Leaders are readers. How much do you read?
I didn’t always read much. In fact, before I was midway through my undergraduate years of college, I had little interest in reading. I’m not sure what the trigger was then (maybe is was the Great Books Seminar I took; maybe it was reading Siddhartha by Herman Hesse), but that was 25 years ago.
Six years ago I made it a goal to develop a reading program for myself. That is one of several goals I have made that profoundly changed my life. Over the course of about one more year after that commitment, I progressed from reading one book a month to reading four books each month on average.
Now I read voraciously. I also drive about 40,000-50,000 miles each year behind the wheel of my Volvo XC. The amount of time that takes is easily equivalent to a semester of university work. Of course, that equivalency depends on what else I am doing while driving and, no, I do not mean talking on my cell phone. I read. Or rather I listen to as many or more books while driving as I do reading in my home or office. I don’t really keep count, but I know I read more than 50 books each year.
I started out with cassettes and CDs rented from Cracker Barrel or loaned from the public library. For a variety of reasons, I found that both inconvenient at times, it limited my choices, and was sometimes just down right aggravating to find my place after stopping the car. Now I use Audible.com and buy an annual membership, which gives me about the best price anywhere for books, especially audio-books.
I generally am reading about three different books at any given time, sometimes more, but these categories vary from time to time. I typically will be reading a business, personal or professional development book; a novel (I particularly like legal and spy thrillers); and a non-fiction Christian authored book of some kind with my devotional “Band of Brothers” that meets weekly at Panera Bread. You can view what I am reading, what I have read recently, and what I plan to read by visiting my bookshelf at Shelfari.com. This is also a great source to discover books from other readers that you might want to read, and to keep track of what you are reading on your own bookshelf. (If you sign up for Shelfare – it’s free – make sure you invite me to be your friend.)
Another way to expand the amount and range of your reading is to subcribe to an executive book review program, for example, Audio-Tech Summaries, Sound View Book Summaries, and my personal favorite Execubooks. Audio-Tech Summaries, in particular, offers book summaries of best-sellers on CD as well as in print.
Maybe you don’t like to read. Maybe you don’t read as much as you would like. Maybe you have more time to read than you realized! Maybe this year you will turn your car into a university and read, that is listen, to anything from the Great Books to the most current best-sellers. You’ll love it.
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