I always have a backlog of non-fiction books to read. Given the amount of free time that I have every day, I am guessing that it may be years before I get through them. In fact, the rate at which books get added to my backlog probably exceeds my learning velocity, creating an ever-increasing gap. It feels like a microcosm of Eddie Obeng’s “world after midnight.”
So what to do?
I am trying to increase my velocity by applying speed reading techniques. But so far, that is probably only closing a small percentage of the gap.
Then, upon a bit of soul searching, I had an epiphany. Why do I feel the need to read and understand every single word on every single page? This runs counter to what we coach our teams to do—eliminate waste, only document what makes sense, just-in-time practices, and applying iterative thinking instead of only incremental. The answer seemed to be that I don’t feel that I have really read the book if I haven’t read every word. So what? Am I trying to conquer the thing? It seems like a very egocentric point of view.
What if I was able to let go of the ego, and try to read a book iteratively instead of incrementally? Is it even possible? Would it be effective? [Read more...]