By rights, B should be for Budgets. I am an accountant and a wealth coach, after all. But right now, I find myself in the middle of a tempestuous re-ignition of a lifelong love affair with Books. Without wishing to ‘fess up to also being a Scanner and let you know precisely how many books I am currently reading simultaneously (eight!), I will tell you about my catholic reading tastes. In fact, I could be described right now as being on a reading jag such is the obsession.
My current stash includes one autobiography by Diana Athill, Binge Trading, The Little Book of Twitter, The Millionaire Next Door, Scarpetta, The Glass Half Full (about optimism) Rent To Own by Robert Irwin, and my own particular favourite right now – Risk, the Science and Politics of Fear by Dan Gardner which is getting the lion’s share of my time. I can’t go anywhere without it, always a good sign. Sadly, I left it in the window of the car all day today in sultry temperatures and the sun melted the spine glue so all the pages are falling out! Still, nil desperandum, I shall battle on, devouring the content.
The two books I have recently completed and enjoyed are Enemy Number One by “the UK’s Most Feared Professional Punter” Patrick Veitch and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, betting on horses and how to be successful at life. Looks like I am finishing two in every ten I pick up.
Why do I read? And why so voraciously and widely? The reasons are many and various. Some of the most important things in my life I have learned from books. In many, I seek to recognise myself or to aspire to be a better version of me. I especially enjoy a hero or heroine who is sufficiently like me but better, that’s very encouraging. For relaxation, escape and entertainment. For inspiration and knowledge, of those who have trodden my path before me and/or know better. For the excitement of a rip-roaring page-turner. For the peace and quiet of perhaps the most contented of pastimes. That last one makes me sound a bit like a Jane Austen character but then reading is a somewhat old-fashioned hobby.
One of my favourite games is to ask people, after an exercise taught to me by fellow coach Rachel Turner which I have never forgotten: “if this were your last day on earth, what three things would you spend your time doing”. Don’t sweat this exercise, just keep it light-hearted and off the top of your head, quickly. Paraphrased, it just means what are your three favourite things and how often do you remember to indulge in them.
In the main, amongst my friends and family at least, I rarely meet anyone who doesnt have reading in their list somewhere. One of my nephews, for example, said “playing golf, watching golf and reading about golf” and he’s only 17, 16 at the time of this quote. And one tends not to think of teenagers these days being much into reading because of all the other easier stimuli which are available to them. Hooray for reading, hooray for Jem.
I regularly purge my bookshelves and memorably last year had a good clearout for Children in Need and raised the best part of £1,000. This weekend I was reminded of another way to pass on your books or liberate them, as I like to say, at a website called ReadItSwapIt.co.uk but perhaps the most telling thing are the books on my shelves which survive every cull: the entire Rich Dad oeuvre, A Walk In The Woods by Bill Bryson and A Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver and many more. And no, you can’t borrow any of those, I might need to re-immerse myself in any one of them at any time. Or, more likely, all three at once!
Entrepreneurs-wise my favourites are The E-Myth by that Mr Magoo, Michael Gerber, superceded these days by aspirational Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris.
I’d tell you more about my passion for books, but I have a date – an early night with Risk or perhaps I wonder if tonight may be a Scarpetta evening? So I shall leave you with a question: which books do you love to read and why?