Reading Strategies: Business Journals

In the world of business, there are the movers and shakers and then there are the bystanders who study what happens and publishes it as Business Journals. In this symbiotic relationship, the bystanders happen to be researchers and professors at Business Schools who teach the future movers and shakers – and provide insight to the current movers and shakers to help them get out of their pinch. Reading business journals not only helps the corporate guys to stay abreast with the latest concerns in their industry, it also helps a thriving small business owner widen his/her perspective on current offerings that could help their business.

There are many types of journals specific to each industry such as Finance, HR, Automotive, but for this blog post I will concentrate on the reading strategy for business journals that is compiled and widely published as books – the Harvard Business Review.

The reason I chose to provide a reading strategy for such business journals is because Harvard Business Review is the most cited journal publication in the world. Its impact shows that the in-depth study that is done before the journal is accepted for publishing is indeed useful. Apart from that, a journal selected as part of a published Harvard Business Review does speak for itself. A lot of hard work had been put to churn out that seven to 12 page of journal. Make no mistake that the studies are NOT based on small samples; there are studies that have gone on for decades and passed on to younger researchers before the journal is sent for publication.

My personal take on Harvard Business Review is that I have yet to read any business books so heavy with information that is as relevant, yet easy to digest as Harvard Business Reviews. That said, having the reading strategies for business journals would give you an upper hand in making sure you are making the best investment for your time spent on the book and your money.

STEP 1: READING SAMPLES

There is a myriad of topics that is covered by Harvard Business Review such as Managing People, Managing Yourself and Organizational Culture. Besides that, there are publications for Entrepreneurship and also Leadership Lessons from Sports. It is an extensive list so the first step you need to do when choosing a Harvard Business Review to read is to choose one topic that you are interested in.

If you are currently looking at restructuring your company and many division will need to leverage, the most insightful Harvard Business Review for you would be HBR’s 10 Must Read: Collaboration. Never mind the need to manage a huge change as there exists an HBR’s 10 Must Read: Change Management 🙂

If you can’t seem to decide which you should read, whether on Collaboration or Change Management; Step 2 will give you a better insight to invest your time and money on the best Harvard Business Review for you.

STEP 2: FINDING OUT YOUR OVERVIEW

Personally, I find the most beautiful trait about Harvard Business Review is their Index page. If there is something we are truly overwhelmed by on the Internet, it is information overload and HBR nails exactly that. Their Index page is so well and specific that you only get the information you really need. Let’s say I read a journal about blockchain on Harvard Business Review and want to find out more, I simply use the terms indexed under blockchain on its Index page so that I only get the relevant information I need. Doesn’t that save a lot of time?

So in order for you to find out which Harvard Business Review you would learn best for the situation you are in, head to the Index page at the back. Scan through the terms and decide which publication holds more relevant terms that speak out to you in its Index page. That’s how you decide whether your topic is Collaboration or Change Management.

I know, you may thank me later 🙂

STEP 3: BREAKING DOWN THE BOOK (JOURNAL)

The main idea of reading a Harvard Business Review is to figure out something. It is not about evaluating the author’s writing skill, nor is it to question the validity of the information. Holding on to your main purpose of reading business journal, which is to figure out something – quickly skim through the Editor’s Notes to weigh the gist of each journal. Once you have identified your top priority journal, move to the Contents section to find out the page number of that journal.

Once you have landed on the right page, find the section Idea in Brief to get an overview of what the journal will cover. One great tip I can give is to move straight to the Case Studies included in the journal, this way you immediately identify if the problems you are facing is relatable to this journal. This would also subsequently arouse your desire to find out more and read the business journal thoroughly.

At this point, you could quickly skim through the main topics in the journal (usually in bold) and only read content that is relevant to you, without wasting to much time on the learning if you have already figured it out. Some people do read business journals just for inspiration on how to solve their current problem at work.

If you intend to read for learning, you might want to actively engage yourself with the content of the journal to get the best out of your investment of time and money on reading a Harvard Business Review. This can be done by following Step Four and Step Five below.

