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Non-Fiction Makes You More Informed, Less Inflamed

by John on 03/23/2012

Another rule of Informed Not Inflamed: read non-fiction.  Always have a book going.

Here’s what I wrote in my first book.

There appears to be one consistent point about successful business people: They read a lot of non-fiction. Reading non-fiction books that explore political, historical, and business issues of our day will give you a much wider perspective than you will receive from newspapers, talk radio, and television. I am not saying newspapers, talk radio, and television give you false information; they tend to give you black and white information. Non-fiction books allow you to see gray.

It’s still true.  And you have no excuses.  You can get a book on all of your electronic devices. 

I have Kindle software on my laptop so I can quickly open the book and pick-up where I left off. 

I also get audio books through Audible on my computer and my smart phone.  I listen while driving, traveling on a train or plane, or waiting on meetings.

Here’s a great tip if you tend to fall asleep with audio books.  Go to the settings page and you can increase the reader’s speed.  For some of us, the fast-paced keeps our minds alert and awake.

What about choosing a piece of non-fiction?

I go with business, history, or politics.  But that’s what I write about.  You will also want to include books relating to your field.  For example, since I am examining how we receive and present news, I have a number of books on my list about behavior and psychology.

What about bias?  I tend to read print journalists and accredited experts in their field.  (Now after saying that, you will see a review of Chris Matthews’ book on JFK soon here.)  Like blogs, I tend to stay away from the angry writers — with extreme views.  And I lean toward scholarly writers.

One of my recent books was “The Idea of America: Reflections on the Birth of the United States” by Gordon S. Wood, a history professor at Brown University.  It offers brilliant insight into the Founding Fathers and how the nation changed and grew differently the two, now three, centuries later.  Plus, you begin to see how some of the politicians who describe themselves as Constitutionalists are a little skewed in their thinking.

A couple of tricks to find the right book.  Go to Amazon.com and some books let you read the first chapter or excerpts.  Another short-cut: Capitol Reader.  It’s a service that gives you a book synopsis each month.  Instead of a 200-page book, you read only 8 pages.  Plus, you’ll know if you need to read the entire book before you buy it.  The only problem: Capitol Reader editors decide which book will be condensed.

Now share some books with me and others here.

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