- Those who would lead with conviction must read with conviction.
- When leaders gather, books are usually part of the conversation.
- Leaders are ravenous consumers of historical biographies.
- Keep reading and developing the skill of reading over your lifetime. We can train ourselves to enjoy reading.
“There is no substitute for effective reading when it comes to developing and maintaining the intelligence necessary to lead. Leadership requires a constant flow of intelligence, ideas, and information. There is no way to gain the basics of leadership without reading. We simply cannot lead without a constant flow of intellectual activity in our minds, and there is no substitute for reading when it comes to producing this flow.”
Reading keeps my brain flowing with a flood of ideas and intellectual activity. Part of it is that it plays into my strengths – especially Analytical (I like to connect the dots in information) and Ideation (new ideas are exciting to me). I really like chewing on and processing new ideas.
- I’m often asked how I read so much and how I choose books. So, my I’ll try my first tweetstorm
- 1/ I love @naval‘s idea to ask yourself: what that you do looks like hard work from the outside, but doesn’t feel like work to you?
- 2/ For me, one answer is reading. In most down time, I read.
- 5/ A new book often makes you realize something essential about an old book.
- 6/ This is why knowledge compounds. Old stuff that was a 4/10 in value can become a 10/10, unlocked by another book in the future.
- 9/ Usually, it’s some combination of books that has a non-linear impact.
- 11/ When you start out reading, you are collecting distant dots in a constellation with no apparent connection
- 23/ Ten years in, I now have an incomplete but dense set of interconnected dots. It is my most valuable asset.
- 25/ Reading gets more and more enjoyable the more you do it.
- I sucked it up and subscribed to Audible.com (a ridiculous $15/month). 16 of the 52 books I “read” this year were listened to on Audible. I’ve found one of the easiest ways to read more is to take advantage of dead time in my schedule – like driving and working out. 15 minutes here and there really adds up. I listen at 1.25x or 1.5x speed (depending on the narrator) and can get through a book every 3 weeks.
- I started tracking what I read. For whatever reason, this really helped me. I like to keep score (I have ‘Competition- driven to win’ on Strengths Finder!)
- I spent less time on Twitter (still a HUGE fan of Twitter though – see tweet storm above- Twitter spurs me on to be a better leader AND to read more books!)
- I got up 30 minutes earlier and used that time to read.
- For most of the year I read every night. A couple of years ago my wife introduced the new rule of “no blue light an hour before bed” = no checking twitter or reading online. I’m thankful for God’s grace through her! It made me take up the habit of reading before bed every night. A great side-effect: when my head hits the pillow I’m asleep in seconds.
- I started asking every prodigious reader I know for book recommendations. Having a book I’m looking forward to makes me want to read more. And it has greatly increased the quality of the books I read – I’m reading the top books recommended by top readers.
- Discipline of Grace
- Courage and calling- Gordon Smith (Calling at different stages of life)
- Gordon McDonald – Ordering Your Private World
- The Imperfect Pastor by Zack Eswine
- Zeal Without Burnout (showed up on several best-of-year book lists)
- The Whole Christ by Sinclair Ferguson
- The Art of the Commonplace – Wendell Berry
- Switch – Heath
- Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future by Andy Stanley
- Epidemic of narcissism
- The Starfish and the Spider
- Wendell Berry – Hidden Wound (his personal story of having black servants)
- The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism – Yuval Levin (showed up on several best-of-year book lists)
- Invisible Man
- Silence – by Shūsaku Endō
- The Kingdom of Speech by Tom Wolfe
- The Wealth and Poverty of Nations: Why Some Are So Rich and Some So Poor
- Undaunted courage – Lewis and Clark
- Command and control- re nuclear security
- A Winston Churchill biography
“The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience, i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men. We have been fighting on this planet for 5000 years and we should take advantage of their experience. “Winging it” and filling body bags as we sort out what works reminds us of the moral dictates and the cost of incompetence in our profession…As a result [of my reading], the enemy has paid when I had the opportunity to go against them, and I believe that many of my young guys lived because I didn’t waste their lives because I didn’t have the vision in my mind of how to destroy the enemy at least cost to our guys and to the innocents on the battlefields.Semper Fi, Mattis”
What were some of your favorite books you read in 2016? What’s on your list of books to read in 2017?
image courtesy of Pimthida