By Ozioma Ubabukoh
The average CEO reads 60 books a year, because he or she knows that the key to success is constant learning.
When was the last time you read a book, or a substantial magazine article?
If you are one of countless people who don’t make a habit of reading regularly, you might be missing out: You should see books as a hidden treasure. Think about it.
Mentors are great in person but some of the great mentors are no longer alive – Benjamin Graham, Sam Walton, Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller.
Talking about Sam Walton, a man who made $160bn for himself, more than all the other billionaires, basically, combined. He wrote a book on his death bed. How many people have read it? It is a tragedy that not every business person reads a $5 book by a man who built an empire. It’s because the modern education system has turned people off from books. You have to rewire your brain.
In Nigeria, the best entrepreneurs or chief executive officers that have featured on one of DStv’s most-watched programmes – Under40CEOs – are those of them who read voraciously. The Managing Director, Media Perspective, Dr Tayo Oyedeji, stood out. The Executive Director, Lagos State Employment Trust Fund, Mr Akin Oyebode, was also exceptional. The programme anchor and serial entrepreneur, Mr Familusi Akin Babajide, has remained quintessential.
Oyedeji, Oyebode, Babajide and those who read have been known to have more finely-tuned brains than those who prefer more passive activities. So, any entrepreneur hoping to improve his or mind psychologically might want to think about taking up the habit of regular reading.
If you wonder how reading books can benefit you as an entrepreneur, here is a list of 11 good reasons why you should read books every day:
- Gives knowledge
One of the biggest reasons why we read books is to gain knowledge. Books are a rich source of information.
Reading books on varied subjects imparts information and increases the depth about the subject as well.
Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy.
The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you are to tackle any challenge you will ever face.
Remember that although you might lose everything else – your job, your possessions, your money, even your health – knowledge can never be taken from you.
- Improves your brain
Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy .
Studies have shown that reading has strong positive effects on the brain.
By staying mentally stimulated, you can prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This is because, keeping your brain active prevents it from losing power.
The brain is a muscle and like other muscles in the body, exercise keeps it strong and healthy.
Similar to solving puzzles, reading books is a great way to exercise your brain and keep it healthy.
Reading is healthy, just like orange juice or a morning run, so try to find time for it.
- Improves focus and concentration
In our busy lifestyles, our attention is drawn in different directions each day as we try to multi-task through each day.
In a single five-minute span, the average person will divide his or her time between working on a task, checking e-mail, chatting with a couple of people (via whatsapp etc.), keeping an eye on Facebook feed, monitoring their smartphone, and interacting with co-workers.
All this multi-tasking can lead to high stress level and low productivity.
When you read a book, all your attention is focused on what you’re reading. Your eyes and thoughts are immersed in the details of the story.
This improves your concentration and focus. Read a book at least 20 minutes a day, and you will be amazed at how much more focused you will be.
- Improves memory
When you read books, you have to remember the setting of the book, the characters, their backgrounds, their history, their personalities, the sub-plots and so much more.
That is a fair bit to remember, but brains are marvellous things and can remember these things with relative ease.
As your brain learns to remember all this, your memory becomes better. What’s more, with every new memory you create, you create new pathways and this strengthens the existing ones.
- Build self-esteem
By reading many books, you communicate better and become more informed on various areas of life. All these translate into a higher self-esteem.
Since you have confidence in yourself and your ability to deliver, you become more productive and overall a better person.
- Reduces stress
Reading has a positive effect on the body as well. Reading a book can relieve stress better than taking a walk or listening to music. According to studies, those who read more tend to have lower stress levels.
No matter how much stress you have at work, in your personal relationships, or countless other issues faced in daily life, it all just slips away when you lose yourself in a great story.
- Sleep better
Poor sleep leads to low productivity. This is why so many experts recommend that you establish regular de-stressing routine before you sleep to help calm your mind and therefore sleep better.
Reading a book is one of the best ways to calm yourself before you go to bed.
Instead of watching television or spending too much time on your smartphone while in bed, take some time to read.
The bright lights from the electronic devices will only affect your sleep. On the other hand, a book will help you sleep better.
- Improves creativity
The biggest difference between reading and watching television is that reading gives you the scope to unleash your creativity.
The more you read, the more you learn new things. New thoughts always stretch our minds to rediscover life in new and better ways.
- Improves writing skills
Reading a well-written book affects your ability to become a better writer.
Just like artists influence others, so do writers. Many successful authors gained their expertise by reading the works of others.
So, if you want to become a better writer, start by learning from previous masters.
- Improves communication skills
Improving your vocabulary and writing skills goes hand in hand with developing your communication skills.
The more you read and write, the better you communicate. Increasing your ability to communicate, improves your relationships and even makes you a better manager or student.
- Better Writing Skills
This goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of your vocabulary: exposure to published, well-written work has a noted effect on one’s own writing, as observing the cadence, fluidity, and writing styles of other authors will invariably influence your own work.
In the same way that musicians influence one another, and painters use techniques established by previous masters, so do writers learn how to craft prose by reading the works of others.
- Vocabulary Expansion
Reading improves your vocabulary and command on the language. As you read, you come across new words, idioms, new words, phrases and writing styles.
The more you read, the more words you gain exposure to, and they’ll inevitably make their way into your everyday vocabulary.
This increases exponentially with the more volumes you consume, giving you a higher level of vocabulary to use in everyday life.
Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help in any profession. It could even aid in your career, as those who are well-read, well-spoken, and knowledgeable on a variety of topics tend to get promotions more quickly (and more often) than those with smaller vocabularies.
Reading books is also vital for learning new languages, as non-native speakers gain exposure to words used in context, which will ameliorate their own speaking and writing fluency.
- Reading challenges your perspective
When you experience life through the eyes of another, you encounter diverse angles on life’s most common situations.
Talented authors will naturally inspire empathy for their characters, and empathizing with viewpoints different from your own can feel uncomfortable. Extremely uncomfortable.
While reading doesn’t mean that you’ll agree with different perspectives, it does offer you the opportunity to understand them.
- A fruitful hobby
Reading books keep us occupied. It also leads to a fruitful use of time.
It not only helps us get rid of worries, but also diverts our mind from monotony. Books are excellent sources of recreation.
Someone who loves to read can never get bored, as this is a perfect way to rid of boredom.
As books take you to another different world, you relax and rejuvenate.
- Portable entertainment
Books are portable and light in weight. They are not like bulky computers and games that take too much space.
With a book, you can pack it in your handbag and easily carry it everywhere.
You can read anywhere, in a plane as you travel, in your bed before you sleep, under a shade as you relax, or even during your holiday.