My best investment of 2017

6 Feb

Photo Feb 05, 3 03 20 PM

Sorry Amazon and Barnes & Noble. My best investment of the year so far….is my library card.

As I have talked about on the blog before, the challenge for all leaders is to commit to continuous learning. And fortunately we live in a time where more people are producing more content.

  • Amazing podcasts – FREE
  • Videos on about any topic you can imagine – FREE
  • Blogs, blogs, and more blogs – FREE, FREE, FREE

And not the libraries are anything new, but in an age of two day shipping, or one-click purchases, it is hard to pass some of those options up. But personally, I knew I wanted to increase not only my learning, but learning in adjacent areas beyond leadership and my own area of expertise. So I had a very long list of books that I wanted to get into this year and not nearly enough free cash to fund all the books in my wish list. But thanks to my daughter for needing to drop some books off that were due, I got a re-introduction to my local library.

Here are three ways to take advantage of your library and up your reading in 2017 – for FREE:

Go there, find the card catalog, and walk the aisles

  • Sadly, one of the last times I had been in a library, card catalogs were actually on cards. But when I took my little one over to the library to return some books over the holiday break, I took a chance to scroll through the online catalog and sure enough they had one of the books I wanted.

Many libraries have e-book options

  • As I was working my way through some of the books I wanted to get through, I came to one where as I was at the library, I found out there was no physical copy. It was actually a book I really wanted to read, so given I am not so techno-smart, I asked one of the librarians who pointed out that the book was available electronically. WHAT?!? Yup….I am able to access e-books through my library via two apps on the Apple app store: Overture and Axis 360. Not only does it expands your options for e-books, but they have many audio book options as well.

Library extension for Chrome (

  • Honestly, this option will take to either of the first two options, but I love it because it is brilliant. Add this extension to your Chrome web browser. Then when you go to check one of the online book sellers, this extension will pop up on your screen to let you know if your library has a copy (physical or electronic). So rather than giving into your one-click obsession, if the library has the book you can store it in a list if the local library has a copy. (H/T to Austin Kleon for sharing this in his newsletter)

To date, I have read and taken notes on five books from the library and I am on my sixth now. If you figures most books are $20 online with taxes, let’s round it to $25 each. That’s $125 per month. If I keep up the current pace and if I had to buy every book, that’s $1500. So I would say that the library card has been a nice investment.

The point is – take ownership of your development. There are so many resources available……the choice is yours to grow and learn…..for FREE.

Here are this week’s 5 for 5 articles:

Preparing is The Kiss of Death for Ideas – by Denise Cornell

Us versus Them: Reframing Resistance to Change – by Elizabeth Doty

50 things only remote workers understand – by Shakti Sotomayor and Kristin Hillery

The 100:10:1 Method for Creativity on Demand – by Charles Chu

The link between leadership and well-being – by Arianna Huffington

All the best, kevin