I think we’ve all taken something different from this year.  I’m sure everyone has had highs and lows from the new experience of being forced to stay at home, reduce social interactions and change our usual way of life. I’ve taken the opportunity to do something I’ve wanted to do for twenty years; take my motorbike test. I’ve passed both the theory test and CBT in the last two weeks and have the practical test booked for December. Passing my theory meant I could get back to a great book that I’m currently reading; ‘The Ride of a Lifetime’ by long-time Disney CEO Bob Iger. 

The change to our lives this year has generally given us more time for ourselves. I’ve tried to use my time to read more. I think reading is so important and hugely under valued. Every day is a school day and appreciating that you can learn lots from others is an important personal trait.  Reading isn’t just about knowledge. It’s not a coincidence that some of the world’s best thinkers read a lot.  

In today’s era of screens, short attention spans and desire for instant and constant gratification, reading provides a sanctuary for the mind. If you read a good book, it takes your mind away from your day to day worries. In that sense, it is similar to motorcycling, which also takes you away from the daily grind. This time is so important for your mental well-being and ability to think clearly and creatively.  Your best thinking will come when your mind is at ease, whether that is when you’re reading or cycling or taking the dog for a walk. It won’t be when you are sat in front of your monitor in the office or at home. 

 

Bob Iger’s book is exactly the sort of book I love.  It’s interesting and inspiring without the feeling of reading a management book aimed at giving you an MBA. Who wouldn’t find it interesting; the story of how Bob had to fight internal and external forces, together with cultural norms at Disney to acquire the likes of Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.  It highlights the short-term nature of management thinking, a general misunderstanding of risk, the under-appreciation of the power of great teams and needing the right culture to encourage growth, ambition and emotional maturity.  Similar books such as ‘Shoe Dog’ by Nike founder, Phil Knight, ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson and ‘Legacy’ by James Kerr are all essential, inspiring reading in my opinion. 

The problem I face now is what to read next?  With a difficult COVID-19 hit winter ahead, I need some inspiration!  What have you read that inspired you?  Give me some ideas…..

Thanks for reading and