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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

THE ADVANTAGES OF READING

If you follow my blog or follow me on twitter you know I'm a big fan of Michael HyattHis blog is outstanding in terms of helping us with organization, time management, social media, technology and much more.  And he is absolutely a must follow on twitter.  You also know of passion and belief in the importance of reading which makes this post by Michael a must read in my book.

Here are some brief excerpts from a recent post from his blog titled "5 Ways Reading Makes You A Better Leader."  Again, these are just short takes form the post and you can (and should) read it in its entirety here.

"One of the best ways to become
an indispensable leader?
Crack open a book."
-Michael Hyatt

1. Reading Makes us Better Thinkers
Reading is one of the most efficient ways to acquire information, and leaders need a lot of general information to keep perspective and seize opportunities. But reading does more than give us a toolbox of ideas. It actually upgrades our analytical tools, especially our judgment and problem-solving abilities.

Research by Anne E. Cunningham compared the general knowledge of readers and television watchers. The readers not only knew more, but they were also better at deciphering misinformation. In other words, reading improved their judgment.

2. Reading Improves Our People Skills
Sometimes we think of readers as antisocial introverts with the their nose in a book and ignoring the people around them. But reading can actually improve a leader’s people skills.

Stories give us an opportunity to walk in other people’s shoes and see the world through their experiences and with their motivations—this is especially true for novels, biographies, and memoirs. When asked about the reading that helps her lead her business, one CEO said the insights about human nature in fiction and poetry has made all the difference in understanding and relating to her people.

3. Reading Helps us Master Communication
When we read, especially widely and deeply, we pick up language proficiency that transfers across the board, including speaking and writing.

Reading uniquely expands our vocabulary. According to Cunningham, the books, magazines, and other written texts we read as adults use double and triple the number of rare words we hear on television.

4. Reading Helps us Relax
An ongoing challenge every leader faces is managing stress. The great news is that while we’re reading and picking up the benefits of Ways 1, 2, and 3, we can simultaneously lower our stress levels.

One study compared reading to other stress relievers like walking, listening to music, or drinking a cup of tea. Reading was found the most effective, and it worked to lower heart rates and relieve tension in as few as six minutes.

“It really doesn’t matter what book you read,” according to the doctor who conducted the study. “By losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world.”

5. Reading Keeps us Young
I recently explained why older people make better entrepreneurs. They typically have advantages in experience, knowledge, and social networks.

It’s the same with leaders—and readers are especially positioned to leverage these advantages because reading has been shown in research by Keith E. Stanovich to keep us mentally sharp as we age. By exercising our brains with books and other reading we might even be able to prevent dementia in later years.