AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

News Junkie

I love to read - a lot. No, not trivial literature, but magazines and newspapers and books - mostly management books. Don't let me in a bookshop - I most of the time have too many choices to buy and in the end, spend way too much.

I am pretty happy that my job involves a lot of reading, and that my company subscribes to a bunch of newspapers and magazines. They are for the office, but since hardly anybody reads magazines, I am the one who grabs them first and reads them first.

My company subscribes to the following magazines:

- BusinessWeek
- Fortune Magazine
- Harvard Business Review
- Malaysian Business

As newspapers, we have:

- New Straits Times
- The Star
- The Sun
- The Edge

I am in research and my research involves reading a lot, also material from overseas publications usually not available in Malaysia or via usual newsstands - I am talking about scientific magazines such as HR Magazine, or Organisational Dynamics. This is possible through our subscription to online databases. Those give me access to 30,000 + magazines and newspapers. Tremendous, the material that I find. From really good stuff to stuff that hardly interests me.

When I research a company or industry, there are always the little jewels that keep me interested, about branding and marketing, or case studies of how a company turned around, explored new markets and finally succeeded in their business. Fascinating. Those are the stories that I collect, so to speak.

In addition to this, I buy books that relate to my job - management books, as stated already. So I read the Tom Peter's, Michael Treacy, Gary Hamel, C.K. Prahalat, Michael Porter, Seth Godin and Clayton M. Christensen and other little gems like Adam Morgan or Malcolm Gladwell. It is fascinating - and I am not reading the books only once but a lot of times. Just standing there, browsing in the books and reading a chapter or two. Most of the times I read at least 3 or 4 books at the same time. There are books that I read in the morning, books that I read before I sleep, books that I read when there is advertisement on television (if I watch television, that is).

I am constantly reading, learning, understanding patterns, seeing connections - taking a point from here, developing it further there, and changing the substance over there.

All those learning go into my work and I believe that I am pretty good at what I am doing. There is nothing more fun than researching the background of an industry and analysing the different company positioning according to different articles or documentations. So many contradictions and it is "my job" to evaluate and identify some kind of truth (is there such thing?).

This means including a lot of own ideas from the stuff that I found, read and digested. It is interesting to talk to people about what I learn - get challenged and pass knowledge on. Some of my colleagues call me a walking library. Others say that whatever I am talking about there are numbers that I spit out that come from somewhere.

For many, this might sound boring - but I am learning everyday, challenge my own thinking and change my position accordingly. The best part of this is that I frequently understand both sides of an argument or a position. And that is the great part of it and an ability that is sorely missing in today's world.

Well, basically, I am a news junkie - but it is one kind of addiction that I enjoy.


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