By: Mr. Wade
Being well read and being able to draw from that knowledge in conversation can elevate you in other people's minds, and they will see you as being more attractive - not just romantically. Building a huge knowledge base of ideas gained from books gives you things to talk about and insert into conversations that can make a profound impact on the way others perceive you. If you learn how to do this well, you can easily become the most interesting person in the room. I'll talk about three general topics that are most helpful when building your knowledge base; these topics are widely discussed, and unless you've been living under a rock, you've already been in such a conversation more than once.
#1 Tech & Business
I could count ten people right now who have app ideas, and those are really business ideas because tech is business. It's likely one of your friends has an app idea, so if you're going to talk about tech, you need to know something about it. So here are a few topics in the tech world you'll need to know about: API (application programming interface), Web Application, SAAS (software as a service), B2B Model (business to business), B2C Model (business to consumer), the difference between phone apps and websites, and you'll need to know a bit about the different programming languages that are out there. Without space to talk about all these in this post, you'll have to research on your own, and with a general overview, you'll be well on your way to having an intelligent conversation with a tech startup entrepreneur.
Not surprisingly, there are lots of books on tech and tech startups, and the title below is a good place to start. Some organizations use it to coach first-time entrepreneurs who have a great idea. By reading it, you'll be able to contribute valuable insight to a conversation with anyone who has an app idea. And They'll probably think you're a genius.
2# Controversial Topics & Religion
Whether you like to talk about religion or not (you've probably been forced to at some point), knowing about the ideas that are afoot in certain circles allows you to present insightful viewpoints in conversation. For example, many people think that Christians are closed-minded, homophobic bigots from the South that tote Bibles around without really being able to rationally discuss anything they contain. When you're in a conversation about religion, be able to ask intelligent questions and have a response to those questions yourself. Here are a few good questions to ponder. Do you know the difference between Mormonism and Christianity? Why does the Christian message fall apart without the doctrine of the Trinity? What does the story of the forbidden fruit have to do with me? Why is it short-sighted to define sin as just bad things people do? Why did Israel (and the world) need a divine King to appear?
People love to talk about religion and by asking a few good questions and having an answer for them yourself, your conversation with reach a new level. The book below takes concepts in Christianity and looks at them from a different lens. By reading it, you'll be able to insert ideas and viewpoints into your conversation that most people have never thought about.
#3 Historical People & Stories
It's good practice to bring up events from history to reinforce the points you are making in conversation. Here's a true story. I met a girl in a bar one time, and we began to talk. Soon the conversation turned to dating and careers, then somehow settled on her boyfriend. Now her boyfriend had just become a "professional" golfer, and she informed me that she had given him six months - be successful or I'm gone. I laughed and told her she should read the story of the man who created the Mars candy company? (His first wife left him because he wasn't making any money in the candy business; he remarried and became one of the wealthiest men in the world at the time. His first wife had no faith in him, and she lost out big - moral of the story.) To my complete astonishment, the girl in the bar already knew the story. Using the example from history as I did was so much better than just calling her shallow - I probably would have been slapped.
Biographies are great for building a knowledge base of events/life lessons that have happened to historical, well known figures. Unbroken is one such book that can give you lots to think about, and it has a lot to say about life's struggles.
It's good not to share too much - don't go off on tangents. Contribute from your knowledge base only what's needed to better the conversation. Otherwise, it will appear that you are insecure and attempting to manipulate the conversation to make yourself look good. You don't want to appear that you need to make yourself look good. Make sure to follow the tips above, don't revert to harping on yourself/your accomplishments, and you'll do great!