Reading important books – Maybe THE survival skill for the 2020s

I’ve just finished reading Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction by Thomas M. Siebel.  (I will be presenting my synopsis of this book this Friday at the September 6 First Friday Book Synopsis).Digital Transformation

Like all good books, it is both worth reading, and it is filled with references to other good books.  In other words, it gives you a quite valuable book reading list.

In this book, Mr. Siebel recommends, in the strongest terms, that leaders (executives) put together an executive reading list, and then systematically read through the books selected.  Yes, he does include his book recommendations for books related to the issue of digital transformation.

But here’s what grabbed me.  Mr. Siebel, and many other authors – and leaders — just assume that a top-level leader is reading books.
Reading serious books.
Reading serious books seriously – as a student; reading to learn — not just as a casual reader.

In other words, you’ve got some learning to do — learning from reading serious books — and it will be a real mistake to not tackle such learning assignments.

Reading important books may be the overlooked survival skill.

I’m not surprised to realize his.  I have been reading important books for a very long time.  We are in the 22nd year of our First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas.  Each month, I read two important, carefully selected books, and prepare multi-page, comprehensive synopsis handouts for each.  I try to help my audience understand the key lessons and the key takeaways from each book.

But, as diligently as I try to share what I’ve learned form these books, I know that I understand them more deeply because of how carefully and thoroughly I read them.  I read every word – slowly.  And then, I go through my dozens of pages of highlighted passages, preparing my synopsis handouts.

And, I think I have learned a thing of two from all the books I have read.

What about you?  Do you have a reading stack?  Are the books carefully selected?  Are you systematic in your book reading?  Are you current; maybe slightly ahead of others in your understanding, because of the books you read?

This much I know:  this is not a good time to fall behind.  Reading important books may be the overlooked survival skill.  You’ve probably got some more reading to do…


Second Machine AgeOne of the books Mr. Siebel recommends highly is The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.  He says:  “This is a visionary work that addresses art of the possible. Motivating and inspiring.” I agree.  You can purchase my synopsis of this terrific book by clicking here.  (And click here for our newest synopses available).

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