Ep. 03 – ‘Exploring Relationships with Books’ – Heavy Breathing Just Before Midnight with Sandi Maki

Exploring relationships with books and with the author of the book. The strongest connection to the books we like the most, I believe, comes from the relationship we have in connecting what the author is saying to a sense of inspiration or connection within ourselves. I’d love to hear what you think…

Heavy Breathing Just Before Midnight Episode 3: Relationship with an Author

Relationship with an Author

If I ever find a microphone that helps to eliminate a lot of the extra breathing noises, the name of this series might have to change, but for now you are still here with heavy breathing just before midnight with Sandi Maki.

Well, I have been searching today for something to talk about. Of course, I have all kinds of random things that I think about all day every day, and I could just pick one to talk about, yet somehow I want it always to be the right one. What is the right one? I guess the right one is the one that happens when I hit the record button and then capture it for your listening… I’m not sure why you are listening. Your listening enjoyment? Curiosity? Boredom? Whatever the case may be, glad you are here and hopefully you will get a little bit out of something at some time. Thinking along those lines, I know I read a lot of books and I know a lot of people in my circles read a lot of books. A lot of them are business books. Some are biographies and autobiographies. I happen to be on an autobiography kick myself. As many of you may know, a national book store chain has recently had many, many sales going on because they are liquidating their inventory, so the cool thing about that is a lot of people are purchasing a lot books that maybe they would not have otherwise gone and sought out to pick up. I know that is the case for me. I do buy a lot of books and I have a huge amount of books on my shelf. I never write in books, so there is no reason why I couldn’t use the library. I am typically a pretty fast reader, so again there is no reason I couldn’t use the library. One of the reasons that I enjoy buying books myself though is because once I read them, then I can pass them onto people that I think would enjoy them or maybe gain some sort of benefit from reading them themselves. Anyway, I have been on a kick buying books as, you know, who can pass that up, especially if you are a little bit of a book fanatic.

When I was looking for books to buy, I would go into the business section, some of the motivation and philosophy sections, and then I would be drawn every time I was in the store to the autobiography section. The way that I would decide randomly which books that I was going to pick up was actually a pretty cool study in marketing and the way things are packaged, because what I would do is I would definitely check the table that was in the middle of the section which was put there for some reason so that we stumble across it first as a customer, I would think, so I would obviously look at that table first. I would see if any covers, titles, or names caught my interest, so that is an interesting look at marketing because the person’s name would not necessarily need to be on the cover, but if the title was catchy enough, I would look at it then to see, okay, who is the author and am I even interested in reading this. I would also look for pictures of people that I recognized based on their stories, based on, you know, them being a public figure. That would also catch my attention and I would probably pick up some of those, and then just the photographs of “who is this person on this cover?” is another one of my criteria. So then my criteria for deciding whether or not I would purchase this book and make it a part of my library would be that I would pick it up. I would have to have been drawn to it for some reason, and then I would typically read either the back cover or the front inside cover of the book, where of course somebody else wrote about the book so when you pick it up you can get a sense of what it is going to be on the inside. If that was interesting, then what I would typically do is turn to a random page in the middle of the book or I would start reading right at the introduction or the first chapter. If I could read the book the way that it was written and it kept drawing me in, then I would absolutely buy it. If I was trying to read it and it was not keeping my attention for whatever the reason, maybe the writing style just did not resonate with me, or maybe when it got into it there were just way too many details, or you know, whatever the case may be, I would within a few moments of starting to read the book decide whether it was one that needed to come home with me or not, so that is pretty interesting because some of the titles that I ended up coming home with which you can check out on my bookshelf here on the website on Shelfari. I would have never imagined wanting to read the book or having been drawn to it for any other reason than it was just kind of random and it happened to be in my hand, and I was reading and just could not put it down, so that was a pretty cool and pretty interesting thing. I ended up getting quite a stack of books that are sitting on my shelf and I am going through them. Some I am getting through a lot more quickly than others, and a lot of the books that I am reading and I am thinking about other people that I just have to pass these onto as soon as I am done.

There is a relationship I think that we create with the book as the reader, which I am having a theory on this today that the entire reason that we read a book is not purely to get absorbed into a story that somebody else is telling. I think I read a book so that I can be inspired in my own way in my own thoughts to create new opinions and have my values challenged and look at things in a new way, be inspired, be encouraged. There is all these things that happen, but it happens within me versus coming from somewhere else. I don’t know if this is clear, so I will try to explain this in another way. When I pick up a book to read I would have thought previously that I was picking up the book to read because the author had a story to share and I wanted to find out what that was about. I think I am coming to a deeper level of understanding and the reason that I read books is because when they inspire a thought in me and I can take that into a new tangent or a new place of development for myself, that is when it gets really exciting, and then I think when we recommend a book to another person, in some cases we are probably recommending the book based on the author, based on the story they told, based on what they shared, but I think the greater part of that recommendation actually comes from within us. What type of response was this author able to elicit from me that got me so excited to read this book? I know that I have had this relationship happen with books where I have read something and been completely inspired, and I was probably so inspired because I loved the depth of thought that it was able to get me into and the fact that it engaged me and kept me captivated during the whole process of the story.