STEP 4: PLANTING QUESTIONS

The easiest way to start planting questions when reading a Harvard Business Review is to focus on any chart, figure or table that is included in the journal. Skim the figure and be critical with what you see as to question how the this figure would benefit to serve your problem. With the knowledge on the case studies and a summed of figure in your hand (and mind), you are ready to plant questions as you read through the journal.

Another tip to boost your question seeking activity is to read more on the author of the journal from the About the Contributor section on the final pages of the Harvard Business Review. Having background information about the author would give you an insight to the author’s bias and perspective to help you plant questions and actively engage yourself while reading.

STEP 5: MEETING YOUR CONCLUSIONS

Once you finished reading the journal, you need to have a check-and-balance to see if your comprehension is aligned to the points provided in the business journal. One way to do this is to re-read the Idea in Brief section and see if you had missed any important part in the journal. On the other hand, you could re-visit the chart, figure or table to see if you have a better grasp at understanding the point the author is trying to make.

When your new knowledge jives with the idea that is formed in your mind, you should start sketching a draft proposal to solve your problem. When you are able to formulate a solution from your reading, it is suffice to say that you met your conclusions and you have made a good investment of your time and money by reading a business journal!

So there you have it! My five steps for Reading Strategies: Business Journals to help you with a structure when reading such publication. Enjoy!

-Baini Mustafa

Reading Strategies: Crime Fiction

If there was a genre of books that can be honoured to relieving a lot of problems just by distracting readers with a greater set of problems that is beautifully written, Crime Fiction should win the prize. I can’t begin to tell you how much Crime Fiction I had been absorbed in while waiting for time to pass, to fill up boredom (there was no handheld gadgets while I was growing up), so much so that Crime Fiction could be the very reason I read at all.

The fascinating streak about Crime Fiction is that someone had done wrong and could get away with it. The fact that you are toying with the idea that the criminal could get away builds suspense and the mystery of the unknown is just another reason for you to keep reading the book. If there was a genre that could help you relax and distract yourself, I highly recommend Crime Fiction as a ‘bibliotherapy’.

Through my experience with reading, I have set up the strategies below on how to read Crime Fiction. Crime Fiction can be read passively, where you let the author unveil the mystery to you at the end. But you could also engage in active reading to let yourself be part of the book and this would allow you to finish the book much faster than usual. Imagine being able to make time to do other things AND still read enough books?

Check out below my READING STRATEGIES: CRIME FICTION.

STEP 1: READING SAMPLE

A little research on the book you are planning to buy would always pay off. The large selection of Crime Fiction makes it easy for you to make a bad purchase that doesn’t suit you. The best way to determine whether or not a book suits you is to find out the background of the novel. Where does the story take place? What does the main character do for a living? What type of crime is being done here?

If you are working in the Information Technology sector and planning for a trip to Sweden soon, maybe A Girl With A Dragon Tattoo would serve your interest and curiosity. If you are planning a winter trip to Scandinavia, Jo Nesbo’s Snowman is a chilling page turner for you.

Your selection should serve both your interest and curiosity. If you have no intention of ever cross-country traveling via train, the details in the Murder on The Orient Express by Agatha Christie would serve you no purpose. But on the other hand, just reading that book might make you want that experience!

STEP 2: FINDING OUT YOUR OVERVIEW

The thing about Crime Fiction is that it is read by a great number of people of different walks of life. My tip when trying to narrow down your selection is to simply go by the numbers. It is safe to pick up Crime Fiction that is wildly lauded by many.

Once you have cultivated your own liking for Crime Fiction, then it is safe for you to make your selection more personally.

STEP 3: BREAKING DOWN THE BOOK

Besides the plot and the mystery in a Crime Fiction, the characters should be unforgettable for the Crime Fiction to be an interesting read. You can see how Sherlock Holmes seem to have a life of his own, as created by Arthur Conan Doyle. Interesting main characters weaves the story line in a Crime Fiction. So based on the back of the Crime Fiction you are planning to purchase, read the synopsis and spend some good time there to learn about the main character.

Next, skim through the book to find the main character’s name and try to read a little whenever you see it. Do you like what you read? Do you like how the author writes about the main character? It is important to have a positive feeling about the main character to be able to read through the book. Do note that if you do not feel an instant attraction to the main character, it might not be worth your time to read the book.

