Member Login

Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of The Society for the Advancement of Consulting, LLC - Issue #55: April, 2008

Monthly tips to improve the business and practice of members of the Society for Advancement of Consulting, LLC

I've been asked thousands of times how I discipline myself to read, keep abreast of events, and manage both hard copy and online publications. I know it's easy to get swamped, but it's also vitally important to be informed. So, without claiming it's the best way, here is my way:

  • I read the Wall Street Journal hard copy every day. If for whatever reason I can't get it or find it, I read the issues I missed when I return home, since I have a subscription. I speed read, using the headlines to guide me, always reading letters to the editor, the op ed page, and most of the arts section. I often read the last paragraph in a story and then work backwards if I'm unsure by the headline whether it makes sense to take the time.
  • I read the local newspaper every day, wherever I am. That means that at home I read The Providence Journal daily.
  • I read the New York Times every Sunday. During the week, I get the Times headlines in my chosen categories on my computer, and simply click on any story I want to read in its entirety.
  • I read about four psychological magazines and six hobby publications monthly, again using headlines to determine what I read in depth. That is usually 20% or less of the publication, and sometimes zero.
  • I read Fortune Magazine twice a month and Business Week every week. I might actually read a third of these publications.
  • I read no one else's blog, ever, unless someone directs me to a great piece and convinces me it's worth my while. When people send me links to things I "must" read, or they cite links on my Forum or elsewhere, I never click on them.
  • I read about a book a week, sometimes two concurrently, on diverse subject matter: history, biography, war, science, novels, science fiction, tends, business, etc. I will not read a "popular" business book unless a source or reviewer I respect endorses it highly. I do not read 9 of 10 books that people send me for free or as a nice gesture. I appreciate the gesture, but I don't feel obligated to read anything I don't want to. In general, I will not read a book about an animal in which I know the animal dies, because I just don't want that unhappiness in my life.
  • I always take a book with me if I suspect a wait: doctor, dentist, division of motor vehicles, tickets, etc. I also read during televised athletic events that don't demand full time attention (football and baseball are great for this, basketball and soccer are not). There is always a book in m briefcase and a small pile on my night table. I keep all my books, and I prefer to buy them new in hard cover, because they last longer and I tend to treat them better.

I don't know if this helps, but I would urge you to develop routines so that you are well informed and conversant in a wide variety of issues. Clients need intellectual firepower on a broad front, not a narrow popgun that is solely rooted in your own methodology.

Box 1009, East Greenwich, RI 02818
Phone: 401-884-2778
Fax: 401-884-5068
© Society for the Advancement of Consulting. All Rights Reserved. Web Site Design and Hosting by
WebEditor Design Services, Inc.