I love to read. At any given time there will be 3 or 4 books on my nightstand that I’m working my way through. I used to devour books but now, with all the pressures and responsibilities of adult life, I find I go through book much, much more slowly. Sometimes I may not pick up one of those nightstand books for days or weeks. So it was with interest that I read the Manager Tools Newsletter in my inbox this morning – a very timely reminder:
Read Or Die
How can people complain to me they're not getting ahead and then also tell me they're not reading very much?
If you're not reading regularly, significantly, virtually every day for at least an hour, your development is lagging. Professionals interested in their own self-development read voraciously.
Start or re-start now.
One of my best friends in my entire life is Michael Swenson. At our conferences, Michael often shares one of his favorite quotes: to know and not to do is not to know. It always reminds me of, the man who can read but doesn't is no better off than the man who can't.
I know - you're too busy. But get this: in 2008, the President of the United States read 40 books. He's busier than you are!
Business professionals have to keep up with more than television headlines. To say nothing of the fact that television is the arch-enemy of readers, anyway.
- Daily newspaper: you've got to read a newspaper - or an online equivalent - every day. Your local (Major cities) paper is fine, in most cases. You're lucky if you live in New York or London or Berlin or Hong Kong. If you can get WSJ or FT, that can MORE than suffice. We love the Journal, but we also crave more when we're in Europe.
- Business Press: You don't necessarily need a supplement if you read the Journal or FT. But if you don't get those, read Fortune. Don't bother with Forbes or Business Week, for different reasons. I have started getting Bloomberg Markets, but doubt I can recommend it for wide appeal.
- Professional Books: You need to always be reading at least one professional development book. It could be Drucker, it could be the latest fad, it could be a biography if you like. (For some reason, biographies just don't teach ... but if you learn that way, by all means do.) Here's an idea: our book list.
- Fiction: Has someone ever joked about some guy named Godot while you were waiting for someone, and you didn't get it? Do you know who Sherman McCoy was? If you know who Gordon Gekko is/was, but not McCoy, you're a step behind. And seriously, Harry Potter is literature, though he's not as colorful as Travis McGee.
If you’re not familiar with Manager Tools, take the time to check them out. They have a regular podcast which is well worth listening to for any manager. Now if you don’t mind…I think one of those books on my nightstand is calling my name.