Where do you find good information?

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We visited this treasure trove recently despite the run down location in central Johannesburg.

I remember when I was young and starting out and needed information that I wasn’t getting from school, family or friends. I had to go dig in the library and ask the librarian for information. Then I stumbled across a tiny bookshop in Fish Hoek where I was able to obtain the information I required at the time. The little bookshop was run by an elderly English gentleman who always wore tweed jacket. He would peer behind his big glasses and try  to handle any queries I had about books and information.

When I was down there earlier in the year, I saw the same book shop is still running but under a new owner. The owners of the bookshop have changed over the years and with jobs being scarce it is now a sought-after business

It’s amazing isn’t it, that before the elderly gentleman started the bookshop in the early 70s, there was no bookshop there. It has remained for over 40 years.

Where do you find information today? Well don’t laugh at bookshops. You might think they’ve gone. But secondhand bookshop are still around. Although in this economy, many of them have gone to the wall, unfortunately.

The small second-hand bookshop can be a treasure trove of information not about the books that are being stocked but the type of interests that people have. You can gain understanding into potential customers in your community, albeit certain sections of the community, by looking at what sort of entertainment they enjoy, what their interests are, what their hobbies are and, as you know, what sort of health and mind books they are reading. The reading habits of your community leave clues about other purchasing decisions they make.

Yet the big source of information these days is the Internet. But you need to watch out because not all the information there is accurate and believable. If you know what you’re looking for and cross reference information, then it is the most valuable source of information today.

If you want really accurate information on a specialised topic, you will need to dig a bit deeper. The best information is often found in books where authors have much experience on the topic. Some of them are good teachers and can relay that information in a useful and sometimes even entertaining way.

But when it comes to business books or books on small businesses, you need to watch out. Make sure you read the biography of the author so that you can see for yourself whether he or she has a proven track record in the field in which he or she is writing about.

The problem is that information and data quickly goes out of date in today’s turbulent, rapidly changing business environment. Some specialists are up-to-date in their field and are often the best source of information. But compared to book prices, if you approach them in person they come at high rates.

If you want information on generating ideas for a new business or existing business, then you may want to take a look at “Breakthrough Ideas”, written by an author who has practiced in the field and has experienced both failures and successes and although the author has attained formal degrees, his main degree has been obtained through the University of Life, the University of Hard Knocks and the University of Screw U where he was tutored by many skilled professors.

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