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Why Successful Business Leaders Read Regularly

Successful Business Leaders Read RegularlyI’ve always been an avid book reader. I have a large library of Biographies, Self-Development books and Business tomes and am always on the lookout for book recommendations from others.

Truth be told, like most people I’ve spoken to (especially fellow business owners) I buy more books than I actually read – especially when it comes to business books.

Just like subscribing to a gym membership but never actually going to the gym, buying a business book somehow makes you feel like you’re declaring your good intentions to learn about a subject, even though you may take ages to read said book.

That pile of books you haven’t read

The problem with having lots of books sitting on a bookshelf at home is that my reading mood seems to change frequently and the book I actually want to read never seems to be the one I’m carrying with me. I can be sat in the barbers waiting for my hair (what little there still is of it) to be cut and I’ll be in the mood to read some Tech History. I can be travelling by aeroplane and suddenly be in the mood for some Self-Development reading. Or I could be in a park on a sunny day and fancy reading some fiction. Chances are the book I actually have with me is something I feel I *should* be reading (such as a business book) but am probably not in the mood to read.

Amazon KindleA few months ago that all started to change for me – and it’s all thanks to the Amazon Kindle.

Benefits of an e-Reader

Having an e-Reader like the Kindle means I can pretty much carry all the books I now buy with me wherever I go. I now find myself reading a lot more because the book I’m in the mood to read is nearly always with me at the time I want to read it.

But why is reading important for business success?

Tom Peters believes in out reading the competition. Peters suggests that ‘A’ player executives out-read ‘B’ and ‘C’ players – reading on average 24 books per year.

I think regularly reading helps to improve the way you think as a business owner. Quite often I’ll be reading a chapter of a book and within the first few paragraphs, my mind will pop up with a thought or suggestion – often a solution to a problem or challenge I’ve been wrestling with.

For me, this happens most regularly when reading business books and biographies – as I’m often reading the writing of someone I admire or respect. Books are a great way of learning from successful people or thought leaders I appreciate.

Reading inspires me with ideas. It fills me with enthusiasm and energy. Quite often, taking 15 minutes to read the chapter of a book will give me the energy to crack on and get more done in that day than I otherwise would – especially if I’ve found myself in a mid-afternoon slump, moving papers around aimlessly or browsing Facebook. Reading helps re-focus my mind on what I want and need to be doing to be successful.

Don’t have time to read?

The most common reason I hear for that pile of books gathering dust is that business owners “don’t have time”. I understand that – there is a hundred things to do every day, and the work available will *always* expand to fill the time you have available. Having an e-Book reader like the Kindle will help, but you still need to make the time to read.

Need help finding the time to enjoy the benefits of reading? Try this cheap (or free!) experiment.

  1. If you own an Amazon Kindle. Great, you’re all set.
  2. If you don’t own a Kindle – they’re currently selling for £59. Treat yourself!
  3. Alternatively, go and download the Amazon Kindle Reader Application for your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad or Android Device. It’s free.
  4. Next, go and grab hold of Seth Godin’s book “Poke The Box” or Steven Pressfield’s “Do The Work” – or preferably, both – in Amazon Kindle e-book format. Both books are just a few quid in cost.

Either of these books will be downloaded within seconds, and you’ll have read them, electronic cover to cover, within an hour (and probably less!).

The Domino Project

The Domino Project LogoBoth of these books are part of Seth Godin’s The Domino Project, a new way of looking at publishing. In reality, both books are actually less your traditional book and more like manifestos, but I’m pretty sure both books will have the same effect on you that they did on me – they’ll inspire, energise and motivate you to get on and be successful at whatever you do.

There’s no excuse for not testing this theory. The books are cheap, the method convenient, and the investment of time required for the experiment low.

Give it a try and let me know what the results are. Smile

photo credit: Books, books, books via photopin (license)

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Richard Tubb

I help IT companies grow their businesses in a scalable and sustainable way. My clients are business owners of small to medium sized IT firms. at Tubblog
I help IT business owner's to free up their time, concentrate on what is important, and build a business that can run without them.


  1. Right! As usual a well-thought-through post. I do feel, however, that audiobooks are missing from this blogpost. If one of the benefits (if not THE benefit) are that books inspire, then audiobooks will do the same for you.

    Moreover, audiobooks will be able to do that when you are:
    – doing the dishes, cleaning;
    – stuck in some form of transportation be it metro/tube, tram, bus, airplane, air balloon, etc.
    – doing sports, in the gym, out running, etc.

    Audiobooks read faster so you can cover more ground in the same time or less + while you’re getting other stuff done = much more efficient.

  2. Jakob – agreed. I listen to a lot of Audiobooks and Podcasts while driving – it’s much more useful than the Radio randomly playing in the background, and it has the same effect as a book – inspiring and motivating.

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