STEP 4: PLANTING QUESTIONS

Once you have selected the Crime Fiction of your choice, make a conscious decision to read actively through the book. This will not only increase your momentum and interest, it serves as a check and balance between the characters. I said this because, when you read a Crime Fiction, you need to read as a witness – not as the main character of the book. As a witness, you need to question the motives of each character and that means you also question the motive of the author for what he/she unveils.

When planting questions in a Crime Fiction, you will find that the pace of the story line is aligned to the questions that pop in your mind. This is when reading becomes a two-way street and you are engaged to the author and his masterpiece.

STEP 5: MEETING YOUR CONCLUSIONS

Making assumptions throughout reading a Crime Fiction is the boon of this genre. Where else would you be given free reign to assume and will not stump if you were wrong? But if there is one advice I can about making conclusions when reading a good Crime Fiction is: don’t get too carried away with your conclusions 🙂

Personally what I love about reading Crime Fiction is the contented feeling when my conclusions are met AND the pleasure of of discovering the alternative to my conclusions. Both are equally satisfying.

There you have it, five steps to help you read Crime Fiction more effectively by actively reading and engaging your mind as part of the plot. I hope you enjoy the Reading Strategies series and I will see you in the next blog post on non-fiction reading strategies.

-Baini Mustafa

Reading Strategies: Legal Thriller

When browsing the fiction shelves at a bookstore, it is hard to miss the Legal Thriller section. Let alone walking into a bookstore without seeing any book with the name John Grisham across its cover. Legal Thriller certainly has its cult status following and that begs the question, have you tried reading a Legal Thriller?

A Legal Thriller is of the mystery genre but usually has a lawyer as its main character. Although a lawyer’s main task is to prove his/her client’s innocence in court, this is not without paying the dues of investigation, priming the witnesses and jurors, building up the case and last but not least presenting the argument in court. The dramatisation of the entire tasks, with the many characters of varying roles, intelligence, importance, and intentions, makes a Legal Thriller an interesting read and is high on my suggestion list whenever someone asks for a fiction recommendation as a break between reading non-fictions.

The beauty of reading a Legal Thriller is that your mind is aroused with the description of activities you are reading in the book and at the same time, your brain is high on alert to also do its part in solving the mystery. Although most people read fiction to relax, I discover that a Legal Thriller relaxes you by shifting your focus on a different problem and sharpens your problem solving skills. Ultimately, the fiction not only gives you the satisfaction of finishing a book, it refreshes your mind and believe it or not, you feel ready and excited to solve your own problem.

So ARE YOU READY TO PICK UP A LEGAL THRILLER NOW? Let’s armour our time investment, pick up the right book by applying the Reading Strategies: Legal Thriller.

STEP 1: READING SAMPLES

As I have repeatedly mentioned around my blog, it is important to pick up a book that serves your interest. Before purchasing a book, make sure you invest a little time by researching reviews to see if you could relate to the book. If you had lost a relative to lung cancer, then maybe The Runaway Jury by John Grisham will keep you interested throughout the book. If you love sports, especially baseball, maybe A Pitch for Justice by Harold Kasselman will keep hands glued to the book. It is all about finding the right match between you and the book that makes reading enjoyable.

STEP 2: FINDING OUT ‘YOUR’ OVERVIEW

Even though you think you have found a Legal Thriller that should excite you, hold on to your horses. Just an extra five more minutes of research should be able to make or break your decision. Find out a little about the people who likes the kind of Legal Thriller you are planning to buy. Do you feel you could relate to the people who gave a positive review about the book? Does the people who gave a positive review about the book, your kind of people? Do they impress you? If they are not YOUR kind of people or even simply you don’t feel inspired by the people – don’t waste any more time and just move on to finding the next Legal Thriller for you.

Do not underestimate the power of demography when selecting the best kind of reading to suit yourself. It might seem counter-productive to find a suitable book and then discover that it is not, but trust me that this five minute research might save you from a draggy five months of trying to finish one book. If there was a way to search via demography first, and then by book – you would need to follow avid readers that match your demography. For example, if you are here to follow my readings tips then most likely your demography matches mine and I can save you a lot of time and money simply by letting you know which books to read.

