Are You Layering Your Learning/Studying? – There is no one “book” to read that will be enough

one book - even one good book -  is not enough

one book – even one good book – is not enough

It takes reading more than only one book…

This week, a person asked me what book she should read as a manager in a small company

I did have a suggestion.  But, then, I felt uneasy about my suggestion.  Not because it was not a good book.  It is a very, very good book.  But because this very good book is not “enough.” This one book is not enough for a manager to read to learn how to do a really good job.

{The book I recommended was The Making of a Manager by Julie Zhuo.  But I also recomended, as the 2nd book to read, Radical Candor by Kim Scott}.

In reality, one book, two books, three books are not enough.

David Epstein in his book Range described how Frances Hasselbein began her actual management career quite late in life, compared to most.  What did she do – she read every good book on management she could find, and then put what she learned into practice.

Creativity-Inc.-CoverAnd the same is true for Ed Catmull, the CEO of Pixar.  He was trained in the computer field.  But he needed to learn how to lead a company and manage people.  So, what did he do – he read every good management book he could find.  (By the way, he found most of them not all that helpful.  But, my thinking is, he learned more than he realized from the deep dive he made into these books.  I learned of this in his book, Creativity, Inc.).

In other words, learning is the accumulation of what you discover, and implement, for your serious study.  And that study requires reading books – books, plural.

Think of it like you would layering your clothing.  You start with some basic,  garments, and then you add heavier garments to them, layer by layer.

And, yet, in your learning journey, there is always the next new layer to add.

This kind of corresponds to the increasing “difficulty” and “complexity” in the later books that you read.  First, you read the “for dummies” volume to learn the basics.  Then, you move up to mere complex and more sophisticated treatment of the arena you seek to master.

So, what about you?  Have you identified your next learning project?  And, are you layering your learning?

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