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Aaron Watson, CEO at PiperCreative, Shares His 'Why' For Reading

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You might know Aaron Watson thanks to the podcast he hosts and produces, Going Deep with Aaron. He’s also an entrepreneur, CEO and Co-Founder of an agency called Piper Creative, where he helps businesses with their branding through podcast and visual media production.

I’ve been listening to Aaron’s podcast for a while now and even reached out to some of his wonderful guests. He started it back in 2015, as a place for big ideas, business strategy, and honest conversations. His episodes are meaningful, deep conversations with entrepreneurs, writers, coaches and innovators who talk about their passions, fears and problems they face.

Aaron also hosts Going Deep Summit, a conference held once a year, where people from all walks of life mix it up – the next one will be on March 23rd, 2019.

He was a two-time national champion with the University of Pittsburgh’s ultimate frisbee team and captained the Pittsburgh Thunderbirds in 2015 and 2016.

When he’s not working or producing podcasts, he’s reading books and training. He frequently updates his Now page (inspired by Derek Sivers).

Discover the books that impressed Aaron the most and which company he thinks will soon take over the world. 🙂

Estimated reading time for this interview is 5 minutes. If you'd rather listen to it, you can do it on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher.

What’s your favorite book and why? Business and non-business, if possible.

Antifragile by Nassim Taleb. There are so many foundational ideas and mental models in that book. I’ve never come across someone who read the whole book and argues that he’s not right about a lot of things.

The Triad (Fragile, Robust, Antifragile), Naive Intervention and Iatrogenics, The Barbell Strategy, Optionality, and the Lindy Effect. I could go on, but you get the idea.

Was there a moment, specifically, when something you read in a book helped you? Can you tell me about it?

I was not particularly conformist as a teenager (and beyond). The Gospel According to Larry by Janet Tashjian played a large role in helping me understand how to get comfortable being different.

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What books had the biggest impact on you? (perhaps changed the way you see things, dramatically changed your career path)

Antifragile. Are questions #1 and #3 usually different?

What books would you recommend to youngsters interested in your professional path?

I’m interested in finding out more about your reading habits. How often do you read? In what format?

I hate ebooks. I love the physical book in my hands. It’s just better. When I’m reading on a screen, it’s too easy to get distracted.

How do you make time for reading?

Show up early to every meeting. Read books instead of Twitter. Try to read before bed.

Do you take notes or have any other technique for conquering the torrent of information?

I make a new book recommendation every month and collect everything I’ve read for an end-of-year summary.

How do you choose what books to read next?

Look at my pile of books and pick the one(s) that calls to me. You have to be excited to read the content. Without a why, I’ve got no shot of really focusing.

Do you prioritize the books recommended by certain people? Is there anyone that you consider a book-recommendations guru?

Zak Slayback reads good stuff. So does Mike Dariano. However, the real answer is usually pattern recognition.

I follow so many people who read and mention books they like that it’s hard to process all the recommendations. When 3-4 people all mention the same book, that’s usually a good clue to add it to my list of things to read. That list has 200+ titles and growing.

Last question: what book are you currently reading and what are you expecting to gain from it?

The Everything Store by Brad Stone

Amazon is going to rule the world unless governments decide to break them up. It just makes sense to understand the most powerful company on the planet. Also, there is a (small) chance that Amazon sets up HQ2 in my hometown (Pittsburgh).

Links where you can follow Aaron Watson or find out more about his projects:

All books mentioned by Aaron in this interview:

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