Over the course of my career one of my all-time favorite questions to ask a candidate is “What is the last book you read?” The obvious follow-up is “What book are you currently reading?” The responses (and reactions) have fallen from one end of the spectrum to the other. They also reveal a great deal about the candidate. Many candidates do a bit of dancing around the subject and then list all the articles and web sites they read to stay current. But that was not the question.
I will always remember one candidate in particular. It was 2003 and I was interviewing a candidates for a sales position. Near the end of the interview I asked my favorite question. He was taken off guard and unprepared for it. After finally admitting he hadn’t finished a book since college, and now clearly defensive, he thought he would turn the tables and asked me to name the last book I read. I did him one better.
I told him I finished my last book just the week before and it was The Magic of Thinking of Big. And I also listed out the three books I read before that. I then told him what I was currently reading and the next two I had lined up after that.
We are able to get information from many sources thanks to advances in technology. But where do we gain knowledge? Nothing can replace a book. The ideas shared in books ranging from history, personal finance, biographies, business, motivational and inspirational and so many others, can not be duplicated.
Diving into a book can replenish our mind in a way reading an article can not. Books make us think, they make us wrestle our in-grained beliefs with new ideas. They help us draw new conclusions and create paradigm shifts. If we are open to it, they can help us see the world in a new way.
I don’t know if you are familiar with Andy Andrews or Og Mandino. Both are great writers and can weave great stories. If you don’t know them, I highly recommend their work. Some of my other favorite books include:
- As A Man Thinketh by James Allen
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- Thinking For a Change and Failing Forward both by John Maxwell
- Destination Success by Dwight Bain
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason
These titles revolve around business and self-improvement. But I will include additional titles from other areas including literature in subsequent posts. But I would like to know who some of your favorite authors might be. Feel free to list some of them. You might point someone in a direction they have never been.