Why Consultants Need to Read More

One of my resolutions this year was to read more.

As a child in school I hated reading.

I’d do ANYTHING you can think of to get out of reading a book that was assigned by a teacher.

I didn’t read books in school and I didn’t read them out of school either.

That all changed when I picked up a copy of the Godfather. Next it was Shogun. These were big, fat books. Longer than most novels. But they sucked me in…and I began to read all kinds of books.

I never looked back.

When I was running my business in Japan, reading books in English was such a pleasure. I’d go through a book a week – if not more often.

These were fat books. Longer than most novels. But they sucked me in…and I began to read all kinds of books.

Over the last year as I’ve worked to establish two new businesses I’ve found myself creating less time to pick up books. I still read, just not as often. And not enough.

My resolution changed that.

I decided I’d MAKE more time to read. And that’s what I’ve done.

As I write this I have 8 new books in front of me. From business, marketing and economics, to psychology, creativity, sales and fitness.

What’s amazing about reading is that every time you pick up a book you’ll find yourself thinking of new ideas for your own business and life. You’ll learn new things. Become more knowledgeable. Stimulate your mind. And be exposed to experiences, cultures, ideas and thoughts that you otherwise might never learn about.

The most successful people in the world read. The majority read A LOT. I read somewhere once that most established business people read 1 book a month. That’s 12 per year. I can’t say if that’s an accurate figure or not. But here’s something to think about…

The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them. – Mark Twain

Read that again. It’s quite powerful.

I have been sharing some of the best points, tips and strategies from books I review for publishers. I don’t often see your comments on those posts, but I do hope that you are finding them valuable and helpful.

I’m reviewing another book at this very moment and will share that with you soon.

In the meantime, pick up a book. And if you’re looking for tons of inspiration check out the Masters of Consulting Interviews (for intermediate and advanced consultants).

Learn and grow.

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  • D Grant Smith

    Michael, excellent points. I had the same desire about 5 years ago to start reading after swearing off anything of the sort as a grade-school kid. Now I find myself reading 2-3 books at a time, in different subjects. Usually I’m diving into a business/marketing/leadership book and also digesting some fiction. You’re right, reading broadens the mind and our ability to reason and comprehend, as well as looking at our own circumstances more objectively because objectivity is how stories are told. I’ve read The Godfather, but not Shogun. I’ll have to check that out.

    • Grant any favorite non-fiction books you think others would like?

  • Tamika Raines

    I completely agree, reading is so very important in biz and life!!!

  • Tiwanda Gaines

    Thanks, I needed that. I’m one who don’t like to read, but I really need to start.

    • It may literally change your life Tiwanda. Let us know how it goes and what book you pick up?

  • Ben J. Pritchett

    I’ve been a voracious reader since I was 8 or 9 years old and have a legitimate library in my house … about 1,800 business books (I’ve read at least 1,000 more and have a growing Kindle library now too), 1,000 other mixed books, over 300 binders of training materials, over 1,000 DVDs of courses, over 2,000 audio CDs of training … I love to learn. Guests and clients who visit my home are amazed by two rooms full of this stuff … for me it just goes with the territory. In his Psychology of Achievement program Brian Tracy states that the average American (I doubt it’s much different here in Canada) doesn’t read a non-fiction book from cover to cover after completing their education – that’s absolutely criminal … admittedly, I’m into overkill at 2 books most weeks, but people need to know that their education doesn’t truly end until they’re dead. Happy reading everybody …

    • Ben – that is very impressive! Care to share a few favorites or recent reads you enjoyed?

  • Karun Sharma

    I many times lose focus on completing a book and keep jumping from one to the other. Besides I intend to learn from the book and hence would like to absorb the most relevant for me. I have developed dry eyes and some time take help of audio books. Any idea how can I gain maximum / the best out of book I take up.

  • Wmfungwe

    I know I excell at work because of a passion to read. I learn new things an innovate…

  • Before consulting someone a consultant must have proper knowledge and idea about the business and problems then and then heshe can do something good in favor of client.

  • Michael:

    I’ve always been a voracious reader of fiction–going back to youth. In fact, I find that when I stop reading for any length of time, I find myself becoming inarticulate and groping for words as part of a conversation–and then I start reading again and the stumbles go away.

    One of my “three words” for this year is “contemplate”. As part of that initiative, I’ve put aside a pretty ambitious pile of business books to read (and take notes from!) in addition to fiction for pleasure and reading to my son.

    Too many of us (consultants that is) believe that once we’ve achieved a degree of mastery in our field of endeavour that’s there nothing else to learn. I think that’s wrong and reading is a big part of filling that gap in personal and professional development.

    Lawrence