Reading a Book for All Its Worth!

Reading for Maximum Impact

We all learned to read at an early age, but what have we done to improve on those skills since then? Reading is the most common practice of highly successful people, but how can you maximize that so you get all of the benefit possible?

How many books are published every year? Search Amazon for Business Books. There are more than 2 million results. Where do you start? What do you consume? What will be the benefit? How do you decide?

I know that reading will benefit me. Deciding the value of what to read is more challenging than simply reading for volume. If my goal is to read 25 books per year that can easily be achieved. If my goals is to read one book that will increase my impact by 25 times that’s a completely different story. One will benefit me to some degree. The other can be life changing.

Thoughts that go through my head:

  • If I read the last 17 books written on time management what new thing can I expect to learn? Will that be a good use of my time?
  • If I read a book just to finish it, what difference does it make?  
  • What will I be quoting from that book 10 years from now?
  • What am I quoting from a book I read 10 years ago?reading
  • Is this book in alignment with my purpose in life?

In other words, we need to approach reading as deliberately as any other business decision. It’s a resource available to us. Treat it the same as you would a time or money resource. Give it the same care and consideration. Give it the same devotion.

I’m not talking about seeing how much you can consume. Reading one book in a year that increases my impact by 25 times is a 1000 times better than reading 25 books with no impact.

Selecting the Right Book

Here are the steps I follow to select a book:

  • I select what I’m going to read carefully including the aesthetics.  
    • What is the look of the book? There really isn’t any excuse today for a poorly designed book. It has to look appealing.
    • Does the front cover make the contents clear?
    • Does the back cover give me convincing reasons to read the book?
  • The author
    • What do I know about the author and his/her background that would indicate alignment with my purpose?
    • Have they demonstrated their ability to speak with authority on the topic? What are some of their past works?
    • Where can I find the author besides this book?
    • What do I believe his/her purpose is for writing this book?
    • What new unique perspective or voice will he/she lend that will benefit me the most?
  • Background thoughts
    • What other books have I read on this topic?
    • Have I read other books by this author?
    • How will those things influence my reading of this book?
    • Would it benefit me to go back and review what I have already read rather than starting again here? Revisiting a topic over and over again without taking action is a very bad habit.
    • Can I connect this “unknown” to my “known” to expedite the implementation process?
  • State my objective clearly
    • How do I expect this book to impact my purpose?
    • What do I expect to get from this book that I don’t already know?
    • A book can only fill one of three purposes:
      • Introduce you to a new concept, idea, position, or perspective.
      • Reinforce an existing idea, concept etc…
      • Challenge an existing concept, idea etc…
    • Where do I see this book on that spectrum?
    • How does that objective align with my purpose right now? If I don’t intend to consider taking some positive action on this topic then don’t let this book become some kind of rabbit trail.
  • Evaluate the contents
    • Read the the jacket. What did I learn about the book? The author? What did others say?
    • Scan the Table of Contents. How well organized is the material? 
    • Read the index (if it has one) looking for additional resources to supplement the book as well as contact information on the author.
    • Select 2-3 chapter titles that sound like they will fulfill my objective. Read the first 3 paragraphs of each of those chapters. Do they fulfill the promise of fulfilling my objective?
    • What is the writing style like? Does it move quickly or do I have to wade through a lot of fluff to get to the point? Note: If I can’t get the full impact of the point in the first three paragraphs, then I will waste a lot of time even if the content is stellar.
    • What strengths can I identify in those 9 paragraphs from the author? What weaknesses do I see?

I do all of that BEFORE I decide to purchase/read any book.

You think that’s a lot of work?

A lot of work is reading something that won’t help me achieve my objective. Getting 150 pages into a book that is wasting my time and not moving me closer to my goals – that’s too much work. Better to spend some time on the front end than waste a bunch on the back end.

I’ve Made My Choice Now What?

Once I’ve decided this book is worthy of my time, I have another process that I follow every single time.

Note: I don’t read fiction so I never have to change my approach.

I follow these steps exactly every time I read a book.

  • First I prep the book for an easy quick read. I make sure to “break-in” the pages so it opens easily and I have no trouble manipulating the book.
  • I write my objective for reading the book inside the cover. This is just a sentence or two. I’m going to refer to this often.
  • Next I read through the book as quickly as possible.
    • Almost at a speed reading pace with a pen in hand. (You can’t speed read and make notes.)
    • I put a tick mark beside everything that catches my attention.
    • I note in the margin where I have heard that topic before by the author’s name only. Example: Tracy.
    • Next I summarize the chapter with a single word or phrase that comes from my reservoir of “known” information. For example: Reading a chapter on “The Lies that Mislead Us.” I summarized with Accurate Truth, that is one of Napoleon Hill’s Seventeen Laws of Success. (I’ll talk about the value of this more later.)
    • I do this for every chapter until I’ve completed the book. Then I write a very brief summary on the inside of the back cover.
    • I compare the inside of the front cover with the inside of the back cover to determine what I do next.

