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Thursday, July 12

How to Read for Planning - Tips for future planners

Disclaimer.I am no expert on reading. Well nor an expert on (account)planning for that matter:-)

This post is in response to Kapil's query on how to read for work in a time-starved world.

Here are my rules. Basic, simple but if practiced with discipline hugely effective! At least they work for me:-)

1. Book-vesting. Invest in books. There are no short-cuts. Cut down on beer binges, branded apparel but never on books. And everything of use is still not available online.
My own collection started more than a decade back with second-hand ones, bought regularly and recklessly and at the expense of music and entertainment.

2. CrossWording. Of course you can't buy every book. But quick-flip you can and you must. Every week I go to the CrossWord at Bandra and at the price of a Coffee or Assam Tea or just plain water:-), flip through fat, expensive tomes. Make sure you take copious notes...

Speed read the book. First get a sense of the book quickly by looking at the content page. Then read the chapter summaries. Most 'management' type books have them these days...

3. Book-BumpingThis one's a Tom Peters tip I came across many years ago. He advises to bump into books. So place them in your office, at your study table, carry them for commute... Books are great fillers during waiting times. Upto half the time in an agency can be spent waiting if you are in servicing!!
And it's okay if you can't read cover-to-cover...There are more un-read books in my library than read ones...The trick is to get a sense/ feel of what can be found and where!

4. ReflectingIn these days of immense change, information-overload and CPA(continuous partial attention), it's very important to reflect what you think. So make copious notes while reading/ reflecting. Always carry a pencil with you...
Don't be embarrassed scribbling while commuting... I have gotten over stranger stares at the air-port or elsewhere...
Write your questions/doubts/thoughts in the margins of the book. Revisit them. You will be surprised how you can solve most of them on your own!

5. Out-ZoningEvery person has his/ her comfort zone areas. It's very important to frequently step out of that and read stuff that's difficult, that's not your area. Plan serendipitous discoveries LOL

6. Concepting A planner's world is about new concepts. While you are at it(reading), keep looking for new concepts for your brands. It may just spring up in the middle of an article in India Today, a novel or an old National Geographic issue.

7. Post-it-ingWhat started as an exercise at TBWA with Meraj and Pooja has now been perfected at Bates. Post-it every single idea, great line, interesting thought that you come across...Charge the Post-its to your agency:-)

8. Multi-datingIt's okay to read many books at a time. Try co-relating stuff from one book to the other. This mental yoga(sort of) helps thinking!

9. India-CentricIt's important to first know India, Indian culture, popular culture, Bollywood, mythology better rather than copying a global(US/ UK led) reading taste palette...Our communication needs to have an Indian flavour and for that we need to revisit our roots frequently...

10. Multi-laning Reading for planning/work is a multi-media activity. The book may lead to the blog or vice versa. The web-site might lead to a particular chapter or Google talk...We must learn to process information across many platforms...Don't worry, it may sound complicated, but actually it's quite fun and you may actually be doing it already!

Am sure many of you might have your own tips worth sharing! Do that...Kapil - hope this helps:-)

PS. Picture source : gettyimages.com


POOJA NAIR said...

Extremely useful! thanks you so much for mailing it to me as well!
I needed these tips! :)

soumya mukerji said...

Thanks. Noted!

WhiteMoonWatching said...

hey mansh...thanx a lot....this helps sort out a lot...especially wen ur runnin around tryin to get a million tingz done....a nice way of keepin dose lil grey boys at work....thanx so much....

Nilanjana said...

Hi...That was a very useful. Thanks for mailing the same as well. Especially liked the "multi-dating" part, I can so relate to it:)

I am more of a "wannabe avid reader." However, I can't really empathize with those who do not find time for reading, because aren't most of us guilty of whiling away time?