When I was a kid I read a lot of books. Usually when I was grounded and had nothing else to do, but there were no shortage of books such as the Chronicles of Narnia or Little House on the Prairie type books for me to read. By the time I hit Jr. High or High School, however, I stopped reading altogether. Except, of course, that which was required in my classes.
I remember in college bragging that I had not picked up a book to read in several years. Oddly enough, what got me reading again was a movie. That’s right, I absolutely loved the movie Jurassic Park and had seen it several times. One day friend came in my dorm room as he was passing down the hallway (my room shared a wall with the men’s bathroom) and he had some reading material in his hand, a paperback edition of Jurassic Park.
After a quick sterilization, I borrowed that book and found it very difficult to put down. But aside from liking just that book, it got me interested in reading all over again. That event was the starting point for me of reading more and more novels. I always had to have one. I discovered the library and was always working on a book with at least one waiting and a few more “on order”.
But I never could get into non-fiction. Many times over the years I tried to read personal development books and nine times out of ten I just lost interest part way through. But again, all that changed for me a couple of years back.
A mentor of mine gave me some financial books to read. One of the first was Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. That started my lustrous career in reading books in the personal / business development category.
I’ve mentioned here before that I regularly have four books going at a time; usually a novel, a personal development, a business development and one other book, sometimes political, sometimes SEO, etc. I try to read 10-20 pages per day in each. Why the four books instead of one at a time? Basically because I tend to get bored when stuck on a single topic for too much time. By reading four different books a I get to mix it up a bit.
While it used to be the novels that held my greatest interest (I’ll read almost anything from Grisham, Crichton, Martini, Dekker, Peretti and Preston/Child) I find that I’m less satisfied with novels as I once was and that the development books are of far more interesting. For the first time I now have a stack of to-be-read development books that stands taller than the stack of to-be-read novels. And I like it.
Books Are the Sweet Nectar of Life
Now that I’m into reading development books, I find my list of books I want to read far exceeds my ability to read them. But that’s OK too because I know that there is no immediate end to my continuing pursuit of information and education.
One other cool thing has happened. I realized that the more I read, the more I want to read. The more information I get, the more I want to get. In other words, information has created a desire for me to get more information.
Essentially, after all these years, I have finally realized how important essential reading really is. So much so, that I have made it an employee mandate. They must always be working through a book, specifically, a book relevant to their position and job responsibilities. Now before you go thinking I’m just a jerk forcing his employees to “take work home with them”, I also require them to spend at least five hours per week on “educational” activities which, in addition to reading books, can also includes reading blogs, forums, attending webinars, audiocasts, etc.
Life is a classroom, but sometimes the lessons have to be learned from the textbooks. We often get caught up in the daily blog/forum reading and neglect good old fashioned books. If you don’t read books you’re missing out on a lot of information that you won’t find in a blog.
You’ve all heard the motto “ABC: Always Be Closing.” More importantly I think we should Always Be Reading so we can Always Be Learning. I’ve never heard anybody regret having more knowledge that helped them build a better business, family, or make themselves a better person.