Living a life through books

Episode 2 – Good to Great: The referencing principle

Hello again and welcome to my second podcast.  In my first introductory podcast, I made mention that I am a pediatric dentist. For today, let’s talk a bit about that and books, of course.  I have my own practice and if I were to be honest, the dentistry is not the challenge. It’s the business aspects, because after all, it’s a dental business!  As time has progressed, I have placed more focus on learning these mystical business practices that in a lot of way elude me.  So, how to get better or learn more about this.  There are a couple of ways.  One, I could attend lectures about practice management or two, I could just read business books.  This podcast is about how both those journeys intersected.

When one attends a lot of the conferences or lectures, you meet people and network.  Invariably, people throw names of books around.  “OH, you should read” this book or that and over time I have written the names of these books down in my iPhone notes. This was before my reading project. I would intend to read these books but never got to them.  Well, in order of how things progressed, last year, I was in a lecture by this motivational speaker.  He had very high energy and got the crowd all riled up and noisy and loud and excited and honestly I had a great time, but in retrospect, there wasn’t much that I learned. OK.  I did learn a few things.  He had a cool example about how a business is like a journey on the bus where the doctor is the driver and how you need the right persons on the right seats. He had some cool dental stories and anecdotes to go with it.  Everything was good.  It was even great.  Well, actually it was Good to Great! Yes, I’m referencing the book by Jim Collins.  So, the lecture was in 2017 and I read Good to Great in 2018.

Remember I wrote notes of the names of the books I should read.  Now that I’m doing the book reading challenge, I decided to go over those notes and decide on my next book.  There were 4 different notes with the name of the same book.  Good to Great.  I got curious.  So, I added it to my book reading goal for this year.  And yes, I finished it, but this is not a review of the book.  We can talk about it, the leadership chapter, especially, but here’s what happened.  I was reading the book and there’s mention about how a company is like driving a bus.  Are the right people on the right seats of the bus?  Whaaaaat?  Where have I heard this before?  Wait a minute!  That was from that dental lecture last year.  And while my brain for 2 clueless seconds wondered how the author stole the idea from the lecturer, my actual brain clicked in and went…. Huuuh The lecturer stole the idea from the book!  O M G. and that wasn’t the kicker.  See, until I read the book, I thought that bus idea belonged to the lecturer.  Now, I know that not only did he take the idea, he didn’t give credit to the idea. Granted the lecturer made the idea into a dental story and gave dental examples that weren’t in the book, but the main idea of the right people on the right seats of the bus came from the book. So, what did I learn from the book. I learned that if you write a great book or a concept, people could lecture on it and pass it off as their own. How many people in that audience had actually read the book?  I don’t know, but later on I’m on this facebook page and the conversation there is about ghost writing.  The story goes as such.  Apparently a ghost writer for a dental speaker was going to start his/her own speaking program based on the content of the book he/she was writing for the speaker. The question came up as to ethics of it. Who’s intellectual content is the book? Yes, the ghost writer is writing the book, but the content and idea came from the speaker.  Made me step back and wonder about people and theft of ideas. After reading Good to Great and realizing that the idea had been taken and used as people’s own, I decided that if I were to write a blog or do a podcast about something, I would try my best to reference the source.  If I couldn’t reference the source, I would at least state that the idea was not my own, like the video I saw about reading 200 books a year.  I couldn’t reference the source, but I could state that it wasn’t my own.

Interesting concept about referencing content.  I was invited to be the guest speaker at a pinning ceremony.  I was the last speaker.  Well, here’s the story.  The first speaker who represented the dental assistant class came up and did her speech. She had a very well written paragraph about the now.  Somewhere I wondered if my speech would be construed as a similar topic because I was going to talk about the now also.  I hadn’t read the book “The Power of now” so I thought that maybe she got her speech concept directly from it.  I have heard a friend tell me about the book and the concept, but without reading it, I couldn’t really reference it, could I?  I sat in my seat wondering if my speech will be good enough.  But then the story gets better.  The hygiene student to represent her class comes up to do her speech and in the middle of her speech she says “Jim Carrey had done this speech and I’m sure you’ll find it just as motivational as I did…” and she continued to read what felt like the exact paragraph the assistant speaker had just read.  WOW, I thought.  This woman had referenced the talk.  The first speaker had not.  She would have gotten away with it had it not been for the second speaker.  And then I thought about the speaker last year.  He would have gotten away with a wow in my mind, had I not read the book.  The question I have is about referencing books you haven’t read.  If I told you about a book and you reference it without actually reading it and taking only my opinion, would it be fair?  You didn’t read it and you’d have to go on my take on it? I think it may be a bit far fetched to reference the book based on what I said to you,  I don’t know.  Just throwing it out there.

About the book Good to Great.  I enjoyed it a lot.  The leadership section on it was phenomenal.  What makes a great leader?  What is the difference between a level 4 and a level 5 leader?  That’s the opening concept in the book.  It’s called Level 5 Leadership.  Then you have the principle of “first who then what”.  This is the bus chapter, as I call it now.  There’s a total of 6 principles.  Some that are definitely worthy of reading again. Towards the end of the book, it got a little tiring.  The last principle called “technology accelerators” dragged on a bit for me.  I was reading to get through it and going through the motions at that point.  Don’t get me wrong.  This is a great book and one that is a great reference for business and motivation. It’s got a lot of information to absorb in the first read through.

Should I read it again? Not just this book.  Any book.  If I read a book again, does it count under the book count for the year?  We’ll save that topic for another podcast, another time.

For now, thank you for listening.  I’m Dr. Shahnaz Ahmed with living a life through books signing off and until next time, Water the seeds within you.  It’s time.

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