Intellectual Exercise Machine


by Dave Miller

  Every two or three weeks we gather around a conference table prepared to stretch our minds. The topic is a book we are reviewing. It amazes me to read a portion of the book thinking it was just an empty passage, something to fill the pages, and one sitting next to me finds value I completely missed.

  It started with two people wanting to expand their minds. We wanted to have a group of 5 or 6 contributors with brain elasticity being a prerequisite. Soon we each added a friend that fit the profile. We just added our sixth member, Steve from Texas, a former Merrill Lynch trader.  

 Our goal is to take a good book or article, dissect it, and make it palatable. After we have chewed on it, it is easier to digest. We try to make the material applicable to our lives.

 The depth of material is not the largest factor by far. It is the debate and intellectual exercise that ensue. It makes us widen our thought processes as we hear and discuss our view points. Many times the writer’s view is scrutinized as we illustrate it with our lives.

 As we gather to discuss the book we also stretch each other in our own lives. It’s not unusual to hash out a new business idea after the book review. Success stories, from previous ideas discussed, come back into the group. We all love hearing and telling them. The camaraderie is building.

There are multiple ways this group is advancing the members.

  • We learn to express our opinions.
  • Our ability to listen to opposing ideas is increased.
  • We learn to think through the topic before mindlessly debating it.
  • It’s an intellectual exercise machine.

 I write this article to encourage you to go out and do something similar. Gather a few friends, colleagues, your peers or mentors, and form a group where you can stretch each other. Book clubs are a great way to accomplish this but there are other good ways also. Accountability groups can serve the same purpose.  Breakfast meeting with a few like-minded people will work.

 Do it your way. But do it nevertheless.

Men ought to know that from the brain, and from the brain only, arise our pleasures, joy, laughter and jests, as well as our sorrows, pains, griefs, and tears. – Hippocrates (about 400 B.C.)

 

 

 

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Published in: on June 24, 2011 at 6:33 am  Comments (1)  
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