Have you been looking for the next course, Forbes article or nugget of info to improve yourself and get that extra 5 percent out of yourself at your job? You’re probably not the only one, and learning and development is being valued now more than ever within organisations. However, an easy way to improve yourself substantially is to read. And when I say read, I mean read books!
Books are fantastic avenues for information and guidance when you are facing a problem. Now I realise that sounds quite obvious, but in the modern day we often talk about ‘not having time’ to read books because they are quite lengthy. The idea of reading may harbour images of having to gruel your way through a 600 page academic text book and send shivers down your spine. (For me it reminds me of my history undergrad reading Annales history where they wrote about everything that happened, including detailing the adjacent trees…!)
Fortunately, lots of excellent, valuable and easy-to-read books are available at a click of a button. Better yet, they can be an extremely cost-effective way of learning, and in the long run will save you time by teaching you before you make those mistakes! Plenty of books written by subject matter experts such as in psychology and business now realise that the key to their book sales is not to build more jargon and awkward unintelligible theoretical concepts, but rather make it reader-friendly and useful for the general-interest reader.
When looking at your personal development you may have eyed up some great sounding courses, only to note the eye-watering costs that are four and even five digit figures, particularly from renowned figures. However, those figures often release their own books which detail the same information (and often more!) which can be accessed for £10-20. Granted, workshops are a great experience and there are things you will gain from them that you won’t get from a book, but often the main crux or learning point will be the same. And often, the workshop will point you towards the book as additional learning anyway.
Better yet, in the era of e-books and self publishing it is easier than ever to find a book that can greatly help you with issues you are facing. For example, are you a new manager? There are hundreds of great, short e-books that give you a fantastic crash-course on good management and bad management (that’s how I certainly learnt my chops!) More recently, I’ve wanted to learn a bit about website design and digital marketing. Rather than spending countless hours or so in trial and error to figure this out, I bought a few easy to read e-books to quickly understand the main things I needed to. Whilst the £20 or so was a bit of an investment, the accumulative knowledge I gained probably saved me 50+hours of time!
So what are you going to go read? It would be great to know about some of the books you have read that have helped drive forward your career!