I’ve read over 500 books in the last decade. Some were great. Other….ehhh. Working from the premise that reading is an essential ingredient to the fulfilled life, where do you start? Varying reports say 600,000 – 1 million books are published each year. WordPress states that last month, 24 Billion blog pages were visited. That’s a daunting amount of material!
It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it. – Oscar Wilde
If you are developing the habit of reading to better yourself, here are the three types of reading I engage in that can help in your journey.
Whichever component of life you wish to improve; relationships, financial, parenting, spiritually, or health, there is a book waiting for you. A stroll into any bookstore will present you an unending plethora of material to choose from.
A few of my favorites:
- Business: Jim Collins series of ‘Built to Last‘, ‘Good to Great‘, ‘Great by Choice‘, and ‘How the Mighty Fall‘. Some of the most well-researched information on the market.
- Leadership & Management: John Maxwell’s ‘5 Levels of Leadership‘. A lesser known book by David Sokol, ‘Pleased But Not Satisfied‘ is a fantastic work on the management practices of a tycoon.
- Relationships: ‘Men are From Mars, Women Are From Venus’.
- Spirituality: After the Bible, read Billy Graham’s autobiography, ‘Just As I Am‘.
- Personal Development: ‘Think & Grow Rich‘ by Napoleon Hill. ‘As a Man Thinketh‘ by James Allen.
You can’t appreciate what you don’t understand. My wife has been a huge contributor to this. Art was never something I paid much attention to and she has a Fine Arts Degree. Through her, well…dragging me at first to art museums, I’ve since gained knowledge of the craft. As a result, I’m able to recognize a John Singer Sargent or appreciate a Jackson Pollock. (I said appreciate, not, understand, I don’t think I”ll ever understand the money paid for Pollock’s work. But hey, good for him.)
10 years ago, I wouldn’t have even thought about this. In my desire to fast track the business world, everything I read was about “how to.” However, what has given me a more well-rounded life, is an understanding of things outside of my immediate interest. From art to philosophy, stretching to read for the improvement of your whole self, and not just ability is a big leap in personal development.
This is my favorite and most enjoyable. While “how to” books are great, there is nothing better than to read the biography of a remarkable person. Foremost, you glean the insights they have to offer through their experiences. The second part is somewhat magical. I’ve found that, through the use of imagination, I insert myself into their story and see life through their lens. It always lends perspective and clarity.
Why not Fiction?
While I read non-fiction almost exclusively, I do agree that reading fiction unleashes creativity and broadens your world view. As Stephen King says, “Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” I didn’t include it on my list because I couldn’t with integrity give pointers on something I don’t know.
Consequently, I’m somewhat jealous of people who can absorb volumes of fiction. I know from childhood what an experience it can bring. Currently, I have three works by Dostoevsky and 100 Years of Solitude sitting on my living room shelf. I plan on reading at some point this year. We’ll see.
This is my growth plan for reading.
However you approach reading, whats most important, is you read.
Question – What are your favorite ways to learn?