Business Strategy | Leadership / Management

What are you feeding your brain?

DSC03727 Last week I had the privilege of being invited to attend Ron Baker's Verasage Institute in Napa Valley, Calif.

One of the highlights was a wonderful group dinner at the Pine Ridge Winery hosted by Dan Morris (Verasage founder and Pine Ridge member). There we were, 30 people from three continents representing IT, advertising, CPAs and law, enjoying an amazing dinner featuring, of course, lots of wine.

The food and wine were paired perfectly, and it was the kind of meal where you took time to savor and enjoy every moment -- swirling the wine, smelling the different aromas, and appreciating the care of the chef and winemaker as they presented their craft in a way that you could truly appreciate and enjoy.

But there was another kind of dining happening that evening and, in fact, throughout the weekend -- intellectual dining.

I think it was Dan Morris who used that phrase as the conference opened, but it stuck with me and connected me back to an author, Tim Sanders, in his book, Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends, who also offered up the concept of "dining on knowledge." The idea is that in today's "knowledge economy," intellectual capital matters. Intellectual capital becomes knowledge currency that you can share with others. The best way to acquire knowledge is by reading books and sharing with others -- intellectual dining.

Tim Sanders used the same "dining" metaphor and classified it this way: Books are the full-course meal, magazines are between-meal snacks, and newspapers and websites are the "equivalent of candy and soda: fun to eat, but hardly appropriate to live on."

Which leads to the next question: What are you feeding your brain? Are you eating fast food and empty calories? Or are you taking the time to really nourish your brain by digging into books, sharing the authors' menu of ideas with others, savoring the key ideas and pairing them with other authors and ideas you have come across?

Back to the meal. In true Ron Baker style, we had to "eat" a lot of knowledge before arriving. There were six books that served as the basis for the conference (three were from Verasage fellows):

  1. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
  2. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
  3. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard
  4. Implementing Value Pricing: A Radical Business Model for Professional Firms
  5. Positioning for Professionals: How Professional Knowledge Firms Can Differentiate Their Way to Success
  6. Social Media Strategies for Professionals and Their Firms: The Guide to Establishing Credibility and Accelerating Relationships

Like our wine dinner, intellectual dining is enhanced when you can be in the room with the chef or winemaker, so it adds to the meal to connect with the authors at conferences and even via social media.

The Verasage meeting featured the last three authors (Ron Baker, Tim Williams and Michelle Golden). I have met and heard Dan Heath and Tim Sanders at another of my favorite "intellectual fine dining" events, the (Association) Digital Now Conference. Needless to say, I left the conference quite full and satisfied and continue to savor the meals(s).

Tell me about your most recent or best "intellectual meal" by sharing in the comments below.

We at CPA Success love to read and connect with the authors. Here are a few of our posts about "meals" we have enjoyed: