Welcome back to my newsletter. As always this an email about books and beyond - how books can teach you how to live and how to be.
I was in Goa earlier this month and had carried along a book called Range by David Epstein (more on this later). A friend who is a bonafide business guy, in that he has a job in consulting, asked me, ‘Oh you read business books too?!’
And it got me thinking about how creative people often think that the business section of the bookshelf is just not for them and vice versa, as we saw in the example above. What do creative people know about any of the things written about startups and entrepreneurship or marketing or habit formation? How is it relevant?
Great business books don’t do anything other than show a reader a different way to think - it provides mental frameworks, frameworks for decision making, productivity and more.
A great mindset and intention is half the battle as we all know, creative or not. I’ve already mentioned books like Atomic Habits, Shoe Dog, Ride of a Lifetime in other newsletters and how the concepts they talk about have changed my life. I learned about how habits aren’t born out of motivation but practice and identity, how to work in a team, how to do research, how to manage oneself.
As my dad says, you are essentially buying twenty years of someone’s experiences and the time that they have used to distill it down for you in an exciting and palatable format. Who wouldn’t benefit from that? I became interested in reading this genre because of him: he frequently gifts books he loves to his family and friends. Some of the books I’ve read because of him are Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit, a must read for any creative person and We Are Like That Only by Rama Bijapurkar. There are many more of course. Later, I edited quite a few business books and now say that it’s one of my specialities!
We are all out there to make a living, to manage our finances, to work in teams, to hustle, to have a work-life balance and to be entrepreneurial! I feel all creative people are entrepreneurs and all entrepreneurs are creative! So don’t do yourself a disservice by stereotyping yourself into a kind of person or reader.
Here’s what I read in Feb/March:
Range by David Epstein
Epstein argues that the more interdisciplinary our thinking, education and careers, the more equipped we are to solve problems in today’s world. The world we operate in isn’t like a chess game- it has no fixed rules, in fact the rules keep changing. Epstein argues that in order to win in such situation one needs to draw on analogies (yay!) from different fields and apply them to the problem at hand. One needs to be able to sample many different things in order to best identify what is the best fit for oneself so as to report higher career satisfaction. In making his argument, Epstein studies the world’s most famous athletes, artists, authors, entrepreneurs to make his arguments.
Here’s an excerpt from the back of the book:
“Epstein demonstrates why in most fields – especially those that are complex and unpredictable – generalists, not specialists are primed to excel. You'll understand better how we solve problems, how we learn and how we succeed. You'll see why failing a test is the best way to learn and why frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers.”
All Marketers Tell Stories by Seth Godin
This is a great book for any of us who call ourselves storytellers. I have long been fascinated with communication and storytelling- what’s the best way we can communicate, what’s the most compelling way we can tell a story.
Stories are what every single person business, freelancer, artist etc uses to make money. One of the examples I loved from the book is the story of how wine connoisseurs consistently reported that wine tasted better the more expensive the glass. When doing a taste test, scientists found no difference! Authentic and honest storytelling is something I aspire to do with the products at Bound and in my work, so this book was as valuable to me as a book-editor and podcast producer as it was to the entrepreneur version of myself.
Quiet by Susan Cain
This book speaks about how introverts should be nurtured in today’s extroverted world and how to best utilise the special skills they bring to the table. So whether you label yourself as an introvert, extrovert, ambivert or whatever, the bottom line is that this book teaches you how to work with and accept personalities different from yourself. And don’t we all know how hard this can sometimes be.
I am addicted to this short twenty minute podcast. Every episode features a new guest who has written a book or an article on something related to management, business or entrepreneurship. It covers topics like procrastination and how to stop it, time management, negotiation and more. Skills we all can use!
What I’ve been up-to:
We launched a new podcast at Bound! It’s called The Book People and is all about the people behind the scenes in India’s publishing industry. We interview book editors, publicists, book cover designers, book to screen agents and more. Check it out wherever you get your podcasts and on youtube:
About me:I am an entrepreneur, book editor and podcaster. Here is my editing and content consulting website: http://tarakhandelwal.com/. Here is my company’s website: https://boundindia.com/We provide skill-building to creatives in the form of classes, mentoring and retreats. And here’s the link to my podcast Books and Beyond With Bound, India’s no 1 author interview podcast :
What is this newsletter: A fortnightly (mostly) letter about the books I have read and how the ideas they give me filter into my life, career and opinions.
If you have read any of the books mentioned or have thoughts on any of the things I have written - do write in! Would love to hear from you.
Until next time!
"Great business books don’t do anything other than show a reader a different way to think" - great observation and I believe it can be generalized to beyond books. For things to be interesting they have to first resonate with us and then provide a slightly different perspective. BTW one of my all time favorite books is "The Sports Gene" by David Epstein.