Leadership Blog #68 — Read to Lead

Read to Lead

Warren Buffet reads to lead. Successful leaders are voracious readers. History gives us many examples: Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Oprah Winfrey.

Leadership Blog #68 — Read to Lead — Successful Leaders

According to Tom Corley, successful, wealthier people read more. Here are the insights found in his book “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy People:”

11% of rich people read for entertainment, compared to 79% of poor.

85% of rich people read two or more education, career-related, or self-improvement books per month, compared to 15% of poor.

94% of rich people read news publications including newspapers and blogs, compared to 11% of poor people.

Or how about these studies on reading:

According to a Yale University study, book readers, overall, live an average of nearly two years longer than those who don’t read at all.

Reading works best to reduce stress levels by up to 68 per cent, said cognitive neuropsychologist Dr David Lewis of Sussex University. Better than music (61%) or taking a walk (42%).

Charlie Munger of Bershire Hathaway puts in this way in a speech he gave at USC Law School, “I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines.” In other words they read.

Your daily world is awash in reading material, let alone the visual video bombardment one receives via the internet. What then are some insights, tactics and habits one can learn to sift through and focus on reading what is important for your success? Let’s take a look.

  1. Firstly, be selective what you read. Determine what topics are important and of interest for you, your career, and your personal growth.
  2. Review your reading and energy habits. When do you best read? Where do you like to read? How do you like to read, sitting up, in bed, on the bus? Then cultivate and carve out these reading times and places to read for success or to reduce stress.
  3. Do not move your lips when you read. This slows your reading down and will tire your brain. Your eyes and brain can read at least 4 times as fast as you can talk.
  4. Learn different styles of reading, not just speed reading. I was lucky enough in high school to be taught effective reading strategies such as study reading, skimming, scanning, and critical thought reading. You can learn these by enrolling in a effective reading program such as Evelyn Wood Reading Dynamics or a similar workshop.
  5. Use apps and consolidators to collect, collate the reading you need to read. One of the best topic and news consolidators I found is Flipboard. This app lets me set up topics and Flipboard then brings you daily news and blogs on the topics you choose and the articles you read. For example I receive daily updates on World News, Psychology, Health, Bicycling, Religion, Technology, Great Lakes, as well as New York Times, Huffington Post and the Financial Times. The Economist app gives me daily new headlines and articles.
  6. Start your morning with reading ritual. Spend time at breakfast, in your bedroom, or on public transport reading early in the morning. Practice this Warren Buffet method for success.
  7. Replace some of your Facebook time with reading for success time.
  8. Use airplane time to read. Rather than watch that action movie, read a book.
  9. Get that Kindle or iBooks app on your tablet or cell phone to be able to read any time it is convenient.
  10. Always carry a pen or highlighter to underline or capture key points from your reading of books. For computer reading, I copy and paste key points.
  11. When reading news articles, remember the first 2-3 paragraphs are written to give you the gist of the story. Decide with every news article whether or not to stop after the first few paragraphs, or continue for more detail.
  12. Read to relax. What kind of reading can you do to help with your relaxation and reducing stress? My morning meditation readings do this as well as my Sunday afternoons of devouring the Economist magazine. Take time to read for fun, for your hobbies, or non work areas of interest.
  13. Selectively sign up for blogs and tweets from authors you want to read to be successful. Mine include Harvard Business Review daily email, John C. Maxwell blogs, and tweets from authors I want to learn from.
  14. Read to problem solve. Assuming you have a problem at work, google the problem and read what others around the world have done to give you advice. The key here is learn how to use Google or other search engines effectively to screen out rubbish and get you reading results you want.
  15. Subscribe to a book summary service. This allows you to get the golden nuggets of key business books. These summaries are on line or printed. Many times when you google a book, you will also find scholarly summaries that may save you time and effort from reading whole books.
  16. Do a search of what successful people you admire read and then read the books that helped them get successful.
  17. Then the big one, get your children reading early in life, give them direction on what to read. I learned this from John Maxwell. John remembers it this way:

“When I was growing up, my father paid me an allowance to read books. He picked the books, and we were required to read for 30 minutes a day. My friends, however, were paid to do chores. I went to my dad one day and asked if I could get paid to do my chores as well. He said, “Son, I’m never going to pay you to do chores. You do chores because you’re part of the family. I put my money where my values are and I value good books.”

Start being intentional on what, when, where, and how you read. Start today developing good reading habits that lead you to success. Hey, and don’t forget to teach your kids these habits as well!!

Have a great week reading for better leading.

photo credit via photopin:

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