Steve Baker, Vice President at The Great Game of Business, talks about his 2021 goal to read one book a week, how we turned his car into a classroom, and which of the 88 books he has consumed this year will make it to his 2022 to read it again list.
Episode with guest: Steve Baker
Vice President at The Great Game of Business
(This episode was recorded in December of 2021.)
Key Episode Take-Aways:
1. When you are setting your goals, be flexible. (click to jump to this topic below) So, essentially by setting the goal and being flexible, I've created the time for learning, and it snuck into the cracks. And that is pretty cool. So, I'm trying to figure out ways to do that in other areas.
2. Use technology to make better use of your time. (click to jump to this topic below) And there's so much time you spend in your car. Joanne, my wife makes fun of me because I listen to many books that sometimes one and a half or two times speed because the reader is so slow, and I'm like, man, I can listen faster than that. So, do whatever works for you. Use the technology. Another morning is audible memberships include a plus catalogue. These are books you can get for free. And there are some really cool hidden gems in there, especially older books.
Continue scrolling to read the full episode transcription.
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Welcome to the "Change the Game" Podcast, where we share stories of open book management and highlight capitalism at its best. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the “Change the Game” Podcast, in this episode step into the mind's eye of Steve Baker as he talks about his 2021 goal to read one book a week, how we turned his car into a classroom, and which of the 88 books he has consumed this year will make it to his 2022 to read it again list. Here's your hosts, Rich Armstrong and Steve Baker.
Steve Baker 1:16
Hey, everybody it's Steve Baker with The Great Game of Business. And I wanted to share with you something interesting, I learned something about goal setting this year. At the end of 2020, as I plotted out my personal goals for 2021, it seemed like a worthy goal to try and read a book a week, it just sounded good. In a typical year, you know, we tend to read for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it's to keep up with the ever-changing marketplace. Sometimes a member of the community suggests something that has made a big impact on him. Many times, it's like a client or someone at a conference that asks us to read something that they've just read or written. And most often, it's just to try and learn to just to get a little bit better. So, I kept the rules pretty loose. It could be business, it could be personal development, it could even be entertainment, but a book a week, that was the idea. So, there's one thing that I learned, I am a slow reader. I've always known it, but it really stuck out when I was trying to hit that book a week. So, I expanded the rules a little bit to include audio books, as long as I kept it in balance. And the idea to was, you know, like the old gurus used to say, you know, turn your car into a classroom. So, what I tried to do is if I had to really learn it, I would read it, if I would need to consume it, I would listen to it. Your results may vary. But the goal was 52 books. So far, between the written and audio, I'm at 88. All business and self-development, no fiction, I'm pretty proud of that. And that's what I learned about goal setting this year is not just the fact that I put it out there and I exceeded it, which is really something I'm really, really proud of that but also have grown a lot this year. So, you know, it's great that I'm proud of it. I'm really grateful that, you know, I don't think that I would have been able to tell you last year that I would have had time to consume 52, much less 88 books.
1. When you are setting your goals, be flexible.
So, essentially by setting the goal and being flexible, I've created the time for learning, and it snuck into the cracks. And that is pretty cool. So, I'm trying to figure out ways to do that in other areas. So, the team asked me to share some of my favorites. But I thought I'd start with some tips. First of all, I would start with a spreadsheet, however you journal it whatever, but of books that you want to read, I even put my ratings in there so I can see if I want to read it again. Or if I need to totally ask for a refund. Refer to anybody that you follow for their list of best reads of the year. I think that's a great way to do it because there's already some like-minded thinking there. Watch out for authors who repurpose their own stuff and book after book. You know, I think it's cool that they can do it. I haven't figured that part out yet. But sometimes it gets a little bit repetitive. So, you know people like Brian Tracy have done that for decades and Gino Whitman has done a lot with the Traction material. But also go for the source material. You know, people like Darren Hardy, and Michael Hyatt have done really, really well and written some really good books. But there's also source material to that you should also be reading, the Dan Sullivan's and the Zig Ziglar and that sort of thing where they came up with their material. Also get outside your comfort zone and your interest zone. So, like as an example I read Falling Upward by Richard Rohr twice, just so I could understand it. It was a little bit beyond my brain power. But I also found out some stuff about you know, my own faith that I hadn't expected. Also stretch yourself. I read a couple of books by Thomas Sowell. He writes a lot for the Wall Street Journal S-O-W-E-L_L, on different subjects and so economic facts and fallacies-- Socialism, Marxism, these made me feel like a total intellectual slacker. But really good stuff and thought provoking. You really need to beware, here's my warning for you--in the US, you've probably heard me say this before, there are 1000 business books published every month. That's just business. So, that's a lot of stuff out there. When I say stuff, it's a nice way of saying something that sounds like shit. Your, your time is valuable. So, ask your friends, your colleagues, your clients, ask them what they're reading. And it's like the gurus say, turn your car into a classroom. I mentioned it before, I can't say enough about it. This is time that we often waste. So, whether it's a podcast or a book, or, or a course, anything like that, maybe you're learning a foreign language, I just think it's powerful.
