule based upon the length of the book and your own time commitments might help. Business books range in words between 30,000 and 60,000. The average per minute reading speed is between 250 and 500 words. This translates into a couple of hours for a quick book (30,000 words), such as “The Little Gold Book of Yes!” A longer book might require 4 to 6 to even 8 hours.

By the way, did you know the human brain retains only 2 percent after 16 days when exposed to a one-time learning event. Space repetition or practice is required to actually remember more. By rereading, highlighting or making notes in books, you can increase your cognitive (memory) retention. With the Kindle software, you can electronically engage in those same actions. Another way is to write a short book review for your own purpose to help remind you of any key points.

To keep me on top of my reading list, I have a book in the car for those times when I am early to a meeting, stuck in traffic or waiting for the passing of a train. It is truly amazing how grabbing 5 minutes here or there can support your goal to finish a book.

Reading, like following up on all sales leads, is a habit developed through self-discipline. You are 100% control of all actions you take or fail to take. The real question is can you afford not to read (take no action) since many of your competitors are probably reading more than you are?

Not liking to read is not longer an acceptable excuse. There are audio versions available for many books.

In today’s marketplace, idle minds will not stay ahead of the information and knowledge flow and will lose to their competitors.

P.S. Shout Out to all libraries in Lake and Porter counties where you can find not only good books, but some quiet time to enjoy reading them.



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