Fresh eyes

Published on
June 30, 2014
Chris Taylor
"Ideas are only valuable when applied."
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What’s your favorite business book? Why?

In our constant pursuit of new, I think we sometimes miss the opportunity to revisit some of the truly great books that are collecting dust.

Aside from simply brushing up on the “Importance/Urgency Matrix” or other such models, there may be a couple other reasons to re-read something that once impacted us in a big way. Here’s my top four reasons for revisiting some of the dogeared tomes on your shelf:

1. You may find something new. The whole “when the student is ready, the master appears” bit may be as accurate to books as it is to other sources of teaching. The section you glossed over before (for whatever reason), may suddenly become the most valuable part of the book for you, this time round.

2. Your notes are interesting. If you’re like me, and “actively read” with a highlighter, ballpoint or otherwise, re-reading a book you marked up several years ago can provide you with fascinating insight into where your head was back then… and how much you’ve grown, since.

3. Dots can be connected in new ways. I find that the insights that come from books I’m reading are only partially created by the words on the page. The other component is outside material — other books I’ve read, clients I’ve worked with, etc. Times change, and so do you — let the same material impact you in new ways through the lens of experience.

4. Check out the references section for a “chose your own adventure”. While the latest and greatest bestseller may be interesting, so to are some of the more obscure oldies. If you have a favorite book and haven’t done this before, try opening the reference/notes section at the end and see who inspired your favorite author. Choosing one of their reference books as your next read takes you back in time, on (what can be) a fascinating choose your own adventure.

I’m a firm believer that the right book, for the right person, at the right time can create that spark of inspiration that leads to your next major project or passion. And who knows, maybe that book that was just “meh” a couple of years ago — but is still staring at you from the bookshelf — was just waiting for the right time. Ready to give it another shot?