Leaders are Readers

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers” ~Harry S. Truman

I developed the habit of feeding my mind with voracious reading since I was a little boy. Whenever I’d go out with my family to the shopping mall, I’d always end up at the bookstore section. It’s not unusual for me to spend at least a couple of hours there.



Over the years, my list of books have grown into libraries. These days, I’d also buy electronic books instead of physical ones. I’ve even subscribed myself to audio books membership with Audible for more than two years. I like listening to audio books when I couldn’t read, like when I’m driving or when I simply wanna rest my eyes on bed.

My books have become my valued personal asset. They’re mostly non-fictions, in the areas of personal development, career, health, sports/fitness, finance, travel and spiritual. If someone comes to my home and see the collections I have (both physical and electronic), he’d be impressed.

Not all readers are leaders

One of my highest value is wisdom. I value knowledge, understanding and discernment above many other qualities. I totally agree that the pen is infinitely mightier than a sword, or a bomb for the matter. And in this age of Information, knowledge abounds to the point of overload, but that’s a subject for another post.

I can’t live without thoughts for food (food for thought?) without a day. I’d go nuts! Yes, it’s true that man does not live by bread alone, that’s me the ancient script was talking about. I constantly crave for meaty ideas to consume, chew and ponder upon. Reading just stimulates my inner systems to be alive. I crave for inspirations. I live for it. Interestingly, the root word inspire literally means breath, to breathe life into something. I need something nutritious that provides useful fuel for self-growth. That’s just who I am.

I came across a Jim Rohn quote a few years back and had instantly became one of my favorites:

“Formal education will make you a living, but self-education will make you a fortune.” ~Jim Rohn

I believe by fortune, it means value that even money cannot buy, like personal character development. But I’m sure, he also meant riches in every sense of the word. Continual learning is important, well beyond our school years.


Leaders Read

I was shocked by a conversation I had with a good friend, years ago. She knew that I used to love reading and spent many hours everyday at it when I was a young student. When I finished my studies and immersed myself into the working life, she asked me “So, are you still into reading?” and gave me that disbelief sort of look when I said “of course” (and gave her that what-kinda-silly-question-is-that kinda look). I was surprised, no, shocked by her reaction; insulted by her question! Why would anyone who leaves school not continue to learn, read and grow? In fact, we need to learn more than ever. We can’t afford not to! School textbooks only get you as far as getting a job. We now need massive amount of knowledge for the abundant life that we need to create for ourselves, and for others!

How can we ever stop reading, learning?!

Unfortunately, that attitude (my friend’s) is more common than I think. I read somewhere that most people who bought books never finish it. Many don’t even get pass the first chapter! Most would hardly step into a bookstore. I recently heard a leader in a local church said, “I don’t normally read”, quite proudly in fact! I don’t know who sold him this leadership idea!

If you like to find ways to develop yourself to be who you’re capable to be, I implore you to read, read, read, to learn, learn, learn. We learn most in life either by doing, or by seeing what others have done. Mostly we do both. We certainly don’t have many lifetimes to learn from mistakes, so we gotta learn from others’ mistakes and experiences, and internalize the information and lessons as our own personal assets. Just like a military commander who can’t afford to lose many of his men’s lives and resources by committing blunders others before him had done, he gotta study their strategies before developing his own.

Develop the habit of seeking after great ideas everyday, journal about them and teach others.

What are you reading today? What book have you bought for the past one month? What did you learn? Did you apply one idea from the book into practice? How about telling someone about that useful idea?

Learn, do, teach. That’s the best that we can do as leaders. Feed your mind, fuel your life. That’s the best for your fit mind, and fit life!



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