I’m a huge proponent of reading books that will fuel your self-education. That said, my relationship with books has changed quite a bit in the last few years. I’m much more intimate with reading now than I once was…for example, I have made reading part of my morning routine. Also, I lead a book club with my team at Ballantine.
As part of my mission with Morning Upgrade, it’s important for me to make reading a part of my daily life AND to encourage others to do the same.
The reason I’m writing this blog is that I have grown to see books as one of the secret weapons we have at our disposal. It can aid you in growing your career, business, or any part of your personal development. As a result, I’m hoping this blog post convinces you to read more!
Here are the top things that come to my mind when I think of the power of reading books:
1. Self-education Is Key
First, and probably foremost…self-education is critical to personal development and success. You don’t want to stop learning after you graduate from high school or college. Bottom-line–when you stop learning, you stop growing.
Yes, you can learn by trying new things, investing in courses, joining masterminds…but books are also a powerful source of education. You are getting years’ worth of knowledge and passion from the author for just $15-$25. That’s incredible if you think about it!
2. Cherry-pick the Information You Want to Learn
Books provide a simple way to cherry-pick the information you want to learn about. You don’t have to commit to month-long educational courses to reap the benefits of what the author has to say. For that reason, it’s a perfect way to fuel your continued education. Personal development guru Darren Hardy recommends you lay out a schedule of what you want to learn, and I think that’s great advice. For example, January you read books on marketing, February on health, March on self-care, etc.
3. Brings People Together
One thing books can do is bring people together. As I said, I have a book club at Ballantine with anyone that wants to be a part of it. We do a weekly meeting during office hours (Fridays at 10 am EST) and cover books related to personal growth.
I’ve found by leading a book club that we all learn something every week. Not just from the book itself, but from each other and our individual takeaways. Leading a book club of your own would be a great way to take your personal development to the next level.
4. Helps You Develop Focus
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that I like the experience of physical books versus digital books. Nowadays, we can be so distracted by our phones and devices. All of those distractions have diminished our ability to focus. Side note, I’m trying to become less reliant on my phone–including putting it on airplane mode one hour before bed.
Reading a physical book is like taking a vitamin for your focus. It’s the perfect way to train your brain to focus on what you’re doing and push out distractions.
Because when you are reading, you can’t do something else…otherwise, you won’t retain anything. I know that for me, I had a period in my life when I would read and had the urge to check my phone the whole time. But, I’ve slowly trained myself to focus just on reading a printed book and now I don’t struggle with that (as much, lol).
5. Develops You As a Person
If you’re an avid reader across different topics, you will learn a lot and become a well-rounded person. This applies to fiction books too because there is typically a significant amount of research done by the author that goes into understanding historical context, science, or other subjects to create the content. For example, The Da Vinci Code!
Reading also helps you acquire more knowledge so you can have more interesting conversations across a wide range of topics with other people.
Use Audio Books as an Alternative
Printed books are important in my opinion, but when you don’t have the ability to read a physical book, I encourage you to listen to audiobooks as an alternative. I layer in Audible because it’s an easy way for me to stack habits when I’m commuting, walking…or even doing a mindless task.
I like to strategically use pockets of time throughout the day to consume more information that will help me. Do you have chunks of 15-20 minutes where you can listen to or read a book? Do that every day and imagine the compound effect over months!
Tips for Picking What to Read
There are so many resources, books, and forms of content that you can consume. I encourage you to create a content strategy so you supercharge the investment in yourself.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Figure out what you want to learn more about and find all the books on that subject and only read those.
- Use Darren Hardy’s idea of consuming all of the content a single person puts out. You find an author that resonates with you and read every book they write.
- Learn a little bit about subjects you’re mildly interested in to expose yourself to new topics and ideas.
I hope you’re now inspired to read more! Don’t overthink this. Start by reading just 10 pages per day and go from there.