STEP 3: BREAKING DOWN THE BOOK

At this point, you need to get the feel of the entire book so that it keeps you coming back after you put it down. My personal tip when reading a Legal Thriller is to breakdown the book into 100 pages. For example if the book weights 423 pages, I will break it down into four parts and read a full page within each 100-page part.

This way, I get an idea of how fast the story line would progress and specific scenes, characters and my first hand exposure to the author’s writing style. Ask your self, do you like what you read in that broken down portions? If not then put it down and go back to the first step in the Step 1. Fret not, there are still millions of books out there just waiting to meet its right audience.

If a book doesn’t have the lure factor that appeals to you, it is not worth your investment of time and money.

STEP 4: PLANTING QUESTIONS

Now that you have found the perfect Legal Thriller suited for you, it is time to actively read the gem you picked. In order to actively read a Legal Thriller, it is not only important to be aware of the little details of the plot’s twists and turns – it is also important to notice the small quirks of each character in the story.

Plant questions that would inquire the behaviours of each character in the story. This keeps yourself interested in the psychology of the characters that you may build up in your mind. Does this lawyer have a blond paralegal who obediently brings his double espresso every morning? Is the prosecuted criminal a cat person or a dog person? Sometimes the questions you ask yourself has nothing to do with the story line, but planting questions regarding the psychology of each character in a Legal Thriller would build suspense and almost always satisfy your theories about people. And maybe who knows, you might crack the case before the lawyer does 🙂

STEP 5: MEETING YOUR CONCLUSIONS

When reading a Legal Thriller, the story line is maneuvered with yourself as the main character. On the same note, you need to be aware and understand the roles and the limits of other characters in the story. Did you know the real roles of the jurors? Did you know the basics of a judge’s jurisdiction within a county? It is as simple as a quick Google search to find the answers and it will give you an insight that will help with your active reading. After all, if your conclusion is accurate wouldn’t that boost your confidence to read more Legal Thrillers?

As a tip, I will let you in on my own conclusion that is always find accurate whenever I read a Legal Thriller – Lawyers have the ability to argue black as white AND lawyers would always prime their witnesses to believe what the witness testifies to be the truth.

There you have it! My Reading Strategies: Legal Thriller that will help you navigate through a fiction as an experience that is worthy of your time an money. Let me know if the strategies work!

-Baini Mustafa

Reading Strategies: An Introduction

Did somebody say strategy???

This week I will start another series of post called Reading Strategies. In the first of its posts, I have its Introduction so that readers have a basic idea how the Reading Strategies can help.

Contrary to popular belief, reading is not a passive activity where the author does all the job. Let me introduce you to a term “Active Reading” where readers seek in a book for its gold, rather than simply peeling page by page to be entertained.

I remember the time I read The New Earth by Eckhart Tolle that took me months to finish. It was my first non-fiction of that genre – it was new and exciting but terrible to digest. I was rereading paragraphs in one sitting and I kinda felt like I was at wit’s end. Just like that jar of jam that wouldn’t pop open!

But I still continued on and on because I really liked the book and what I wanted to know what the New Earth was about. Until I found a point where the sentences started to make sense without having to think too hard about it. That was when I realised that every book needs its own visor for the reader, so that the book can be read through a specific lens. And this specific lens comes from having an expected ‘theme’ for the book to fulfill, rather than having an empty slate that your mind can wander on and off the ‘theme’.

So that is where the Reading Strategies will help you and give you the moral support you need to read fifty books a year! YES, IT’S POSSIBLE!

Below are the seven parts of the Reading Strategies series to help you with improving your reading and making the best out of your investment of time and money on a book. No more mindless reading and deciding halfway that the book isn’t worth your time with these strategies.

  1. Reading Strategies: An Introduction
  2. Reading Strategies: Legal Thriller
  3. Reading Strategies: Crime Fiction
  4. Reading Strategies: Business Journals
  5. Reading Strategies: Self-Help
  6. Reading Strategies: Pop Sociology
  7. Reading Strategies: Business

I have included both fiction and non-fiction in the mix because I do believe that a lot of business aspects can be learnt by reading Crime Fiction and Legal Thriller, so I wouldn’t want my readers to miss out on its benefits. And these are great vacation books – light, exciting and a little bit of learning here and there – I promise!

