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Adii Pienaar

Family man, seeker and learner. Revealing my inner-poet. 2X Founder: Conversio (acquired by Campaign Monitor) + WooCommerce (acquired by Automattic). Ex-Rockstar.

Are you looking for inspiration in the wrong places?

Last year I read 89 books, scattered across multiple genres and topics.

Interestingly only 23 of those books were about “business” or “entrepreneurship”. I say interestingly since I expected the ratio to be higher than that. My thirst for learning has always correlated closely to my ambition which in turn mostly plays out in the realm of me being an entrepreneur and building a business.

When I reviewed the business / entrepreneurship books I’ve read in the last 2 years, I realised that very few of them would make it into a Top 10 or 20 list. Not because they were bad books or that I didn’t learn anything from them; more that their impact on me felt marginal and incremental. It was almost as if I was reading the books that would validate what I was already thinking. Or I already had the key and I was merely looking for someone to show which door it will unlock.

Comparing this to all of the other books that I read, I realise that I got a lot more inspiration, ideas and transformational impact from those. From fiction to poetry to memoirs to philosophy. All of these other genres and topics gave me a much broader perspective on life and challenged me to think in ways that were different to what I would do in my natural state. And I was ultimately able to bring those realisations and learnings both into my life and business. Ultimately the one is still the other and neither lives in isolated vacuums.

It is so much easier to find validation for what you already believe and think. It is much harder to be faced with a newly discovered truth that hits your core so hard that it reverberates for weeks afterwards.

So even if you’re primary interest, ambition and goal is to be an entrepreneur / writer / artist / parent / whatever, you can probably learn much more about any of those by reading things that are not directly and exclusively about that.

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