Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Book-Ends: Filling Content, Not Filling Content

Books are a treasure trove of not just content - fiction and non-fiction - they can be our companions of our minds, hearts and hands. These cover-bound pages may conceal, yet reveal much about our past and present. They can be treated casually or seriously. We can refer to them, study them, be inspired, engaged and entertained.

The sub-heading of Guy Kawasaki's book 'Enchantment' is 'The Art of Changing Hearts, minds, and Actions'. Underlined subtlety in this book on business, is the elusive art and science of leadership. [I reviewed this book on this blog, before its release in 2011.]

Books may seem indirect, silent, and unimportant yet, once opened, they may offer an avalanche of possibility and purpose. In an ADD world, we may be easily distracted by real-time news, 'live broadcasts', drama of sports, viral videos, and rants and raves. Rants are more terrifyingly attractive, whereas raves are perceived as marketing ploys and deceptive devices to meld the Buyer's Mind. We can be led, and misled - and the distinctions may be hard to discern.

Quotations are popular on the Social Media platform. These sayings can be inspiring, and move us to do things that matter to us, and others. The popular books are filled with these utterances, as they can be shared as words of wisdom, despite coming from a source sometimes untraceable. That is why biographies and memoirs contain much that have been said, or seldom revealed. There is always another side of the truth.

Reading is a discipline that seems to be losing its popularity. Perhaps, eBooks read through mobile devices like tablets and Kindle may prolong its gradual demise. However, Slide-Shares and memes enhance our sense of thoughtless urgency for condensed versions of content. In the distant past, we read 'Reader's Digest'. Today, we succumb to 'instant news' which are propagated through social media sharing. Oftentimes, without verifying the authenticity of sources, we accept news as fact, and fact as truth. The consequence of unquestioned acceptance of knowledge is as dangerous as blind obedience and subservience to a defiant authority.

Without reading, and thinking about what we read, we become 'book-ends' that limit books, rather than retain them. A un-read book is doomed for intellectual perdition.

So, read on. Read widely. Question what you read. Digest. Challenge. Engage in dialogue and argument. Expand your consciousness.

Leadership Lesson: Read a book. Finish it from cover to cover. Summarise your knowledge in a100-word review. What did you like about it? Why? What did you dislike? Why? Would you recommend it? Treat it as post-holiday review on 'booking.com' or 'hotels.com'.

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