Some of our most successful leaders have been prolific readers. Winston Churchill won his Nobel Prize in Literature, not Peace, and Nike founder Phil Knight’s private library tucked behind his office was legendary – you had to remove your shoes before entering.
The form of books and the way we buy them may have changed, but reading opens windows in the mind. It increases general knowledge, improves articulation, grows emotional intelligence and also helps you relax. A Harvard Business Review blog post recently listed the benefits of reading, but did you know that reading for 6 minutes can decrease stress by 68 percent?
One of the best traits of leaders is their ability to connect with, inspire and influence a variety of people. Most of these abilities are innate, but some are learned. Reading allows us to experience from outside our sphere of awareness. It teaches us to open our eyes, to see things differently and reflect.
So, if you’re serious about leading, get reading. I always have about five books on the go (currently Sam Hunt’s Knucklebones, Daniel Silva’s The Fallen Angel, Anthony Reynolds’ Leonard Cohen: A Remarkable Life, This Land is Your Land a Woody Guthrie 100 year celebration by Robert Santelli – and Lee Child’s new Jack Reacher adventure A Wanted Man makes its global debut in New Zealand on August 30).
To quote the Doctor: “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”