Leaders Are Readers – Discover How to Develop Into a True Leader by Reading the Right Books

It’s guest post Monday! This post is written by Omar Negron who is the Co-Creator of www.PixPirations.com. A site created to share “Images That Inspire” all across the web. If you need some extra motivation and inspiration feel free to visit www.PixPirations.com and follow them on Twitter. If you would like to have a post featured on my site then click here.

Take it from the 33rd President of the United States of America, Mr. Harry S. Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” This idea can also be complemented by the notion that “earners are learners.” Believe it or not, successful people are those who always do what they can to keep on learning and growing. And one of the most effective ways to learn is through reading.

Why is it that Leaders are Readers?

Through reading, leaders gain enlightenment. Books are made to provide just that. Leaders gain valuable ideas, insights and intellect through reading. Books are a great medium to spread wisdom, especially those that were written by successful and renowned people themselves.

Through reading, leaders experience enjoyment. Reading enhances visualization, creativity and imagination. The more stimulated the mind, the more effective it becomes. Through reading, leaders are not only able to relax and educate themselves. They are also able to exercise their creative and healthy perception.

Through reading, leaders are able to enrich their minds. Leaders are thankful for the invention of books. They do not necessarily have to travel around the globe to learn different ideas and strategies, most often than not, they are able to find the answers simply by sitting down with a book on their hands. Books help leaders experience things and gain knowledge from those reading experiences.

Through reading, leaders are able to learn new things. Books allow leaders to enhance their learning potentials, mindset or understanding, as well as their skill set.  Books, being able to pave way for self-learning and discipline, empower leaders to be able to reach their life goals.

How do they do it?

Now that you have read some of the benefits of reading, you might be wondering how leaders do it. It is very simple – they read as many books as they can. They manage to read books whenever they can. Most of them will have a book to read when travelling or even while standing in line for coffee. Instead of watching TV, they prefer reading a book. Leaders will always find time to read. It does not matter if it is just 30 minutes or less, so long as they are able to read within the day, they are contented. This discipline and dedication of wanting to keep on learning and growing is what makes them effective and extraordinary leaders.

What Books do they Read?

We have to admit that not all books are great books. And so, leaders choose what they read. The following are few of the books leaders are most likely to grab and read.

Change the Culture, Change the Game by Roger Connors and Tom Smith: this book narrates breakthrough organizational effectiveness by communicating to readers using easy to comprehend ideas. The authors are full of wisdom and this book will inspire any type of leader there is – it does not matter what corporate position they have.

Reality-Based Leadership: Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace, and Turn Excuses into Results by Cy Wakeman: this book provides knowledge on how to be the type of leader who can influence and inspire colleagues to change the way they think about their job and their workplace.

The Seed by Jon Gordon: this is an inspirational book which will provide readers life changing insights as to how to discover passion, purpose and fulfillment at work and in life as a whole.

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne: this excellent book is vital for any type of leader or entrepreneur. This book provides strategic ideas to be able to see wonderful opportunities rather than stressful competition.

Remember start slowly getting into the reading habit by reading 10 pages of a great book in the morning when you wake up and another 10 pages before you go to bed. This strategy will work wonders because once you develop the consistency you will want to start reading even more pages and therefore reading even more books.

Questions: Are you being intentional about reading books? What books are you currently reading or recently read?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • The best thing about books is that they open the mind to new possibilities. They expand our world. And that’s vital to effective leadership.

    Cheers!

    • I totally agree Trevor. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • I read intentionally, but in rhythms. I am also a writer and writing take a lot of time. Also, there are certain kinds of books you don’t want to read while writing as they may influence the writing too much. Right now I’m reading “Blogger’s Bootcamp,” and “How the Mass Media Really Work,” a book I’m helping to edit/write as an updated edition.

    • The books your reading sounds very interesting. Great points about not reading certain books so we can stay true to our own voice. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • Antoine Martiano

    I agree with these. It’s important for people to read, read and read. If ordinary people must read to learn more, how much more for leaders, right? By constantly reading, we learn many things even after we graduate from universities. http://www.ultimatecoldcalls.com – Eliminate your fear of cold calling once and for all.

  • Dan I’m most interested in how leaders read. I tend to read in spurts, which may not be the best way. I’ll read four or five books in a week and then I’ll go 2 weeks without reading much of anything, except for the Bible.

    • Hello Caleb,

      Have you found reading in spurts helpful when it comes to digesting and implementing what you have read? The Bible should be one book we read daily/on a regular basis.

  • Yes. My mentor and I developed a new strategy for this year. I tend to read a book, put it down, and roll on to the next one…and I’ll read 60 a year.

