The Best and Worst Advice by Suf Alkhaldi

“I would urge people to foster a love of reading. Start as early as you can and keep on reading.”  This might be the best advice Bill Gates has given so far as quoted in the book ” If I could tell you just one thing” by Richard Reed, 2018.  The power of reading cannot be ignored.  Almost every successful person recommends reading.  Reading can transport you and let you travel the world without any limitations, creating the world of wonder and excitement.  Reading empowers you and helps prevent you from making mistakes.  Reading my first non-fiction book when I was twelve years old literally transformed me.  The enjoyment from reading was phenomenal. After all,  I had a bundle of fun without doing any physical work.  Reading books amazingly took me on a fabulous mental journey although I was physically at my place.  My mind, filled with images gained from the book, created a wonderful mental state.  It created a new and different reality, I thought,  similar to visualizing myself being in an exciting movie.  The fun ran into my mind like a river; I still remember it after all these years.

Way back, my niece asked me this question: why are you different than your brothers and sister and friends?  You grew up in the same environment, and you have the same parents as your siblings, she said. It was not unusual for my niece, who is very observant, to ask me unsettling or thought-provoking questions. I thought long and hard about this question.  I came up with one simple answer: I read more than any of my brothers and friends. I heartily believe that reading creates wisdom, allowing us to take better decisions with better outcomes. The most common denominator of all successful CEOs according to Harvard Business Review is reading. (Please forgive the lack of a reference here.)  

The Power of  Reading

My wife regularly says a great vacation must have a great book.  In fact, a vacation without a great book is not a complete vacation. Recently, I decided to read several books at the same time.  While I am driving to work, I listen to my audio book. While I am at home after dinner, I have a book on the coffee table which I grab while I am sipping on my decaf espresso, assuming I am not talking to my wife.  At bedtime, I grab another book to read for 30 minutes to clear my mind.  Reading before going to bed frees my mind and elevates my mood creating a great nighttime sleep.  If you are not doing this yet, please change your life and start reading.  You will discover a new world which is waiting for you!

My second good piece of advice is “All of it is life, all of it is precious. Don’t waste any of it doing something you don’t want to do. And do all of it with the people you love” by Sir Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Atlantic.  It is a stroke of good fortune if you happen to work in a place where you feel that you among friends.  Many of us work with many people who we don’t choose.  I agree that you should draw a line when you find yourself working with a toxic boss. In this case, you need to move on quickly.  I had this experience before and I always regret that I did not look for another job sooner.

How about the worst piece of advice?  In the same book by Richard Reed, the previous CEO of Pepsi Cola Indra Nooyi gave this advice:  “Don’t take holidays. When you get to my age, you will regret taking them. Give yourself a maximum of a day or a day and a half a year. And use that to read books on your industry. The rest of the time you should just work.”  This advice gained my golden star of the worst advice ever in life.  I don’t know whether Nooyi was serious or not.  Whatever her intentions, this idea made me feel very sad for her and the people around her. Many studies have confirmed that the well-balanced life is the secret to a successful life.  At certain times, we disturb the balance to meet deadlines, but overall we find ourselves going back to try to establish the important and much-needed balance. 

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1 Comment

  1. Kamran October 13, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    This is so true Suf! Reading opens the mind to limitless experiences which results in shifting attitudes and personalities I like to believe! Add a little time off from stress and you have a powerful formula for success! I don’t agree with CEO of PepsiCo.

    Hope you and Sarah is doing great!!!!


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