Can you name the last book you read? How about any book? Does anybody read anymore? You certainly wonder after watching what Jimmy Kimmel’s team found out on the streets of LA:
With so many options for getting content and information washing over us in a never-ending wave every day, it’s easy to think that books are old-fashioned and no longer relevant.
Yet, there is power in the written word. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, business person, or simply someone who wants to continue to grow, reading books is an effective way to continue your personal development.
Here are 9 reasons you need a book-reading plan:
- Reading helps keep you current. Books can help keep you current on business trends and strategies. You can either spend thousands of dollars flying around the country going to seminars and masterminds or spend a few dollars on a book! And after finishing it, there it is within arm’s reach for ready reference. Consider reading Michael Hyatt’s book, Your Best Year Ever—A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals.
- Provides material for your own writing and podcasting. Reading books offers you fresh information, strategies for presenting that information, and great stories to share with your readers. Read Chris Ducker’s book, The Rise of the Youpreneur.
- Reading books exercises your brain. Joseph Addison wrote, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.” Believe me, in this competitive environment, you don’t want a “flabby” brain! Reading gets the blood flowing to the brain in unique ways and keeps your brain and thinking clear and crisp. I challenge you to read a book like, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas. I guarantee that book will give your brain a workout!
- Expands your worldview. Let’s face it. Most of us live and work within a fairly small bubble of relationships. Our market is defined by what and who we know. What if there are other markets out there that we haven’t even thought about or touched? Reading can broaden our perspective. Consider reading, The Power of Leverage by Anthony Robbins.
- Stimulates new ideas. Frequently, I’ll be reading a book and the content I’m reading launches me into a totally new idea. Reading does that! If you need some fresh ideas and new thinking for your own business, read a book. Try reading, The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss.
- Increases your vocabulary and conversational skills. Whether you realize it or not, when you’re reading, your mind assimilates new words and phrases. These new modes of expression become part of your vocabulary and find their way into your conversation without your conscious effort. Read Peter Mahle’s delightfully funny book, A Year in Provence.
- Makes you a better writer. Akin to the previous point, when you read a book that’s well written, your own writing begins to take on the qualities that you admire in others. Here’s a book that focuses on writing skills, but also features writing at its best: On Writing Well by William Zinsser.
- Corrects and/or corroborates your thinking. Reading what others think about a topic can either correct our misconceptions or confirm what we’ve held to be true. A best-selling classic that will either challenge or confirm your beliefs is Lee Strobel’s A Case for a Creator.
- Enriches your life. So far, we’ve been talking primarily about growing our intellect and our business. But reading for pleasure offers many benefits as well. Reading a book before bedtime is a great way to wind down and relax. Recreational reading opens a whole world of history, intrigue, humor, adventure, and fantasy. Reading kicks the borders off your imagination. And you may even be surprised by an unexpected idea from an unusual source. Mark Sullivan’s epic historical novel, Beneath a Scarlet Sky is sure to provide you with an enriching experience.
Create a reading plan
Consider designing a reading plan customized to your schedule and interests. A great place to start might be a commitment to read a book a month. Create a list of books that you want to read. That way you won’t finish a book and wonder what to read next.
You can either read on an e-device or paper. Many who are reading a book to study it, like the option of paper for highlighting and scribbling notes in the margins.
Also, consider finding a reading buddy — someone who will help keep you accountable. If the two of you read the same books each month, you gain the added benefit of discussing that book and vocalizing what you learned and how the book impacted you.
Finally, if you’re one who really struggles with reading, there are plenty of opportunities to listen to audio books. But be careful! The retention rate for listening to a book drops significantly over against reading it.
So, what’s the next book on your list?