I’ve been listening to a Business book, The Personal MBA. Every few minutes Josh Kaufman says something of direct relevance to my food business. It’s like I’ve got a personal business coach sitting in my ear.
I’m constantly amazed by what a difference great thinkers can make to my mindset and mood. When I’m in a rut with a problem, all I need is a good business book. I’m not talking about reading a blog or a cookbook. Those forms of writing are truly useful but quite different to this.
I’m talking about spending time with a carefully developed, detailed argument, one that stays with me while I’m working on a problem. Reading or listening to Business Books allows me to concentrate on one facet of my food business in duration. I often listen to a book while I walk home from work. It’s like we’re holding hands (the author and I) with the problem. Us on the outside, the problem in the middle. And we’re talking through the next steps together, calmly, as we walk forward into the darkening evening.
The author will show me a side of the problem that I hadn’t been able to see before, because I’d always been walking on just the one side of it, dealing with it with just the knowledge I hold right now, not all the knowledge I could hold in the future. Expert strangers turn anxious churnings into optimistic explorations.
Does anyone really manage to hold onto an evolving slippery business, with all its changes and growth spurts, without having smart people telling them what to do? It may be a throwback to my academic background that makes me place so much credence in authoritative voices. Even if it is, I have a feeling this helps me hold my business more lightly, with less loneliness attached to decision making, then if I were walking alone… which is why I’m sharing this habit with you.
I’ve always got one on the boil, sometimes several at once, which I bounce between depending on what’s going on for me and the biz. Here are a few that I’ve read in the last 6 months that have helped to coax my problems out on evening walks. I’ve included the byline of each book because I think they give as good an indication as I could of why each has been useful to me and my food business journey.
The Art of Possibility, transforming professional and personal life, Rosamund and Benjamin Zander
Start with Why, how great leaders inspire everyone to take action, Simon Sinek
The Hard Thing About Hard Things, building a business when there are no easy answers, Ben Horowitz
Thanks for the Feedback, the science and art of receiving feedback well, Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
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