I have always been an avid reader. At the age of 5 I ferociously devoured 7 board books a week! That was the limit of the books that you could check out at my small community library. My mother took me to the library every week. I would get the same seven books week after week. At first I just marveled at the pictures peeking over my mother’s lap as she held the books while reading them to me. Then, with practice I began sounding out the words.
While other children my age were just learning their alphabet, I was reading complete sentences. Once started school I jumped ahead to the 2nd grader books, my favorite book was The Frog and The Toad, a series of books of these two best friends, one a frog and the other a toad. The first of the series, by written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel in 1970. I loved the relationship that they both had, sometimes they were happy, sometimes sad, sometimes content and sometimes curious, but always friends.
I no longer read seven books a week, but you can typically find me reading a book and listening to an additional audiobook in my car or to a podcast or two per month. Reading both educates and entertains. For executives it’s a key component to growth and innovation.
I just finished Pound the Stone: 7 Lessons To Develop Grit On The Path To Mastery, by Joshua Medcalf, gifted to me by one of my leadership staff members. Pound the Stone is a fictional story of a young man finding his way to adulthood despite failures and loss with the help of a father-figure mentor who teaches him life’s lessons with a storytellers yarn.
I typically choose books that help me to be a better leader, stay on top of my management game and give me tips to share with my staff. I also read for fun. Mysteries with a comical heroine and historical fiction that provides a little levity with the facts of the subject matter –I’ve even written one of those. There are even a few books that go back and re-read from time to time:
• The 1-Minute Manager by Kevin Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
• The 7 Habits of a Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey
• The Servant Leader, by James A. Autry
• Leaders East Last, by Simon Sinek
I think you can tell a lot about a person by what their reading and listening too. There are great online videos and podcast available that can be an asset in every leader’s arsenal.
Lately I’ve been listening to Lisa Nichols, a powerful speaker and transformational leader who keeps me pumped up to live my best life, but I’m also obsessed by organization, both at work and home. My go to is Nikki Boyd (At Work with Nikki and At Home with Nikki). Yes, I too love labeling containers in my pantry and fridge – it give me a sense of order and accomplishment.
This year, I encourage you to add new genres, new authors and new streams to your list of personal and professional development options. If it's true that you are what you eat, then what you read and listen to may be what you project.