Tag Archives: Personal development

Put Down the Non-Fiction and Walk Away Slowly

I read a lot of non-fiction. I’ve written about some of the books I’ve read on here (Good to Great, The Art of War, The Art of War (again), etc.), but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Most of the articles I share on Facebook (about 5 per day) comes from something I’d read in the past month. I believe it’s important to continually refresh ourselves (through learning). I do that by reading as much as I can — non-fiction.

About 2 years ago, when I decided to go to business school, I read everything about business that I could get my hands on. I read the Heaths, Collins, Christensen, Pink, Godin, and many others. In amongst that reading, I continually came across a piece of wisdom — read fiction. At first, I was a little shocked by it. Read fiction!? And then, I started to understand a little bit more about what the reasons for reading fiction.


Empathy is at the heart of the beginning of the solution to many of the world’s problems. When we empathize, we are able to recognize the emotions that another is feeling. At the root of compassion is empathy. [Note: sympathy is quite different from empathy. Sympathy is simply a concern for another’s well-being, where empathy usually refers to one sharing the same emotional state.] So, now that I’ve explained empathy, I need to tie it back into reading fiction.

Reading fiction ‘improves empathy’, study finds — Sept. 2011 — The Guardian

Reading boosts empathy — May 2012 — The Globe and Mail

Fiction is an exercise in empathy — June 2012 — New York Times

Dots connected?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to continue to read non-fiction — and lots of it. Though, I may start to whittle down the number of non-fiction books I read. I’ve just finished Dan Pink’s most recent To Sell Is Human, and I still want to get through Chrystia Freeland’s Plutocrats. Once I do that, I plan to make the switch and start reading more fiction. Will you join me?

Your Goals may be SMART, but are they PURE and CLEAR, too?

If you’ve ever been to some sort of personal development seminar (or any seminar where action is called for), there’s a good chance that you’ve heard of SMART goals. That is, “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound.” However, have you heard of the less often mentioned PURE and CLEAR acronyms that seem to go hand-in-hand? Maybe it’s part of the “advanced” seminar course [tongue-in-cheek].

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to be at a Barnes & Noble. As I was walking through the store, there was a book about decision-making that drew my attention (I’ll have more about this book in future posts). As I thumbed through the book, there were many familiar models/theories (SWOT analysis, etc.) and one of those was SMART goals. However, as my eyes glanced over the section on SMART goals, I noticed that there were two other acronyms: PURE and CLEAR. Intriguing.

I bet your wondering what the acronyms PURE and CLEAR represent? At the time, I certainly was. Without further adieu:

PPositively Stated







EEnvironmentally Sound



Now, one could argue that some of these overlap (ethical and legal or environmentally sound and ethical), but there certainly seems to be value-added in these two additional acronyms. Though, I don’t know how much incremental value is added. If you’re someone who’s never heard of SMART goals, I would certainly stick to that model to start with. However, if you’ve heard of SMART goals (and have used this method!), then I would think about adding PURE and CLEAR to your method of goal-setting.

[Note: I couldn’t find a Wiki article on PURE and CLEAR, but I did find two resources that may prove to be useful. This first one appears to be a PPT slide in the form of a PDF with all the acronyms (including SMART). The second one appears to be a blog post from someone detailing what is meant by the acronyms for PURE and CLEAR.]