If you’re like me, you are following people online who are having the kind of success you want to have. You probably listen to podcasts too. In all of this it’s nearly impossible to not hear one book recommendation after another. Sometimes, they hit home and sometimes they just feel like a “good idea” to read at some point. How do you decide what makes your reading list and, more importantly, what order are you going to read them in? Let me share with you some thoughts about something I’ve tried (and failed) and see if we can come up with a sane reading plan that keeps you moving forward in your life and business.
Amazon Wish List
When I first started listening to Entrepreneur On Fire I was thrilled because he always asks for a resource to recommend. Most times this was a book. Because I am a perpetual learner, I wanted to find a place to put these books so I could review them later. The Amazon Wish List was born. I would put anything on my list I thought I needed to read. I think you know where this is heading, right?
After only six months, I found I had more books on this list than I could probably read in two years! It’s not that I didn’t edit real-time or just put everything on there either. If somebody I’d like to have as a mentor recommended something I would ask myself first if I thought I would ever read it and then it would make the list.
Here’s why that criteria failed and what you can do about it.
Will It Help You Now?
This is the lesson I learned from somebody (sorry I don’t remember the reference) about how to decide if anything (book, podcast, article, webinar, etc.) should make it into your field of view. Are you trying to improve your productivity? A book on finance or split testing is probably NOT what you need to be reading right now. This should be the acid test for any media you’re thinking of consuming. Will it help me, NOW?
I know there are tons of books I WILL need to read at some point. The key here is looking at where you are and what your NEXT STEP is. Then, you can decide if that media will help you accomplish your next step. If it will, by all means read/listen/watch/consume it ASAP. If not, well, that’s the real beauty of the Amazon Wish List.
Every month, you should go out to that list put the books that will help you right now at the top of the list. This will be your de facto reading plan. If your priorities change that month, go back to your list. At no point should you be spending your valuable time reading, watching or listening to something that doesn’t help you complete the task you’re on. There is an exception to this I will note in a few minutes. For now, just try to keep your wish list ordered and relevant to your current number one priority.
My Wish List Reboot
Besides the sheer number of books I had added, my first attempt at the Amazon Wish List failed because I never went back and reviewed them in terms of my current goals. That made it nothing more than an unwieldy list of “shoulda’s” if you take my meaning. Worse, a list of all the things you haven’t done is NEVER a good motivator. Quite the opposite in fact. Most of us get very discouraged when we start focusing on what hasn’t been done instead of celebrating what we have accomplished. So, build your list starting with your current goals and review it at least every month to make sure your list is supporting you and not shooting you in the foot.
I’ve since gone back and made a gallant attempt at taming the tiger. I’ve removed a bunch of books I know I’ll never read, moved the most relevant ones to the top and cut out another bunch that have been on the list for more than a year. Won’t stuff fall through the cracks? What I’ve noticed is the things you really need to be consuming will find a way to keep coming up and will get back on the list at the appropriate time. Keeping something on a gigantic list is not a way to make sure it gets consumed. In fact, you’re much more likely to overlook it this way than just keeping your eyes and ears open for the media you need when you’re working on a specific goal. Does this make sense?
The Notable Exception
I may catch some flack for this but I don’t care. You should NEVER only read nonfiction. Reading books about how to do something is the lifeblood of the entrepreneur BUT the biggest successes will tell you to work in some fiction whenever you can. Why? Because it stimulates creativity by allowing your mind to focus on anything but what you NEED to do next. This opens all kinds of creative channels and can make your life easier when it comes to your writing or building or whatever pursuit that requires bigger picture, non-linear thinking. I would recommend placing at least one work of fiction on your reading list per month. Your mind and business will thank you for it!
Do You Have A Reading Plan?
I’d love to hear what has worked and not worked for YOU! Please leave me a comment and tell me how you’ve been able to use your reading plan to help you move forward in your life and business. If you enjoyed this article, please share it on your favorite social media platform using the buttons at the bottom of this post.
Have a great week,