Why I Hate Books – My Favorite Book of 2018

My favorite book of 2018 was The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey & Jim Huling

I stumbled upon this book while reading Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work.

Even before I read it, the book’s title resonated with a disenchantment I’d been feeling with reading itself.

Reading books is easy.

Doing things is hard.

I still believe reading can be valuable. But I don’t think it’s as productive as people would like you to believe.

It comes down to the difference between strategy and execution:

Our predisposition to favour strategy at the expense of execution can be attributed to the fact that strategy is fundamentally easier than executing. This is because strategizing is a conceptual exercise, a manipulation of our mental landscape which is in effect a simulation, and a simplification of reality. Execution, by contrast, necessarily entails a confrontation with reality in all its complexity.

Books are consumed with the tacit agreement that they (the author) will tell you what worked for them and you (the reader) will go out and figure out how to do it yourself, irrespective of the difficulty of the endeavour.

For example:

Image of book on how to climb Mount Everest.

And that’s fine, books are often a good place to start.

But it’s important to recognise that it’s much more productive (and painful) to execute.

Most books, either by necessity or design, quietly pass over the chasm separating word and deed.  

The Four Disciplines of Execution lays out a compelling framework for navigating the space between an ambition and its implementation.  

You can expect to hear more about how I’m using it day-to-day in 2019.

Happy New Year!

Peter

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