Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Go Read A Book

I am amazed at how many professional adults do not read. Not that they do not know HOW to read, but rather that they choose not to read. I read one time that over 50% of college graduates never read another book. Huh? Not even a novel? Ever? How can this be true?

At a previous employer I was talking with one of my superiors who was very successful in his role with this fortune 100 company. He had spent over 25 years in the industry, and knew everything he needed to succeed in his job. In a conversation one day I sighted an example from a book I was reading at the time, which caused him to interupt by saying, "You often talk about things from your 'reading'....how many books do you read in a year?" I told him that I have read, on average, between 15-25 books every year for the past 15 years. He was stunned. Dumbfounded in fact. His response left me just as shocked and in disblief..... He told me that he had not read that many books in his lifetime.

Can it be that someone in a professional career could have no interest in reading books on subjects that could deeply impact their businesses future? I have found reading to be an unmatchable tool that has helped me grow in countless areas of my life.

How about you? What was the last book that you read? Many people I talk to say that they do not have the time to read books, newspapers or trade journals, siting that their lives are just too busy. It is not that they do not have time, it is that they do not create the time. I discovered years ago that by reading a lot of material I could expand my knowledge and stay up with current trends and events. To not be well read can easily hinder your career path. If you are reading this blog, my guess is that you want to expand your business success. If that is true, then you must decide to become an avid reader.

To accomplish this I suggest you get up thirty minutes early every morning and read a book or the newspaper. Anyone can find thirty minutes in their day for reading.


Books are the most intemidating to read because they have a lot of pages. Many people (myself included) hated to read books in high school and college, and have thus decided to just avoid them whenever possible. However, books also contain great advice and countless bits of knowledge. If you would read one business-oriented book every month, in ten years that would be one hundred books. Just think of the advantages you would might have from the knowledge in those books that your competition would most likely not possess. This is a very small investment of time to get that kind leg up on the rest of your peers.

Magazines and Trade Journals:

The complaint I hear about periodicals is that they arrive too often and begin to pile up. Once the stack becomes too high, people feel that they could never make the time to get caught up on all the reading. So their answer is to not subscribe to magazines. If your in box is overflowing with such reading, I suggest you purge it. Throw away any magazine or journal that is more than a month old. The next step is to make it a habit skim every new publication that arrives and either immediately read the articles that interest you or flag them to read later. Another good suggestion is to get a co-worker to review half of the incoming magazines, and you flag the important ones and trade stacks. This can streamlines the amount or skimming you need to do to find the relevant articles.

The Daily Newspaper:

You should read your local daily newspaper and/or one of the national daily papers every day. And not just the business section! You need to read the local and national news, politics, sports and entertainment as well. Why? So that you can be informed on current affairs in case you are in a conversation with someone who brings up any variety of topics. In a business setting people could talk about the outcome of the French vote on the European Union Constitution or the latest winner on "American Idol". In either case, you will appear uninformed if you do not know the basics of these topics. (yes, you do need to the pop culture topics, too....sorry).

Start today and make reading a priority in your life, you will be glad you did. You may want to start with my new book, which will be released in July 2005. More info at www.thomsinger.com.

Have a great day....and read something, will ya?.

Thom Singer

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