In the Reading Strategies series, 5 key elements will be delivered in the following fashion. Where the first three elements is done prior to reading and the last two elements is actively done throughout the reading. This structure helps tremendously to build and keep your reading momentum.

  1. Reading sample
  2. Finding out an overview
  3. Breaking down the book
  4. Planting questions
  5. Meeting your conclusion

The 5 key elements above will help you get the most out of your reading in the interest of time and money invested on the book. Applying the elements above will also help you read actively because you feel more involved in the process of discovery instead of passively accepting whatever the author had written.

The strategies I expose are ones that I use to help me make the most out of my reading and I find that different types of books require different strategies. It is my wish to see somebody come up with a fool-proof formula that can be applied to all types of reading to aid comprehension.

MY CHALLENGE TO YOU IS: To apply the strategies as I post them throughout the week and let me know if it doesn’t work. I would be more than glad to refine these strategies.

-Baini Mustafa

 

 

What to Buy for A Book Lover

Sometimes buying a book for a book lover can be very tricky. The wrong genre might be left unread or worse, offend the recipient of the gift. Imagine loving to read vampire romance and be given a book about politics! Both are about blood suckers, that’s the only thing the books have in common. Lol.

However, shopping for a gift for a bibliophile doesn’t have to be stressful. There are many options of non book gifts available that are pretty neat and cool. Below I list three gifts you can consider to buy for a book lover.

NUMBER 1: A PAGE HOLDER

Keeping a book open is harder when your mind is busy creating scenes in the head, while your hands just can’t keep up with the weight of the book after two hours lying down in the same position. What could possibly help a book lover in this situation when the only things that matter is that you don’t lose the page! Enter Page Holder. A functional clip that helps keep the book open no matter how many times the book had fell and slammed your face.

This was originally used by musicians to keep their page open but I see many cute designs now to cater for the book lover who needs a little help with keeping the book open. Here’s one I found on easybookclip.com. Such neat tool would also reduce that slight pain on the thumb that had been pushing on the spine of the book (I know only book lovers would know this struggle is real!).

 

NUMBER 2: BOOK LIGHT

Because you are now an adult, and allowed to stay up all night to read!

Modern book lights have dimmed lighting that allows you to read, yet does not interfere the sleep of others in the room. Honestly, I do not own such gadget for fear that my reading problems would blow out of proportion and give me worse eyebags than those I already own.

I would totally recommend getting book lights for a book lover who especially loves reading novels in the middle of the night. Now all book lovers can escape sleep! Joy! 🙂

NUMBER 3: FANTASTIC BOOKENDS

There are so many great bookends out there so this choice of gift would totally take a lot of pressure off when buying a gift for a book lover. I’ve seen Royal Selangor Pewter bookends that are so drool worthy, I think it’s worth giving up my book budget to own them. There is something more personal about receiving bookends because you know the person knows you appreciate books and you get to display to bookend as a show of affection for books and the giver.

And there are many ways you can dress up a simple bookend using spray paint and some DIY toolkit. This would add more personalisation to your gift and be much more appreciated.

So there you  have it! You don’t necessarily need to buy books for readers because there are so many other gifts out there that can complement this hobby. This post is by a book lover who knows what other book lover needs. I hope you have a better insight now on what to buy for a book lover.

-Baini Mustafa

 

How to Stay Awake When Reading

Someone told me that the easiest way to fall asleep is to read.

I agreed immediately with the person that reading should be a pleasant, relaxing experience and let’s you unwind. Falling asleep is a way your body telling you that you should read more books, not to avoid it. It is crucial to keep coming back at the book and to see yourself through with the book. Do not abandon the book simply because it puts you to sleep. Because chances are, you needed that sleep.

I do fall asleep when I read too and I do sometimes have to force myself to get through some pages before I put the book down and retire to sleep. This could happen to anybody. Fighting to stay awake when reading is normal, we just need to discipline ourselves and let the body know who’s boss. In this post, I will help with ways to stay awake while reading.