Sometimes when I have a book that I feel that strongly about and then I go to recommend it to someone else and they start to read it, and then they say, “Really? You liked this book? I’m not finding anything in here that I like.” You know, that can be a little bit disappointing, but now with this new perspective that I have, it would just mean that this book is not the topic, the subject, the style, it is not connecting with the next reader in the way that it connected with me and that is perfectly okay, just like when somebody recommends a book to me that they absolutely loved and have read over and over and over again, and I pick it up and I can’t hardly get through chapter #1, that would mean that it is not time for me to read this book right now. I have had this experience with a couple of books where they have been recommended or I have gotten then, and I have tried to pick them up and read them and I am just stumbling through and I am completely not inspired to keep going, and I put the book down, and then I maybe felt a little guilty that I was not able to read the book or didn’t want to read the book because everybody else loves the book, and then maybe I waited 6 months and picked it up again and it was spot-on, and I thought “Why couldn’t I have seen this last time I was picking this book up?” Well, probably the last time I was picking the book up it just wasn’t my time to be connected with this book, so lets all keep this in mind, those of us that are reading a lot and recommending books to each other and sharing this experience. We have to remember that it is not necessarily about the book but about our relationship with the book and probably the word that I should be using here is the story because it’s not the book, but it is the story contained within those pages and it is the energy signature of the author and the style that they have written that really reaches out to kind of pull us in. So a few of the biographies and autobiographies that I have recently read that have just captured me in that way, I would love to share just a little bit about those.

The book by Opolo Ohno, the speed-skater Olympic medalist that we have probably all seen in the news, I picked his book up, and it is not a book that normally I would have been drawn to or said, you know, “I am looking forward to reading this book,” but I saw the book and I thought it looked interesting. I did a little reading test on it, and sure enough I picked it up. I was able to be interested in what was in the book, and after reading a few pages it seemed like something that I wanted to have. Well, I read the book and was blown away by his story, some of the things that he shared in there, just persevering. He is on stage, and there has just been an accident on the ice and he’s hurt, but you would not know that he is hurt because for the sake of the people that he is competing with, they cannot know that he has had any kind of a challenge, so he just puts his game face on and he works through it and he overcomes some incredible things, mostly in his mind in some of the cases to do what he does, which was just one of the most compelling stories that I have read in that style in a really long time. I absolutely loved the book and as soon as I was done with it, I turned it over to my business partner who read it, and a lot of the characteristics that Opolo Ohno has, I also see in my business partner, and that is probably one of the reasons I connected so much in the book is because I could see real people from in my life in part of Opolo’s story. So absolutely fantastic and the book was well received by my business partner as well, so, you know, definitely a great fit.

A couple of the other books that I have recently read are, and I will read anything from any side of the political spectrum, I am not so much interested in the politics as the people at this point, I read Bristol Palin’s, I read Sarah Palin’s book. I read Larry King’s book, fascinating. I would recommend that if anybody was considering any of those books, I would highly recommend that you take a look at those. I also have read recently Delivering Happiness, the story from Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos that he subsequently sold. I also read George Bush’s book, deicision points, which is absolutely fantastic. I have a bunch of others on my shelf that I have not gotten into yet, and I am just fascinated by the stories of the people. There is a line in one of the books that I have recently read which I will share with you if anybody is curious about which one it actually is, I will find that for you so I can reference it properly, but basically the story says that Bill Gates was speaking and fielded a question and the question was from someone in the audience saying, “So, you’ve reached this level of success and acclaim and you are obviously making a difference and you are making all of this money; what advice would you have for someone who would like to become as successful as you and have the monetary gains that you have experienced, and Bill Gates is reported as saying, “Well, don’t do what I did, because I made all of that money already.”

I think when people, maybe when I have picked up a biography or an autobiography in the past, maybe I was looking for something in that book to show me the way because this is what you have done, maybe I would like to do that too. Show me the step-by-step list of how to get there. I think that the point that Bill Gates is attributed to and making is that we cannot look to those books for the roadmap of the way to do it, but we can look to those books for the inspiration, for finding that drive inside of us, for finding that connection and that reason that we would actually try to do something like this ourselves, and that again was a huge observation and mind-shifting revelation to me, but the reason I am reading these books is not because I would like to become an Olympic speed-skater, it is not because I ever has aspirations of ever running for political office. It is simply because something in their story could resonate with me in a way that would inspire me as I read about challenges, obstacles, successes, you know, massive changes in peoples lives as they become recognized for what they do or as they gain maybe an inner awareness of what it is that they were compelled to do, whatever the case may be there.

So if you have not been reading lately, I would highly, highly recommend it, and if you have not been picking up books that are autobiographical, I absolutely would, and then lets take that a step further. If you have not been telling your story, please do so. My hope in putting together some of these podcast episodes is not that somebody tunes in to listen all about me, but maybe you tune in to listen so that you can hear a little bit from me and in turn be inspired in your own way, just as so many of the people that I come in contact with and that I am reading about in books inspire me.

So that will wrap this one up. Until next time, become inspired and share that because the world really does want to know what you have to say.