Friday, January 18, 2013

What I'm reading - January 2013

As a lifelong learner, I'm reading books, articles and blog posts constantly throughout the day, almost every day. I love to learn more, be challenged and have my mind stretched and strengthened.

The great thing about being Social online is that you can discuss, debate and share what you learn and discover with other bright minds from any geographic location. I'm currently in the planning stages of some fun and meaningful collaboration with a few great people I have met via Twitter and LinkedIn.

I'd like to share with you the books I'm digging into on a monthly basis. Hopefully, some of you may have already read what I'm discovering and some others will want to do the same. I would love to have discussions with any of you about what I post here and what I'm reading, so please don't hesitate to contact me.

As an extension of this, it would be amazing to create an informal, social, online book club around the titles I aim to read this year. If that sounds like something you're interested in, let me know and we can get the ball rolling. (Marc Binkley has created an amazing group of like-minded individuals to learn with together on Google Plus.) I believe that discussing and furthering your thoughts on a book rather than just shelving it after, helps you to process and remember the ideas better. And hey, it helps deepen relationships which is always good.

Speaking of relationships, Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi, is a book I am really enjoying currently. It's practical, insightful and spot-on with it's focus on networking and how it can enhance your professional and private lives. I was one of those people who shuddered at the sound of the word, 'networking', in the past. It invoked images of business card wielding, overbearing suit and tie executives who were more concerned about 'What's in it for me?', than how they could contribute to the path of others.

My approach to the Social Media universe -and hopefully life in general- is to make everything a two-way street. To incorporate the 'pay it forward' mentality to as much of daily life as I can. And to be generous. These concepts are what networking is about, as Ferrazzi points out. If your focus is only on your benefits and what others can do for you, then you better quit now.

So far, I'm folding down the corners of quite a number of pages I want to go back to (yes, it's an actual physical book, not on my Kindle). Never Eat Alone is full of great practical advice and successful examples from his own life. I also think the Networking Action Plan he asks you to commit to in the beginning of the book is a wonderful way to help gain focus and plan accordingly so that you succeed rather than flounder.

Thanks to someone posting a picture on Twitter a while ago, I came across The Sketchnote Handbook, by Mike Rohde. Now, for someone visual like me and with a background in the arts, this is pretty much a must-have IMHO. 

Brilliantly looking more like Mike's sketchbook than a 'real book', you learn how to focus on the 'big ideas, using a mix of words, drawings, and type' so that your notes at meetings, conferences and other events become more visual and fun. How cool is that? Check this excerpt:

As you may have noticed, I'm trying to steer away from less text and more images in my work, planning and instruction, so I think what Mike has created here -along with his videos and podcast work- is wonderful and needed. Similar to Dan Roam's approach, whom I'm also finding inspiration from these days, The Sketchnote Handbook will engage more of your brain and help you to integrate concepts and ways of thinking more successfully into your everyday. I say go for it! Grab your pencils and start drawing!

Please let me know what you're reading and/or suggest, and if you'd like to join me on my exciting learning journey. Cheers!

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