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Submitted by mahin on


Good evening,

I have listened to the 'self development' podcast a few times; it provides a good kick start sometimes when I may get into a rut with reading. 

As a young engineer four years out of college, I have a question regarding some of the recommendations and how they would apply to me.  The cast recommends The Wall Street Journal, FORTUNE and the local paper as minimum reading.  I got the impression that this recommendation was mainly for managers but if can be applied across the board let me know.  How should I as a young individual contributor approach such publications?  


jhack's picture

It's common for individual contributors to wonder why management does what it does. (and all too common for this to manifest as complaints about clueless leadership).

Knowing your industry and the competitive pressures facing your firm will allow you to put your firm's decisions into context. When budgets for a pet project are cut, you'll be the one who sees the big picture. Maybe you'll be the one to cut off the complainers by explaining the decision.

If you aspire to leadership, in any form, you must have context.

Finally, breadth of knowledge allows you to connect with colleagues outside your specialty. Want your to new product to be sold? Have a good relationship with Sales and Marketing. Finding common ground and building trust with others includes "small talk" about your industry, your town, and current events.

You judgment will be more easily trusted if you are not parochial.


John Hack