It was this headline (Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Davos: Every Business Leader Should Read These 3 Books) on Inc.com that had me responding with the title of this post…
Don’t read those three books. Go find your own books!!!
I’m not against people suggesting books to others to read. How else would we find some of thought gems that are out there, if people we know didn’t let us know what they were reading? It’s just that when you’ve narrowed down your reading to ‘these 3 books’, you’ve done a heck of a lot of reading, and learning, and processing, and rejecting, and unlearning, and relearning, and accepting to narrow your choices down to ‘these 3 books’.
The Value is in the Journey
Reading Satya Nadella’s 3 book suggestion isn’t going to give you much of the value it gave him (there will be some take-way). How can it? What I want are the 3 books he started with, that got him on the journey that ended with those 3? The value lies in you going on a journey, not in you plugging into someone else’s end. You can’t be a butterfly if you don’t go through the cocoon experience. It’s the same thing with reading and learning and growing and deciding on your 3 books.
In fact, even if you could get his 3 books that started the journey, you’d definitely not end up with the 3 he ended with. Somewhere along the road, you’d have taken a left where he took a right, and your end and his end would be completely different.
Go Find Your Own 3 Books
You cannot short-circuit the journey. You can’t simply skip to the end and avoid the hours and thought and work that people like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Satya Nadella, Elon Musk, and other big readers put in every single day. So go find your own 3 books. Start with one, and see where it takes you? Go down the rabbit hole and don’t stop going until there’s no more going left for you to go.
We Don’t Want The World Reading The Same Books
As a last thought, if it’s not obvious enough, we also don’t want everyone reading the same books. We don’t want to be walking around having the same thoughts. We certainly don’t want to be hiring people from the same university, of the same age, of the same gender. There’s incredible value in diversity of every type. Creativity that comes from a homogeneous group is never going to be as powerful and incredible as the creativity that comes from a wildly diverse group.
Nuf Sed, and back to the beginning… Go find your own 3 books!!