Jan 092012

I have been thinking over my vacation about the goals I had for 2011 and what I want to do with 2012. It is a good thing to look back and remind myself of the successes. I know I started the exercise thinking that 2011 was a pretty lousy year. After all, the press were all calling it the year to forget quickly and move on. However, it was a pretty good year for me, even one of the best in recent memory.

One achievement I am proud of is my book reading. I don’t know how many books I have read in past years because I didn’t keep track. This year, however, I did and I am proud to report I finished 38 books in 2011. While I didn’t have a specific goal in this area, I was shooting for 50. Why fifty? Well, my friend Augusto Pinaud reads 50+ books each year, so it sounded like a good number. While I didn’t quite reach the target, I am thrilled with my accomplishment.

For the record, I read 16 fiction, 9 business, 7 non-fiction, 6 productivity and 1 spiritual books. I wrote reviews of several, but still have quite a few I would like to write about. I had a great time learning quite a bit this year.

For the coming year, I have created a goal to read 40 books and to write a review for each non-fiction book and write a mind map of each business book for future quick reference. This is an aggressive goal and I am concerned about achieving it. Why are the reviews important? I appreciate other people’s reviews when I am looking for a book to read. Also, the reviews I have written are some of the most visited pages on the blog, so others must enjoy them, too. However, the real reason is selfish. I am getting old and I can’t remember everything I have read. I like to go back and look at my list and reread the review. Usually that is enough to remind me of the good ones and inspire me to reread the great books. I wish I had started this practice when I was a kid. There are some great books I would like to reread, but can’t remember the title, author and any clues as to which book it was. Sadly, those are lost to me.

I was lucky to benefit from an unspent training budget at the end of the year. I was able to convince my boss to buy nearly a dozen books for me before the money disappeared at the end of the year. I am well situated for business books for this year. I am trying something different. Most of the books were purchased as ebooks and I will read them on my Kindle. While I welcome the reduced space necessary to store them all, I worry the experience will not be as good. I hope I can make the annotations and scribbles I want to make, as recommended by Mark Horstman of Manager Tools in the podcast titled How to Read a Book. I’ll give it a shot and reevaluate throughout the year.

Fiction will continue to be mostly “read” via Audio book. I love Audible.comand have subscribed to them for nearly a decade. I love listening to books on my commute. My wife says I am in a better mood after listening to a book instead of talk radio. I also listen to a lot of podcasts while in the car or running. I don’t know how to categorize that content in terms of reading. Podcasts can contain very valuable material, at least the ones I listen to do. Should I count them as books for the year?

I want to learn some new things this year. I actually have a goal to pick and investigate a new topic this year. More on this goal later, but the reading goal will in part facilitate that goal as well. Knowledge is key to not growing old. I better get started on my anti-aging regimen.

Happy New Year!