To Read or Not to Read…that is the question

books
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

I am a consummate reader.

I come from a family of readers. My husband comes from a family of readers. Our children had their own library cards long before they were even enrolled in school. It must run in the family.

My brother and I went to the local library (in our pyjamas I’m ashamed to admit) with Dad every Monday night when he came home from work, while Mum was making the dinner. Once we had chosen our books we went and played on the swings until Dad had enough to get him and Mum through the week.

Now I have another confession. I currently have five books on the go. Four are hard copies and one is electronic. And not one of them is a murder mystery, a Russian classic, a biography or one of Oprah’s bookclub short-list, which are genres that I love. I generally keep these for holidays or over my Christmas break.

Some of the authors in the first two favourite genres are David Baldacci, Lynda La Plante, Clive Cussler, Tolstoy, Doestoevsky (don’t you love how the classical writers only need a surname). But frankly, I’ll read anything.

As a child, when the cereal were on the breakfast table, I would have read every word on the back of the box. Before smart phones, if I was stuck in the car waiting for something, I’d pull the car manual out of the glove box and read that.

I love the quote credited to Mark Twain in “Thoughts on the Business of Life” section of Forbes magazine in 1948,

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them”.

But is my retention top notch? I have to say no. We’ve just been watching the Netflix docuseries “Inside Bill’s Brain: Bill Gates Decoded” and Bill has a satchel with 24 books in it at all times, which he carts around with him. He reads 50 books a year, and he puts me to shame with a whopping 90% retention rate.

Now I fail to understand why Bill (excuse my familiarity but I feel like I know him so much better now) carts the actual books around with him when he could have one device with thousands of books at his fingertips. These days I have books on my iPhone and my iPad, just in case I’m waiting for someone or something and I want to read.

I also have a Kindle Paperwhite, which I love. If I can’t sleep I can read without having to turn a light on, and without the further disruption to sleep that comes from regular electronic devices. I don’t know what it is that Kindle did, but there is no further sleep deprivation when using a Paperwhite.

The downside for a booklover? It takes approximately five seconds to search on a new book title, and less than one second to hit the purchase button. Then voila! New book to read in less time than it takes to say the word ‘download’.

What I am currently reading? Here’s the current five and there is a reason for all of them, which is more what I wanted to share.

The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle. [paperback]
Gifted to me at Christmas and recommended to me by a couple of people, the contents are important to what I am trying to achieve in my job.
[on Kindle]

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. [paperback]
We just did the 24 lessons of Masterclass with Malcolm. He was in our lounge for many evenings and he now feels like a friend. He is one of the most fascinating and intelligent people I’ve come across, and I just love the way he thinks and expresses himself. I’m listening to his podcast, Revisionist History, in the car. I’ve listened to him interviewed by Oprah and Russel Brand. Obsessed? Perhaps a little.
[on Kindle]

Before Happiness by Shawn Achor. [paperback]
It was Shawn who got me started on my Achieving Happiness journey, and his books are always going to have a place on my bed-side table.
[on Kindle]

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. [paperback]
This is the one I’m reading on my Kindle and I love Brené’s work. I have read many of her books, (five #1 New York Times bestsellers) but this one distils much of her research into actionable steps, ones that I want to get good at. It is about how you cultivate braver, more daring leaders and how to embed the value of courage in an organisation’s culture.
[on Kindle]

The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling. [paperback]
This book only arrived last week and I am like a junkie trying to resist the strongest urge. I have read the back cover, the testimonials and the Foreword. I absolutely know that this book is just what I have been looking for to solve a complex problem that I have. I know that 4DX is going to be part of my vocabulary. It promises to teach me how to achieve superb results. How could I resist!

Do you have the same issues as me?

What are you currently reading?

I must sign off now, as I can hear too many authors calling my name.


When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.

Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash