We all have one. Something we’re ashamed to admit to. Something that we pretend to do or to not do. It doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person; unless your guilty secret is that you torment puppies, in which case you’re going straight to hell, make no mistake. But most people’s guilty secrets don’t involve anything particularly earth shattering, and often the only person who’ll care about it is them. I’m hoping mine falls into this category.
I’ve been a voracious reader ever since I learned how to do it. From the age of six or seven I devoured the Secret Seven, Famous Five, Faraway Tree, Mallory Towers, basically anything Enid Blyton wrote: she was my hero. At my first primary school we would have to line up at the teacher’s desk to read our current reading book to her. I was the precocious child who helped the struggling children by reading the words upside down and whispering them to the child currently in the hot-seat. As if the teacher couldn’t hear too!
My love of reading continued throughout my childhood and into adulthood. I’ve tried most genres and while I have a particular love for historical fiction: Phillipa Gregory now rules over Enid Blyton, I read widely and often. In my almost forty years of reading (oh, cool, a way to appear younger!) I’ve only started and failed to finish three fiction books: The Hobbit, The Great Gatsby, and The Birthing Place. The first two I just couldn’t get on with, and to be honest I did wonder if I would still be alive by the time I ever finished The Hobbit, and the third is so grotesque and ridiculous that I wonder it was ever published at all. In fact, it should stand as encouragement for anyone looking to write a novel. It was a Book Club choice and one of the ladies was able to predict the exact point at which I stopped reading.
Which leads us to my guilty secret. Because while there are only three fiction books I’ve failed to finish, the number of non-fiction books that sit part-read on my bookshelves and in my Kindle, must run well into double figures. I daren’t count them in case it’s even higher. I’m quite good at finishing autobiographies, eventually. But business books…not so much. There are even some personal and professional development books that lie dormant on my shelves, a bookmark poking out half-way through. I tell myself that I’ll come back to them another day, but knowing how book leads on to book… And their contents are valuable. I know I could learn so much from these poor, neglected tomes. But I get part-way through and am lured away by something that feels more appealing.
I know what the issue is. I have the attention span of a gnat. And so many of these books are puffed out with fluff and filler material. They repeat themselves or go into more detail than is strictly necessary. Or they list endless facts instead of telling me a story. They tell, rather than show. And the one thing that’ll make me read on is showing me how I can apply it to me and my situation. Short and snappy chapters with a story and a practical exercise at the end is my idea of business-book heaven. And I reckon I can’t be the only one. Surely there are others like me out there, who long for bite-size pieces of personal and professional development? That they can read on the way to work and apply once they get there? It’s what I’m counting on. Because that’s my next project: a range of thirty-minute resources covering a range of business topics. And if they’re a success then my guilty secret will be a blessing after all 🙂