“Change occurs on a continuum and does not move in a straight line.” –Sharon Weil
There was a time when being a nerd was not cool. Parents of precocious children often consoled, “Keep on reading and don’t worry about them; they’ll work for you one day,” even when their child was chided for reading at a pep rally. The digital age proved that reading was infinitely better advice than even finishing your English peas. One of the common traits of successful people is a voracious appetite for the written word. A 2014 study by CNBC contributor Tom Corley, stated that 88 percent of wealthy individuals he interviewed read at least thirty minutes a day. Access to new ideas, current trends, and refreshing skills are all a function of reading. Make no mistake about it, reading and self-study is a key contributor to success.
The advantages of reading go farther through the looking glass when one reads science fiction. Good science fiction writers are unfettered by the shackles of currently available technology, but base their ideas on sound scientific principles. This has created a chicken and egg proposition for real-world technology innovators. How many of the inventions that are commonplace today were inspired by the impossibilities of science fiction? Arthur C. Clarke showcased tablet PCs and virtual reality games in his works of the 1950s and 60s. H. G. Wells envisioned tanks, atomic weapons, and automatic doors near the turn of the last century. Hugo Gernsback pegged radar and video conferencing before the start of World War I.
The prophetic abilities of these, and other, science fiction authors aren’t as important, however, as the inspiration they provided. Real-world tech developers have turned what were flights of fancy into workable products by wondering, “how could I make that happen?” The magic of reading is the limitless possibilities the imagination holds and depending on what you read, you might stumble on the next big thing.
The Nerd’s Crystal Ball: Accelerators
- How much time do you spend focused on readingor personal self-study?
- Carve out some time each day or each week (thirtyminutes a day is about two and a half hours a weekor 5 percent of your average work week) and dedicateit to self-improvement.
- If all else fails to produce the available time, leverageany ‘nonproductive’ time you have for readingor listening to audiobooks.
Dr. Jeff D. Standridge is the best-selling author of “The Innovator’s Field Guide” and “The Top Performer’s Field Guide.” He serves as Managing Director for the Conductor and Innovation Junkie, and teaches in the College of Business at the University of Central Arkansas. Jeff helps organizations and their leaders generate sustained results in the areas of innovation, strategy, profit growth, organizational effectiveness and leadership. Learn more at InnovationJunkie.com.