real/brilliant: Read More, Write Better

by Trish

As a business owner, the last thing you want to do is read more, right? Especially more business-related books. The flood of information you endure is stifling. I have another idea.

Read a novel or a collection of short stories or a memoir or poetry.

I’m serious.

I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed with business advice and case studies and best practices for your chosen industry. Sometimes you want to open your high-rise window (with a rock, no less) and just empty out your in-basket and to be read pile. I feel your pain. My to be read pile is stacked all the time. But I am very careful that most of that not be business-related. I find that my best writing comes when I read other things. For example, I read Emily Dickinson’s poetry when I want to inspire, I read James Patterson when I have writer’s block (if he can write, I can write), and when I want to organize a big project, I pick up a memoir. Memoirs are highly organized and I find just by reading them (e.g., Terri Jentz’s Strange Piece of Paradise or David Grann’s The Lost City of Z) that I am inspired by their structure. I find myself pondering how the writer took all that information and organized it into an interesting read.

I encourage every one of my clients to read more, and to stretch their reading limits to include books and articles that they might not pick up on their own volition. I find that when I come back to the business topics, I feel refreshed and more alert to spot items in those pieces that I can use to make my business a success.

What are you reading right now? Not a business book or article, but fiction or memoir or a short story. Let me hear it.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Stuart Foster April 23, 2009 at 8:25 am

I’m attempting to re-read Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. Kind of a daunting task for me given my blog commenting lately…but I’ve been trying to read it for at least a half hour every night. I have been very lax with this…

admin April 23, 2009 at 8:32 am

Hey, Stuart, good for you. I’m reading Jodi Piccoult and Bohinton Mistry and . . . I have a huge pile. I’m so behind.

MarkN April 23, 2009 at 9:09 am

I’m reading A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. It’s has too many plots right now. I’d like to skim a few off. I liked Terry Goodkind with his series that started with Wizards First Rule. That series is what the new TV show Legend of the Seeker is based on.

admin April 23, 2009 at 9:24 am

George R.R. Martin is a great pick, Mark. Let’s see, I’ve also got The Secret Life of the Hedgehog on my list (it’s French, translated into English) and totally different than a U.S. novel. Definitely stretching me this month.

MarkN April 23, 2009 at 9:37 am

I would say my reading style parallels my personal life. Keeping a small close group of friends with minimal drama is good for me. I like the KISS method in any and all relationships. That keeps me from getting wrapped around the axle. 🙂 That being said though, it prevents me from doing a few things and I’d like to change that shortly. We’ll see.

admin April 23, 2009 at 9:47 am

Go for it, Mark. I’m still waiting for you to finish one of your stories or novels! You can do it!

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