I was disheartened to see the Harvard Business Review’s article, “For Those Who Want To Lead, Read,” and the declining rates of readership and scholarship in the world. However, I could identify with Petraeus’ intrigue with Doris Kearns Goodwin, the author of Team of Rivals, a biography of Lincoln and his leadership with his presidential rivals. A simply insightful and inspiring book on the magnanimity of Lincoln within the complexity of adversity and relationships.
Readers tend to lead. Lack of readership correlates with declining leadership. Leadership is what gets us through the hard times. It is what creates innovation and moves the world in novel and astounding ways.
Reading is hard work for sure. It requires engagement, thinking and discipline. But, like all hard things, it is a habit. The habit is important to those that realize that they don’t have the answers and need to engage their minds with great literature, ideas and thinking in order to create vision and compel others to follow.
I love reading about great leaders and businesses. Every week, there is some book I am engaged with. It is the fuel for helping me lead in different business ventures and relationships.
While the world is full of noise and speed, reading slows me down to think deeply about the things I care about – leadership, productivity, marketing and strategy. It is essential for growth. It changes me.
I enjoy giving books to friends and business colleagues. My hope is to encourage thoughtful dialogue and introduce people to new concepts. It helps me to grow as a leader to be able to engage in thought with others that also read.
I can’t think of a more important habit than reading to grow as a person. If it’s a difficult habit to develop for you, consider the consequences. Your opportunity to lead is severely limited. You won’t have any ideas or insights worth following.
What is your reading life like?