I was challenged by a Seminary professor in 1981 to commit myself to being a lifelong reader. He told us to develop a life long passion for reading. Somehow his message got through to me, and right there I committed to reading everyday for the rest of my life. Every years since 1982 I have read at least 100 books a year. The reading of a certain amount of books is not the point. The point is committed, consistent and continuous reading is the key. It has helped me in numerous ways. Another caution I would give is that do not stick with a book if it is not good and do not feel guilty by moving on to another book. Good books and okay books are the enemy of great books. It is not a contest, it is a part of your personal development. So do not feel that you have to read every book cover to cover. Here are the reasons I believe that all leaders should read:
1 It will assist you to be a better thinker. Thinking skills are critical for the leader. Reading helps you to see all sides of an argument and allows you to discover new ideas and ways of doing things.
2 Through reading I am constantly presented with new ideas. All of us can become stale and get set in our ways. The constant exposure to new concepts and ideas while reading is a helpful to keep new ideas in the forefront.
3 Reading will expand your horizon. I will fall into old patterns and ways of thinking and living without the constant nudge from things that I am reading. The things in your life will not change until your perspective changes!
4 Reading is like getting a head start. I start reading early in the morning. This one thing gives me a head start on my day. There is something powerful about filling your mind with ideas and concepts first thing in the morning. Oftentimes something I read a few weeks ago will keep turning over in my mind and before i realize it, it has developed into an answer for a problem that I have been working on for some time.
6 Reading encourages good decision making. One neglected factor in good decision making is finding models and resources to assist us with the task. I have read of the experiences and examples of others and often I have picked up on a technique that has helped me make a better decision. It all comes down to constant learning.
7 Reading makes you a better conversationalist. This is contrary to what most people think about reading. Many believe that those who read a lot are dull, quiet loners who are more comfortable with a book than they are conversing with people. Reading makes you more interesting. It is amazing that during a conversation with someone, a quote or a story that I have recently read pops into my mind and I share it with the person I am talking to and it helps to keep the conversation going. You will have something to say if you spend time reading.
8 Reading can assist you in honing your people skills. This seems counterintuitive. Common sense would lead us to believe that people skills are developed by being around people, and that is certainly true, but through reading I have found conversations and examples that have helped me with various relationships. There are so many subjects to read, but do not neglect reading in areas that will assist you at work, home and life in general.
9 Reading challenges you. It challenges you to expand your mind, and to be open and willing to change. Reading reminds me I do not know everything and I should be continually learning and growing.
10 Reading keeps you relevant. It is impossible to stay current on everything, but reading is an indispensable tool that assists in learning and finding out new information and concepts.
I highly recommend the reading habit. I would love to hear your ideas regarding your reading.