I am always torn on where to start in sharing my reading list. I pick up books and magazines more than I should, knowing that I cannot absorb it all. It takes a very trained mind to narrow its focus on one topic and drown out all distractions. I do not consider myself highly trained, but I do continuously make efforts to tease out important reads amidst the chaos.
I have unsubscribed to almost every email newsletter except three, have discontinued all magazine subscriptions, and use Pocket to save my reading list until I have time to sit down and thoroughly retain and utilize what I am reading.
My consistent places to pick up reading material are listed below. Then, I list the books I am reading. And finally, (because I've already said that I am not highly trained) the transcripts that catch my eye along the way.
Shane Parrish writes the Farnam Street blog and it is fantastic. He is able to wrap up a lot of how I am feeling by writing about what he is learning. My generation is warped by fanatic, multidisciplinary studies, but I also majored in it. Literally. I studied in multiple disciplines at New College, and have rarely found others who can pontificate so articulately the balance of learning multiple subjects. Studying is fine and all, but seeing the relationships in different subjects is true intellect.
Maria Popova brilliantly produces Brainpickings, which provides more articles about writers, readers, and human emotion than I could ever conceive achieving personally. Her newsletter is perfect for hitting the headlines and figuring out just what I want to learn that day. The articles are quite in-depth, and at times too long for me to read in one sitting, but they are fascinating. Popova maintains readers' interest with infographics that show fun and entertaining facts, such as famous writers' sleeping habits. It is definitely worth a read.
My friend Megan runs a successful small business in New Orleans called Conversations. Every Sunday I receive a nicely, neatly formatted email about the newest conventions and tips in the social media world from her. It's a life saver. If you're having trouble understanding just why social media is important, or how you can successfully utilize it, I highly recommend signing up. I am a marketing consultant and I love helping people understand the whys and hows of marketing, and that includes social media. However, social media is not my main passion. I choose to let others educate me on how I want to teach the topic.
E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber. This is the quintessential and highly talked about book for all entrepreneurs and small business owners. I have tried reading it in the past, but opted out until starting my company back in March. It has been sitting on my "To-Read" shelf and had been temporarily pushed aside for novels that are better beach reads. I am just now beginning again and will give a synopsis on my Tumblr bookshelf after I complete it.
Undaunted Courage by Stephen E. Ambrose. This book is making its way onto my list at a very opportune time. Starting a new venture, a new cause, or a new direction in life can lead to feelings of doubt. My generation is faced with a multitude of crises, so shouldn't we be creating companies based upon "goodness" instead of "coolness"? Personally, I hope to affect change in the sustainable food and wildlife/ocean conservation realms through marketing consulting, but will my efforts be fruitless? Sometimes it is difficult to see how the virtues of my efforts will pay off in the future. However, it is reassuring that many people in history have felt the same and went on to accomplish great things.
Meriwether Lewis once wrote "This day I completed my thirty first year...I reflected that I had as yet done but little, very little indeed, to further the happiness of the human race, or to advance the information of the succeeding generation. I viewed with regret the many hours I have spent in indolence, and now soarly feel the want of that information which those hours would have given me had they been judiciously expended. In future, to live for mankind, as I have heretofore lived for myself."
Hugh MacLeod also touched on this in a recent email through Gapingvoid.