He’s increasingly an outlier. Even as global literacy rates are high (84%), people are reading less and less deeply.
The National Endowment for the Arts has found that “[r]eading has declined among every group of adult Americans,” and for the first time in American history, “less than half of the U.S. adult American population is reading literature.”
Literacy has been improving in countries like India and China, but that literacy may not translate into more or deeper reading.
This is terrible for leadership, where my experience suggests those trends are even more pronounced.
Business people seem to be reading less — particularly material unrelated to business.
But deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness.
The leadership benefits of reading are wide-ranging.
Evidence suggests reading can improve intelligence and lead to innovation and insight.
Some studies have shown, for example, that reading makes you smarter through “a larger vocabulary and more world knowledge in addition to the abstract reasoning skills.”
Reading — whether Wikipedia, Michael Lewis, or Aristotle — is one of the quickest ways to acquire and assimilate new information. Many business people claim that reading across fields is good for creativity.
And leaders who can sample insights in other fields, such as sociology etc.
Reading has many benefits, but it is underappreciated as an essential component of leadership development.
So, where have you seen reading benefit your life?
What suggestions would you have for others seeking to grow their leadership through reading?
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