Leaders are Readers
By Michael Angier
"Reading can be a powerful catalyst for thinking; it has the
potential for stimulating wisdom."
A long while ago, I heard someone say: "leaders are readers." It
made a big impression on me and I never forgot it. I don't know who coined the
phrase, but I must have reiterated it to my kids hundreds of times. They would
usually groan and roll their eyes. I doubted that they really got it.
But a few years ago, my son, serving in the military, shared with me the long
list of books he was planning to read on his upcoming deployment to the Far East
and Africa. He told me he was on a "life-long quest for knowledge." He
said, "Dad, I remember what you used to say, 'leaders are readers'." I
just stood there beaming. They really had heard me after all. Thankfully, all of
my children are avid readers. I hope that my own example of reading constantly
and my lessons on how "leaders are readers" made a difference.
Of course, it doesn't follow that all readers are leaders, but I think
we can safely say with little exception, all leaders are readers. If
that's true, then why don't more people read?
I've learned that only ten percent of the people who begin reading a
non-fiction book ever get beyond the first chapter. It's been shown that
people's earnings are in direct proportion to their vocabularies. That is, those
who have larger vocabularies have greater responsibility and earn the most
money-with very few exceptions. I know for sure that most people want to earn
more money, so why is it that they don't study more?
In 1987, I was selling advertising for a business magazine I published and
the upcoming issue focused on education (mostly adult education). I called on a
local businessman and told him about the issue's focus, hoping to interest him
in its wide appeal and convince him it was a good investment of his advertising
dollars. He told me that he had already graduated from school, his education was
over and that he had no interest in education whatsoever. I was dumbfounded. I
think I could have comprehended someone thinking that-but actually admit it? A
better salesman might have tried a different tack, but I was so flabbergasted I
just folded up my things and left, shaking my head. Unfortunately, that attitude
is far more common than I realized.
I read recently that less than four percent of the American people own a
library card. Can you imagine? We have the best free libraries in the
world-thanks to Ben Franklin, who started them and the many others who have
contributed money to them. Walk into any library and you will see. They are
Abraham Lincoln used to walk miles to borrow and return books. He read them
by candlelight after working long, hard days. Do you think his reverence and
devotion to books made a difference in his ability as a leader of our troubled
nation? I do.
The good news is that people are reading more than they used to. Just look at
the bookstores and the vast number of books that are displayed on their shelves.
Somebody's buying them! This encourages me. However, it's not enough.
I cannot go into a bookstore without buying a book. My personal library is my
most valued material possession and I take pride in adding to it regularly. I
have over 500 non-fiction books. I've even read most of them. This should be
true for any serious student of success.
If you are committed to be all that you are capable of being, I implore you
to become a voracious reader. A book a month will keep you even. A book a year
and you're falling behind. It takes effort, but it's worth it. If you like to
read … great … go for it. If you don't like reading … great … go for it.
It's just something that you have to do.
If you develop the habit of reading something every day, you will start to
enjoy it. You'll look forward to it, your thinking will sharpen, your vocabulary
will increase, and you will become a more interesting person.
Remember, leaders are readers.
© Copyright 1995-2001 Success Networks International.
Success Net is a worldwide association committed to helping people become
more knowledgeable, productive and effective. Their mission is to inform,
inspire and empower people to be their best-personally and professionally.
Free subscriptions, memberships, books and SuccessMark™ Cards available
|An error occurred on the server when processing the URL. Please contact the system administrator. If you are the system administrator please click here to find out more about this error.|