It is generally agreed that the most successful people have some things in common. They tend to be good listeners, they have a regular morning routine set up, and they are often avid readers.
Reading in general – whether it is the morning news, the latest bestseller, or even the opinions of those that you tend to disagree with – help to expand your thinking, expose you to new ideas, and allow you to make creative connections that you otherwise might not have thought of.
So, what should you be reading that can help advance your professional life?
Unfortunately, there is no the magic combination of library books that will help you take the next step in your career. It has a lot to do with the industry you are in, the type of work that you do on an everyday basis, and how you tend to think about things as an individual. The most important thing is that you find some time each day to dedicate to this activity.
Here are some good places to start.
Read the Dailies
No matter what industry you are in or how long you have been at your current position, everyone can benefit from being more aware with what is going on in the world around them. For example, healthcare programs in Europe might spark a new idea for how we could be doing things better at home. Reading the daily news – including different papers – also provides additional context for how others (e.g. your boss, vendors, or clients) might be reacting to different topics.
Look Toward the Classics
Before everything was reduced to 40-character tweets and news headlines, ideas took longer to formulate and people had to commit more effort to digesting an idea. Beyond the subject matter itself, this is an important skill to hone. It helps with your attention span, your ability to shape an idea from multiple angles, and to tell stories in a compelling way. Don’t disregard a book just because it’s “old” and won’t be “relevant” anymore. There are still many great lessons to learn.
There are probably a lot of people thinking, “Sure, this all sounds great. But between home, work, friends, and family, where am I supposed to find the time to curl up with a good book?” Most of us are swamped. When we have an extra hour to ourselves, we would rather fit in a tv show or a bubble bath than a book. That’s fair. So instead of finding a big chunk of time, look for the nooks and crannies to fit in things like podcasts. When you are on the treadmill or your morning commute, just pop in your earphones, close your eyes, and expand your mind.
Find Inspiration in Your Every Day
Again, the same books will not spark the same great ideas in everyone. You need to cast your net wide and see what types of materials really get your creative juices flowing. By discovering what is most compelling to you – as opposed to dedicating yourself to a list of the top ten greatest books for X – you can shape your own mind and grow as an individual.