Leaders are readers: Rebuilding the reading habit

Have you ever heard that leaders are readers? Reading “can improve intelligence and lead to innovation and insight”, and you’ll find that well-known world leaders, influencers, entrepreneurs, etc, usually share large lists of books that they had read yearly.

As I mentioned in my new year’s resolution post, rebuilding my reading habit is one of my new challenges. In this post I would like to share some details about my plan, and build and share the list of books I want to read for this year 2020.

Doesn’t mean that I don’t read at all, I really do, but mostly articles and posts published through LinkedIn, Twitter, Reddit, etc. They keep me up to date, and also is a source of knowledge. But what I want is to read books regularly, plan a reading time, and create a new habit.

It is said that the average person reads one or two books a year, but the average CEO reads four to six books per month. The goal is to move from the “average person” to “CEO level”, step by step.

Programming the reading time slot

I will start this with a question: Is it possible to read a book in a week? The answer may be obvious, it is. But I want to go a little deeper doing some easy calculus.

Let’s say that an average book has 64000 words (according to oldie Amazon Text Stats), and that an average person reads 200 words per minute (it is 200-250 words per minute). Then we have that a person would read a book in 320 minutes.

Thinking on a week time, let’s divide this quantity by seven days and we have that if we read 45 minutes every day, we could read a book in a week.

The purpose of this demonstration is to be aware, to realize, that it is possible. It is only a planning issue. If I plan a daily time slot for reading, I will achieve my goal.

And I probably don’t need 45 minutes, I could plan 30 or less. Maybe I read faster than 200 words per minute, or could improve it.

Best moment for reading

Most of the people read before sleep. There are lots of articles sharing the benefits of reading before bed: better sleeping, reduce stress, and the benefits derived from them (creativity, concentration, mood, better person, …).

But listening to Jim Kwik, and looking to other known people who created this habit, they usually read in the morning (early, first hour). The reason is that the best moment for reading is when you’re awake, when you’re alert. If your aim is to learn, to keep the knowledge, you have to do it with full attention. Not only reading, but maybe also highlighting and writing some notes.

So I will keep some time in the morning to read. Maybe 30 minutes, maybe 20 pages, but I am thinking more about doing it by chapter. There’s a reason for that.

All people know that there’s a learning curve, but not everybody is aware of the forgetting curve. 48 hours after learning something new, we could forget almost 80%. Our memory is not fixed, we have to work and build it.

One trick to improve retention is taking notes. A method for that is the capture and create note-taking. You have to divide the page into 2 pieces, left side for taking notes, right side for creating (questions, impressions, feelings).

So to sum up, the goal will be to read a chapter per day every morning and writing the notes of it. Does it sound like a challenge? :)

The list

Can’t start this resolution without the proper list. I am interested in many different topics (tech, startup and biz, personal and professional growth, etc), so the list could sound strange.

Some of them are recommendations that somebody may have shared on social media, news, articles, or maybe are books that I already read (fully or partially) and I want to enjoy it again.

These are my picks for this year (spreadsheet):

This list is not a fixed one, may change during the year. I will be updating the list with new ones.

Maybe you have a suggestion, do you? I would love to hear your pick!

Remember that leaders are readers. And if knowledge is power, reading is your superpower.

I hope you liked it. If so, please share it! Do not hesitate to add your comments. And, if you want to stay up to date, don’t miss my free newsletter.

Thanks for reading!

Also published on Medium.

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Also published on Medium.

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