2. Use technology to make better use of your time.
And there's so much time you spend in your car. Joanne, my wife makes fun of me because I listen to many books that sometimes one and a half or two times speed because the reader is so slow, and I'm like, man, I can listen faster than that. So, do whatever works for you. Use the technology. Another morning is audible memberships include a plus catalogue. These are books you can get for free. And there are some really cool hidden gems in there, especially older books. Unfortunately, they are hidden by a whole bunch of stuff. So, be careful. Get in there, see what you can get. But don't be afraid to buy titles either. So, here's my list. You know about authors like Malcolm Gladwell, Brene Brown, the Heath brothers, Seth Godin, Jordan Peterson, all that kind of stuff. You know, they've always got good stuff and thought-provoking material. I won't belabor you with all those titles. Hopefully, these that I bring to you will be a little bit thought provoking a little bit interesting and, and I would like to know what you think. So, some are new, many of them are old classics, but they're ones that have made my 2022 read it again list. So, let's start with the obvious ones. Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson. These are tools for talking when the stakes are high. This is a must read for leaders who tend to avoid confrontation like me. Emotional Intelligence, it goes very hand in hand with a Crucial Conversation stuff. Travis Bradbury and Jean Greaves. If you aren't learning about social emotional intelligence already, you need to start right away. And this book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is a great place to start. Then the from the Beaulieu brothers Prosperity in the Age of Decline. This is a 2014 book that is still so relevant, and it's huge. It sends chills and confidence up my spine. Now this one, the Automatic Customer by John Warrillow. It's a bit dated now. But it's an it's a really good primer on building a subscription business, you ought to check it out. Umm on strategy Playing to Win A.G Lafley and Roger Martin. You know, you got to read this as you do your high involvement strategic planning for 2022. How about some books to consider? I don't know that they're like, you have to read these must reads, but they've made an impact on me this year. Confessions of the Pricing Man by Hermann Simon. Now is the time you should be raising your prices. You hear Jack say that all the time, you now see inflation beginning, if you aren't raising them now, you're not going to have a chance later. After you read this book, you will never look at pricing the same way again. This is a really good one Mindset by Carol Dweck. It's all about the psychology of growth versus a fixed mindset. So, you can really learn and really fulfill your potential. One that you hear me talk about a lot is A Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne. I learned about this from Donna Coppock. You know, she was the queen of many games for many, many years here at Great Game of Business. Ruby Payne's Hidden Rules of the Classes will really open your mind and your heart I think to people and how they approach work and life. Different people come with different come froms, but it's amazing how it fits into her framework. And it's very controversial in the education field. I think it's a must read for business people. One of my favorites this year has been the Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel This was really cool. It just really brought the ideas about money and investing down to a level that even I could understand it and it gave me peace. And I just wanted to share that with you the Psychology of Money. This one I enjoyed to The Handbook for New Stoics by Massimo Pigliucci. Pigliucci sorry, look at the show notes, and Gregory Lopez. I really liked how they took this ancient stoic wisdom that sometimes is beyond me and they put into everyday terms and really good examples of very inspiring to me. You know, a couple of years ago, I met a guy named Kevin Lawrence up in Canada at a gig and I really liked his approachable way that he attacks planning goals. So, if you're in planning mode, Your Oxygen Mask First by Kevin Lawrence really good stuff. And he gives away a lot of good solid material and really neat downloadable resources. Here's one for your physical side, Younger Next Year by Chris Crowley and Harold Lodge. It's a different approach to how you might go after your physical goals, especially as you get a little bit older. The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks wrote this book, he's a Stanford professor introduced me to the concept of self-limiting beliefs, which really led me to some other awesome concepts and other awesome books, I would highly recommend that you consider it and I would start talking to your kids about it. What self-limiting beliefs, family myths and rules and beliefs that we put into our children that might limit them in the future, really interesting stuff. Here's one for just how you approach life The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. Now this is narrated by this is an audible book that I got is narrated by Peter Coyote. So, it's very dramatic, and it's about Toltec wisdom. And it may really seem to be hippie dippy at first. But I'm telling you, if you can practice these four really simple, really powerful concepts, your life will be better, and it's much harder than it sounds to practice these things. Next is I'm kind of wrapping up my list with one that you should have read when you were in college, like I was supposed to Man's Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl. This is a very old book. It's tough to read in the beginning, but it leaves you with a sense of a much better feeling of you have more control in your life than you believe. And you've heard me quote it many times the last of the human freedoms, is this, the one thing that can't take away from you, right is the idea that it's how we respond to any given set of circumstances or situations. Okay, so that's my list. Then I went ahead and did a quick poll around the office to find out about people's favorite books, movies, shows, podcasts, that sort of thing. And I only have a couple for you, but I'm going to throw them in as bonus material. Kylie Jackson recommended Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss. You know, I've been a fan of Tim Ferriss since The 4-Hour Workweek. I haven't read this one. But she said it's a compilation of tools and tactics and habits from like 130, you know, gurus from around the world and their top recommendations for books also, so it might be a good one to lead off with. I mentioned Malcolm Gladwell earlier Talking to Strangers. I enjoyed this book. Kylie said it was one of her favorites of the year. And then for podcast, she recommended the Smartless Podcast with Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett. I can't wait to listen to this because it sounds like a really good business podcast. But she says it's hilarious. And that even got Darin "no fun" Bridges to go and listen to it. That's her quote. Her favorite movie of 2021 was 8-bit Christmas. She said it was adorable, clever and hilarious. And the entire Jason Bourne series, I certainly can't argue with that. And then to wrap up Rich Armstrong came back with Playing to Win, which I recommended myself. It's really great stuff when you're getting into High-Involvement Planning. And then here's what I haven't read The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism. So, check those out. And by the way, he didn't have a favorite movie said he's, what he's into right now is watching Ted Lasso. So, ask your team, ask your friends. Ask your colleagues. I'd be crazy not to ask you guys what you are reading, watching and listening to. So, let me know. This is Steve Baker, and I'll see you next time.
The "Change the Game" Podcast is produced by the Great Game of Business. To learn more, visit greatgame.com