Greetings. I'm often asked to suggest the best things to read for teams that are eager to spark innovation but too busy to make it through a book. And there are lots of great choices including a short book, a really fun book, a few chapters of a fantastic book (of which I'm partial to a couple listed below), along with a wide range of magazines and blogs. The key is to keep reading and searching for ideas to unlock your curiosity, creativity, and sense of possibilities. So let's think about magazines for a few moments, because I know that practically all of us love to read them. We read them in waiting rooms, bring them along on trips, pick them up at the airport or train station, and are often excited to find one in the pocket in front of our airline seat. And if it's a copy of the latest issue of People magazine…all the better. Not that we'd ever actually pay to learn about the private lives of celebrities (or be caught dead reading it in the office). But in travel mode it's a fun release.
Given our pension for quick and glossy information, why not make magazines an important and useful part of our learning and exploration? The trick is to pick the right ones. And here you have plenty of leeway. Because different things spark different people. But if I were looking for a good place to start, I'd begin by creating a small corporate "newstand." Or at least a roving cart to push down the halls looking for takers. And on it I'd include a bunch of interesting magazines from any number of fields or disciplines. I might even decide to periodically "deliver" magazines to everyone I work with. The key is to pick publications that are all about new ideas, best practices, and insights from people and places we don't normally come in contact with or find in any of our trade or industry journals. Of course, I have my favorites–found in the modest newstand at our office. They include:
- National Geographic
- National Geographic Traveler
- Popular Science
- Popular Mechanics
- Consumer Reports
- The Week
- Travel and Leisure
- Fast Company
And, of course, what office newstand would be complete without:
The real challenge is to expand your reading horizons and, in the process, to unlock your curiosity and genius. By thinking thinking about new topics. Seeing new perspectives. Figuring out what really matters to people in other industries, places, and walks of life. Imagining other possibilities. And then starting to spark new conversations and connect the dots between different ideas and the challenges and opportunities you and your colleagues face. Not that these magazines will hold the exact answers to your problems. But they are likely to help you discover a more valuable question along the way.
We win in business and in life when we broaden our reading horizons and challenge ourselves to have fun with new and remarkable ideas. And by taking the time to curl up in a comfortable chair with a new friend who opens our eyes.
Cheers and happy reading!