Ryan Long is a voracious reader of business books. We decided to catch up with this Actionable Book Club member to learn more about her passion for books.
What’s your all-time favourite book?
My favorite fictional book is The Beach by Alex Garland. (Yes, the one that was made into a Leonardo DiCaprio movie!) I read it in a post-modern literature class in college. Many things about the novel really appeal to me. There are so many literary, historical, and pop culture references that I get something new out of it every time I read it. However, it’s an adventrue story so I don’t feel like I HAVE to get something out of it. It’s also a beach story and I LOVE the beach! And it’s a traveler’s story of cultures and new people and places.
Has a book ever changed your life? If so, tell us about it…
My FAVORITE professional development book is Switch: How to Change Things when Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. It’s probably the most influential book that I have ever read. I think it’s FANTASTIC! I have picked it up MANY times to look for ways to implement change in the minds of others, or get my message across, when I’m not in the most powerful position. There’s a story about eating radishes that I reference very often. And of course, there are the elephant, the rider, and the path. Ah, so great! If this makes no sense, you’ll just have to pick up a copy!
Do you read books outside of the business/professional development genre?
I used to primarily read novels and historical fiction, with the occasional business or professional development book tossed in. One of the reasons I wanted to become an Actionable writer was for the accountability to read more non-fiction books. It has now been many months since I read a fiction book!
Kindle or traditional paper books… which do you prefer?
Traditional books. I like to make notes in the margins and underline text. I have a Kindle but I’ve only used it once!
Tell us about your reading routine. (i.e. Time of day, favourite spot, snack, drink…)
I don’t really have a good reading routine…but I need to get back into one. I used to do a LOT of reading on stationary bicycles and airplanes. But my workout routine and work travel have changed. Now, it happens when it happens. Sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening, but most often in the afternoon.
We’re all about action. How have you implemented an idea from one of the books you’ve summarized and how has it helped to transform your life?
Think Like a Freak is my favorite of the books I have summarized so far. It reminds me to look at problems and data from different angles to solve problems and get results. As a new recruiting campaign is getting started, it’s probably about time to thumb through it to re-energize my creative and innovative mind so that I can tackle the challenges ahead of me.
I know I have implemented ideas from my Actionable summaries, but one that has trickled down from me through my team at work is actually an idea from a summary from Actionable writer Dianne Coppola. I don’t remember the book, but Dianne told us about brainstorming new ideas. She said most people stop at the first few, but you have to go deeper than that. The first thoughts you have are the easy ones. You have to KEEP brainstorming past the first few to get to the really good stuff. Sometimes the deeper ideas seem totally off the wall at first, but you dig and build on them and THEN you have your breakthroughs. I shared this with my team and we often use it to get to the next-level, better thoughts and ideas. Just today, my colleague shared the concept with a task force he is leading. The task force members are mostly recruiters who have a little experience innovating, but have probably never really dug in past the first or second idea that comes to them. So, thanks to both Actionable Books and Dianne!
Finally, what are you reading at the moment?
I’m about to pick up Unprocessed: My City Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble. For the past several years I have been interested in food and fitness. I never realized how much food has changed in the past half century. I’ve certainly made healthier changes, although for the past few months I’ve been slipping into bad habits. I’m hoping Kimble’s book will show me some new ways to really appreciate everything I put in my body, where it comes from, and what it takes to get to my table.
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