By Patrick Sisneros Herald Columnist
What reading material do you have on your nightstand?
It’s an important question.
Tom Peters, the influential business author writes, “I really do believe that one of the half-dozen keys to success is: Out-read the other guy. Read wide, read long, read deep. Yes, it’s a matter of preparation. But, it’s a little bit more than just preparation. It’s getting in deep enough and finding out interesting twists that give you more analytic depth, that give you more of a handle, an angle on what you’re talking about.”
Peters is spot on with how he describes the value of reading. In today’s age of learning information through a quick Internet search or reading a Wikipedia entry, you can set yourself apart by heeding Peters’ advice.
Of course in today’s high-tech world, the nightstand pile isn’t limited to books and magazines, but likely includes a laptop or iPad.
I would encourage you to utilize your high-tech device to tap into blogs and create a robust list focused first on marketing, management and economics, then expand it to a variety of subject areas.
Where to start?
Consider checking out four of my favorite blogs.
New York Times: You’re the Boss —The Art of Running a Small Business at boss.blogs.nytimes.com.
With thirteen different contributors, many of whom are small business owners, this blog is a must read. There are typically two entries each day covering issues every small business owners faces. Boss bloggers to look for:
Check out the Times daily column by Gene Marks entitled “Today in Small Business.” Marks clips articles on small business from all over the country.
I also appreciate the postings by Paul Downs, who owns a furniture and cabinet business and he writes about surviving in a difficult economy. He tells it like it is: the good, bad and ugly of owning a business.
Dan Ariely at danariely.com: Ariely is a behavioral economist, best-selling author and weekend columnist for the Wall Street Journal. Ariely describes behavioral economics as the “study of humans and their occasionally irrational interactions with the world” and his goal is to “describe it in plain language.”
You’ll enjoy his Q&A column from the WSJ that he posts on his blog. I find his insights helpful in better understanding why people make decisions and the impact these decisions have in the marketplace and the workplace.
Scott Adams at www.dilbert.com/blog: Yes, the creator of the comic strip, Dilbert, has a blog. Adams is also an entrepreneur; he is currently working on a start-up venture.
If you love Dilbert, you’ll love his blog. Even if you aren’t a big Dilbert fan, Adams has out-of-the-ordinary things to say on business, politics and life in general — although he writes in sarcastic style.
Freakonomics at freakonomics.com/blog: This blog is a fairly recent discovery and is an offshoot of the 2005 best seller, “Freakonomics” by economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen Dubner. They examine the economics of everyday life, from cheating and crime to sports and childrearing.
After checking out these, over the next few months, develop your own preferred list. I’ve found my list of blog favs is constantly growing because exploring one blog often leads to another one of equal interest.
“Out-read the other guy,” Tom Peters said.
Take the time to make it part of your daily routine.
Pat Sisneros is the vice president of College Services at Everett Community College. Share your favorite blogs with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.