This month I wanted to suggest a book for those who are not readers. I realize this appears to be counterintuitive, but hear me out. I have several friends who are constantly amazed at the number of books I consume. “Where do you find the time?” they ask. Like any pursuit in life, if you enjoy it enough, you will make space in your existence for the activity.
Now please understand, this is not a criticism of those who do not have the passion for books that I do. Many of them listen to books on tape, uh, CD, uh, streaming…you get the picture. Ted Talks and YouTube videos are invaluable if that is the way you choose to access educational content. However, a special part of the brain is triggered by consuming the written word. You obviously agree — you’re reading this article right now. Yes, I understand a magazine article is much less of a commitment than an entire book. So, you may be saying that content in bite-size pieces is more to your liking, and just such a title is my selection for this month.
101 Questions Everyone Should Ask is a fascinating volume of queries that can set off a chain of thoughts that can easily lead to substantial enlightenment. I love it when a book makes me think, and this one certainly did. The best part is you can pick it up anytime, flip to any page, and begin. There is no need to dedicate hours at a time — a perfect recommendation for those magazine types.
This book from Paul Angone is a follow-up to his bestseller, 101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties. He is an unabashed and witty voice of the Millennial generation who is a sought-after national speaker as well as a radio and television personality. He created AllGrownUp.com that is read by millions of Millennials in 190 countries. Read just a couple of the questions found herein, and you will quickly understand why.
Also in the Business Book Club: The Goal – A Process of Ongoing Improvement By Eliyahu Goldratt
And what a better place to start than with question number one, “What is the best way to break up with myself?” Ha, I’ve gotcha, haven’t I? How can you not read the answer? In his brief response, Angone cleverly compares major transitions in life to the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking experience of ending a relationship, often not instigated by you. Thought provoking at the least.
Each question and answer is only one to four pages. Again, my non-readers are thrilled. However, be warned — you may just get sucked in and not be able to put it down. Even better, use it as a conversation starter with friends or your significant other and you can turn a single question into an entire evening of entertaining dialog.
Although intended for Millennials, this 60-year-old was absolutely engaged. I found core principles and character assessments that would be just as at home in a board meeting as they are in a coffee shop. Just as insightful with my wife as with my 12-year-old daughter.
Bounce around or read them in order. Each question stands on its own or as part of a category. How about, “What am I going to regret not doing?” or “Am I being brave enough to be awkward?” Even without Angone’s responses, the questions are compelling. His insight just amplifies the effect.
Several of the questions leave space for you to document your answers, like “What are my top three non-negotiables in life and work?” or “What are my top five soul values?” after which he defines a soul value and gives examples for your contemplation. Part life treatise, part workbook, the end result is an entertaining exercise in introspection that feels more like play than work.
Also in the Business Book Club: The Righteous Mind by Jonathon Haidt
Try this one: “What do I need to do while I wait to do what I was born to do?” A recitation of the career path of pro quarterback and future Hall-of-Famer Kurt Warner follows. Inspirational? Yes. Motivational? Yes. But do not categorize this with the plethora of one-off self-help books out there. So much of the impact is generated by the reader’s thoughts on the topic that you almost qualify as a co-writer.
As I said, I love a book that makes me think. I came upon a question that I forwarded to every one of my 12 (yes, 12) children: “Does my career path create the life I want?” Well, if the thought of doing your boss’ job 15 years from now makes you throw up a little in your mouth, that’s not a good sign. Angone’s words, not mine, but I wish I had said them.
Whether you carry this in your briefcase to spice up meetings or allow it to reside on the back of the toilet for times of personal reflection, I can guarantee at least one of the questions will resonate and hopefully inspire you for the better.