This morning over breakfast, I skipped the news—how many coronavirus stories can you take, before you go right off the edge?—and read the cereal box instead. 

It happened to be Cheerios, with a reassuring message: apparently, there are worse ways to spend your life than eating vast quantities of Cheerios.

(For Cheerios trivia, please see bottom.)

Still, variety in most things is good.  In the U.S., we’ve known about nutritional variety at least since the 1950s, when the USDA introduced the four food groups.

I loved the four food groups—who didn’t? —even though the basic premise was that it might not be a terrific idea to get all your vitamins and minerals from chocolate.

Well, how varied is your reading diet?  Let’s think about information—food for your brain—in terms of four groups:

  • Email & other fast messages: texts, tweets, fortune cookies, ransom notes.
  • Newspapers, cereal boxes
  • Magazines
  • Books

These groups, of course, aren’t equally nutritious.  Just as the USDA eventually took the four food groups and ranked them in a pyramid, so too we need to prioritize our reading.

The best nutrients are in books. Why don’t we read more of them?  What stops me is the idea that I actually need to read the entire thing. 

Skimming is often more sensible.  You don’t need to read every word in a book, anymore than you need to eat every cheerio in a box.

Tip:  Try reading a book like a newspaper or magazine.  Set a time limit, as if you were in a bookstore with only an hour or two to browse.  Find a few ideas, then move on.

P.S. Spark your team’s brain power: Check out these 10 webinars e.g. Your Point?; Presence; Bulletproof Feedback . . . To arrange a webinar, or get more info, please email or call 508-879-0934.

P.P.S. Book sale ends midnight Thursday (April 30):  The publisher (HarperCollins) has put my latest book, You’ve Got 8 Seconds: Communication Secrets for a Distracted World on sale: $2.99, kindle edition. Also available in print and audio—and webinar!

Named one of the best biz books of the year by an obscure, but obviously brilliant, Canadian newspaper.

“EVERYONE should read this book. It doesn’t matter what your profession is, you will need to convince people that you and/or your ideas are the best path forward. I am a research scientist (MD, PhD) and have presented more than 139 lectures over the past 7 years. Paul’s advice is invaluable. And it’s sprinkled with humor—I laughed out loud at many passages. I LOVE this book, it is my Bible for presentations.” —Nancy Richert, MRI Acquisition and Analysis Expert, NeuroRx

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PAUL HELLMAN consults & speaks internationally on how to make your point—fast, focused, powerful.

© Copyright 2020 Paul Hellman.  All rights reserved.

CHEERIOS TRIVIA:  Ever wonder how many Cheerios are in a box?  I never did, but someone actually counted them: 4,802. And only 40 were broken.