“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers” – Harry S Truman
Great thought and quote by a great man, President Truman. Yes, leaders are readers is proven more obviously now than ever, we know the big names such as Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey and many more Entrepreneurs, Business Leaders, and Leaders in other areas, who share their reading list or recommendations for the season every year and we also find a number of articles on the internet that detail their reading habits.
But personally, I think it is also true in the day and age to say that “Readers are Leaders”. What I mean is that everyone is a leader of his or her life. Like famous entrepreneurs and leaders, even a common or an ordinary person faces various challenges in his or her life. And incorporating reading as a habit provides a fresh perspective to the reader, opens the mind with new ideas, helps in solving challenges that looked difficult or even impossible.
You don’t have to be a famous leader to read. A leader definitely has to read, is agreed, mainly because a leader is at the top of the organisation or a society, and there is no company when you are at the top, you are alone there, you are by yourself there. As a leader you may have many managers below to help you with your plans, but some of those plans may be a solution to some challenge or problem, which they will help in execution, but the plan has to come from the leader, and for which reading is often a solution.
Similarly, as an ordinary person you are the leader of your life, and hence this leadership part of your life is also a lonely journey, which you alone have to plan, whether times our good or bad. And reading same kind of benefits to an ordinary person as it does to a famous personality. Hence upon taking up reading as a daily habit, if you are not becoming a famous leader or personality in your professional field, its fine, you are still a leader in your field, as you are able to solve problems in your business and life, by reading, just like the famous personalities do. So, to me “Readers are Leaders” is a refined and more apt quote to abide with.
My Reading Journey
I picked up reading in 2015. Have become an avid reader since then. Cannot say that I am consistently increasing my reading goals year on year but have been reading good stuff year on year for sure. Back in 2015 I moved out with my family from a joint family living to an independent family living, which got me space and time to sit down with a book, without interruptions or disturbances. I had also reached a point in my life where I didn’t enjoy the company of friends as much as I use to earlier, and I was also looking for more meaningful companionship. And I found it in books, in reading. While Readers are Leaders and similar quotes were found on the internet. I found “Books Don’t Betray” to be as true. I have mostly been reading non-fiction, business, biographies, self-development, philosophy, history and spiritual genres. I would love to share the link to my Goodreads profile, but I am not able to. You can look up for Dhiran or Dhiran Shah on Goodreads.
Why is Reading important for Entrepreneurs or Leaders?
Just like the way leaders are alone at the top of an organisation chart, similarly entrepreneurs are alone in the entrepreneurial journey. Reading from other experiences via a book, is a good way to get skilled in handling challenges or problems, executing business effectively and efficiently. Reading helps one in reducing stress, helps one to relax, helps one to improve concentration, memory and critical thinking skills, enhances creativity and imagination, improves vocabulary and communication. Research confirms that reading 7 business books a year helps one in increase his or her earnings by 2.3%.
As per Pew Research, an average person reads approximately 17 books a year. Successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Investor Warren Buffet, are way beyond that average. Bill Gates reads 50 books a year, that’s about 1 book every week. Warren Buffet spends quite a lot of time reading whether that is at work or at home, about 6 hours a day and also advises to read at least 500 pages per day. Elon Musk attributes his passion of achieving big goals to his habit of reading. He also claims being raised by books. At a time in his life, he was used to reading 2 books a day. Reading has helped him to start and run three successful companies – Tesla, SpaceX and Solar City, each in entirely different domains. Reading shapes ones thinking and actions. Besides Entrepreneurial success, reading has also contributed towards healthcare with the help of Bibliotherapy, which is basically a prescription of relatable reading material or books to solve an individual’s problem, by a therapist.
In terms of countries that read the most, India ranks first on the list, with its citizens reading for 10 hours and 42 minutes per week.
In terms of famous people who read a lot the list includes people from all backgrounds – Entrepreneurs, CEO’s, Sportsmen, Politicians, Artists and Activists.
In terms of most number book lovers in a country, Estonia tops the list, with individual households having approximately 200 plus books.
In terms of the largest book productions in the world, USA leads the way with 26% of the global market, followed by China, Germany and Japan.
In terms of City of Books, Sharjah in the UAE tops the list, with most number of book related organisations and events.
In terms of Village of Books, Bhilar in Maharashtra, India and Hay-on-Wye, a Welsh town in Britain are known for their bookshops and libraries.