In reading Katie Couric's The Best Advice I Ever Got, I got to thinking... is all good advice good advice?
This has probably been the most difficult book review for me to write. Not because I was overly busy (although the World Series was fantastically distracting), or that I didn't enjoy the book that I read.
The difficulty is in having something interesting or witty to say about a book filled with other people's advice. This past month I read Katie Couric's (yes, that Katie Couric) The Best Advice I Ever Got. This is a collection she compiled of letters and emails from celebrities on the best advise they could give someone.
Many share their thoughts on chasing your dream, finding your passion, working hard, etc. All very valuable lessons and certainly good advice. Although I had to wonder how many people are trying to live out their dreams and are failing? With that question in mind, I then had to ask myself "is all good advice really good?"
Since starting my business I have had several people, with the best of intentions, tell me what has worked for them in their businesses or what I should be doing to grow my customer base, and so on. Most of the opinions were solicited and I appreciate the many people that are willing to share their years of experience with me.
The problem? What worked for them might not work for me.
I have found many people looking to expound on what has made them successful without first trying to understand the challenges I am facing, or even what the services are that I offer. I am sure they could give me better advice if they knew exactly what type of advice I needed.
Now, being a consultant means that I am in the "advice giving" business, but I do my best to listen before I speak. I have learned that while people come to me for my expertise, often they are just looking for someone to hear their concerns. Sometimes they have already found the solution to their problem and are just looking for someone to validate their idea.
Even though some of the advice I have received seemed irrelevant at first, after sifting through the "information dump" there have been some nuggets of wisdom. Sometimes the very act of giving the advice was helpful.
I would have to say that not everyone's advice is worth the 2 cents... most of it is worth much, much more.