"I seldom read anything that is not of a factual nature because I want to invest my time wisely in the things that will improve my life. Don't misunderstand; there is nothing wrong with reading purely for the joy of it. Novels have their place, but biographies of famous men and women contain information that can change lives."
--- Zig Ziglar
Reading for the sake of entertainment and enjoyment seems like such a past-time thing to do. Just the thought conjures up images of people sitting around a fireplace in overalls with some reading and some listening to The Shadow Knows. We all learned from an early age the value of books, but for some of us, as soon as we got out of school, we stopped reading books, and that is a shame. One of the reasons we've stopped reading is because we are all traveling at the speed of sound; too fast to read much of anything. In fact, for most of us, the only real reading time we have is when we are using the facilities.
But that is why the really good business leaders have to make the time to read something that can help propel them toward success. The really good business leaders rarely read books for entertainment value, but for the learning value. They see books as tools to help them grow their business, be better leaders, and be better people. These leaders are using every free time they have to read. They keep books in their office, in their cars, next to their beds, and in their travel bags. In fact, many of them feel naked without their books-that's how close they are to the power and knowledge their books provide.
"Education begins the gentleman, but reading, good company and reflection must finish him."
--- John Locke
It is said that when we read something, we retain between 15 to 25 percent of the material. Some studies have shown that the more you read, the more you can retain-sometimes up to 80 percent. Those same studies found that we retain more of what we hear than what we read. That is why many great business readers will also listen to audio books in their cars while commuting to work.
"Whether I'm at the office, at home, or on the road, I always have a stack of books I'm looking forward to reading."
-- Bill Gates
Here is a challenge for all of us: Let's make a goal to read one good business book or something in our industry per month. I know that is a big, hairy, audacious goal, but even if we don't reach it, at least we're reading something. The good news is that the effort of trying to reach that goal will make us smarter and better at our business.
"There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."
--- Will Rogers
If life is just too hectic right now to get into reading a book, try listening to one. You can download some really good ones from Audible.com and you can also listen to some great podcasts through your phone to learn some good business tips, ideas, strategies, and more. Also, if you want to save some money buying books, and you don't care if someone else has already read them, visit Abesbooks.com for some great prices. They have thousands of books that you can search by business category.
Remember the old saying, "Great leaders are big readers."
"A capacity, and taste, for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others."
--- Abraham Lincoln