QWhat books, magazines and web sites do you find helpful?

answered February 10th, 2010 by Vincenza Sera

The question posed for one of the Babes was: “What was the last book you read that helped you professionally/career-wise? What magazines do you read? What websites do you check regularly?”


Reading material is a very personal issue and also varies greatly with your age, where you are in your career and what business you are in.   At this point in my life, I spend an equal amount of time reading for pleasure and relaxation as I do professionally.  I feel this pleasure reading is important in that it is regenerating and provides creative input which in turn benefits me professionally. 


I am lucky in that the boards I am currently involved with have ‘clipping services’ so that on a daily basis I receive all the relevant industry news to keep me current and fully informed.  This is a huge time saving for me and allows me to focus my other professional reading on more macro issues.


My biggest passion is magazines.  I read at least a dozen a month.  I find that the articles while less immediate that the daily news offer greater perspective.  In addition I find that many business or professional books have one or two salient and interesting concepts and reading hundreds of pages to get to them is not usually that beneficial.  Magazine articles offer the greatest bang for the time invested. 


If you read only one magazine I would suggest it be The Economist.  It’s articles are extremely well written, it is globally focused and I always learn something.


I also like to read Fortune magazine — I think it is like People for business.  It is very easy to read and offers in depth profiles on business leaders, good evaluations of corporate strategies and behind the scenes information on the news item of the day.  My favourite issue is the one that asks successful CEO’s what was the best piece of advice they ever received.  My two favourite quotes which I try to apply in all aspects of my life:  “Always assume positive intent” (from Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi) and “God gave you one mouth and two ears — use them proportionately” (from an investment banking CEO).


Other favourites include: Macleans, Walrus


As far as business web sites I must admit these are limited.  First and foremost I subscribe to Babes on Bay and find I learn something useful from every post.  I also regularly read the Financial Times and the New York Times.  I also check in with the Huffington Post and WOW.


As I already mentioned, I do not read business books that often.  The last business book that actually helped me was very specific to what I was looking for at the time:  Chairing the Board, A practical guide of activities and responsibilities by John Harper.


While not strictly business books,  I find Malcolm Gladwell’s books fairly short, easy to read, very interesting and in the end anything to do with understanding human nature is helpful in business — I especially enjoyed Outliers and Blink.


I think my best advice would be to experiment with different combinations to find what works best for you given where you are in your career and personal development.

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