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.