20 Pages a Day

20 pages a day. 140 pages a week. 7300 pages a year.

OK, that last number does seem a bit daunting. However, assuming the average book is 240 pages, with a disciplined approach to daily reading setting a target of reading a minimum of 24 books in 2012 does seem achievable. In fact, it is a target that I have decided to set for myself.

I have always enjoyed reading, and I relish spending time at a cafe digging into a good book or loading something of interest onto my Kindle app.  Often times though, I feel that I don’t read as much as I like, or for that matter as much as I should – given the need to keep learning, amidst the increasingly dynamic world we now live in. (side note: I highly recommend reading a recent Fast Company article, This is Generation Flux: Meet the New (and Chaotic) Frontier of Business).

So far, although it is early, I am on track with my goal of reading 24 books.  I completed reading Public Parts by Jeff Jarvis, and am currently getting immersed in the Steve Jobs biography as well as Seth Godin’s Poke the Box.

Some other books on this year’s reading list include:

The Histories of Social Media, by Jonathan Salem Baskin
Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead, by Charlene Li
The Power of Co-Creation, by Venkat Ramaswamy
Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better And How They Can Change The World, by Jane McGonigal
What’s Mine is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, by Rachel Botsman

In writing this post, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a special hat-tip to Dave Fleet, from whom I’ve drawn some inspiration from – he is challenging himself to read 36 books this year.

Have you recently read any books you recommend I should consider? What books are on your reading list?

Made to Stick

Made to StickWhen communicating, are your messages getting through to recipients in the intended manner and tone, with the correct understanding?

Communication is one of the most important skills to learn – it is necessary in so many facets of life. Strong relationships with friends and family, as well as with colleagues at work, all depend, to some degree, on effective communication.

In their book Made to Stick, authors (and brothers) Chip and Dan Heath present an overview of six key elements that can make a message “stickier” – that is, more memorable for recipients. Not surprisingly, the elements can be summarized using a simple acronym that is easy to remember, “SUCCES”.

In general, effective messages tend to be at least several of the following:

Simple. They are tangible and can easily be processed and understood.

Unexpected. Think for a moment about some ads that you’ve seen. Have any caught you off guard? As outlined in a recent blog post, a bus shelter ad for the movie District 9 certainly did!

Concrete. Language is abstract, but life is not. When possible, try to be concrete and tangible in messaging. Avoid industry lingo or slang, particularly when communicating with an audience who might not be familiar with the terminology.

Credible. Internal and external credibility are required to get a message across.

Emotional. How can we make people care about our ideas? We need to create empathy and appeal to our audience  – taking into accout who they are.

Stories. Stories stimulate and inspire, and they tend to withstand the test of time.

If you get a chance, I definitely recommend reading the book. Chip and Dan also have a regular column in Fast Company.