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For years, there have been many studies that have come out showing the benefits of children reading. As a parent, there’s no denying that reading has helped my children learn more about the world and themselves. Especially in the age of so much technology, there has been a push back to the simple such as reading with your kids before bed.
However, when it comes to adults, we don’t always seem to have the same attitude. Adults are busy and have too many things to do. As someone with multiple companies, home-schooled children and an entrepreneurial podcast, reading can sometimes be the last thing on my mind. At the end of a long day or work, it can feel arduous, so it makes sense why we don’t encourage reading for ourselves the way we do with our children.
Yet, I believe reading can benefit adults just as much as children, if not even more. As an entrepreneur, you will hear time and time again that learning is essential: learning from your mistakes, learning from your mentors, learning from seminars. In previous articles, I have discussed how learning from sources like entrepreneurial groups or mentors can help you avoid or recover from mistakes. The same goes for learning from books.
My goal is not to dismiss other forms of learning. I believe seminars, podcasts, articles and videos online also do a great job of introducing concepts to new entrepreneurs. Having access to a great mentor is a fortunate and completely valid source of advice and information.
The reason why I’m focusing on reading, in particular, is for a few reasons. The first is for all of the usual benefits: I’ve heard it said that reading could help you focus better, help you sleep better at night compared to the blue light of technology and help your brain form new patterns.
Second, when it comes to entrepreneurial books, there is unlimited knowledge. There are thousands and thousands of books out there on any topic you can find related to owning a business. Each year, new books come out with new theories. In other words, you will never dry up your source of knowledge; you can always go back and find more.
Not only are there plenty of books to choose from, but each book offers a new perspective, a new way of looking at things. I find this helpful because you can synthesize the information from multiple books and develop your own beliefs. Or you might start to identify patterns in what different authors say, and that repeated confirmation could point to a universally beneficial behavior. Whether you pick the best from each book or implement what multiple books confirm, you will be approaching your business with a more holistic, well-rounded and well-informed perspective.
In my opinion, podcasts are another great source of information and different ideas. I host my own entrepreneurial podcast, and over the course of five years, I’ve learned so much. But while podcasts provide great value, I believe they should be supplemented with books and vice versa. Podcasts suit your busy schedule, where you can play an episode while you get ready in the morning or walk your dog in the evenings. However, books provide a depth that I don’t feel can be replaced.
In a book, the author can delve into the concepts thoroughly and explain all the facets of a topic. There’s simply more room to explain not just a subject but also all of its layers. When you’re running a business, there are many incidents in which you will need to know an area inside and out. Research is a large part of being a successful founder, and if you only have a surface level of knowledge, it will show in your company.
There’s no shame in not understanding something at first as an entrepreneur, especially when you’re starting, but there is loss — and your business will only suffer — when you choose not to educate yourself. Reading could actually save you time in the long run by providing information that helps you avoid future mistakes. In other ways, reading books by experts can give you, in minutes, the knowledge it took someone else decades to learn the hard way.
Lastly, I want to address one of the biggest hurdles of reading: finding the time. As reading is so important for your growth, both personally and professionally, I would argue that you should make time. It’s imperative to fit your schedule around some reading time if you can’t fit reading into your current schedule. Perhaps you get into bed a half hour early at night and read a chapter. Perhaps you take some time in your morning routine to read a couple of pages. Whatever the case, you don’t need to read hours and hours every day if that’s not feasible for you. What’s important is finding a reading schedule you can execute consistently.