It has been said many times that leaders are readers, and this statement could not be more accurate. The biggest leaders I know are all voracious readers. My personal mentor Claude Hamilton is constantly reading books in all different areas to help improve those areas of his own life, and be able to help other’s in those areas as well. Orrin Woodward, with whom I also mentor, has read thousands of books! He can devour a book (or two) on a flight somewhere, never giving up ”spare time” to learn from the experience of others. That is what reading is, it’s learning from the 40, 50, or 60 years of experience one man or woman has had in their area of expertise without having to go through all the same struggles they went through.
When I finished high school I told myself I would never read another book, I didn’t enjoy reading and wasn’t going to waste my time on it. However, when I was introduced to Claude Hamilton, and the Life Leadership organization, he told me I had to read if I wanted to achieve the goals I had set out for my wife and myself. Reading was not easy at first, I was a slow reader and was frustrated by my lack of progress. Eventually, after reading a few books and applying the principles in them into my life, I realized how wrong I had been about reading (good books). It added so much value to my life and helped me through so many hurdles I was dealing with.
Recently, a book was published entitled Turn The Page. I wish this book had been around when I started on my leadership journey and my reading expedition. The tips in this book are invaluable if applied to one’s reading habits. There are so many good ideas on how to read like a top leader, and get the most out of the books you are reading, I urge everyone who doesn’t like to read (or at least thinks they don’t) to start here. Pick up this book, apply its principles to the rest of your reading and you will see a huge difference in how much you enjoy reading and how much you get out of it.
There are a few tips from this book that really stood out to me when I read it;
Write in Your Books
Whenever I read a book I didn’t want to make a mess of it, so I never thought about writing in it. I learned though, through mentorship and through this book, that writing in your books as you read them is such an important part of reading. When you write in your books it makes reading an active process, it makes you really think about what you are reading as you take the words on the page and turn them into thoughts and then sentences in the margins of your book. Then you not only have the author’s thoughts in your book but also your own, which can be helpful when you look back at books you have previously read. It is much easier to find important points if you made notes about them when you read through the book originally.
Start With a Question
When I started reading books, I was reading them just to read them and therefore not getting much out of them. Claude told me however that I needed to start with a question before I opened the book. Readers will get much more out of books if they are looking for the answers to questions, not just reading for the sake of reading. ”Leaders understand that important answers often come from unexpected places, so they don’t limit themselves to getting business advice only from business books, mentoring advice only from mentoring books, and so forth.” As you read more and are thinking deeply about what you are reading, the answers to your questions can pop up in places you never expected them to.
Read Several Books at Once
This advice came as a bit of a shock to me at the beginning because I could hardly focus on one book enough to finish it, let alone four or five. However, as Turn The Page points out, there are so many benefits to reading more than one book at a time. Readers are more likely to read more if they have more than one book on the go. They may not feel like reading book A, but they might feel like reading book C. If they were only reading book A at that time however, they may not have picked up a book at all that day. Another amazing benefit of reading more than one book at a time is the connections you can make between books that don’t seem to be connected at all. I love reading a book in one area, then picking up a book in a completely different area and making connections that help me find answers to the questions I started with. Making these connections makes you think more which stretches you as a leader.
Reading anywhere is something we can all take advantage of. Claude encouraged me to always have a book on me incase I ever had a few spare minutes to read, I reluctantly agreed even though I really thought I would have no spare moments. I was quickly proven wrong. Waiting at the doctor’s office, on my lunch break, waiting in a store while my wife tried on clothes. There were so many opportunities to read a few pages here and there, and I finished books so much faster than I ever though I could. I always carry books with me now, because I never know where I will get a chance to sneak in a couple of minutes of good reading.
Read and Reread
When I started reading, I was so happy to finish a book and cross it off my list, the thought of picking it back up and reading it again was not very high on my priority list. However, there are so many benefits to rereading books. You already know what to read because you know which books were helpful and full of good information and you know which ones were not. Some questions that Turn The Page suggests asking yourself before rereading a book are extremely helpful in deciding if it would be beneficial; did it change me? Am I better for having read it? Did it inspire powerful action in me? A second great reason to reread books is to catch all the details you missed the first time through. There have been many occasions (almost every time I have reread a book) where I could have sworn the book had changed since the last time I read it because of how much new information I picked up. ”In this way, rereading will help you achieve greater depth in your reading and better understanding of the valuable nuggets of truth that are sometimes hidden in the pages.”
Turn The Page is a phenomenal book on how to read like a leader. I urge anyone who is serious about leadership, or wanting to become serious, to pick up this book and learn how the leaders read, because leaders are readers, but not all readers are leaders.