When I speak with eager MBAs on what they should do to prepare for management consulting, I often fall back on this basic idea: reading.
We don’t read enough. I really started enjoying reading when I turned 25 years old. Obviously, that is a fail because my brain was pretty hard-wired by that point already. Reading gives us a broader perspective, and helps to structure some of the many random thoughts that run around our brain. Well-crafted books teach us the beauty, mystery and power of story-telling.
Bill Gates reads a book a week. Clearly, that is not for everyone.These are the books that Bill Gates read recently and the ones he has reviewed here.
Read books. The more you read, the more likely you will have something to say. Even if you are not an extroverted conversationalist, if you read, at least you have some some content you can share with clients, prospects, team members and hotel clerks.
Listen to podcasts. I probably read a book a month, but I get fed intellectually more by listening to podcasts while traveling to/from clients, cutting the grass, and cooking.
Listen to audiobooks. Buying audiobooks are expensive. Try renting them from audible.com, or even better, get them from your local library. The last books I got for free from my library were (affiliate links):
- Winning, Jack Welch
- Total Money Makeover, Dave Ramsey
- The First Billion is the Hardest, T. Boone Pickens
- Oprah, Kitty Kelley
- Cooked, Michael Pollan
Read the Economist. I have read this for the last 20 years. Well-written, British, writing and wit with a decided international bent, free-market point of view with a heart of empathy for the weak. Informative and easy to read. It certainly covers a lot of marcoeconomic and political issues, but also provides thoughtful vignettes and stories to keep you thinking. We Americans need to open our eyes to a bigger and broader world. Lots for us to know, appreciate, enjoy and engage.