Opinion | No magic formula for a perfect read | Christina Gerakiteys

PERFECT BUSINESS BOOK: There is no one-size-fits-all.

PERFECT BUSINESS BOOK: There is no one-size-fits-all.

Don’t we all wish it existed? That book that holds within its pages the elusive magic formula that weaves its way from ideation to execution and results in a successful venture. I am constantly being asked by clients and participants to recommend IT - The Perfect Business Book - and I struggle with the question every time.

There is no one Perfect Business Book. It’s a bit like parenting, there is no one-size-fits-all.

Unless you are geographically located in the same place as the author, have the same perceptions, the same upbringing, the same support, circumstances and myriad other ‘samenesses’, how can a book that is the sum of one person’s experiences, be the perfect solution for your business or your life? It can’t.

My recommendation is always to read wide. Read chapter headings and summaries of business books. Read authors who have created businesses similar and far removed from yours. Read articles and journals and books and listen to Ted Talks. Read fiction so your creative juices are stimulated. And then adopt and adapt the philosophies that most resonate with what you are trying to achieve through your business and the goals and vision you have set. You have set them haven’t you?

Buffett reads between 600 and 1000 pages a day.

Read to fill the gaps. What are the skills you lack? What aspects of business do you know little about? Are you a control freak? Read The Surrender Experiment by Michael A Singer.  Are you an introvert? Read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

A book won’t solve your problems, but it should stimulate you to develop solutions.

The most successful business people read (success measured by what makes you happy and brings you a fulfilled life, not by your bank balance). Warren Buffett reads between 600 and 1000 pages a day. His advice is to, “Read 500 pages every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest”. 

Where do you start selecting the books to add to your bookshelf – or device?

I have been involved each year with the Newcastle Writers Festival. What an amazing event, possible only because of an incredible team led by Rosemarie Milsom. This year we put together a session, Essential Reads for Entrepreneurs. Books on the list included The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks, Purple Cow by Seth Godin and Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder. Personal development, marketing and planning delivered in a one-hour session.

And then there’s Blinkist  for the lovers of ear buds and audio. It’s a wonderful app that gives you a 15-minute summary of a book while you’re on a treadmill or pounding the pavement. 

Fortunately, there is no magic formula. After all, who wants to be swimming in a sea of sameness? 

Christina Gerakiteys is founder of Ideation At Work, a creativity and innovation consultancy. She wrote and facilitates the Rippler Effect Innovation Program.