I’m an avid reader (you can see what I’m reading right now here) and believe it is one of the keys to being a great leader and pastor. I came across this quote in Hacking Leadership: The 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close and the Secrets to Closing Them Quickly Mike Myatt:
Did you know that the average American reads only one book a year? Worse than this is the fact that 60 percent of average Americans only get through the first chapter. Contrast this with the fact that CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read an average of four to five books a month. Even more impressive is that some of the most successful leaders throughout history were known to read one book every single day. Bottom line: If you’re a leader and not an avid reader, you’re wrong.
If the statistics in the opening paragraph didn’t convince you of the power of reading, here are a few more telling observations for your consideration—according to our surveys at N2growth, a very large common denominator shared by executives who feel that they are not achieving the level of success they feel capable of, is that many of them are “too busy to keep up with their reading.” Hmmm. . . . Furthermore, studies show that active readers are likely to have annual incomes more than five times greater than those who spend little or no time reading. Do I have your attention yet?
Up until a few years ago, Rick Warren read a book every single day. Abraham Lincoln, who only had one year of formal education, credited his appetite for reading with his success. Teddy Roosevelt was rumored to actually read two books a day. Thomas Jefferson had one of the most exhaustive personal libraries of his time prior to donating it to the Library of Congress (which many joked Roosevelt had read). If not clear yet, the theme here is that in order to be a great leader, you absolutely must be a great reader.