Reading Your Way to the Top

The day I picked up my first book my life changed for the better.

Growing up my whole life was about sports. I played baseball, soccer, rugby, track and field and a bit of basketball. Books? No thank you.

They were my enemy. I’d do whatever I could to get out of reading books in school.

Early Days
Anytime we were assigned a book to read, I’d dash off to the library and find a Coles Notes or some other book that summarized what I was supposed to read.

And that was being ambitious. I’d often rely on friends to ‘tell’ me what the book was all about.

The first books I really dug into were fiction. The Godfather, Shogun, Siddartha, The Alchemist…and others like that.

The First Chapter
But the day I picked up my first non-fiction business book something snapped. In a matter of a few hours or days I could soak up immense knowledge from others.

Where else can you pay $20-$50 or so and learn in a few days what it has taken the author years to learn? Where else can you spend less than $100 or so to access the findings from research and tests that cost hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars?

I can’t think of any truly successful entrepreneur that I’ve met that is not a book lover and a consumer of vast amounts of information.

Sharpen Your Sword
Information becomes your sword in the battle of business. The more you read and learn the sharper your sword gets and the more moves you pick up…making you stronger and putting you farther along the path in your journey to achieving complete success.

How often should you read?

Everyone is different.

We all have different goals, situations and schedules.

What I can tell you is that I have a busy schedule. Every day is packed full. But I still make time to read each day. Some days for an hour, some days less. And some days I can’t squeeze in the time.

But every time I read, I learn. I become more motivated, inspired and ready to take on the next day and make my businesses more successful.

How has reading impacted your life?

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  • You’re so right Michael.

    When I did a series of interviews recently on Authority Marketing with leading consultants and experts who’d established themselves as authorities in their fields one of the common factors was that they were all incrdibly well read and knowledgeable in their specialist areas.

    They had a neverending quest for knowledge. Despite being experts, they were still students too.

    Yet so many consultants “don’t have time” for reading. Or just keep up at a suface level by scanning blogs and magazines.

    Ian

    • Ian – thanks for the comment! That’s exactly it. People think experts don’t need to read because they are already experts, but in fact the way they stay experts and continue to grow is by continuing to study and read.

  • Anonymous

    Reading is a powerful habit. It is the best habit I picked from my brothers.
    Reading took me out of the slums of Ghana to where I am today. The Director and founder of a UK based coaching and accounting practice that serves people from all around the world – Helping them to increase their revenues and profits. I am amazed by some of the countries that visit my blog http://www.awovi.com. But there is still MORE to learn – so reading, listentining to talking books and mp3s are the only way forward for me. It is a life long journey. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I believe that the best knowledge in this world is hidden in a book.

  • Great post!! I think that not only reading, but analyzing and applying is important, too. Certain books I can breeze through and feel like I got nothing from them, but the more time I take with them, the more notes and thoughts I have, and the more I discuss them with others, the better my reading time was spent. So, as with anything, you get what you put into it.

    • Jessica – I agree. It’s often a good idea to keep a piece/pad of paper and pen around anytime you’re reading so that you can make notes as you learn something you or as you read and think of a new idea for your own business or life.

  • I have trouble with “business” books that are intended to educate the general consumer. These tend to be big sellers and are therefore the most visible and widely discussed. However, they often seem lightweight. For example, I found “The World is Flat” a useful reminder of topics I take for granted every day, but not really educational. In contrast, “Negotiating with Giants”, while still widely sold, has much more substance that I could put to practical use.

    At one time I had put together a store on Amazon that listed books on consulting. You can see it at http://astore.amazon.com/theconsbenc-20?node=1&page=1 Some of these may be of interest to some of your readers who are developing their consulting businesses — although I cannot vouch for their quality. It would be interesting to build a similar list of books that you and your readers find to be substantive, particularly those that are on client industries rather than the practice of consulting.

  • Manju

    I find business reading very interesting and have been benefited in my contracts. I am a voracious reader. But one thing I have not been able to do to sit and write articles myself. I feel anything I want to write has already been written and is too obvious. Probably, taking cue from your suggestion above, should start making notes as I read and add my flavor to it. Thanks for all the wonderful writeups!

  • EmeraldT

    Hi , I must agree when I read I feel empowered, and focused.

  • Marie

    So true! I have been a reader for as long as I can recall..well, for as long as I now reading. And I’ve always learned in the books, even in fiction books I read. They give you new insights, they lead you to another discovery, author, world, technics, whatever.. I hardly spend a day without reading, a leverage one hour per day. I could almost say I ‘m addicted to the printed page. But that’s what culture is all about, sharing informations, understanding better the world around, (and in some instances the inside world).