Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Reading Habit

Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. I just love the nostalgia. Everything about it makes me recall my fondest childhood memories.This past year I read a biography on Thomas Jefferson. Looking back to our Founding Fathers, reading snippets of letters written between them, and understanding the immense pressure they were under really solidified my love for Independence Day.

Did you know that Thomas Jefferson was and is regarded as one of the most intelligent men to ever serve as the President of the United States? In fact, at a dinner hosted by John F. Kennedy honoring Nobel Prize winners from the western hemisphere on April 29, 1962, Kennedy said this:

"I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."

Wow. That's some brain power!

I don't normally read books the size of encyclopedias (for the record, the T.J. book was about 24 hours on Audible), but I do read almost daily and I get asked all the time how I have time to read. It's a fair question for all, especially balancing life, kids, work, school, etc. So for this week in Stoll on Sports, I'm going to leave you with 5 book recommendations and 5 tips on how to read more. Here we go:

Stoll's 5 Book Recommendations:

(In no particular order)

5. The APA Manual. I'm totally kidding! No offense to the fine folks over at the APA, but as an ABD doctoral student I'm about over it. In fact, I might sacrificially burn it when I graduate. If only I didn't have the Kindle version...
You know you're lame when you use APA humor.
Okay, the real number 5.

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Two Navy Seal veterans who draw on battlefield skills and experiences for business application. The principles in this book are easy to understand and implementable regardless of organization size.

4. Switch On Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf
There is serious power to unlock by developing neuropathways. Dr. Leaf is a wealth of knowledge in this area and the simple premise is what you think about expands. This principal has been a tough one for me over the years, but the more and more I own my thoughts, the more freedom it has given me.
Dr. Caroline Leaf, a great speaker as well
3. Becoming Odyssa by Jennifer Pharr Davis
The true story of a 21 year old college graduate who thru-hiked the entire Appalachian Trail. Her story is one of "all the feels". Since that successful thru-hike, she has gone on to set the record for the fastest thru-hike on the AT (roughly 2185 miles in 46 THAT's bookin'!). It's a great story and will leave you feeling empowered and inspired.
Just finished this one and loved it.
2. Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness
I've mentioned this one in Stoll on Sports, but it's worth putting on this list. Stulberg and Magness completely shifted my perspective on what it takes to succeed, the value of stress and how to balance that with the uber elusive 'rest'. It's a great read for highly motivated and driven people, or those - like me - who have a tendency to teeter on burned out.

Oh man, why did I say just 5 books? I could easily leave many, many more.

1. In an effort to balance business and personal development books, I'll go with The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. No intro needed for this one. I read it at least two times per year and highly recommend it for everyone.

0. I made that up, but I have to add Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. It's a fascinating overview of scantly explored trends involving some of the most successful people. From professional athletes, to Bill Gates, to the Beatles, it's chalk full of good stuff. Paul McCartney even touched on an element addressed in this book during the now-viral James Corden Carpool Karaoke segment when he said there was a point the Beatles would play every gig they could get. Read the book and you'll find out how this relates to 10,000 hours.

If you haven't watched it. Do so now.

Now quickly for my Top 5 "Read More" Tips:

5. Drive to Audible books. Get in car, flip on Audible. Before you know it, you're at your destination.

4. Mix it up. Business, personal, biography, fiction, non-fiction. It does not matter, reading different genres and styles stretches your brain and even though we don't retain it all, it gets dust off our cobwebs and keeps the ol' gears hummin' along.

3. Keep a reading list. I keep a list in my notes app, and then I relish the joy of moving a title from the list to the "finished" section. I's the little things. Then at the end of the year you can look back and feel proud of the new knowledge you've acquired.

2. Read a hard copy book before bed. I have one Kindle, one Audible and one hard copy book going at a time. I usually read a few minutes before I fall asleep, almost always hard copy.

1. Give it away! Reading is a pleasure, not a burden (unless you are writing a dissertation, then reading can, in fact, suck the life out of you). But, giving it away is one great way to continue that pleasure. If you've got a hard copy book, gift it to someone who will enjoy it. If it's an audio or digital format, I always try to find someone I know will love the book and tell them about it.

Who can forget this timeless classic show?
My love for reading didn't come until well after my first round of college (sorry LaVar Burton), but  as Dr. Seuss so astutely penned, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." This is Stoll on Sports. 

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