I know I’m a little too busy to read because this post was supposed to be the “February Book Bucket List.” I never quite got around to finishing it, and now we’re a day from the end of February and I haven’t even compiled a complete list, much less started reading the books on it.
I remember hearing a piece of advice in my first few weeks at Zimmerman. The conversation was in the context of being much too busy to read a whole book. It was set in a, “if you’re not too busy yet, you will be soon,” sort of tone.
The conversation went far beyond how busy we are at Zimmerman. It was about growing up, in part, and how as life takes it’s course, time to pursue your own interests is often hard to come by. Things like reading, while important, are not critical, and are among the first to fall by the wayside.
The advice was, No matter how busy you get, always read as much as you can.
This has been a core tenant of my life since I was old enough to hold a book in my lap. I can remember being 8 or 9 and hearing my Mom talk about how she was too busy to read one day. Being an adult had never seemed so horrible to me as it did in that moment. “I’ll never too busy to read,” I thought. (At 9 I was pretty sure I knew everything.) Great intentions, and all that, but more and more through college and then this year at Zimmerman, reading is sure enough one of the first things to be set aside when life speeds up.
The advice went on, You’ll reach a point, if you haven’t already, when you’re too busy to pick up a whole book and read it cover to cover. Don’t let that stop you. Walk into a book store and down an aisle you would never normally look through. Pick up something that looks interesting and flip to the chapter guide. Find a chapter and read it.
What wonderful advice. Why hadn’t I thought of that before? I’ve always had some obssession with finishing what I start and reading page to page without skipping anything. My one exception is the 50 page monologue on capitalism and socialism in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. As many times as I’ve tried, I’ve never been able to finish it. Beyond that though, it never occurred to me before to read just one chapter of a book and not the rest.
Now, of course, I can’t stop into a book store without doing exactly that. Sometimes it’s a cooking book, other times it’s on new media or business. I’ve read more good, bad, and mediocre advice on success in the last 15 months following this piece of advice then I had in the last 5 years. Although I may forget most of what I read before the day is over, there are already enough interesting tidbits and thoughts I’ve stummbled across to turn the one chapter read into a lifelong habit.
The other great piece of advice I’ve heard since starting at Zimmerman is, Build what balances you. For me, one of those things is reading. Although I probably won’t have time to read all these in March, finding time to read at least one or two is almost as important as sleep or Ultimate. (Read: Very important.)
So without further ado, here is the bucket list of books I’d like to get around to in March:
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain
- Graceling by Kristin Cashore
- Unorthodox by Debroah Feldman
- The Digital Photography Book: Volume 2 by Scott Keby
These are just the books I’ve run across in the last week or so that I’m yearning to pick my way through. I’m open to more suggestions if you have them though!