I recently did some leadership training that emphasized the need for people to grow, or lead themselves, first. It is in fact our most important leadership challenge, and opportunity. I encouraged the group to own the idea that it is their responsibility to grow themselves. I then challenged them to think about how they might be more intentional about growing themselves, and how they could make that investment daily.
After the training session, a person came up and asked a beautiful question, “What books can I read to grow myself?” YES, AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL, AWESOME! I get that question a lot, and I am always excited because it means that they get it. It shows that they believe in themselves enough to want to invest in themselves. I love the question, but it is not always an easy question to answer.
As you can see from the book facts, few people regularly read. Most people’s reading experiences are connected to school memories, and many are not good ones. So, once they graduate high school or college they “think” that they never need to read again. So, if I recommend a wrong book to someone who is taking a step out of their comfort zone and giving reading another try, I don’t want to turn them off by a bad suggestion.
I do read a lot, and I have almost seven hundred books in my library, but that by no means qualifies me as a book expert. Some people like smaller easy to read books, while others like large or more sophisticated ones. Others will connect with specific authors and their way of communicating. And then there is the topic they wish to learn about that must be a big part of choosing what type of book to read.
How do you want to grow?
So, I after congratulated her on the beautiful question, and thanked her for being willing to invest in herself, I asked her, “What specific area would you like more success in?” The answer to that question defines the area you should read about, or grow in. She said, “I would like to become a better wife for my husband.” Now I am even more impressed, not only is she desiring to grow herself, but she gets servant leadership, or the leading by example concept too.
So, I asked her for her email and said that I would look at my library and get back to her with some ideas. Family is very important to me and I have nearly a hundred books related just to family, but many of them are related to men, as fathers, and husbands. So now what am I going to tell this wonderful person who is hungry to learn?
I went to the Amazon website where I buy many of my books and put in the search bar; How to be a better wife? Over ninety options came up including, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands!
After some thought, this is my current list on how to choose a book:
Use places like Amazon, or Barnes and Noble, to research some titles. You can even read part of those books on line to see if they are a good book for you. Once you get a few books that define your interests, they will even suggest other books like the titles you have chosen.
Go to book stores or libraries, and ask people for recommendations in the area you are interested in.
Find people who are successful in the area you want to learn about and then ask them what they are reading. (This is the main reason it is hard for me to give recommendations on how to be a better wife!)
Develop a circle of people who are great resources for books to read. Most of the books that I read have been recommended by others.
When you find authors that you connect with get signed up for their blogs or announcements on future books.
Just buy one. Start somewhere, and if it is not the right one, get another one.