‘The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them’ – attributed to Mark Twain (1835-1910) and whilst the good books of his era are considerably removed from the good books of today, the maxim is just as relevant.
According to Brian Tracy:
“If you read only one book per month that will put you into the top 1% of income earners in our society. But if you read one book per week, 50 books per year, that will make you one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field. Regular reading will transform your life completely” He goes on to show that if you read new material in your field for about one hour a day, in as little as 7 years you will become an international expert in that field. No diploma, degree or master’s thesis required, just reading!
Now there’s a success habit you should form!
The reason this is so, may surprise you – according to a 2015 survey, over 27% of us did not read a single book in the last year and the trend is increasing with 2013’s survey showing 25%. When you break this down to gender, men account for 31% of non-readers and women 19%. The really amazing thing here is that this survey includes fiction and non-fiction. If you take into consideration that 54% of all books read were fiction, only half of the readership is valid.
Therefore only 1 in 3 of us read a factual book last year. The research also shows that higher reading levels correspond with higher income levels which could mean that reading more leads to earning more, or possibly that earning more leads to reading more. Either way, there is a compelling argument to read more books.
Content however, is not the only reason to read good books.
- You will, of course learn a great deal about a great many things when you read factual books consistently but the simple habit of reading will open your mind to new concepts and allow your learning to develop far beyond what you thought possible.
- Expanding what you know also expands your knowledge of what you don’t know! This can create an ongoing desire to learn more, which keeps your brain active and healthy.
- Feeding your intellect with new information gives you insights that increases your awareness until you reach the limits of knowledge in any particular field direction. Your understanding of your chosen field expands and the interconnectedness of all things becomes more apparent.
- Your ability to think and solve problems increases in both speed and effectiveness as you build a vast store of information upon which your mind can draw.
- As if you need more reason to read, there is also the increased self-esteem that comes from knowing about things in detail.
- You develop the higher level of confidence that comes from knowledge and understanding of facts. Simply knowing that 2 out of every 3 of us don’t read puts you at a distinct advantage in most situations.
Most people today read and make opinions from headlines or 30 second news grabs without even reading the facts presented, let alone researching the facts omitted.
I was once given a business book by a manager that I admired, so I read and applied what it taught. When I was later asked by that same manager why I had implemented a certain change, I quoted the author back to him. His reply surprised me. “Where did you here that rubbish?” he said. This became a lesson for me which I have tested and proven many times since – just because people own books doesn’t mean they read them. Many people quote authors all the time, they talk about books with fondness and even collect books on particular subjects or by particular authors – but it doesn’t mean they have read them.
So hopefully by now you’ve decided to become a reader, but where do you start?
Your first task is one of discovery. You need to discover what is out there that both interests you and provides you with some advantage in your life.
If you are interested in ‘nail art’ for example and your career aspiration is maybe in animal husbandry, I would suggest sticking to the latter but most of us will have some alignment in our interests and our career.
For me personally, my area of expertise is the customer experience, the customer journey and aligning business strategy along that vein. It follows for me that a lot of my reading is on human behaviour, consumer metrics and marketing psychology.
Once you have the field – develop a reading list that extends Buyology by Martin Lindstrom out about 5 or 6 books. Then you have to make time in your day to follow through. This may involve sacrificing some other activity from your day, like TV or Internet Browsing, but in our modern technology filled world, it is more and more likely that reading can be done as a multi-task. While commuting, exercising, eating or even gardening (with audio-books) you can get your daily fill of wisdom producing good books.
If you have read a fantastic book lately – like Buyology by Martin Lindstrom – let us know in the comments below.