If you read my last post, you already know there is one habit that will make you an international expert in your field in seven years. Even better, you only need one hour a day to leverage this habit to your advantage. This is huge, and it deserves more attention than the passing mention I gave it last week.
That one habit – the one small change you can make starting today – is to read.
Why should you read?
I have always loved to read. It is the one thing I make time for each day. So I was shocked to learn that 42% of college students will never read another book after graduation, and 50% of US adults cannot read an 8th grade level book.
Now, consider this: according to Brian Tracy, reading one book per month will put you in the top 1% of income earners. Reading one book per week will make you one of the smartest and highest paid people in your industry.
If I weren’t already a reader, that would be enough to convince me to start.
When and where should you read?
There are studies that show you retain more information if you read right before resting. Others say you should read first thing in the morning. My opinion is you should do your reading when it works best for you.
I like to take notes as I read, and I get really excited about what I am learning and how I can apply it in my business. For this reason, I prefer to read business books late in the afternoon or early in the evening. I have tried reading first thing in the morning, but I find I get a little crabby when I have to put down my book and get to work. Likewise, reading business-related books right before bed usually amps me up to the point I can’t fall asleep. You will need to play with this a little and find the hour of the day that works best for you.
Do audiobooks count?
Audiobooks have become the multitasker’s best friend. What could be better than listening to a book while driving or doing some of the lower-level tasks in your business, or even vacuuming the living room?
In order for your reading to truly work to your advantage, you must be fully engaged with the material. Most of us are either visual or tactile learners, and audiobooks won’t have the same impact for us that actually reading a book will. An auditory learner will likely benefit more from listening to audiobooks than visually reading a book.
As with the time of day you do your reading, you will need to determine your learning style (if you don’t already know it) and engage with books in the way that works best for you. Whatever method that is, you owe it to yourself to stop the multitasking and give your full attention to your reading.
What should you read?
I enjoy binging on R.D. Brady and Audrey Faye/Debora Geary books as much as the next person, but this isn’t the type of reading you should be doing during your power hour. Save your leisure reading for bedtime or during your rest breaks during the workday.
You will benefit most from reading books specific to your industry, but there are some general business books I think every business owner should read. Here are my top ten:
- Profit First, by Mike Michalowicz
- The Pumpkin Plan, also by Mike Michalowicz
- The E-Myth, or The E-Myth Revisited, by Michael Gerber
- The ONE Thing, by Gary Keller
- Start with Why, by Simon Sinek
- Steal the Show, by Michael Port
- Finance for Non-Financial Managers, by Gene Siciliano
- The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries
- The Synergist, by Les MeKeown
- Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits, by Greg Crabtree
This is by no means an exhaustive list – I had to struggle to limit the list to ten books – but it will get you started.
This may be the easiest small change you can make. Start your power hour now!