I love books—for their content and for the conversations that their subject matter, provocative titles, or book covers can generate on an airplane or train.

reading on airplaneI love good conversation and meeting new people.  My family and friends laughingly (and correctly) say that I could chat up a brick wall, an important trait in my profession.

When I began my business development career selling helicopter ambulance programs to hospitals in the mid-1970s, passengers with books on airplanes and trains offered people like me an opening to try and start a conversation. 

Christopher Hitchens’ book, “God Is Not Great” is an example of a quintessential title to ignite an engaging conversation or polite debate. 

Today, you see fewer and fewer people with actual books.  Now, more often than not, the conversation opener (and closer) is not about the title of the book, but, “So, how do you like your iPad?”

Women (and men) reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” are probably thanking Mr. Jobs for that.

© 2012 John Gregory Self