The One Where: We Explain the Benefits of Reading
There are a number of benefits to reading business books, we should hope so – we have created a business out of it! Here are some of the benefits of reading business books.
Through reading widely, business books will provide you with business acumen. Defined by Wikipedia, Business Acumen is keenness and quickness in understanding and dealing with a "business situation" in a manner that is likely to lead to a good outcome. Books provide this in abundance. That’s why we read them and why we say ‘reading’ and ‘learning’ interchangeably.
Insights and Experiences
Authors of business books are generally specialists in their field. They have been there, done that and are providing you with the benefits of their learning. You are being taught by a specialist who has learnt their trade over a period of time, they are teaching you X number of years’ worth of research, in 300 pages. This is incredible. Tell us another resource that yields this return.
Business books provide you with knowledge, they are a fountain of knowledge. Do you want to understand Porters 5 forces? How to become more productive? Or how to lead teams? There are books out there to help you with all that. Books are fantastic resources for learning. Elon Musk took this learning to a new level when he answered to the question “how do you know how to build rockets?” with “I read books”.
Through reading business books, you will get ideas that you can apply to your own career. Whether these are opportunities or challenges, books have the ability to make you think and draw your own conclusions.
The context and story within the business book, can open your mind to new choices which you may not have considered – a different perspective and a different way of thinking.
Business books, especially those written by people, or on people you admire, these books provide you with an understanding of how these people achieved what they did – our favourite being Jeff Bezos. How they saw solutions to problems people didn’t even know about and the traits they demonstrated, it provides a snippet into their mindset. When you understand what they went through it helps to change your mindset into thinking you could achieve the same.
The saying from Avelo Roy:
- If you hang around five confident people, you will be the sixth.
- If you hang around five millionaires, you will be the sixth.
- If you hang around five broke people, you will be the sixth.
Through reading specialists’ books, those at the forefront of their industry, you will learn from them. They are imparting their understanding onto you, you will be the next one.
Through reading business books, you will be on top of any new trends, developments and cutting-edge research. Understanding these, and being on top of them, will make you a better thinker, therefore, better decision maker as you will be making decisions based off a much wider knowledge base than others.
Reading provides you with the authors perspective. When you compare these to your perspective, they may differ. However, you can draw your own opinions and work through the different perspectives to understand how they differ. This skill is probably one you wouldn’t even realise, until we just pointed it out of course, but through having two perspectives, and working through the differences – it helps you to appreciate the opinions of others, which builds empathy and makes meetings, decision making and feedback much more productive – all of these themselves have been shown to reduce stress, improve relationships and inform your moral compass.
Reading itself stimulates creativity because your imagination forms what the words say. When you read more, your creative mind is still flowing – this means when you start problem solving your creative brain kicks in and you can start to see solutions where others can’t.
Reading regularly makes you smarter. But it also improves your reasoning skills – think about it, when you try and decipher something the author wrote you are consciously figuring out what they meant by that. Furthermore, when learning something new, and determining how to apply this new learning, you are analysing the best course of action.
Use it, or lose it
Joseph Addision once wrote, “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body”. More modern research has shown, reading activates a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain – as you read more, these get stronger. Addision was correct back in the 17th century – if we don’t exercise our mind through reading, we may lose cognitive abilities over time.
With social media notifications and multitasking, Microsoft found that people generally lose their attention after 8 seconds. One of the benefits of reading, is that it helps maintain your focus for extended periods of time. This trains you to focus on only one task, which then enables you to produce better, quicker results. Cal Newport’s Deep Work book explain this concept more.
Reading reduces stress. The University of Sussex found that 6 minutes of reading reduced stress levels by 68%! This is more than walking, video games or having a tea or coffee.
We talk about accelerating the learning curve a lot on Lead the Disruption. What do we mean by this?
It is a combination of all the above. If you learn from specialists, the lessons they have learnt, they will pass onto you. The books take you through the authors thought pattern and their findings, so you know what not to do and what to do and the reasons behind those.
This will prevent you from needing to make the same mistakes they made before they got to the right answer, you can go straight to the right answer. This allows you to accelerate the learning curve. You don’t need to try 6 solutions to get to the 7th – you go straight to the 7th. Imagine reading the lessons learnt from a project before the project started – it almost feels like you are cheating.
Books are magic. Try reading them for a month, two months and see the benefits that they bring to your life.