In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, a motivational speaker played by Alec Baldwin
addresses a group of salesmen. He writes three letters vertically on the chalkboard, “A B C.” He explains that the acronym means "Always Be Closing."
The way that Baldwin's character thinks about sales, I may think about reading. I think of: "ABR,” Always Be Reading. Whether it's breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I try to get in a page or two of the Times, Wall St. Journal, or a book. I know that being a bachelor makes this a luxury. If you have four kids (like a member on our tech team does), where does one find the time? I hear ya. Well, I find reading actually saves me time. It helps me know what to watch on Netflix and where to eat, and gives me summaries of information that would often take much longer to read in full form.
This also applies on a business level. As a small company, we have to work efficiently. Efficiency entails knowing what’s best for us to do next. To do this, we need to know what others are doing and what solutions exist to our current problems. Reading helps us accomplish this and more.
, who was CEO for Aeon, a Japanese company with $64b in revenue, recently passed away at the age of 106. In her Wall St. Journal obituary
, her biographer shares she always carried a book and asked others what books they were reading. She read a book about inflation in Germany after World War I, and this lesson helped her steer her company through an inflation bout that hit Japan. That book may have cost her $1, yet it helped her multiply her company’s assets by 10,000x or 100,000x. That makes that book one of her best investments and a great use of time. I imagine that Ms. Kojima lived by ABR.
At trade shows, I have intentionally carried a book. Having a book on hand can be an icebreaker or help steer the conversation. If I’m carrying Galloway’s The Four
, it helps bring up e-commerce and Amazon’s threat. Like Ms. Kojima, I’ve asked others what they are reading. I’ve even sold books: I brought ten copies of The Four to a show and sold them after my seminar
This past week, I’m happy to share that a total of four of our team members had completed the book our company is reading, Jim Collins' BE 2.0.
While our schedules may be full, I hope we’ll at least adopt: SBR (“Sometimes Be Reading"). Need more motivation? Company reading can be done over a beer like one of our team members recently did while vacationing in Ireland!
Thank you, team, tor helping us work more efficiently via reading. What we derive is not the reading itself, but the byproduct which is a more beautiful and productive Bridge organization.