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Read for 15 Minutes Every Day

Thursday, 31 January 2019 Posted in Staying Sane, Business Strategy

Read for 15 Minutes Every Day

You probably remember that kid back in school with the weird haircut and the big glasses. You probably also remember they always seemed to have a book in their hand. They were the eggheads or the bookworms, reading everything from Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick to Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time. When other kids were learning to read they were reading to learn.

Nowadays who has time for that? We’re busy people. We read to know what we need to know and we move on. After all, what does theoretical physics have to do with the monthly expense reports cluttering up our inbox?

Maybe more than you might think, because ideas can come from the most unexpected places. Procter & Gamble, for instance, found a way to reduce the wrinkles in shirts fresh out of the dryer by examining a polymer invented for use in computer chips. PepsiCo found a way to cut the sodium in its snack foods by looking into the work research scientists were doing on bone disease.

So if ideas can come from anywhere, why not broaden your knowledge base and give yourself a greater chance of coming across the unexpected? That’s exactly what reading 15 minutes a day can give you.

There are several other good reasons, too. For one thing, those 15 minutes away from the grind of the job help you relax and refocus. So, yes step on deck with Captain Ahab as he tracks down the white whale or walk into the mystical world of Harry Potter— whatever your literary flavor of choice might be! It’s a few minutes of precious downtime that might be just the thing to get you ready for that all-important conference tomorrow.

Reading will also make you a more-rounded person. We all admire the intense focus and dedication to their craft that experts have. That focus comes with a price, however. Ask them a question outside their field of expertise and you’re likely to be met with a blank stare. Don’t be that expert. Everyone admires someone who’s good at their job, but don’t focus your attention so narrowly that you can’t see beyond it.

So start reading for 15 minutes a day, if you haven’t already. Study the inner workings of the Roman Empire or take a behind-the-scenes look at how some famous inventors got their start. As a business leader you need to be more than a specialist. You need a broad perspective in order to see trends and to anticipate problems.

Reading helps broaden your horizons so you can be better prepared to meet the challenges ahead. Besides that, it’s also fun!

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