Home Blog How To Read a Business Book (Hint: Learning = Behavior Change)

How To Read a Business Book (Hint: Learning = Behavior Change)

Last weeks Email Friday about Amazon was very well received. So glad it resonated. It’s long-game thinking like that which creates long term positive change and a defensible moat around your business.)


I read a book two weeks ago and I really connected with the thesis in a massive way. Which has already created change in how we “rig” things in our business.

Before I reveal the book, some context and wisdom from almost a decade ago. An insight which resulted in us leveling up our own game.

So, back in 2008, Seth Godin wrote an article titled, How to read a business book.

In it Seth said some things that instantly shifted how I consumed business books, and most importantly, the value I derived from them.

Most people read a book, nod their head at the good stuff, the wisdom and new insights, and maybe even tell a few other people to get the “awesome” book.

But the wisdom and insights don’t ever leave their head.

It’s easy to read books, and it’s easy to nod our heads.

What’s not so easy is to take one or two insights, and IMPLEMENT them into your workflow within just two or three weeks.

Because action is hard.

Action comes burdened with inertia (the resistance of any change).

So it’s just easier and safer to nod your head about the cool shit you’ve just read. And the reward comes from telling others about the book.

“Wow, thanks Joe! – appreciate the recommendation. You’re awesome.”

Reward acquired.

Then onto the next book.

Not to learn something new that you’ll implement within a week. But for the next reward hit of dopamine.

Seth boiled it down like this:

1.) Decide, before you start, that you’re going to change three things about what you do all day at work.

Then, as you’re reading, find the three things and do it.

The goal of the reading, then, isn’t to persuade you to change, it’s to help you choose what to change.

2.) If you’re going to invest a valuable asset (like time), go ahead and make it productive.

Use a Post-it or two, or some index cards or a highlighter.

Not to write down stuff so you can forget it later, BUT TO CREATE MARCHING ORDERS.

It’s simple. If three weeks go by and you haven’t taken action on what you’ve written down, you wasted your time.

3.) It’s not about you, it’s about the next person. The single best use of a business book is to help someone else.

It’s this simple reading protocol that I’ve tried to do with every book I read.

To learn something new, then act on it (create change). And that change almost always results in helping someone else.

Like how our customers and clients better interact with our site and with our content…

How they connect with us directly, our training we help them get results from, our private community, and the impact we ultimately have on them and their lives…

Around the time I read Seth’s article, I also heard Wyatt Woodsmall (an expert in learning models) say something that punched me in the face.

That knowledge is just “potential power”…

That there is a vast chasm of difference between learning through PRACTICED EXECUTION, and just gathering more knowledge “for later”.

Just in case. For a rainy day.

It’s like having a great idea, but never doing anything with it.

Kinda useless, right?

Wyatt said:

Learning = Behavior Change

Basically, UNLESS you CHANGE there is no learning.

Think about that for a sec.

Learning occurs on the EDGE of your comfort-zone. CHANGE IS REQUIRED.

So back to the book and Seth’s idea of effective reading.

The book I read:

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact (by Chip & Dan Heath)

Power of Moments (by Chip & Dan Heath)

Truth is, I didn’t know what to expect.

Amazon recommended it to me (based on past books I have).

So I checked 800CEOread.com and noticed that it was awarded EDITOR’S CHOICE for October.

That was good enough for me. Click. Buy.

Before I started to read it (well, listen to it – I have the Audible version), I wrote down:

What two things can I learn and put into action right away?

Remember, learning = behavior CHANGE.

After the first two chapters I had already found #1. That week, in our Friday Level 10 meeting, I shared the insight.

The following week our integrator had mapped out how we were going to execute on it.

This next week we’ll be putting it live.

Here’s a link to The Power of Moments:

https://geni.us/amznPoM (affiliate link)

It’s a great read.

Hope this email was helpful.

Have a brilliant Friday đŸ™‚



Be clear of what you want to learn (what change you want to make), then read the book looking through that LENS.

(See Email Friday from October 20th which goes deep into creating these lenses through asking better questions. Such a powerful concept.)

If you don’t know for sure — like me with this book — set a declaration that you’ll take two or three things and implement them within three weeks.

Simple. But not easy.