The Magic Happens in the Second Read

If the book summary seems like it has fulfilled the promise and purpose of the book, then I decide to give it a second read. This “read” is very different from the first go through.

  • I scan through the book stopping at every tick mark I placed on the first read. This time carefully reading the context of the thought that triggered the original tick mark. I might highlight the idea captured in context. I might make notes in the margin. Linking to other books and ideas is something I do frequently in the margins.
  • If there are chapters where the summary doesn’t meet expectations then I skip it on this second go. Myreading goal is not to waste time, but to maximize it. A useless chapter will get no more of my time.
  • At the end of the saved chapters I now write a summary of the personal impact it has made on my stated purpose. This is important. This personal summary helps deliver me from the urge to just get finished. I now have a bigger goal. I’m out to develop mastery so I can improve.
  • Next I write a complete summary inside the back cover. I answer these questions:
    • How did this book actually impact my life and business?
    • Does this relate to other things I knew about this topic before I started?
    • How will I put this to work immediately?
    • Can I take this topic, using this material, and teach it to other people?

Maximizing the Impact

If I decide this is a topic that I could teach and other people would benefit from me teaching it. Then I proceed to the next step…

  • I’m going to scan through the book a third time. This time only pausing at the places where I’ve made notes. I’m looking specifically for “transferable” information. So I ask the following questions:
    • What attracted me to this topic in the first place?
    • What market (avatar/community) shares that same need and would be attracted to the same information if delivered by me?
    • Are there other resources or unique perspectives I could bring to this topic that would help people to implement this in their life/business?

      Note: This is one of the reasons I write the first thing I think of that is connected to the subject in its context. Because here I’m going to identify my unique perspective. When I read that statement the first thing I thought of was…, but it wasn’t the first thing the author thought. That’s my unique perspective. Those things come from my experiences. Often times my unique perspective and my unique experiences are the very thing some people need.
  • Next I identify the elements that will make up a basic step-by-step for “my friend” who needs to experience the same thing in their life.
    • I note the things that I would put in a basic outline.
    • Then I connect the outline with “links” to other supporting thoughts. I find these…
      • In my own experiences.
      • From the things I have read.
      • Stories from the lives of the people I know.
  • Finally I apply this to as many different means of delivering my unique discoveries to my world as possible. I pick the top three. Here are just few to get started…
    • Checklist
    • How to Guide
    • Step-by-Step Outline
    • Infographic
    • Webinar
    • Mind Map
    • Ebook
    • Membership Course

This is how you can read one book and multiply your impact by 25 times.

I created the Self-Directed Learning Project (SDLP) to teach you how to do this. The SDLP includes training on how to get someone to actually pay you for your efforts.

 

Daily Content Creation – Then Life Happens

Can’t Talk…Now What?

My daily content creation might be in jeopardy. Not being able to talk for 14 days has caused some pretty strange behaviors and some serious reflection.

First The Strange Behavior

I dreamed all night about the value of communication. Really that’s weird! I dream about all of the ways that I communicate over the course of the week. The process of taking a Live Feed on Facebook and turning it into a podcast. I thought about how I take the video content and turn it into worksheets, checklists, blog posts, and training programs.  daily content creationThen I woke and realized that too many things began with the live video. I almost shut down my daily content creation because it all began with me speaking on live video.

There was a time when I wrote first, then spoke what I wrote. But I learned that the live “interaction” allowed me to formulate thoughts from a place that made content more engaging. In other words, I learned to work from a strength. I coach people to do this all the time. In the Content Creation Marketing Machine we always start where you work best and build on that platform.

Now The Serious Reflection

Now I’m going through a temporary disruption of that process. I can’t talk. So what does that mean for my daily content creation? How will I continue to touch my audience in the absence of a voice?

This is what I’ve learned:

  • Video can’t be the only thing I do. If video was my only method of creating content I would be in trouble, but it’s not. In addition to Live Feed videos I also do daily quotes, twitter posts, blog posts, share other people’s content, and offer insight from articles affecting the industry.
  • Draw from my archives. I have a huge library of content from which I can draw. Creating “evergreen” content, the kind of content that’s relevant regardless of what is happening in the world, allows me to draw from that library. Yesterday I shared from the archives “Positive on the Offensive” – always a timely topic.
  • Stay engaged. Just because I can’t talk doesn’t mean that I can’t touch. I have consistently done a video broadcast Monday – Thursday at 9:00am for almost 2 years. There is an expectation that I will be Live at 9:00. When I can’t fulfill that obligation I still need to communicate. I still need to share why. I don’t like to expose my life on FB, but sharing the struggle allows people to care. Allow them to engage with you even if the format changes.
  • Have a plan to expand my footprint. Limitations always cause me to recognize I need to grow. I had become very comfortable with my content process then it got disrupted – time to reevaluate. Obviously there are some automations that would improve the process. However automations can only run what has already been created. Creating additional types of content takes on a new priority. Quizzes, personal messages, forums, Q&A platforms all look like very attractive ways to expand my presence.

