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Reading to Learn My Complex Relationship With Reading
I’ve never been much of a reader, other than out of necessity. I read in school, of course, and when I first began working at MicroTech, I began my own school of sorts, diving into textbooks full of tech lingo and methods. I didn’t have much of a tech background when I joined the company, so I had to study my butt off. I was just trying to learn as much as I could. About 10 years ago, I realized I wasn’t learning much anymore. I’ve always enjoyed learning, but since I didn’t have anything I “had” to learn anymore, I hadn’t cracked open many books or dug into something new. As I was being reintroduced to books again, I realized that many of the members of my peer group, Entrepreneurs’ Organization, were also readers. That had a big influence on my choices. Like many business owners, I primarily read business books. I often receive a lot of grief at the MicroTech Systems offices for having “self- help” books tucked under my arm, but I don’t see these as self-help books per se. Instead, I see them as an opportunity to learn about myself or a new technique and grow as a person and leader. Sure, some books are better than others, but each one has been worth reading. My family and I were big into audiobooks for a while. In fact, when my middle daughter would play in volleyball tournaments across the neighboring states, we used audiobooks to pass the time. It’s embarrassing to admit now, but we’d be cruising along the interstate
with a teen novel playing through the speakers. She’d be into it. I was into it. We’d get to the hotel and have to turn the book on one of our phones to finish the chapter. We just had to know what happened! That was always a fun time. After that, I had an audiobook habit when I had a long commute from the MicroTech Systems office. I would usually listen to a whole chapter or two — or even the occasional podcast — before and after work. My shorter commute and lofty Amazon bills from buying audiobooks put a stop to that. But lately, I’ve felt less desire to open the business books I so casually read before. My wife pointed out that it wouldn’t hurt me to pick up something just for fun, but I still have that itch to learn. I’ve always been big on other people’s stories and learning about their lives. I read a biography about Benjamin Franklin once and learned that he was quite an astute businessman. That was amazing to me, and I loved reading that book. Maybe those are the kinds of books I need to read more often. I have a unique relationship with reading, to say the least. I enjoy reading for a purpose and getting something out of the books I choose. As long as I find the topic interesting and I can learn, I will keep turning the pages.
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