Read to Lead

If you are reading this post right now I can guarantee one thing about you: You Are a Leader. To lead simply means “to show the way,” and all of us are doing this in SOME facet of our life. Whether it is by leading a team in business or by being a parent and leading a young mind into development.

As Ryan Holiday put it, “In this era, simply picking up a book seems revolutionary, but it is not enough. We must read to lead.”

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We are in a relational economy, meaning we cannot easily get by personally or professionally if we are not good with people. See the post on “doing people better.”Whether it is a conversation with a patient in your business or a potential future in-law, building relationships comes down to one thing:


What better way to bridge conversation than being well-versed in a subject that that person knows well. BOOM instant credibility! This is one of the many places where reading books is a powerful ally to growth.

Books are a lot like dumbbells. They are an amazing tool when you use them for what they are intended for, yet useless when they are not implemented properly. My College Cross Country running coach told me to never go out for a run without first stopping to ask myself “what exactly am I looking to get out of this run.”

I’ve taken this advice to many other aspects of life, including reading. When planning your 2016 reading list start by asking yourself what you want to get out of it. If you’re looking strictly to immerse yourself into a fantasy world that can flex your creative muscles, find some fiction that you resonate with. If you are looking to go down the rabbit hole of quantum physics to better understand the inner workings of all things around you, then you’ll want to absorb knowledge very differently.

When you are reading to LEAD, you approach books differently.

Just like waking up to a new day, you can be owned by the book or you can own the book. Here’s what I mean:

A book is set up systematically to get you from A to B, start to finish. Many of us want to get the desired result faster, so what we recommend may be counter intuitive. Go ruin the ending.

That’s right, after reading a bit of the introduction as to WHY the book was written, go and read summary notes and concluding thoughts that will give you a bird’s eye view into the depth of content.

If you decide this book is a must, start reading through the chapters, and document OR note tab some of the key concepts you want to retain down the road. Ryan Holiday suggests to put a mark into each page you want to reference with a concept or quote and come back exactly one week later to write everything down on Q cards. Then file these Q cards into categories in a file folder for quick access for a future article, video or speech.

We want to make sure the key concepts are documented as your keen mind will soon forget many of them upon completion. As they say, “The dullest of ink is better than the sharpest of minds.”

The next move is to go and search the references. Read at least a dozen of the books referenced to write this book and follow the same process of documenting key concepts.

Soon you will see overlap and the network of connections so vast that you could teach this subject.

If you continue reading at this voracious level, you will be consuming books in a much smarter way, developing a depth of understanding much more than ever before.

The new generation needs these kinds of leaders, will you be the change?

See also in Leadership: How to be a better leader with the right questions.

Tell us what book you are currently digesting!

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