When I first started working in strategic innovation, a Senior Vice President at a Fortune 100 pulled me aside at lunch. “You’re pretty quiet,” he said. That comment didn’t surprise me. I was 24 and working in a room full of Senior Executives at a large financial service company. Quiet was basically another way to say intimidated. What came next did. “When you do talk, you’re a human encyclopedia. Do you have any book recommendations?”
I was pretty taken aback by this comment. After all, it’s not like I went to a great university or anything. I was a middle-class kid from the Midwest, who went to public school his entire life. The fact that I could talk relatively intelligently about most topics was because I spent most of my free time learning. This “ability” was the natural byproduct of curiosity.
Now that I’ve built a career in an un-traditional industry, I often get asked for career advice. Here it is.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in anything strategic you need to start fueling your curiosity. Read good books. Listen to smart people. Watch great movies. The world is complex, but the complexity wilts away if you consciously develop a critical framework. The only way that happens is through work. To help, I’ve written a list of book recommendations. They’re sorted by genre.
- 5 non-fiction books to understand technology and modern society
- 10 non-fiction books on globalization
- 10 best business books
- 10 best strategy books
- 10 books on creativity, researcher and writing.
- 10 books that I personally love.