This weekend I ran into an unusual problem – I did not have a single book to read . To the best of my recollection, I have never had this situation in my adult life . Now – the rational thing to do would be to get a book on kindle . But that’s not my thing . I need a physical book – I don’t like to read on kindle .
I don’t even own a kindle . My preferred way of getting a book is to order on amazon prime on my mobile and get it delivered to where ever I am . This way I don’t need to carry more than two books in my bag when I travel . If I particularly like a book – I give my copy as a gift to someone that I think will find it useful , and buy a couple more .
I do miss the experience of walking into the local library, chatting with the librarian , browsing the shelves and driving back with a half dozen books . I might do it today after a few years gap . Amazon with its large collection of books and easy access to reviews have helped me not miss the physical library experience to a large extent – but that strangely has not translated to reading books electronically .
There is a contradiction here that I find weird . I rarely print anything at work to read . I read big documents on my MacBook and redline them as needed . And yet when it comes to books I need to hold it in my hand or else I feel I can’t get past the first page . I have tried and I have failed .
As much as I love reading work related stuff on my laptop – I rarely use my laptop to take notes . I need to write it in my notebook with a pen myself . And consequently I love great pens to write with . Those pens are as expensive today as it was when I entered the workforce – and never once have I thought they are a luxury item . I can’t rationalize an expensive pen that gives me pleasure to write with – because I barely write 5% of all the content I create . Other 95% is electronic – including this blog that I am typing on an iPhone using the WordPress app . I run most of my business from my phone . There is literally no business case for me to justify an expensive pen other than “that’s how I like it” 🙂
Talking about writing – and expensive pens – I have my name engraved in cursive on the pen I use frequently . A young kid recently looked at it and could not make out that it is written in English . I realized – with some shock – that not all schools teach cursive writing now – which of course makes all practical sense . I have horrible hand writing myself – and often write in block letters if someone else needs to read it . But I have always been a big fan of beautiful cursive writing – and I think my dad is one of best in that craft . It is painful to note that cursive writing will become a lost art in my life time .
Times are of course changing fast and ideally we have to change with it . Talking about time – I like the old school watches to put on my wrist every day and not glance at my phone for time , or use a modern electronic one line an Apple Watch that can also tell me that I haven’t walked enough steps today .
The old school watch – as much as I admire the excellent craftsmanship – is not super practical for a guy like me who travels across time zones frequently . I have to check time on my phone when the plane lands to correct my analog watch . Rationally – there is no reason to keep doing this for the millions of air miles I have travelled , but again never once have I felt this was a pain .
In my day job, I am reasonably good at convincing my clients to let go of their past ( that we lovingly refer to as LEGACY ) and move to cutting edge new solutions . A big part of that is building a rational case on why change is good – and try to get their head to over rule their heart . But everyone – literally everyone – has an emotional connection with their past that they won’t let go .
I fondly remember my very first client who let me automate two complex reports – and then looked at them both to manually prepare a third report . Why ? Because – he said with a genuine smile – “That is just how I like it” .
As a consultant, I have learned over my career that my clients all have a unique mix of a genuine fascination for the new and a tendency to hang on to the old – and I can’t push for all the change in one step .The trick is to know how much to push and when to stop and agree this is as far we can go for now .
This is a big reason why transformations are always journeys – and not destinations !