You have heard me say it before and you will hear me say it again. Leaders are Readers! It is only those that choose to educate themselves beyond the minimum requirements that will excel in their lives beyond their potential. In July of this 2011, we heard from Borders Group Inc., the second largest U.S. bookstore chain, that they would close their doors forever and liquidate after failing to find a buyer for the chain. Some say that bookstores are just a thing of the past and Amazon, tablets, and E-readers are the way of the future. However, there are many more that say people in America have just stopped reading in the digital age. Instead of reading they are watching 24 hour television, or arguing opinions on Facebook, or tweeting about what they had for lunch. To support this hypothesis, check out these statistics compiled by the Jenkins Group
• 42 % of college graduates never read another book after college.
• 80 % of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
• 70 % of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
• 57 % of new books are not read to completion.
If 80% of Americans didn’t even read a book last year then what does that say for the development of leaders in our country. Now to look at that from a different perspective:
• The average millionaire reads 1 to 2 non-fiction books per month.
• The average Fortune 500 CEO reads 4-5 non-fiction books per month.
• The average CEO of a Fortune 500 company will earn an average of 536 times the salary of the average employee of the company he/she runs.
If this is true, then there is a direct correlation between reading and leadership and wealth building. Of course there is value in keeping up to date on current events or getting a snippet of information in a brief article or blog. However, a book gives the reader an opportunity to delve much deeper into a subject which has been thoroughly researched. Also, reading a book often allows the reader to exercise their muscles in reading comprehension and understanding complex details and broadening their attention span. These are valuable skills in developing ones mental faculties, and can often inspire ideas that escape the general public who choose not to read.
Of course many people find it difficult to complete a book. So, here are some tips to help.
• Take time to read for 30 minutes each day.
• If you find yourself falling asleep while reading, place the book/e-reader on a high dresser or other cabinet that requires you to stand while reading. It is much harder to fall asleep while standing.
• Find a time each day where you can really focus on reading, some people use the quiet of the early morning, others look for a quiet place at lunch, etc.
• The average American watches 3-4 hours of television each day, so just take some of that time to read and turn the TV off
• If you spend 15+ minutes in your car each day, this is a perfect opportunity to listen to an audio book. It is a little harder to take notes, but still valuable in the learning process. This is also a great method for those that are auditory learners. You can find many on Amazon and Itunes.
I think Charlie “Tremendous” Jones put it best when he said “You will be the same person in 5 years except for the people you have met and the books you have read”. So, my question to you is: If you plan to be a leader, how many books will you read this month?
As a way to make this blog interactive, reply with your favorite non-fiction book to share with us all.
At your service,
Professional Development Chair