“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” ― Mark Twain
Over the past couple of weeks, I have discussed the topic of reading at length. It has been on my radar so much that I am now seeing and hearing about reading in articles and podcasts I frequent. Reading is perhaps the most important skill you can learn. Being literate will help you learn countless other subjects. If you cannot read, you are at the mercy of others. I wonder why our education system is under attack.
Through a number of posts, I have written about the importance of reading for self-development.
- A look at some high-speed reading lists
- Want to earn more, then read more – 230% more
- Our Founding Fathers Rocked Their Personal Learning Networks
Most of the discussions I have been part of regarding reading lately have been about students not reading. John Warner wrote an interesting article in Inside Higher Ed on the subject. I believe students have not yet grasped the importance of reading. I do have to admit that there was a period of time when I did not do much reading. It was actually the graduate program at the University of Wyoming that rekindled my interest in reading. I have since understood the importance of reading as related to success.
“A readership crisis is really a leadership crisis.” – Michael Hyatt
As Michael Hyatt notes in his article, 5 Ways Reading Makes You a Better Leader, virtually everyone who is a successful leader is also an avid reader. Successful leaders realize that reading provides them with ideas and direction. It also helps them from making unnecessary mistakes.
“If you want to get ahead in business, sit down and pick up a book. Warren Buffett spends 80% of his day reading. Bill Gates reads for an hour each night before going to bed. And Mark Cuban credits part of his success to the fact that he is willing to read more than anyone else.” – Stephanie Vozza
If you are interested in reading more, then Stephanie Vozza provides some suggestions in her article. It is simply a matter of starting. For the success of our communities, we have to reverse the current reading trend. According to a Pew Research report, only 72% of adults have read a book in the last 12 months. This is down from 79% in 2011. Contrast this to successful leaders reading 4-5 books per month.
Many people say they do not have time. Marine Gen. James Mattis summed up the importance of reading as related to his leadership.
“The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men’s experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men.
Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed (successfully or unsuccessfully) before. It doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.”
In a podcast interview, John Lee Dumas discussed the importance of reading with Gene Simmons. Gene indicated it was the most important skill to develop. It was the path to success. He talked about the importance of the Gutenberg Press because it made reading available to the masses. Prior to the press, only the literate and elite could read; it was a way to control the class system. If you want to have an equal footing, you need to read.
Reading is vital to your success and growth. I encourage you to pick up a book today. This is my list for the months ahead.
What are you reading?