Just like anyone else who is known for spending excessive amounts of time reading, surfing the Web and using a smartphone, I often get asked about where or how I am actually spending my time with these things. What do I read? What apps do I use most? Who are my favourite writers? What other digital tools do I find useful? These are the types of questions I get from both personal and professional contacts. The truth is that the answers to all of these questions are changing rapidly; as with pop culture in general, what’s in and out in my own little culture can be rather transient. Nevertheless, there are a number of books, sites and apps that I would claim are indispensable to the young professional, and I wanted to share just one of each of these items.
Book: Made to Stick
If ideas are the most powerful force in business, as many would claim, then surely communicating ideas is the most important skill one can have. That’s what Made to Stick is about, and I became a better communicator after having read it. It’s not about possessing Hemingway’s literary prose or Obama’s charisma—though, to be sure, those things can’t hurt—it’s about first understanding the core of your idea and then maximizing the ways in which its elements hook your audience (boss, colleagues, community, or customers, etc.) Through a range of stories, case studies, acronyms and built-in mini-workshops, authors and brothers Dan and Chip Heath provide a blueprint for making ideas stick.
Website: Workbook (from 99u.com)
This is by far one of the best productivity blogs I’ve come across. The book I just talked about focuses on how important ideas are, but if you ask Scott Belsky, founder of 99u.com, he’d tell you this: “It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.” The goal his site is to help you achieve that. You can count on articles packed with tips on time management, scientifically proven ways to innovate, or insights into why we love and benefit from teamwork. And what’s key about Workbook is how frequently it’s updated with new content. The multiple authors are quite aware that the world is changing a rapid pace, and that to keep up we must constantly be doing things, learning from our experiences, and then multiplying our experiences by sharing what we learn.
Included in the bottom row of apps on my iPhone are Email, Messages, Twitter and Facebook—the most used day-to-day. I have another nbso online casino reviews row of four camera or photo-related apps as well. I have utilities like the Calendar, Weather Network, Clock and Asana (task management app) next. And also on my first page there’s my news row. In it, from right to left, I have TSN Mobile, NHL Game Center, LinkedIn Pulse, and the most important news app: Circa. You’re a busy young professional. You’re on the go. You don’t have time to read a long newspaper article (“Wait. What’s a newspaper?” you ask.), but you want to be up-to-date with what’s happening in the world. Circa addresses this by breaking important news stories down to 3-10 nuggets of information and delivering it to you on your mobile device with a clean user interface. CNET appropriately described the app as “designed to serve as a daily brief of top stories, condensed into bullet points for quick reading on mobile devices.” There’s also a neat feature that allows you to follow stories in which you have a special interest, so you get additional information as soon as it’s available. I highlight an app like this because I believe that knowing what’s happening in the world helps you understand the context within which your ideas will thrive or be forced to die.
What book, website or app would you have included in this short list?