Doing the Reading

Doing the Reading

I read an amusing quotation the other day in a Seth Godin blog post:

“A guy asked his friend, the writer David Foster Wallace, ‘Say, Dave, how’d y’get t’be so dang smart?’ His answer: ‘I did the reading.’

As part of my ‘doing the reading,’ I have been devouring (and posting to) LinkedIn Change Management group discussions. There are seven juicy ones, of which four focus on sharing best book recommendations and perspectives on what is missing in existing works. They have been eye-opening. My goal of being ‘relevant’ won’t be met if I cover already well trekked ground.

First realization: there has been a lot of ground trekked. Someone once commented, “You know, there are a million books on change management out there.” Actually, he was not far off, give or take a few. Of the 297 recommendations I have read, 153 separate books have been suggested. Within this mini-library, fifteen of them account for 47% of the votes (not quite 80/20, but close enough).

I must remember that these recommendations are mainly from change practitioners, which is not my target audience of leaders looking for practical help. That being said, the list does point to a few resources that are the most valued and most likely ‘relevant’. 

There is a thread through the comments that accompany the recommendations. Most reviewers comment on the simplicity and practicality of these resources. The essence of most comments is captured in this one: “Thinks about the practical readible by non-specialists anecdotes that make reading so much more fun, simple to read with very practical examples, engaging, refreshing and down to earth.”

The comments on what is missing in the marketplace are the same as those that compliment the best book recommendations. Could it be that people are not aware of the existing books that hit the mark or that they are very aware of the ones they have bought that were lacking? More reading required.

My path is clearer. I must make sure I don’t lose my way.



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