Is reading a book on the way to work unprofessional?

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She hid her copy of Proust inside a magazine to read on the train.

A friend of mine downloads books onto his ipad to read on his commute because, ‘carrying a book or a Kindle into a meeting is unprofessional’.  To him toting a well-leafed novel in a corporate environment sends the wrong signal.  It makes him look distracted, as if he’s timewasting instead of focusing on the agenda.  Based on this logic reading a book is a bad, shameful thing.  It’s something to hide in your electronic planner.

Is reading detrimental to your career?  Is your book habit stopping you from getting that promotion?  Poppycock!  Books are perfectly packaged little mind enhancers.  They’re little dumbbells your brain works out with.  They’re bound cluster bombs of educational titbits and insights into the human condition.  Read a book and you don’t regress into a monosyllabic fool unable to focus on a 5-point financial strategy, you blossom and grow into a smarter, more self-aware person.

We can all learn from reading stories.  My understanding of history comes from fiction, not the classroom.  My grasp of politics, religion and all those things you’re not supposed to discuss at dinner parties is borne from books.  Hell, I’m the pre-internet generation: I learnt about sex from Jilly Cooper.

Each time you open a book you prosper.  I want to work with people who are continually learning.  I want to hire people who are hungry for knowledge.  I’d like to entrust my money to someone who’s read The Great Gatsby, Great Expectations and The Prince.  I feel confident in people who read.  A book is a badge of honour, and infinitely better than strolling into a meeting with a dog-eared copy of a free paper.

 

6 Comments

6 Comments on Is reading a book on the way to work unprofessional?

  1. Daniela
    01/08/2012 at 8:31 am (6 years ago)

    I think reading a book on the daily commute is fine. Where I feel guilty is when I travel to a meeting. I am being paid for my time but the last thing I want to do on an aeroplane is work. If i’m travelling with a colleague i’m often shamed into getting out my laptop or reading The Economist instead of the latest paperback in my bag.

  2. Angela
    31/07/2012 at 11:29 pm (6 years ago)

    I agree 100! (and with the stillneedtoworkontypingskills bit – me too!).

  3. Pamreader
    31/07/2012 at 8:54 pm (6 years ago)

    Whoops! That should be I never go anywhere without a book *obviously* *stillneedtoworkontypingskills* 😉

  4. Pamreader
    31/07/2012 at 8:52 pm (6 years ago)

    I never go anywhere with a book in one format or another. The more you read, the more you can make sense of the world, and that, I think, is a useful gift in any job.

  5. Angela
    31/07/2012 at 5:22 pm (6 years ago)

    Damn. I actual wrote a paragraph that referred to such a situation (I mentioned Fifty Shades and Harry Potter!) but edited it out so as not to detract from my mini-rant. Perhaps if you buy the kindle version of this post it will be in the added extras?

  6. Your muse
    31/07/2012 at 5:15 pm (6 years ago)

    One fundamental flaw in your argument… The last book I was reading wasn’t The Great Gatsby, Great expectations or any other great, it was the 50 shades trilogy… I think it’s best if I stick to the iPad 😉

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