Tsundoku and professional development

My wife and I are both strong proponents / victims of Tsundoku, the practice of acquiring books, piling them up and maybe, eventually, reading them.

The situation is worst / best immediately after Christmas, as we inevitably give each other books as gifts. I’ve got to the age now where I’m happiest to receive books, socks, whisky, slippers and some more books as presents.

The problem / joy is trebled by the fact that I also own an e-reader and I maintain a list of reservations with my local library. I have two virtual pile of books that are just as big as the physical one.

I can see Mari Kondo frowning now.

“Does this book spark joy?” Virtual Mari yells.

“I have no idea! I haven’t read it yet,” I counter.

However, I feel plenty of joy in the anticipation of reading this books. I won’t love all of them, but there is a lot of potential there. Having a physical pile of books that I’m yet to read gives me a visual reminder of things to look forward to.

I feel exactly the same way about my professional learning and development. I keep a long list of things that I would like to learn more about, but there is little planning beyond that.

The long list is an eclectic mix of things. There isn’t necessarily any coherence to them. I’ve just added things as I find out about them or am reminded about my embarrassing lack of knowledge. They are a mixture of topics in programming, web, business, marketing, psychology and design.

I have no idea whether these things will be useful in combination. Very often they won’t, but sometimes they can be combined in surprising ways. Being unstructured and making unexpected links between things is a great way to fuel interest and excitement.

I find it much more rewarding to follow my interests down a few rabbit holes to find out where they lead than it is to plan and proscribe a long path of development in advance.

What are you excited to learn more about this year?

All the best,

– Jim

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