Let’s say you have advanced a bit further in your reading habit and would like to keep a goal to yourself, for example reading 10 pages before going to sleep. However you find that after the fifth page, the book keeps slipping off your hands and your head just made a deep dip towards the book (familiar, right? LOL), just try to sit up straight and stretch. If that doesn’t help much, here are my three tips on how to stay awake when reading.

NUMBER 1: HAVE A DRINK/SNACK WHEN READING

Chewing or drinking while reading really helps the body and mind to awaken, thus help the page turn faster. Notice how your munching becomes faster as the story line evolve with more suspense. Just be sure not to overeat or overdo the sugar in your snack. We don’t want to avoid reading just because we want to avoid snacking now, do we?

NUMBER 2: AVOID HEAVY READING MATERIALS BEFORE GOING TO SLEEP

Reading your office financial report before going to sleep surely would put a heavy load on your brain and cause even more drowsiness. If not that, it would certainly add more anxiety before you retire to bed. Avoid reading books that require analytical thinking if you can only make time to read before bed. It is best to read materials that allow your right brain to take centre stage – put your imagination at play and get your body to relax as you read. This way, your body would find reading enjoyable and you will find yourself looking forward to more reading.

NUMBER 3: KEEP A GOAL TO STAY MOTIVATED TO READ

Rewarding yourself after having achieved a reading goal is a great way to keep yourself motivated to read. Treat yourself to a body massage if you manage to read a book within a week. Better yet, allow yourself some time me-time at the library to see more books that you might like. Once you acquaint yourself with the idea of reading for pleasure, you will find yourself wanting more and more me-time with books. To indulge yourself in a world that only you know inside your head.

It is really important not to give up on your attempts to read. Nothing easy is worth doing.

-Baini Mustafa

 

How to Read One Book A Week

There is no accurate data on the average number of books Malaysians read in a year but maybe we can just agree that it is not enough. In general, people do not read because they find reading boring and burdensome in the sense that their free time should be spent doing things that don’t require thinking. Although I would pounce in disagreement when I hear people say that, I think it is time we address this problem.

I believe everyone has their own personal reason for not making the time to read, hence I would attempt to solve this problem by suggesting how you can try to read one book a week. In my other posts, I have explained the need to choose the right kind of reading materials as this is essential in keeping ourselves interested in the book. Apart from that, it is also essential to move on to the next book once you find that the book you’re reading doesn’t ‘launch’.

Although I always preach that we should read with the purpose of gaining knowledge, for this post I would skip the nitty gritty part of that as the purpose here is simply to read one book a week. So below I outlined three ways on how to read one book a week.

NUMBER 1: DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT ATTITUDE

Although the benefits of reading is lauded by many successful people, some people still believe that they are too busy to read or that reading does not solve their current problems. I would say that the only way to solve this is to change the attitude about reading or they can keep on trying to fix the symptoms of their problems instead of identifying its root cause. I’ve also encountered people who think that they don’t need books to help them with their life because their brains are better than that… so just imagine the amount of ideas that you can generate in that already brilliant mind once it is triggered by reading *rolls eyes*

NUMBER 2: GET THE THINNEST BOOK YOU CAN FIND

If at all possible, get the thinnest book in the biggest font you can find – I have an immediate suggestion to make: Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson is great if you are also in need of change in your life. The reason you need to choose the easiest book to read is so that your mind registers the feeling of having completed reading one book. It is important that your brain recognises this achievement and builds pride around such wins.

NUMBER 3: MAKE THE TIME FOR READING

We are not talking about blocking two hours from your daily schedule to read here, we are simply asking for five minutes here and there through out the day for you to glimpse through the book. Better yet, whenever you feel the urge to mindlessly browse through social media is the right time for you to pick up on your reading. Your future self will thank you for this habit because that’s when you realise that your life is not built by watching what other people are doing.

The benefits of reading one book a week far outweighs the relaxation benefit you think you are getting from watching TV or going through your News Feed in the long run. Being able to accomplish reading your first book is the only hard part, as I promise the journey would become much easier with time. Pick up your next book right after you have finished the first one, do NOT even bother to wait until the next Sunday has come if you have finished your first book earlier.

Wow, that was stern.

