“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” – Mark Twain
You’ve probably heard the phrase “Readers are leaders.” If you’ve taken the time to do research on the Internet about the habits of leaders, you’ll see that most lists have at least one fact in common: reading. They make time for it in their busy schedules. Why do leaders feel this is so important?
It Serves as a Reminder of Important Concepts
Many leaders will re-read the same article or book multiple times. It’s not because they didn’t understand the concepts the first time. It’s because the concepts are so important to the leader that they want to be reminded of them. Leaders are readers because they want to keep the best business concepts in the forefront of their thoughts.
Presents New and Thoughtful Ideas
Like anyone else, leaders must be exposed to new and thoughtful ideas. The key is to choose books that are insightful. Don’t be afraid to read something “outside the norm.” As an example, a physician who runs a small medical clinic may generally read only medical related journals. However, picking up a journal or a book on business management could give the doctor great insight on how the office could be managed in a more efficient way.
You may not feel as if you’re in tune with a particular book, that happens sometimes. But you may find out in the future that what you read can be used or it may inspire you to develop your own ideas.
Reading Gives Leaders an Advantage
A study performed in US News & World Reports included 1,200 of the world’s wealthiest people. It showed that one commonality was the fact that they read. They didn’t just read for fun. Rather, they all valued reading for knowledge. Mark Cuban reads for almost three hours a day. Why? Because he understands that reading provides knowledge that is accessible to anyone.
Yet, not everyone will take the time to do it. Cuban understands that this creates a distinct advantage for him. He’s not alone. In fact, Warren Buffett is known for his reading habit as well. He’s one of the richest men in the world. Buffett is known for reading between 600 – 1,000 pages each day. Buffett estimates that he spends around 80% of his time reading.
Reading Encourages Better Decision Making
Reading gives us access to experiences that are not our own. It exposes us to how other people approach problems in business and in life. This gives leaders more options to make better decisions. Through reading, leaders are exposed to different perspectives that may encourage them to take a new or different approach to conflicts. It also promotes tolerance of views outside of our own.
Reading is one of the best possible ways to become a better leader. Take some time to find some great books – biographies, best sellers, and stories from people you respect, you won’t regret it.