A Pile-o-Books

It’s no small secret that I am a bona-fide book-worm. My boyfriend fondly refers to me as his “little nerd.” Some might be offended by that, but I find it enduring. As a bona-fide bookworm, I take great pride in working my way through book after book and gleaning as much as I possibly can from each one that passes through my hands. But friends, I’ve got a shameful little secret. You see, here is my nightstand…

On it, as you can see, is a big pile-o-books. (Why I find it necessary to store them all on my nightstand I’ll never know.) And in that big pile-o-books are two distinct “categories” of books I’ve sorted them into.  At first glance it would be easy to think that the two categories are 1. novels and such and 2. business books. And you wouldn’t be wrong in grouping them as such. But really, if I’m being honest, the groups go something more like:

1. the books I love picking up and diving into…


2. the books I get really excited about when I buy them and think about reading them, but never actually get much further into than a chapter or two…

Now don’t get me wrong, these are some of the most buzzed about, highly regarded business books a person could pick up. And they are books I absolutely genuinely want to read. The excitement I have when I buy one of these gems, and the anticipation I have passing the time until I can sit down and dive into each one is really more than any of the novels I pick up…initially at least. But for whatever reason, every time I sit down to start digging into these treasure troves of ideas and inspiration, I somehow never get very far. Inevitably I find I’ve unknowingly traded the business book for whichever novel is at the top of my pile at the time.

I think once I start delving into these information-rich books, I get intimidated and think I couldn’t possibly implement all, if any, of the ideas they’ve so eloquently laid out before me. And so, I turn to the comfort of classic literature. Literature which is challenging, no doubt, but in which I can get lost in someone else’s story and not have to work on mine.

Do any of you have this problem? How can I get past the initial intimidation factor and start learning from these great minds who have so generously shared insight into their success? Help!


  1. Kate – I have a pile like yours. I think my eyes are bigger than my stomach… or the proverbial reading stomach. 3 things I’ve made peace with: 1) I don’t like fiction very much and so if I don’t get thru a fiction book better to just move onto something I truly enjoy reading and want to digest. (I have the opposite problem of you – can’t seem to make it thru literature – which is a crying shame). I think I want to read all of these amazing works of fiction – but deep down – I don’t. 2) I only have 1 book on my nightstand now. The piles started to feel overwhelming – like I would never get thru all those great books. OR worse: it subconsciously started to feel like homework. I was defeated before I’d even read one page. 3) Business books are not for bedtime. Either I’m too tired to really digest and understand the information. Or, the book is so stimulating/motivating that I can’t fall asleep afterward because I’m ready to take over the world with my empire.

    I’ve accepted these 3 things… changed up my reading behavior… and am much better about reading than I’ve ever been.

    AND – just so you know… no one ever implements all (or any) of the great things they read in these awesome business books. But, they start to permeate your mind and you just start working a little smarter, little by little. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

    Happy READING! :)

    • Michelle, those are great ways of looking at reading and coming to terms with what to read (and when!). I’m glad to know I’m not alone in my reading challenges. I love your thought on only having one book on the nightstand at a time.

      I must say, I am such a fan of yours and the information you and Kelly have on the Sage site. I am really itching to start my own business and I consistently find myself drifting back to your blog and tips on running a business. Hopefully I’ll be able to make the leap soon. Thanks so much for stoping by here!

  2. Mindy S

    I have a big pile of books too that I have every intention of reading and want to read but when it gets right down to it I have very little time that I devote to reading. I always have something else I feel like I should be doing or in general I just prefer to be up doing something so I’ve decided the time I do sit down to read will only be spent on books that I truly enjoy reading. I’m actually going to get rid of a lot of books that I know I’m never going to get back around to finishing!

  3. Caleb Williams

    You were always a bright one Katherine. Glad to see you’re staying true. I guess High School AP English wasn’t a complete waiste of time for either or us. : )

    “Ooooh a Book Report…. Yay!!”:

    As for the books on your bed stand, while I’d never publicly admit to owning or having read Jane Austen, I’m pretty sure I’ve read all the business/motivational/entreprenuership titles you have there.

    My dad mad me read Sun Tzu’s piece when I first came on board with the company.

    Charlene Li’s Groundswell was good, but it’s a little dated. It basically hearlds the wonders of social media — Duh!! In fact I’d just let that one keep collecting dust and buy her knew book titled “Open Leadership: How Social Technology can Transform the Way you Lead.” I read it last month. It gets down into the details and analysis of how to securely and professionally take advantage of Social Media in the manner of orgs. like the REd Cross, etc. Not a lot of literature on social media is as practical as this — Groundswell sure isn’t.

    Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point is insightful as always, but like “Blink” it takes him forever to get to the point with his ridiculously long illustrations. He is one of my favorite TED speakers though. : )

    I’m so glad to see you have a book from my all time favorite Biz/Motivational series: The E-Myth Series I’ve read again and again. A fEw years back when things were lookin’ bad via the economy E-Myth kept me from giving up and trying to find a job:

    Gerber’s E-Myth: Revisited and “E-Myth How to Build a World Class Corporation” have been great for me over the years. I became a business owner right out of college in an industry I knew very little about. The E-Myth series showed me how my lack of knowledge and experience was an asset to my success in the “ownership” role.

    Our company celebrates it’s 10 year anniversary this year.
    Since we started I’ve seen so many other people try to start businesses and not succeed because they did what a “good employee” does every day, but were oblivious to what an Entreprenuer should and shouldn’t be doing.E-Myth lays it all out. If you choose one book to read. This should be it!

    That’s awesome that you want to start a business — what do you think you want to do?

    • Caleb Williams–always so insightful. Thank you for your book report! I’m glad to hear E-Myth was such a powerful read for you. I’ve got it packed in my bag to read on the plane tonight. I can’t wait to crack it open now. I agree with you on Gladwell–love his TED talks, but it takes forever to get to the point in his writing. Glad I wasn’t the only one to think so.

      On another note, congratulations on the success of your company. It is truly something to be proud of. Then again, I think everyone always knew you’d accomplish big things, so I can’t say I’m surprised! Maybe I should pick your brain sometime about starting a business…I could use some insight at this point.

      And there in lies the million dollar question. What kind of business do I want to have? The answer that would be easiest transition of my experience would be event planning. I’m good at it, but there are other things I’m much more passionate about–writing, design, the arts…so how do I weave all of that together? Or maybe I don’t. That’s the question I’m working on most right now for myself.

      Good to hear from you Caleb!

  4. Leslie

    There is nothing wrong with reading for pleasure! You know I am very motivated to contine to grow and learn. I’m always considering a new degree plan or area of study, but there’s nothing wrong with fiction. Even plain old NYT best seller’s list books! I believe our society gets too wrapped up in function and forward progress that we don’t take time to destress and enjoy. Imagine the wonders for back and neck pain if you gave yourself permission to only read what sounds fun for a season!

    • I have NO problem with reading for pleasure, believe me. It’s why all the other books have stacked up! For some people, those “other” books ARE their pleasure, and that’s awesome too. I totally hear where you’re coming from on being wrapped up forward progress, as opposed to just enjoying the present, but I’m also aching to learn from some of these great minds and hopefully help steer me down the path I’m hoping to cut for myself. We need to get our book club started up again!

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