-Baini Mustafa

Three Ways Dale Carnegie Books Influence Technology

If you are familiar with the works of Dale Carnegie such as How to Win Friends and Influence People, you would know that his techniques touch on the quality of interpersonal relationships. In his books and teachings, he emphasises that humans are not creatures of logic but creatures of emotion – but how is it that millions of dollars are spent online, where only (logical) human to machine interaction is needed? Does this mean that Automation and Artificial Intelligence could well replace human niceties and personal interaction?

Take for example a food delivery service that you have been loyal with for more than three months because of its superior service. One day you had a chance to meet the founding members of the service and you were appalled as they brushed you away in their seemingly more important conversation. As a loyal paying customer, you would have taken it personally and vow to move on to a different service provider and wanting to kick yourself for having been a ‘fan’ for so long! How have you allowed their polite automated prompts and artificial intelligence bots to have swooned you into purchasing their service?

You didn’t think they ‘naturally’ knew you that well, did you?

We see here that Dale Carnegie lessons still stand the test of time and it is Automation/AI that are actively adapting to his lessons. So how do we use the lessons from Dale Carnegie in Automation and Artificial Intelligence? Read more below to find out the three ways lessons from Dale Carnegie are used in technology.

NUMBER 1: REMEMBER THAT A PERSON’S NAME IS TO THAT PERSON THE SWEETEST AND MOST IMPORTANT SOUND IN THAT LANGUAGE

Don’t you feel immediately flattered when somebody remembers your name? Do you notice how more drawn you are to a text you are reading when you see your name imprinted within it? A lot of online merchants capitalise on this rule by using data to include the user’s first name to build a personal rapport with the user. Although it is best if you had taken the effort to remember a person’s name and their habits on social media, it doesn’t hurt to use a little technology to accomplish this task wisely.

NUMBER 2: YOU CAN MAKE MORE FRIENDS IN A MONTH BY BECOMING INTERESTED IN OTHER PEOPLE

Ever wonder why Facebook suggests the best Pages that are totally in line with your current situation? That is because Facebook studies your usage on Facebook, by tracking the post you Like and take the time to read or share, also by tracking your the behaviours of those in your Friend List. All these data when used with Artificial Intelligence gives the best user experience for the consumer. Ever noticed that we rarely see posts from the official Facebook Page flying around in our timeline/wall? Certainly Dale Carnegie’s principle is in use here.

NUMBER 3: MAKE THE OTHER PERSON FEEL IMPORTANT

Don’t good vibes blossom in our hearts when we receive an email from an Online Shopping website saying that there is a special discount for you on your birthday? For all the wishes we receive on our holidays that make us feel that they have taken a time in their day to wish us well? Don’t we just feel good about ourselves and feel thankful for the TLC shown by these businesses? Making us feel important is their business to ensure customer loyalty and sense of belonging. Just by using automation, businesses may accomplish this important principle by Dale Carnegie.

In a nutshell, I would conclude that the advancement of technology could not replace human to human personal touch but it definitely plays a huge advantage when the correct principles, such as ones by Dale Carnegie is applied. Reading books by Dale Carnegie would open you up to a plethora of ways to improve your communication skills, interpersonal relationships and your satisfaction in life.

-Baini Mustafa

How Books Impact Your Subconscious

Science has proven that all beings and things around us is made of energy in its smallest form. Whether it is the fibres of your sofa, the electricity running through your heater or the ink used to print a book. Some go further by saying that even thoughts and ideas are made of energy. So you can imagine how much energy a book carries!

I would not buy into the idea that having books lying around the house would make people smarter, but having ONE person reading the books is enough to elevate the kind of energy that vibrates around the house. Just as the brain is likened to an antenna, it broadcasts and receives signals around it and picks up the positive energy broadcasted by a person who is reading nearby. The sight of a person reading becomes an image in the person’s brain and is stored away, along with other positive memories.

Although the sight of a person reading did not make the other person immediately read a book, the image and the feelings associated to it is registered in the person’s mind – and that is the crucial part. When that person repeatedly sees the same image and registers the same feelings to his/her brain, after awhile he/she will want to experience a book first hand too. And that is just the first way how books impact those around them.

