"The problem with the world is that people don’t know too little, they know too much of what doesn’t matter."
A very wise man said that once. Possibly an ex-president of a pre-car crash USA. But it's brutally true. And the balance continues to tip with increasing velocity in favour of the 'knowing too much of what doesn't matter.'
I'm in the process of setting up a new company. As these things typically do, it's taking slightly longer than normal. In the meantime, I've been exercising some healthy future-gazing, and asking myself when (not if), I begin taking on the responsibility of managing and nurturing the people that will be joining said company, what are some of things I can do to make it an amazing place to come to every day. The list is exciting if not at times slightly over-optimistic given we all have to do some 'work' at some point. But in the context of this 'knowing stuff', one thing stands out. Reading.
I think it would be an incredibly, mutually nourishing project, to provide a dedicated reading space for the people that join this new venture. A cool, comfortable space with excellent coffee and populated with a carefully curated library of 'physical' (100% technology free space) books designed to inspire, inflame, motivate and teach. And then make it obligatory - yes, obligatory - for every single one of us to read, for a minimum of just 25 mins, every day of the week.
Sound a bit silly and obvious?
The average adult reads 300 words per minute. That's one page of an average book. So if we work on the assumption that during one session, each person reads 25 pages - ok let's make it 20 - that means over the course of a 21 day working month, each person in the company could have read 2 inspiring, inflaming, motivating or educational books (the average book is 250 pages long).
Still sound a bit silly and obvious?
I wish the companies and agencies I'd worked for over the years had had a similar idea. My self-discipline to read was hopeless until about 4 years ago. I'm still making up for lost time.
Even if the commitment was bi-monthly, nurturing your people to read 12 (enter adjective) books a year will not only enrich them intellectually, it will almost certainly guarantee a higher return in their contribution. And to top it all of, reading 'physical' books is one of the most calming and mindful exercises we can do. So yes, in many ways this does sound silly and obvious, especially when you ask yourself:
How much better would my people be, and so by extension my business, if they were obliged to take 25 minutes out per day, to sit in a quiet room, on a super comfortable chair, and read an incredible book?