Leaders Are Readers: The Enduring Tension Between Time, Desire, and Knowledge

Social media and news outlets are teeming with stories about celebrity business successes and executives who swear that their key to success has been their voracious reading habit—or, if they don’t attribute their success largely to that, they still do it. Many claim that the trade-off between time and the knowledge gained for their endeavors is more than worth the trade. If you don’t believe us, google “What famous people read,” and see who pops up: while the emphasis on fame is superficial, you’ll get the point. A broad swath of unnaturally successful and well-known people read.

But what if you haven’t yet hatched your billion-dollar startup or been invited to head a Fortune company, and you are still run off your feet by the grind of the average week? You’re not alone: an increasing body of evidence points to the American workforce as the most overworked in the developed world.

How the Busy Person Reads

So how do you find time to read and to absorb new ideas that will keep you fresh and informed? Fortunately, with the advance of technology, there are more avenues to read easily than have ever been available in human history. This access to high-quality information is unprecedented, and with a little creativity, you can squeeze reading into an already packed week.


Whether on Kindle, iPad, Surface, Galaxy, or others, you can access millions of titles for periodicals, research papers, and books. But the advantage here isn’t just in the ready access to material (although the ease of access cuts out a physical purchase or trip to the library, both of which take time); it is in the level of portability. While traveling with printed material isn’t horrible, for a person in a rush, pages get crushed, things get shoved to the bottom of the bag, or they just don’t get touched. When you have your tablet already in hand, instead of surfing the web for ten minutes, read a few pages of an interesting book. Reading has been known to lower both heart rate and blood pressure, so there are health benefits, too!


We love the convenience of Audible, Amazon’s audiobook subscription, but there are plenty of other sources for good audiobooks, including the library. A book on your smart phone and a few minutes in the car every day adds up over time. If you have a long commute or are in the car a lot, with consistent listening, it would be possible for you to get through a forty-hour book in a little over a month—the equivalent of around one thousand pages! If you enjoy your reader, your commute may even become some of the pleasant time in your day instead of time simply to stare at someone else’s rear bumper.


Let’s face it, if you’re as busy as we suspect you are, you don’t want to make the investment of an audiobook, a Kindle edition, or a paperback if you’re not sure you are going to read it. Even if you do intend to read a book, the insights there may be valuable to you now… so why wait to benefit? A brilliant concept for boiling down business and development publications into videos of roughly twelve minutes apiece, readitfor.me gives you the essence of a book so that you maximize a quarter of an hour by learning something new without even having to pick the book up. Then later, if you have the chance to do so, you’re conceptually one step ahead. We love readitfor.me so much, we have partnered with them to offer a selection of three curated books each month to our readers.  Enjoy our gift to you, a free subscription to readitfor.me and consume the essence of that next essential read in less than twelve minutes.    

Closing Thoughts 

The truth is that reading takes time, but you can trick time by cheating it of unnecessary page flipping, errands to pick up books, time on Amazon, etc. by accessing these ready sources to keep you reading as much in your limited time as possible. Reading something interesting will take you into a state of flow, where you lose track of time in what you’re doing, and this is deeply mentally healthy. So get reading!