I used to think that loving books and loving reading were the same thing.
There's overlap, of course, but I also think these are two, distinct passions. You can love to read and not accumulate books in a personal library that threatens to take over your home. I've found that I have both of these passions, and that I can tell if someone shares them with me if they have book piles. Book pile people are my people. There are few things that soothe me more than a nice pile of books.
As I've embarked on this journey to boost my professional reading through #HigherEdReads, I've noticed that the decision of what to read next, after I finished my first selection, was a turning point for me.
In January, I chose a book that I'd already started reading, but that had gotten away from me: Indistractable by Nir Eyal. It had been sitting on my desk, staring at me, and it covers topics that fascinate me (time management, distraction, attention), so I just went with it.
As I started to near the end of Indistractable, and February was nearly upon us, it was time to choose my next professional read. But what to choose?
I have a bookshelf overflowing with books, piles of books in various places of my house, and now an Amazon wishlist for #HigherEdReads, filled with selections by members of our community. How the heck do I choose just one?
And when choosing one path feels overwhelming, like many people, I start to shut down, a.k.a., experience analysis paralysis.
I was talking to folks online yesterday about the best options for designing your own website. I got lots of great recommendations, but the one that stands out to me was for Google Sites. My new friend said that while you don't have a lot of options in Sites, that can be a good thing, because it helps you to keep it simple, focus on your priorities, and prevents overwhelm. I felt that. Sometimes too many choices can make me feel like I don't want to make any choice at all.
Here's the good news: if I wasn't part of this #HigherEdReads community, that moment of hesitation and overwhelm could have very well shut down my professional reading goals. But because I have some public accountability, and feel some responsibility to this community to keep moving forward with this experiment, I went ahead and just picked a damn book, with the recognition that if it's not the right fit for me, I can just pick another damn book.
Transitions can be hard. They're hard for our students. I think we forget how hard they can be sometimes. People can get lost in transitions. Being accountable to a community can help us make it through to the other side.
I'm curious, how do you select your next professional read when there are so many wonderful books to choose from? How do you handle the transitions between your #HigherEdReads?
I write about higher education.