How Mike Figliuolo chooses what to read

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Mike Figliuolo is an honor graduate of the United States Military Academy, he’s also a McKinsey alum and former business executive who is currently the Managing Director of thoughtLEADERS LLC. That firm trains senior executives in critical business skills. Mike is the author of three books ­ One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership, Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results and The Elegant Pitch: Create a Compelling Recommendation, Build Broad Support, and Get It Approved

How Mike Figliuolo chooses what to read

For me, the primary source of reading ideas is referrals by friends and colleagues. If someone I know, trust, and respect has read something and thinks it’s great, I’ll give it a try. I try to read books outside my area of expertise. I read everything from biographies to novels to memoirs. I try to broaden my perspectives by reading things far afield from what I know or understand.

For example, I just read “Why be happy when you can be normal?” by Jeanette Winterson at the recommendation of a friend. It’s a memoir about a British adoptee growing up in an evangelical Christian home with a repressive mother. Jeanette grows up and realizes she’s a lesbian which creates massive conflict with her adoptive mother. She goes on to find her birth mother eventually so she can fill that hole in her life.

That subject matter is pretty far outside of my personal experience as a white male American who served in the U.S. Army and runs his own leadership training business. It was a beautifully written work that gave me insight into the life of someone very different from me. Understanding those differences and experiences make me a better person and a better leader.

Now it’s your turn

How do you choose what books to spend your time and money on?

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