It helps to think of curiosity and learning like food and nutrition. You need some essentials on a daily basis, you need a mix of various 'knowledge' groups, and you need a system that encourages your fickle mind to resist temptation and stick to the plan. (After this, the occasional binge on tasty rubbish is allowed!)
A good starting point is to think about what should be in your 'reading basket'. Here are five things to keep in mind when you do this: (substitute 'reading' for any other medium of curious content, such as podcasts, courses, and videos)
1. Pick a classic
: Timeless wisdom, by definition, never goes out of fashion. More importantly, books that have stood the test of time are less likely to be just a PR-driven scam and more likely to contain influential ideas that will remain relevant tomorrow. Examples are 'Man's Search for Meaning'
, 'The Origin of Species'
, or a book like 'To Kill a Mockingbird'
. So put at least one classic in your wishlist for 2019.
2. Something that impacts your future relevance
: Books put you ahead of the curve. Is there a trend or topic that you should get to know better, that will impact the way you work or the industry you are part of, or change the world around us? Make space for a book on it. At the very least, you can appear to be knowledgeable than your peers! An example is reading 'The Gene'
, given how much genomics is making its way to the forefront of human endeavour.
3. An 'other culture' book
: Find a culture that you aren't very familiar with. Find something to read about it. Children's books in that culture's language or introductory books to that culture's history are often good places to start. The aim is to help you see the world differently, build empathy, and re-look at your own culture through a different lens. An example could be 'The Code Book'
(on the Navajo Indians), 'Bloody Brilliant Women'
(on legendary British women) or 'The Little Book of Hygge'
(on Danish culture).
4. A re-read candidate
: Like we asked in one of our Pause at Yellow
questions a couple of weeks ago:
Confession: we all skim over great books, put them aside, or just forget the key ideas (hello, 'forgetting curve'). So put a book in your basket that lets you re-establish contact with an important book from your past. CTQ folks answered this question with titles such as 'Influence
', 'A Short History of Nearly Everything', 'Bird by Bird
', 'Made to Stick
', 'The Power of Moments
', and 'Triggers
5. A random pick
: One way to make place for the new is to invite randomness. Pick up a book in an unfamiliar idiom, on a topic you wouldn't ordinarily make space for, or just do inky-ponky at the library. It could open the door to a whole new way of thinking.