So What About You?

Are you depending on a limited number of touch points with your audience? If for some reason that were to be put on hold do you have a plan?

I started the Content Creation Marketing Machine so you could maintain continuous contact with your audience. I was in the process of kicking that program off when this flu hit. Because of that delay I’m making a special offer to anyone who is ready to grow their audience. Use the button below to find out more. The offer changes as soon as I get my voice back.

daily content creation

The Power of Introspection

 

This series of Live Feeds on introspection has been a blessing to a multitude of people since it was presented. So I wanted to share it here with the notes included.

We live in a world where we have become very accustomed to talking about other people and their issues rather than looking at ourselves. Turning our focus on who we are will have life changing impacts. We when allow things to get inside our head that come out of our mouth and limits our capabilities.

Do the heart work required to focus on yourself that says,”I’m going to turn a blind eye to other people.” Don’t let other people and their performance in life limit what you can do. Stop feeling responsible for how other people do.

“As For Me…” – Key Phrase for Introspection

Instead of looking at everyone around you and measuring yourself by them take some time for introspection. Focus on you for a while. Let other things go. Let other people’s opinions and positions go. Focus just on you, “as for me…”

You are the only person that you can fix. When you are the best you that you can be you are in a position to make a difference.

I can take control of my destiny when I focus on me. I can’t control the actions of other people, but I can focus on me.

When introspection leads you in the wrong direction here are…

Five Things You Can Quit Immediately

  • Trying to please everyone – Because you can’t
  • Fearing change – Because you get more of what you reward
  • Living in the past – Neither the successes nor the failures will help you future
  • Putting yourself down – STOP IT! introspection
  • Overthinking everything – You simply don’t know enough to over think

Eliminating these things from your daily life and practice will immediately make a difference in your future. As beneficial as introspection can be don’t let it become an excuse for bad behavior.

Note: the videos are also available on podcasts. You can find the podcasts here. 

 

 

 

 

Time – Do You Give it the Proper Value?

How well do you manage your time? If you are having problems at home or at work, there is a good chance that your problems may be caused by your inability to manage your life.

 

    1. Recognize That You Have a Problem
      Knowing that you have a time management problem is the first step in changing your behavior. It is typical to be late for work or a social event on occasion, it is something that should not be happening on a daily or a weekly basis. If you’re constantly missing deadlines or finding yourself trying to catch up, there is a problem. You may have a problem!
    2. Decide To Change
      Knowing that you have a time management problem is important, but wanting to change is even more important. You need to set goals for yourself, as these goals can help to provide you with a source of motivation. Sample goals include showing up to work on time for a whole month, being on time for all dinner dates, and so forth.
    3. Stick To Your Goals
      Creating a number of time management goals for you to meet is advised, but it is important that you don’t give up right away or when you are faced with complications. Setting goals simply just isn’t enough, you need to stick with them.
    4. Create Daily Task Lists
      Creating a to do list for yourself is an easy way to properly manage your time. The simple of act of crossing an item off your list provides the boost you need to tackle the next item. It is one of the easiest approaches that you can take.
    5. Rely On Management Tools
      Properly managing your day is important, but it can be hard for many individuals to get use to, especially right away. If you are one of those individuals, you will want to consider using time management tools to your advantage. Did you know that many cell phones and computers come with alarm clocks, alerts, and so much more? One of my favorite tools can be found at the Action Fast Lane.
    6. Learn How To Say No
      In all honesty, there are occasions where you may not be able to refuse a project at work or a task at home, but try to not take on more than you can accomplish. At work an honest conversation about time/project management can help. In the home, this outside help can come from a housecleaner.
    7. Get Organized
      Organization is key to being able to properly manage your time. If you are unorganized, you are likely to waste a large amount of your precious resource. Clutter is a major distraction. Remove it!
    8. Consider Hiring Professional Help
      As previously stated, if you are overwhelmed at home, you may want to call on a professional housecleaner. In addition to taking this approach, there are other professionals that you can target. For the small business owner managing your own books is a time trap. Hire an accountant. There are individuals and companies who specialize in teaching others how to effectively manage their time and stay organized.

Take the Time Management Assessment

time value