We had a great discussion at EntrepreNerds last Thursday and while I cannot fully replicate the experience for those that missed it, I would like to share some of the highlights! We had 9 participants actively engaged in a titillating conversation about 5 books. Everyone shared the highlights, relevant points and key take-aways of the book they read with the group. Here’s an overview of what we discussed!
Outwitting the Devil by Napoleon Hill
This recently released manuscript has been under lock and key for over 70 years; to say Hill’s writing is provocative may be an understatement. Highlights from the book include the use and definition of the term drifters. Characteristics of a Drifter includes people that generally do not have a purpose in life, are ill-tempered, closed-minded, lack enthusiasm and unwilling to admit error. Non-Drifters on the other-hand are self-actualized, have a definiteness of purpose and posses integrity. Which would you rather be?
Hill also shares with us the vital role that fear (a ploy of the Devil) plays in holding us back from reaching our full potential. The way we are taught in school instills fear in us because we don’t learn how to use our minds. Instead school teaches us to memorize the “right” answers. The antidote to becoming a drifter helps us overcome our fears. The first step is having definiteness of purpose followed by a daily effort to engage, exercise and grow our minds!
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
A classic self-help book for professionals, “The 7 Habits” has been around for 24 years and continues to provide valuable insight for the consummate student. Highlights from the book include observations that society has shifted from focussing on the development of character traits to personality traits. This has had negative consequences and it is time we re-focus on developing character!
Participants observed that interpersonal skills are vital to our success, yet society teaches us to be independent. Habits 4 “Think Win-Win” and 5 “Seek First to Understand” really talk about the daily practice for developing our interpersonal skills. Being present and mindful of other’s perspectives is a continuos process. However, sometimes a hard decision has to be made and you can’t make everyone happy. Being considerate doesn’t mean you should be ineffective.
Also, the most valuable habit that’s been retained years after reading the book is “Sharpening the Saw.” If you’re feeling uninspired, or lost your mojo do something to sharpen your saw (read a book, watch a TED talk, engage in constructive discourse, go to a seminar, attend an EntrepreNerds discussion, etc.). What’s your plan for “sharpening the saw?”
Uncertainty by Jonathan Fields
A recently published book about creativity and business, Fields simplifies a complicated topic and makes it easy to digest. Highlights include his recommendation to practice Attentional Training, as in training your mind to stay focussed and on-point. The notion that we can train our minds to be more attentive and focussed is quite mind boggling to many, especially as our society has come to accept that some people just can’t help themselves (diagnoses like ADD or ADHD abound). But the proof is in the practice, if you’re tired of being easily distracted, there’s something you can do to change that.
Fields also encourages readers to “build your hive.” He suggests that working with others in various roles improves our creative output. From co-creation communities to working with mentors or coaches, the insight and input others provides is invaluable in the creative process. In addition, the internet offer a variety of free forums for us to connect with others like never before. Who is in your co-creation community?
The Dip by Seth Godin
It just so happens that we had two books by Seth Godin at this discussion. The Dip is all about knowing when to quit and knowing when to push on. We all experience the dip; for example when we’re learning something new there’s that period in the process where it gets harder before it becomes easier. That’s the Dip and in those situations you want to lean in and keep going.
But when you’re in a cul de sac….it’s a dead end folks, there’s no way out by continuing what you’re doing. However, we all have the ability to turn a cul de sac into a dip!! This quick read shares some useful insights, possibly the best tidbit was that you should decide before you start a new project or business the point at which you’ll quit. Do you know when you’re quitting time is?
The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin
Godin’s new book, the Icarus Deception is a philosophical mussing about the changes occurring in society and how they impact our lives. Godin observes that evolutionarily we learned to make decisions based on two things: our Comfort Zone and our Safety Zone. For years, the two have overlapped. And the story went something like this: go to school, get good grades, graduate, get a good job, work it for years, retire, and be happy because you did what you were told (AKA life throughout the pre/post-Industrial Revolution).
But now the game’s changed (we’re in the Connection Economy); the safety zone’s migrated away from the comfort zone but as a society we’re still making decisions as though they overlap. It is time we break away from our comfort zones and be more mindful of our safety zone. This means everyone must start being an artist, to strive to make meaningful contributions that form connections with others. Artists innovate, create, challenge and provoke growth, improvement and positive change. Are you willing to stray from your comfort zone, it’s no-longer safer?
What’s interesting about EntrepreNerds discussions is hearing the different perspectives participants bring to the table. Two people reading the very same book will glean different insights and take-aways based on their own personal experiences. Hearing other’s perspectives heightens our individual learning experiences. The highlights I shared were what stroke a cord with participants. I imagine you have your own reactions about the books we discussed and I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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