Read More Books – part deux

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

How is your “this year I will read more books” resolution coming? Good, bad, or ugly it doesn’t matter. Resolutions are lies you tell to yourself because they assume a finite game. You’ll read books for one year – so what? You’ll be healthy (lose weight, eat right, drink less) – it doesn’t matter. Resolutions are a cover for short-term thinking. Don’t do it. Play the long game.

A better approach is to be like Sisyphus. Push the rock knowing you’ll never make it to the top of the hill.

This is the quote I’ve been thinking of most lately:

“People don’t buy quarter-inch drills, they buy quarter-inch holes.” – Theodore Levitt

There was a large response when I tweeted this:

It was encouraging. I felt good. I was also accountable. I was now someone “no zero days.”

Accountability and excitement are tools to learn more. Another tool is; see-it-to-believe-it.

When I was a kid a popular birthday party spot was the bowling alley because they had bowling and video games. This was when the arcade games were a lot better than anything you could have at home. Two games stuck out; Street Fighter and pinball. The first because I was awful at it. The second because I learned how to unstick a ball, bump the machine. That was a see-it-to-believe-it moment

I am no pinball wizard, I have no supple wrist. I just know how to knock a ball loose (a proud skill for a twelve-year-old) because I was exposed to it at the bowling alley. Mere exposure can unstick an idea just a small bump can unstick a steel ball.

Richard Thaler had this moment when he read Value Theory. “Now I can think that,” Thaler told Michael Lewis.  Oh, I can study this theory. 

Mohnish Pabrai thought he was a terrible student until he took an intelligence test and topped it. After that, his grades improved. Oh, I can be a good student. 

Charlie Munger thought that being a lawyer would lead to wealth. Then he started working with business owners and he realized that it was business owners, not their lawyers, who created valuable assets. Munger changed course. Oh, it’s businesses, not people, that create value.

Judah Friedlander said, “I never realized being a comedian was a thing you could do.” Oh, I can be a comedian. 

In this spirit, I’ll offer a see-it-to-believe-it-opportunity. This isn’t the only way, and it may not even be the best way to read a book. But, if it gets you reading today, and then again tomorrow, and then again the day after that, then we have something. If this is a see-it-to-believe-it moment for you, that small bump is all that matters.

 

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