Despite feeling time-starved, the average American still consumes 10 hours and 24 minutes of information daily.
So who has time to read non-work related content?
Yet research shows reading offers 5 health-related benefits:
- Allows your mind to process work and other problems.
- Reduces stress and helps you to relax.
- Supports improved writing and other forms of creativity.
- Improves your ability to socialize.
- Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
In honor of the Valentine’s Week spirit I’m giving 3 of my favorite non-marketing books some editorial love. I selected these 3 books because they help you with your marketing and personal challenges.
3 Non-Marketing Books For Marketers That Will Make You Happier
1. Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Before Cal Newport introduced the notion of Deep Work, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi developed his theory of Flow, a creative moment when the individual is completely involved in activity for its own sake. Further, Csikszentmihalyi cites creativity as a central source of meaning in life.
When experiencing flow, you can: 1
- Concentrate with intense focus on your present situation.
- Cause your actions and awareness to merge.
- Lose your reflective self-consciousness.
- Feel a sense of personal control over your situation.
- Produce an altered sense of time.
- Perceive your activity to be intrinsically rewarding.
Additionally your state of flow allow you to: 2
- Receive immediate feedback.
- Feel able to succeed.
- Become so absorbed in the experience that other needs don’t matter.
While these 9 elements may appear to be independent, they only constitute flow when they’re experienced together to create states of flow experience.
Why Flow is important for marketers:
- Makes the case for assigning employees work that enables them to reach flow. As a result the individual gets satisfaction from deep work. So they don’t need other forms of recognition.
- Provides proof of innate creativity. Further, flow offers satisfaction beyond salary and other recognition.
- Supports remote work since employees need time for deep work without distraction.
- Deep Work by Cal Newport. Newport provides insights to help you apply these lessons to your personal work and passions.
2. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Written in 1991, Julia Cameron provides an easy-to-follow approach to nurture your inner creative despite missteps and naysayers.
For me. one of the biggest gifts from Cameron’s book is her prescription for “Morning Pages”. Beyond forcing me to write daily, it clears my mind and stops my inner voice from distracting me. Here are my 5 tips to improve your writing!
Also, Cameron recommends the Artist’s Date, a weekly solo appointment. Designed to ignite your creativity, it consists of play and fun activities.
Like many writers and artists, Cameron believes in the power of walking in nature. Since these walks allow your brain to work on creative problems without thinking about them.
According to Kenneth Graham:
“Nature’s particular gift to the walker, through the semi-mechanical act of walking — a gift no other form of exercise seems to transmit in the same high degree — is to set the mind jogging, to make it garrulous, exalted, a little mad maybe — certainly creative and suprasensitive,”
More importantly The Artist’s Way helps knowledge workers and gig-oriented freelancers to gain satisfaction from the process of creating their work.
This approach is more important than many of us appreciate since it forces us to look beyond the end work product and fees.
Why The Artist’s Way is important for marketers:
- Gets you get in touch with your inner creative. To do this, Cameron’s exercises and advice guide you. When I studied poetry with John Yau his assignments pushed us to be creative by using newspapers and paintings.
- Enables you to silence your inner critic. In my experience, every writer and content creator needs this support. Here’s advice to overcome your inner critic.
- Growing Gills by Jessica Abel. Helps overcoming creative obstacles by guiding you to actually do your creative work. (Hat tip to Michele Linn who recommended reading Jessica Abel.)
- The Creative Curve by Allen Gannett. Helps you to develop creative breakthroughs based on research. (Read AMG’s interview with Allen Gannett.)
3. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo
At a friend’s suggestion, I read the book before helping my mother to go through her stuff. Kondo’s idea of joy simplified letting go of items that had outlived their useful life.Marie Kondo’s approach to organization has inspired Americans and others to dive in and organize their homes and offices.
But Kondo’s one-size-fits-all solution isn’t always the answer!
In my experience this works best with older stuff that continues to stay in your home and office as well as things and papers cause you pain.
Because once you get to books, creative work, photographs, computer files and related materials, the question of joy isn’t sufficient to make clear decisions.
As usual, Ann Handley describes Marie Kondo’s process well:
“We all have messy baggage that needs tidying up. Sometimes that mess is actual (sayonara, 2010’s wedge sneakers!) and sometimes it’s emotional or intellectual or imaginary or completely contrived and we just need to let that sh*t go.”
Even better for the writers among you, Handley has applied Kondo’s approach to writing.
Further, research revealed that a disorganized work environments reduces performance. As a result, people struggled more and then gave up! (Hat tip to Allen Gannett for sourcing this research.)
Why The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is important for marketers:
- Organize your workspace to improve your output.
- Apply Marie Kondo’s approach to improve your writing and organize other marketing activities.
- Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport. Newport stands out in a digitally connected world because he doesn’t have a smartphone. He provides a methodology for using digital devices and tools with intent.
Non-Marketing Books For Marketers That Will Make You Happier Conclusion
Don’t let your feeling of not having time to read keep you from enriching your life. Instead remove your roadblocks to reading.
Install the Kindle or other reading app on your smartphone, iPad or other device. Or let your smart speakers read to you!
Alternatively get an Audible subscription so you can listen to the author or an actor read you the book. (Note: This approach has different health benefits from the physical act of reading.)
Or go interactive with the New York Public Library’s Insta-Novels on Instagam.(Here’s help reading an insta-novel.)
Once you have a book in a physical or digital format, you’ll find that you’re reading more than you expected.
Go on—reading will help improve your marketing, writing and your life.
What other non-marketing books do you find useful and why?
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1] ((20 December 2001). “Flow Theory and Research” and C.R. Snyder Erik Wright and Shane J. Lopez’s Handbook of Positive Psychology. Oxford University Press. pp. 195–206 ISBN 978-0-19-803094-2.)
2] Cherry, Kendra. “What is Flow?“. About Education.
Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/photos/hPKTYwJ4FUo CC zero via @sevenshooter