I was listening to the car radio the other day and I heard someone say something that I think has some profound truth around it…..
…reading one book on a specific subject elevates you to the top 5% of folks on the planet in terms of your expertise on that subject.
It sounded outlandish to me when he said it. But then I started to think about it. I don’t think this is true on very broad topics like….say, for instance, The Civil War. If I read one book about the Civil War I’m not sure that gets me to the top 5% in the world.
But…but…but…if I read a book about the footwear in the Union Army…(totally made up topic, don’t google it)…I think whatever knowledge I acquire from that book would probably vault me into a much smaller percentage of the total population than even the totally random 5% threshold of expertise mentioned above.
So…in a world in which there is an infinite volume of knowledge available to us through the technology in our pockets….maybe the question we each have to wrestle with is not “should we” become somewhat of an expert on a menu of topics but rather on “which subjects” do we choose to become “5 percenters”.
Almost everyone is going to pick up a book every once in awhile, right? I’m not a big book reader but I’ve read a few and there are themes that can be identified in my chosen topics.
Where are you a five percenter? Goats, turtleneck sweaters, Lebanese board games?
What have you chosen intentionally or unintentionally to focus your attention on….where have YOU developed a degree of expertise?