A Real Page-Turner

Originally published on July 11, 2018 by the Montrose Daily Press

No matter the chapter of life you find yourself in, I can assure you mental idleness is unwise.

Learning something new doesn’t have an expiration date and preparing for the career you one day want is always time well spent. Since its inception, this column has provided small tidbits on resources for personal betterment. Today, we are going to get into the “weeds” a bit and I am going to share some of my personal recommendations for improvement.*

1. Read.

According to a story produced for CNBC.com, self-made millionaire Steve Siebold interviewed 1,200 of the world's wealthiest people to find out what traits they shared. One trait nearly all of them had in common? They read everything from self-improvement books to autobiographies.

Reading stimulates thought. It deposits knowledge into our brain like a savings account and the knowledge builds on top of itself much like compound interest.

At any given moment, I am likely in the middle of two or three books. I like to have a book for the deep dive into a subject matter that is useful for my career and personal development.

I also like to have a fiction book or a fun book to read at night. This promotes healthy sleep (so I am not reading about “work stuff” that will stimulate late night thinking). I find if I walk away with even one applicable concept from a book, it was worth my time in reading.

Recommended reads:

• “Good to Great,” by Jim Collins. This book lays down organizational leadership that is backed by research and measurable performance.

Collins and his team spent years researching factors that take “good” organizations to “great” as well as factors that keep organizations from achievement.

Spoiler alert: Great organizations have great leadership. I’ve used this book as a leadership reference guide for several years.

Other great Collins reads: “Great by Choice” and “Built to Last.”

• “Shoe Dog,” by Phil Knight. The story of Nike. I could not put this book down. It kept me up into the wee hours as I pored through the riveting story of entrepreneurship, tenacity and grit. I once heard someone say that behind every “overnight” success story is (at least) 10 years of hard work. Shoe Dog is that and more.

• “Reinventing Organizations,” by Frederic Laloux. This book is BORING. I forced myself into reading a chapter a day (a complete switch from Knight’s memoir). However, if you’re interested in rethinking organizational management and understanding employee retention, this book will make you think. I credit the knowledge gained from this book to increased employee morale, loyalty, and ownership. Read with an open mind and an appetite for change.

• “Tribe of Mentors,” by Timothy Ferriss. Bestselling author Ferriss hit it out of the park with this one. Prior to writing this book, Ferriss found himself in the midst of a small “mid-life” crisis. He never imagined living past 40 and upon that milestone, he decided he needed to figure out how to live the rest of his life in a meaningful way. He set out to interview hundreds of the world’s greatest and most talented people.

This work is geared toward personal development. It will open your mind to new possibilities and ways of living. It will give you a peek into the lives and habits of the uber successful. This book is a great one to digest in small portions as each “mentor” is one to four pages of content. I’ve been reading it for six months in little bites.

Other great Ferriss reads: “Tools of Titans” and “The 4-Hour Work Week.”

Busy person reading hacks: Try audio books. Join a book club. Get up 20 minutes early. Read out loud to your 5-month-old baby (or your 55-year-old husband). Read on your lunch break. Read before bed; three pages a night are better than no pages. Don’t forget we have a great library and local book store**!

2. Listen.

Are you ready to completely nerd out with me? I LOVE podcasts. They are a great way to soak in knowledge while on the go. Further, this form of media provides a deep dive into subject matter of infinite proportion. There are podcasts about history, business, working out, dating; you name it.

Personally, I focus on podcasts geared toward entrepreneurship, business and personal development. Get ready for a view of the world you might not get in your ordinary experiences.

Recommended podcasts:

• TED Radio Hour with Guy Raz. (TED: Technology, Entertainment, Design.) This podcast combines three or four TED talks into one hour on any given topic. It is a great “beginner’s” podcast as the subject matter is broad and the guests are diverse in their expertise. Recommended first episode: Disruptive Leadership.

• The Tim Ferriss Show with (you guessed it) Tim Ferriss.

I’m an unapologetic Ferriss fangirl. The Tim Ferriss show has taught me more than everything else I’ve mentioned here combined. I’ve learned about battlefields in Ramadi, becoming an “A-list” movie star, succeeding (and failing) in business, time management, nutrition, but most of all, this podcast has taught me about humanity. It has given me perspective and grace for the “other side.” It has helped me understand what it takes to be the best and it has motivated me to believe in myself.

Recommended first episode: Episode #124: Jamie Foxx on Workout Routines, Success Habits and Untold Hollywood Stories. Also try #214: How to Design a Life with Debbie Millman.

• How I Built This, with Guy Raz. This podcast is all about founders’ stories. I am absolutely fascinated by how businesses got their start and how they made it work for the long haul. You can expect to walk away with a greater understanding of business and what it takes to come out on top. And if you’re like me, you can expect to walk away inspired and thoughtful about the future.

Recommended first episode: I honestly can’t pick one! Try Starbucks, the Home Depot, Southwest Airlines, or Patagonia depending on your area of interest.

• Other Favorites: The MFCEO Project (beware of extreme language) and Planet Money.

Busy person podcast hack: You do not have to consume a podcast in a one setting. If it takes a week to listen to a single episode, who cares? Listen when you get ready for the day, while you exercise, take road trips, or commute.

New to podcasts? Google “The Beginners’ Guide to Podcasts” by Jordan McMahon.

Never stop learning. Read every day. Design the life you want to live through calculated decisions and informed research.

Phil Knight started as a certified public accountant with a passion for running. Just a normal guy with above average aspirations. If you asked Knight how he got there, he’d probably tell you: Just do it.

* These recommendations are in no way compensated.

**The first two people to request (in person) “Good to Great” or “Shoe Dog” at Maggie’s Books on Main Street will receive a free copy courtesy of my excitement about your future.

Chelsea Rosty is the executive director of the Montrose Chamber of Commerce and director of Business Innovation for the City of Montrose. Contact her at chelsea@montrosechamber.com.