Read Well To Lead Well

One of the most delightful and addictive habits is the habit of reading. Most accomplished and respected leaders in the world are voracious readers.

I was in a cocktail party and a gorgeous lady in an elegant dress, beautiful figure and charming smile seemed to be attracting a lot of attention. People came up to her, chatted with her and quickly drifted away for she had nothing intelligent to discuss. Then there was a short, bald and potbellied gent around whom the throng of guests seemed to linger for ever. He was no celebrity, nor an influential person. He was just a well-speaking person who engaged people in conversation on different topics from politics to sports to arts to books.

During the course of writing my book I met several individuals who said they did not remember when they last read a book. It’s unbelievable that people find no time to develop themselves, to increase their awareness, to expand their horizon. Frittering away time on idle gossip and on forwarding worthless messages on phones or spending unconscionable amount of time on social media sites does not help in enriching the intellect as much as picking up a good book. Some students I have come across said the only reading they do is reading news headlines on their mobiles. Well, that may keep you abreast of the latest happenings but is certainly not enough to keep you growing in ideas or help you improve your communication skills.

Reading creates awareness and makes you more confident, expands your horizon, develops your imagination, improves your ability to express and communicate, helps you engage people in discussion, presents you as a knowledgeable person, enables you to leave a lasting impression and finally, has a bearing on crafting your character. Most often one finds people spending on expensive gadgets, clothes and food but not on good books and while such souls are well fed and well clothed, they are often intellectually bankrupt.

When I was small my parents continuously encouraged me to read and our house was littered with books. They often said that they had no qualms in spending on books and if necessary were ready to cut down on other expenses to accommodate for buying books. I have always carried with me what they said to me: ‘The more you read the more you will become aware of how little you know. If ever you wish to be better than others then read more than others on as many different subjects as you can. Beauty fades, youth declines, strength wanes, wealth diminishes but knowledge once acquired will never let you be the same person and will catapult you to higher levels ... always.’

Beautiful clothes and accessories, expensive material possession and attractive physical features have the ability to attract but it is the intellectually enriched souls that are well remembered and have the ability to inspire. Nourishing your mind by reading on different subjects helps add to your personality and good personality impresses, opens the doors of success. Good reading means being well informed that helps making better choices in life and one small idea has the impact to change your life forever. Benefits of reading are immeasurable and discussing what you have read is one of the most powerful habits I know of to reinforce your learning.

A newspaper a day, a magazine a week and reading a good book every month will transform you to a person people would like to emulate. Start today and spend some time in the library reading classics, fiction, biographies or even good books on philosophy, history, creativity, personal excellence and the list is endless; spend on buying books that you would love to treasure and want to refer to time and again.

Impressions are formed by the way you act; your actions are determined by your thoughts; your thoughts are led by what you read.


Here are a few tips to make you become a better reader -

•     Define your purpose of reading:  is it for improving your language skills, for getting behind an idea or for recreation?

•     Choose a topic you love to read about. Some people indiscriminately read whatever they lay their hands on.

•     Choose a medium that interests you - digital or hard copy

•     Be a frequent visitor to a book store or a library even if it means for a few minutes only

•     Read the synopsis of the book or the article and go through the table of contents to check for topics of your interest

•     Keep a dictionary close-by to look up for difficult words. That’s the only known way to improve on your storehouse of vocabulary

•     Set a small goal of few pages initially and slowly increase the number if you find reading tedious

•     Identify a time of day that best suits you to read

•     Be selective about reading good books