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Thursday, February 1, 2018

On Reading: Value, NBA Readers, and Suggestions

"The best thing a human being can do is to help another human being know more." - Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett's business partner)

Why read? Ideas are the currency of the future. Who is arrogant enough to believe they cornered the idea market? 

"The difference between who we are now and whom we become in five years are the people we meet and the books we read." But it's insufficient to read; read critically and think about the author's purpose, the content validity, and its application. 

Reading helps us understand (and explain) the other side of an argument. Consider this dilemma: is it better if your doctor gets paid by the amount spent on your health through testing or by not spending. Or does the doctor simply "answer the question" or ask more questions? I believe that you (and the physician) want the focus on doing 'right'. 

Consider this example. I am asked to evaluate an eighty-seven year-old person preoperatively for abdominal surgery. That entails estimating risk based on age, type of surgery, anesthesia performed, prior history, heart and lung disease, general health, et cetera. The risk varies but always exceeds zero. I'm concerned that the surgery is not indicated. I tell the patient and family that I am unclear that surgery is the best option (I don't think it is). 

The ultimate risk control is avoiding needless risk. I suggest she get a second opinion on the surgery. An experienced surgeon opines that the surgery is unnecessary. The patient avoids risk; I may never get another referral from the original surgeon, who may feel I have compromised his judgement (and his ability to make a living). But I have examined not only the risk but the necessity of taking risk. 

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are among the brightest speculators in history. “You could hardly find a partnership in which two people settle on reading more hours of the day than in ours." If you want to get smarter, read a lot. Spend time reading and thinking about what you've read. 

Kevin Eastman, former Celtics' assistant and once Clippers' VP for Basketball Operations, reads at least two hours a day. That gives him an additional 180 hours quarterly of specialized knowledge, a leg up on the competition. 

Reread great books. When a book has special merit via prose or content, reread it. Mark it up. Digest the ideas. If a book lacks great content or prose, abandon it. We're not obligated to consume unworthy content. 

Readers differ from nonreaders. "People who are “original”, “curious”, “deep thinkers” read more." Reading has health benefits. Science argues readers live longer. Reading creates higher income and wealth. There are correlational studies suggesting literacy impairment associates with worse mental health. Reading doesn't define us as being better than nonreaders, but it may help our life expectancy, mental health, and wealth. 

Well-known 'readers' in the basketball community include George Raveling, Steve Kerr, Brad Stevens, Gregg Popovich, and Michael Neighbors. Raveling is a veritable reading machine. The list contains industry coaching leaders. 

What's on coach Gregg Popovich's reading list

What are a few of my suggestions?

Legacy, James Kerr (leadership principles of the New Zealand All-blacks)

Deep Survival, Laurence Gonzales (brilliantly written book about survival)

Vision of a Champion, Anson Dorrance (Coaching and leadership)

The Boys in the Boat, Daniel Brown (The 1936 US Olympic Crew team)

The Leadership Moment, Michael Useem  (Making better decisions under pressure)

Performing Under Pressure, Weisinger and Pawliw-Fry (Become your best under pressure)


Horns stagger pick-and-roll. 

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