    This year I will only read 12, some of which are:

    Start by Jon Acuff
    War of Art by Steven Pressfield
    Icarus Deception by Seth Godin
    Beyond Basketball by Mike Krzyzewski
    Crazy Love by Francis Chan
    and more…

    • I think reading less is a great strategy, it can allow us to really apply what we have learned into our life and leadership. Great book list Matt. Thank you for stopping by to read and comment.

  • I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. I read so many self help books back in the 80’s and 90’s and now have begun to go back to the basics and classics. I noticed Dan Erickson commented, I read his book “A Train Called Forgiveness” not to long ago and am looking forward to his next one. Great quote by Truman!

    • Reading is powerful because it can impact us now and into the future. Yes, @DanErickson8:disqus writes great content!

  • It’s strange. I love to read, but am not disciplined enough to finish books. Usually I have ten books going at a time, usually non-fiction, and maybe only finish one of them. Maybe I should try your 10 page, twice a day plan. My favorite books are well-written memoirs and real-life adventure stories (mountain climbing, etc). If I find one of those, I usually read it all the way.

    • I have the same problem:) I have had to really discipline myself to finish a book I started. Unless I really can’t get into the content or it’s not relevant to my life or leadership. I still struggle when it comes to finishing a book. But at least we are reading and growing:) Thank you for sharing.

      • Yes, I agree, at least we are reading and growing. :) And often you find the main points of a non-fiction book in the first few chapters anyway.

  • I love to read, but I have to admit in the past few months, I haven’t been reading as much as I would like. I’m starting to prioritize my team and making room for more regular reading again. Right now, I’m reading Follow Me by David Platt, and will follow it up with Multiply by Francis Chan.

    • I think we all go through seasons of life where we read less than normal. Reading a little is better than reading nothing at all, right?:) Great books!

  • @ Trevor Wilson – Great point indeed Trevor. By reading you are able to pick up on certain qualities you need to be a leader as well while achieving one of the necessary habits which is reading.

    @ Dan Erickson – That’s right Dan, any reading we do will influence your writing and of course not all books have the same value but starting to read something is definitely a step in the right direction.

    @ Antoine Martiano – Yes! That is exactly why I believe in self education even after traditional education in your school/university. Reading is an important aspect in not only becoming a great leader but becoming a great all around individual.

    @ Caleb – I remember doing the same thing as well, we all have our patterns Caleb but I did see the benefit of just being consistent with reading daily. The great thing is you said you are consistent with the bible and that’s awesome. I will actually begin my quest and start reading it as I’ve been told there are many great lessons within.

    @ Matt McWilliams – Awesome strategy Matt, my goal has been to wake up early enough so I can get some reading in before I start my day and also to read at night. Consistency is key and eventually you will fall in love with reading that you will make the time since you want to read as many books as possible. I recently finished the book “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell and started reading “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman (the movie was awesome)

    @ floyd – That’s great you have been reading for such a long time, it eventually becomes part of you and like many people say we never stop growing and learning.

    @ Barb Raveling – I feel you on that one, it is so easy and enticing to want to read many books at once and I still tend to do it but makes much more sense to focus on one and finish it up. Start with 10 pages then eventually 20 pages and so on, your reading speed will increase and you will finish books a lot more faster. I still take time to read because I started highlighting important parts, quotes etc so I can always go back and read the book over again to gain even more value I may have missed. Cool taste in books, speaking about memoirs and real life stories I am excited to read “Beyond Belief” by Josh Hamilton I know he went through a lot and learned a lot of lessons a long the way. He is one of my current role models.

    @ Jason Vana – Responsibilities tend to make the reading habit daily a challenge but it is possible by rising early and committing to 5 to 10 pages, the cool thing is that you will be reading a lot more than 10 pages in no time and increase your reading speed by being consistent. That is my current goal =-D

    Thanks all for the amazing comments, appreciate the feedback.

    Willox Perez @ PixPirations.com

    • Thanks for the book tip, Omar. I’ll have to try that one – and yes, try to finish a book. I’m thinking I could still have a bunch going but focus on just finishing one of them every two weeks. I think just the focus idea would help. Thanks for a good post.

  • I love reading (though I’ve never read any on this lists). I’m usually reading 2-3 (plus the Bible) at any given time. Some think that’s crazy, but I find that God leads me to the right combination and I end up learning more than I would have had I read the books individually.
    Why people think they can’t read more than one book at a time is beyond me. Any High school or college student is expected to read/study more than one subject at a time.

    • The Bible is one of the books on my list that I will challenge myself with. All of these awesome books seem to get A LOT of their material from the great book called the Bible.

      Thanks for the input.

      -Omar

      • I learn so much from the Bible each time I read it. It’s not just a great historical book full of applicable wisdom, it’s also the Living word of God, speaking not in past tense, but for everyday living.

