Read like a (future) leader

How to get started with the virtuous loop of learning from books

You only have one life to live, and there’s a limit to how much you can accomplish through trial and error. Books are a great way to observe and model timeless lessons and accelerate your growth.

HOWEVER, that can be intimidating. When you don’t have rock solid reading habits, every book may feel like a future failure.

Here’s the cheat 🍪

Reading a book cover-to-cover shouldn’t be your goal. That works for recreational reading, but not for self-improvement. Instead, as soon as you discover an insight, stop and apply it to your life/work.

Let’s try it.

Pick up a frequently-recommended book, like Atomic Habits, and read until you find an insight that speaks to you. Here’s an example from the book:

“Success is the product of daily habits—not once-in-a-lifetime transformations.”

You might read this, and think, OK, what are my habits or goals? Are they weeks-long (losing some weight) or years-long goals (like getting a promotion)? How can I shrink the scope of those goals to a sustainable DAILY habit? If its weight loss, maybe I can start to count calories, or create a daily walking goal.

Once you’ve decided how that insight is going to manifest itself in your day-to-day life, and have started to realize the benefit, guess what? You’ve closed the circle, and you didn’t have to see the back cover of the book to do that.

Not all insights will bear fruit, but you have more opportunities by approaching self-improvement this way. Try out new ideas hundreds of times per year instead of dozens, and benefit from your reading sooner and more frequently.

Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash