If you intend to build your business, it’s important that you keep your head well fed. I do this in a variety of ways, including reading, watching informative video podcasts, listening to audiobooks, attending events, connecting with intelligent people, and testing out ideas in various labs.
The other day I released my Escape Velocity Bookshelf, as yet another effort to help give you ideas on what to read. You can click into the bookshelf, but don’t forget to check the comments on the post, as there’s even more meat there.
When I want to learn the best in Internet marketing, I spend more time with Third Tribe. The people in there (the not me people), are so smart, have so many ideas, and because there are thousands of them, they can “lab” some of my ideas for me without me having to try each one out. They are always trying, always pushing, and it’s powerful stuff. I’m getting more out of Third Tribe than I am most conferences I attend. Why? Because we can engage and iterate. Speaking is just hearing something and taking notes. (However, events are much better for making new relationships and starting business.) I wrote about pulling value from your investments already.
WHAT to Eat
This is the thing. I think that marketers tend to read too many marketing blogs. I think that social media types stay too wrapped up in each other’s work.
We need to branch out. We have to read stuff way outside the norm. We have to go back and read the old basics. I found more meat in Think and Grow Rich (amazon affiliate link) than in most modern self-help books. The past is still alive and well, especially if you’re good at extrapolating and applying.
That’s the secret trick, by the way. You can’t just read what’s on the page, or listen to what’s on the podcast. You have to try and extract it from the direct story they’re telling and see if there’s a frame you can apply to what you’re doing. For instance, in reading How to Get Rich (amazon affiliate link) by Felix Dennis, I learned a lot about his business, but then I immediately set to extracting parts of his ideas and applying them to the tasks at hand.
So, when faced with WHAT to eat, consider finding things far afield of what your main focus would normally suggest. What could you learn about your business by reading the biographies of Olympic-level athletes? What could you learn about your business from reading stories of 1900s Russia? How could you find a whole new perspective by reading books about how China might not be as big a factor as people think in tomorrow’s economy?
Change Your Head
I’ve been reading books that push my comfort zone. Lately, that’s been about money and wealth. I used to hate these books. I still feel a bit weird about reading them. And yet, when I read them, I see a VERY different perspective than my old perspective, which was very much informed by being a cubicle farmer. When I read Winning by Jack Welch, I started to realize that not everyone could be saved, that some employees had to go. Before that, I thought everyone had to be saved. But changing jobs is part of growth.
If you read from your own perspective all the time, you’ll certainly reinforce what you already know. If you read from outside your comfort zone, watch the other side of the coin’s TV news, read materials from other countries about their own country, but more interestingly about your own, you’ll see things you never thought about before. It’s almost a given.
Whatever you do, keep branching out. Keep finding ways to bring in new material to inform your opinion. Keep learning and spreading and sharing information that’s not the norm, because if we all go out and find new things, and then share them, we’ll all grow faster and more rich in our learning.
What are you eating these days?