5 Benefits For Those Who Read


Some treat reading like broccoli at the cafeteria line -- they know it's good for them--but they just can't bring themselves to eat it. Not leaders. Leaders understand Harry Truman's adage:

Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.

Why do leaders read? Because reading comes with a benefits package. When we see the benefits, we know that we've got to read!

What a dead guy taught me about reading

Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century's "prince of preachers" had this to say about books and reading:

“My books are my tools. They also serve as my counsel, my consolation, and my comfort. They are my source of wisdom and the font of my education. They are my friends and my delights. They are my surety, when all else is awry, that I have set my confidence in the substantial things of truth and right.”

Spurgeon died more than one hundred years ago, but his words are fresh. Such is the beauty of reading. Here are the benefits:

Benefit #1 -- Reading will fill your toolbox

When it comes to leadership, give me models and tools. Models help me understand the craft of leadership, tools help me do it. Every profession has its tools: Mechanics, dentists, physicians, engineers, landscapers, preachers. In the same way, leaders at every level have tools to help them get the job done. Here are a few of the tools I need and books that have helped:

What tools do you need to be a better leader? There is a book that will help you!

Benefit #2 -- Reading will bring you counsel and comfort

The River of Doubt is the fascinating and dramatic story of Teddy Roosevelt's journey through the Brazilian rain forest. Following his failed bid for a third presidential term in 1912, Roosevelt teamed with Brazilian explorer Colonel Cândido Rondon. Their journey was adventurous, dangerous, and at times, depressing. In her book, Candice Millard tells us how the president coped:

The expedition was becoming an ordeal of inhuman proportions, testing his strength and resolve as nothing he had encountered in a lifetime of self-imposed physical challenges . . . . Roosevelt sought comfort and distraction in the world that he knew best: his library. [1]

Roosevelt chose key books that helped him weather tough times. Smart leaders do that. As leaders read, they begin to create a storehouse of written treasures that bring comfort and encouragement. The Autobiography of George Müller is one such volume for me. I drew on his words this morning: "the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was to have my soul happy in the Lord." [2]

What book has encouraged you?

Benefit #3 -- Reading will give you an education

Books are a magic carpet ride and a university education. They take me places, introduce me to people, and teach me lessons I need to know but cannot glean by myself in one lifetime. Through books I have crossed the Delaware with Washington, sat in the prison cell of Nelson Mandela, and listened to the insight of Jim Collins. I have learned how organizations work, how leaders refresh themselves, how to unravel mysteries, how to parse verbs, preach, and teach.

What would you like to learn? You can learn it through reading.

Benefit #4 -- Reading will give you wise friends

Leaders need wise friends. My library is full of them. It is an artesian well of wisdom springing forth from a multitude of mentors.

A mentor is a brain to pick, a shoulder to cry on, and a kick in the seat of the pants. My library brings me to their doorstep and I don't need an appointment to talk. I glean from the business acumen of Peter Drucker, the leadership insight of Bill Bradley , the godliness of Jonathan Edwards, and tenacity of Winston Churchill.

I "talk" with the living and the dead. Reading makes this possible.

Benefit #5 -- Reading will strengthen your resolve

Someone said, "Time and truth walk hand in hand." Christian leaders understand this. Reading -- especially reading the Bible -- helps us to live in the certainty of God's loving sovereignty. Our confidence does not rest in our abilities but in His unchanging character and His unchanging word. My reading reminds me of this:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58

Leaders are readers! What book do you need to pick up today? If you are looking for help, visit On My Walk the reading podcast and book review site that will help you capture reading's "AHA! Moments" so you can grow and help others.