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Beyond Business: How Self Development Literature Can Help Your Personal Life

A business professional with an insatiable desire to learn and improve.

Do you remember the first time you had an “aha” moment from reading a book? That moment when you feel like the author stated exactly what you needed to hear and it changed your life? For me, it was reading Jim Collins “Good to Great.” That’s right, a business book.

As a young man in college looking for a direction in life, Jim’s “hedgehog concept” gave me my first glimpse into identifying what I need to do in life. I’ve been told to “follow my dreams” while also being told not to chase fantasies and find a stable, well paying job. Others have told me to simply figure out what you’re good at and do that; regardless of weather or not it would make you happy. Each of these view points have sound logic, but they were not satisfactory to a young man who thought the world was his Oyster.

Enter Jim Collins.

The Hedgehog Concept was developed by Jim Collins in his book, “Good to Great.” Simply put, it is a Venn Diagram with three circles: 1) What are you passionate about? 2) What can you be the best at the world at? 3) What makes you money? Of course, as a college kit, I was not able to identify what is in the center of those three circles, but at least I had a direction. The simple concept was supported by an impressive amount of research, anecdotes, and supporting logic.

I do not think we give business literature enough credit for how much it can help our personal lives. Having trouble in marriage? Read “Crucial Conversation” by Kerry Patterson (et all). Having trouble remembering your kid’s birthday? Try “Getting Things Done” by David Allen. These books are directed at business leaders because they are the ones paying for consultations afterwards, but the issues addressed are universal to human life.

Businesses are people who simply decided to work together

Books that focus on business problems are focusing on human problems. They focus on communication, motivation, purpose, organization, all things that we all deal with every day. They create theories and support these theories with the entire business world as their case studies. Let’s stop looking at them as a niche market. Let’s look at them as what they are, books to help humans.

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© 2022 Luke Evans

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