Sometimes I read a book which I feel that I should be enjoying but really struggle with. It causes me all sort of angst in an “it’s me, not you” kind of way. Is my head too full of stuff that I don’t have the brainpower for intelligent writing and can only cope with lightweight?
Good People by Anthony Tjan is one of these books. The subject-matter of the book really appeals to me in principle, but in practice I’m finding myself reading paragraphs and not having any memory of what I’ve just read. Is my poor 42-year-old brain not up to it any more?
It’s really making me think hard about the books I’m reading and how I review them. So, I’m going to try something slightly different this time. When reviewing books, I’m going to consider the three different criteria:
- Am I interested?
- Did I enjoy reading it?
- Will it help me with my business?
So, how does this apply to Good People?
1. Am I interested?
Yes. I like the idea that to run a business you don’t have to be ruthless and just out to make yourself money. Yes, you do need to make money, but I’m sure that there must be a way of doing it without walking over everybody else. So for me, a ‘good person’ is someone who is not only good at what they do, but also treats other people well.
2. Did I enjoy reading it?
No. I thought at first that it was going to be a cracker. The author is straight in with an example of how the company WD-40 has an excellent record of retaining staff because they love working there. That’s interesting right, that a large company treats its staff so well that they actively enjoy working there? The book has examples and anecdotes throughout and these bits I really engaged with. But in between that is some very theoretical writing on goodness. This is what I really struggled with. I found this writing quite dense and very difficult to take in. And I really did give it a shot, but when I find that I’m having to force myself to pick up a book to continue reading it, I’m afraid that’s me lost.
3. Will it help me with my business?
No. In a very general way it will because it’s made me reconsider what I mean by being ‘good’ (not sure if it’s the actual message the author was trying to convey). However, I definitely wouldn’t say that this book has a practical use for a small business owner. If you’re interested in some very intelligent writing and the concept of good people then give it a go, but I couldn’t find anything practical in it that I can apply to how I run my business.
Sorry, it’s me, not you…