        If you’ve never read the Bible before it can be overwhelming as there are multiple books written by numerous authors inspired by God. I recommend begining with any of the New Testament Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and/or John). For additional words of wisdom I would also read the book of Proverbs.

        I also highly recommend reading a Study Bible that has additional information in it that will help but the scriptures in context. Max Lucado has a good study Bible.

        I’m not sure what your beliefs are, hope this didn’t offend you. Sorry if this was more info than you were seeking, sorry also if this is info you already know. Just trying to help. If you have any questions feel free to ask here or on my blog, tcavey.blogspot.com

        Have a great night, Omar!
        @tcavey1

        • Spot on! Teddy Roosevelt said, “A thorough knowledge of the Bible is worth more than a college education”

  • So true Antonie! Reading is a requirement to leadership, or at least it’s an unwritten one.

    ps. I’ve been keeping my eyes out for new posts from you, do you have any in the works?

  • I HIGHLY recommend Blue Ocean Strategy. Anyone doing anything online needs to read it! I got the bug to read as far back as I can remember when my grandfather would bring my brother and I books for all our birthdays. That lead to a love and reading and eventually writing.

    • Thanks Kimanzi! Much appreciated. Great book

      -Omar

  • I absolutely love reading books. Before I got into my Profession I rarely didn’t but when I learned about Personal development it turned me into a Reading machine. It helps you to learn and gain more knowledge and information and be mentored by some of the great people all over the world. You have a great list of books here that I am going to add to my library.

    • I remember the days when I hated reading books…what a “butt head” I was. lol. There was just something about them, they weren’t fun. But the TRUTH is that most if not ALL of the answers we seek are within those pages of a good book.

      Thanks Lincoln

      -Omar

  • I absolutely love reading and usually have a couple of books going at once. I am currently reading “Pop” which is all about creative taglines, etc. Very insightful. I recently finished “The Talent Code.” I wish I had more time for reading. It certainly does help us to grow as leaders, that is for sure. blessings, Amy

  • Man, this has been something I’ve been convicted of lately. I have a couple of books that I’m reading for my job, but am having a hard time being intentional about reading beyond that. But you are right, and it is certainly a trait that is a must if you’re going to lead and inspire others.

    • Hey Stephen, yeah its important to schedule at least a small portion of the day to self development through your own reading.

      -Omar

  • Books are amazing to me because they give you access to some of the best coaches out there. You don’t have to start from scratch – someone has already written down how they did it! Great list of books, some I hadn’t heard of and I read a ton…

    • Bingo!

      All of the issue we may need an answer to in our lives can be found in certain pages! Thanks Tom

      -Omar

    • Great points about books Tom. Thank you for sharing.

  • I love reading books but more than reading, love listening o them on audio since I’m on the road so much. I find that’s the best time for me to read/listen to my favorite books. I’m listening to a book right now by Pastor Tj Jakes – Let it go on why we should forgive, forget and move on with the small and big ways people offend or hurt us. I have a couple other books that are on the to be read list including Your Brain at Work and Superbrain.

    I haven’t read any of the books you mentioned Omar but will check them out. Reading books is like getting a free education – a shortcut to whatever dream or activities we are pursuing!

    • I just looked up that book you mentioned from Pastor TJ Jakes…it’s has GREAT reviews. I have to check that out. Thanks for the tip!

      -Omar

    • That’s a great point you made Vishnu on how reading is a free education. I also like how Alan Bloom said on reading: “The failure to read good books both enfeebles your vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency. The belief that here and now is all there is.” I’m currently reading Mike Bonem’s book “In Pursuit of Great and Godly Leadership.”

  • DS

    Lots of great points about reading in the post and comments – it’s a great topic. I remember while growing up I hated to read. It was normally because I was forced to read specific books by my teachers. Since then I’ve discovered that I actually enjoy reading and learning. I follow my own gut when it comes to reading books. If I can’t get into it, I’m not going to finish it. I’m normally sacrificing time to read a book, so if it’s really hard for me, I’m not going to punish myself to complete the book (in most cases).

    What I love about reading is that it can accelerate my learning, help me progress through a situation I’m experiencing, it can give me real examples on how to move forward, and they can help motivate and inspire me to persevere.

    • I felt the same way when I was young. Those books that were being forced for me to read just did not interest me, maybe that’s why I never had an interest at a young age. But things change as you get older…

      -Omar

    • Cool, what books are you reading nowadays David? I’m currently reading Mike Bonem’s In Pursuit of Great AND Godly Leadership. I think you’ll really enjoy this read. I’ve also had a similar experience growing up – where I felt pressured to read. It wasn’t until I was about 14-15 years old that I learned I had an insatiable taste for curiosity and learning. That’s when I began to read voraciously. Do you have any strategies when you write books so you can better implement them?