Secondly, the presence of books in a setting of an office exudes the quality of the person you are dealing with. Special editions bounded and perfectly lined in sequence along the person’s shelf shows the person values truth and puts a high price on integrity. Whereas a person whose office is strewn with dog-eared paperbacks that looked forgotten under a stack of piled papers shows a disorganised person with an even more disorganised mind. Who would you choose to work with? How did the books impact those around it?

For all you know, the dog-eared book was read three times over the previous year and had not been put away to a proper shelf. But didn’t you already have a negative feeling about the person for treating books that way? Didn’t you have a better feeling about the person whose books are placed nicely on a proper shelf, although it may be a fact that those books were never read? Do you see how books impact those in its surrounding?

Thirdly, each title on a book carries a lot of weight with it. Have you ever tried reading a controversial book in a train and have people side-eye you for the book you are reading? Have you ever seen a person reading Crazy Rich Asians on a train and you feel the urge of laughing together with the person or gush about its up-coming movie? Imagine feeling intimidated when your intern reads The 48 Laws of Power during lunch break when you had used the entire hour just bitching about another co-worker?

Books, whether its title or ideas or just its presence, impact people more than just an inanimate object. The books enter our subconscious with its energy, good or bad – whether you have read it or not. I like to think books as water, it replenishes, it soothes and if you put energy to it and let it boil, it can burn you. But it can also assimilate with other elements and produce a better outcome.

So do you have any books on your shelf that you feel is begging to be read?

-Baini Mustafa

Why You Shouldn’t Read

Extensive use of emojis in our communication today is perhaps a sign that one day, the need for reading will stop. By then, the meaning of all emojis are standardised and no one should mistake the ‘high-five’ emoji as a ‘praying’ emoji. That would take a lot of advancement in the emoji business and an evolution in the way human communicate. I cannot imagine being 85 and fumbling through my list of emojis to ask my grandkids where had I misplaced my dentures. I’m a long way to 85 and I’m not even a fluent emoji user even on apps I use daily, like Whatsapp.

Although I think that we are still far from a world that requires no reading, I do believe there are reasons to caution a person from reading. As they say, a little sugar is sweet but too much would hurt. This concept also applies to reading. Let me give you three reasons why you shouldn’t read.

NUMBER 1: YOUR MIND GOES ON AUTOCORRECT

Oh God, this is probably the biggest bane of reading. Imagine walking around editing announcements on the notice board, Whatsapp conversations, while eavesdropping – but of course, all this editing is done only in our head. You are not Rafidah Aziz who could bluntly speak your mind and tell a radio DJ the correct proposition to use, “…with, not under…” plainly. The edit mode comes naturally and is not confined to inaccurate grammar use, it also includes shuffling and rearranging the terms used in a sentence while one speaks/writes. Yours truly, is guilty as charged.

NUMBER 2: BEING HOOKED ON A SERIES OF BOOKS

The world of publishing is a lucrative business. Have you ever noticed the eye-catching covers in sweet pastels for romance, black and bold design for topics about being rebellious and cool or simply the name of a well-known author sprawled on a book cover is all enticing enough for people to buy. So just imagine if the writer has a five-book series about one big adventure. Are you going to buy only 3 out of 5? Of course not! And what more if you already own all 5 but the publisher is releasing a limited edition set with gold prints on the book spine? That touch of gold would definitely add class to your bookshelf, so (closes eyes) BUY! Readers are big spenders and any sane reader would buy an extra copy of the book they love, just so that they have one in mint condition.

NUMBER 3: READING MAKES YOU IGNORE OTHER PEOPLE

Sometimes we don’t mean to ignore you, but we are in the middle of an interesting plot with words just bouncing off the pages that we need to put the book down (or maybe sit on it) to really make something of what you’re saying. Really. Sometimes we wish people would be graceful enough to realise that interrupting a person’s reading is just like robbing off a few frames on a film in our head, because we can never recall back our thoughts while it was at its heights. I am not saying it is good to ignore people around you because your book is more interesting but I think I’m a good person so I should caution this.

All three reasons why you shouldn’t read is just a few of the unintended effects of reading. Your language improves, you value knowledge, creativity and hard work AND you love yourself. Not too bad in exchange for not reading at all, right?

-Baini Mustafa