Read Less, Think More, and Then Act!

June 29, 2015 6:00 am Last Updated: July 7, 2015 3:18 pm

Business professionals have too many books to read. Google estimated in 2010 (before the self-publishing boom) that 129,864,880 titles are in existence. Amazon currently carries over 2,000,000 titles in its business section alone.

As important as it is to gather ideas from a variety of sources, reading a wide swath of these books is not the point, says Actionable Books founder Chris Taylor.

(Courtesy of Chris Taylor)
Actionable Books founder Chris Taylor. (Courtesy of Chris Taylor)

“Ideas may be interesting, inspiring, informative, but they don’t create true value until they are put into practice,” he said. “Spend the extra minute at the end [of a book] and figure out what to do with it.”

Actionable Books currently offers summaries of 741 top business books to help busy professionals glean the best insights from a variety of business books, and more importantly, to take action in implementing them—hence “actionable.”

Epoch Times spoke with Taylor as part of #LeadTheFuture. Listen to the unabridged interview.


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Epoch Times: Beyond the book summaries themselves, an important aspect of Actionable Books is the workshops. How do they work?

Chris Taylor: A lot of times when people consume books, it’s in isolation. We at Actionable Books use business books as a catalyst to have rich conversations with people you spend the bulk of your waking hours with—your colleagues. Our workshops, which are short, begin with conversation guides that team leaders can use with their teams. It’s a modern-day spin on the book club.

Our clients say the most valuable results are the unintentional conversations that spring from these workshops. These conversations strengthen relationships in the workplace and help people take a step back from day-to-day work to reassess the business itself.

Epoch Times: Why did you start Actionable Books?

Mr. Taylor: Back in 2008 I was recovering from a business that crashed and burned. I was reading three or four books a week to figure out what had gone wrong—the magic bullet that would have saved it. I was reading them but not doing anything with them. Then I decided to take action on one of the ideas in a book—to network with successful people—and I got job offers out of it, even met my wife during the process. I can honestly say it changed my life, not because it was such a great book, but because I acted upon it.

Epoch Times: Can someone be taught to be more action-oriented?

Mr. Taylor: I think you can be held accountable to it. Grab a friend who wants to do something as well. It’s a muscle you develop over time. It takes more mental effort to act on a piece of information than to passively consume information. Just ask yourself, “What do I want to have happen?” Figure out the first step in moving toward that. And then do it.

#LeadTheFuture is an Epoch Times series exploring the ideas that are shaping the future of how we do business.

Actionable Books carries book summaries on self-management, team optimization, effective communication, innovative thinking, leadership, and role and culture fit. Follow Actionable Books and Chris Taylor on Twitter at @actionablebooks and @actionablechris