      • DS

        My biggest strategy right now is to use a pen and highlighter. I mark something that I believe is good/helpful, and add it to the front cover, or a notebook I have. The other thing is I have a ton of stuff to read, or that I want to read, so I have a book priority list. I keep two books out on a specific book shelf that I’m currently reading. Then I have a separate book shelf that houses my “to-read” list. These are the most basic rules I have, but they help me complete the books I want to read. My current two books are Book Yourself Solid by Michael Port, and You Are the Message by Roger Ailes.

  • Excellent post. Reading is fundamental for leaders. Not only do great leaders enjoy to read, they enjoy more implementing the strategies they read.

    • I agree, they enjoy reading and then implementing what they have learned. Thank you for reading and sharing.

    • That’s right Bernard! “Learning is not enough, we must apply.” =-D Love that quote. Thanks for the feedback.

      -Will

      • Gotta agree with Will Smith. I’m a runner too. If only I could do both at the same time…

    • Hey Bernard, can’t agree more. Reading for the sake of reading is not bad, but leaders are proactive in their application of key lessons learned. Do you have any pointers on how you proactively implement the strategies?

  • I am being intentional, although I have to confess that it is often reading which gets the short end of the stick when life gets hectic. I’m hoping to get out of that, but right now it’s a reality for my life.

    • I hear you Loren. I think seasons of reading less than normal(Or nothing at all/rather than the Bible) is ok. Just as long as it’s a season. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

    • That’s right Dan, Loren it is just a season and you will be able to refocus. We all go through it and definitely understandable.

      -Will

  • I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always held the notion that effective people are well-read. Reading helps introduce you to knew ideas. It’s a great way to get into the mind of other people whether that’s the author, some historical person or a character in a novel. You get out of your own head for a while and into someone elses. That’s a good quality to have.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Steve, we all need a reminder every once in a while about the importance of reading. What are you currently reading?

    • Definitely Steve, an additional activity to do while reading I got in the habit of doing has been to highlight the important parts. Then when I am done with the book re read the parts I highlighted. Helps me absorb even more knowledge I can apply.

      -Will

  • I’m currently reading “are you LIVING or existing? 9 steps to change your life” by Kimanzi Constable.

    • Me too! It’s a great book. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

    • Thanks for the feedback, just added it to the list of books to read =-D

      -Will

  • I relate well to the value in reading, but as you say – only the books that bring some wisdom and enlightenment to my life! No trashy novels, thanks…

    I find it funny when I hear people complain about having ‘no time’ to read, even though they spend 1 hour+ in front of the tv each night… Incredible..

    Currently reading ‘The Charge – Activating The 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive’, lovin’ it so far! Reading is great, so was this post, Omar!

    • I share similar thoughts about novels. I personally don’t care to read any novels.

      Ha, I totally agree with that. I know many people like that. I read The Charge when it first came out and really enjoyed it. Thank you for reading and sharing.

    • Awesome feedback Nick! Just added the book to our list. Totally agree, Omar and I feel the same way when it comes to that old excuse of “not having time to read” a better phrase will be “I better make time to read some how” =-D

      I wonder sometimes how people have time to watch so many shows on TV that keep coming out lol.

      -Will

  • I know this was posted over a week ago, but since I was on vacation with no tech I just read it today. I am glad for this delay because the post connects with my post yesterday on A Reading Challenge. This challenge is my attempt to amplify the role reading plays in my life and to be more deliberate with what I read, which includes lots of books and articles. Your post confirms my purpose for writing my post. Cool when that happens.

    • Ha, no problem Kari:) I hope you had a good vacation. Looking forward to reading your post! Reading is so important no matter who we are. Thank you for reading and sharing.

    • Thanks for the feedback Kari!

      That’s awesome to hear we can have that connection between our posts. Definitely looking forward to reading it as well. I remember watching a video of Will Smith accepting an award and he said the 2 keys to life are running and reading. I definitely agree with him. =-D

      -Will

  • I started to read the latest book by A.G. Lafley, “Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works” and had to reschedule my day because I enjoyed it so much I had to finish it before I could do anything else. Yesterday I read “Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change” by Paul Hiebert and tomorrow I am finishing “Leaders Open Doors: A Radical Simple Leadership Approach to Lift People, Profits, and Performance” by Bill Treasurer, whom I’ll be interviewing on my blog in a couple of weeks.

    • Hello Joshua,

      That’s great! It sounds like I need to read it as well:) Those types of books are great! Keep reading and keep leading. Looking forward to the interview. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on the post. I look forward to connecting with you more.