How much time should you allocate to reading (or listening to) business books?
I think reading (or personally, I prefer audio books) is a great way to continue to learn, which is important to all business owners. But with the large amount of work we all have on our plates, it's often hard finding the time to dedicate to reading. Curious how much others read and what you think is a good balance.
“Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.” - Zig Ziglar
Most of my business books are audio books because I listen to them when driving. Especially long drives or business trips. Books that aren't available in audio, I normally dedicate about 20 to 30 minutes first thing in the morning to read them.
My routine is to always have one book on the go at any one time that I read cover to cover. Usually the subject matter is varied, so one month its business studies and the next two its technical reference works. Currently I've a library of about 300 books (10% business, 10% language ref, 80% tech ref), and I'm friends with most of them.
I allocate about 40 minutes a day for my books. This doesn't include all the reading time on the Internet which is a great source of business info, usually not in book form.
Mary, I do agree that allocating time to soak up information is tough. This is a matter of "What information are you willing to put into practice"? Also it is a matter of doing whatever it takes until success happens. Some people are conference and webinar junkies. They thrive on hearing the latest and best, but never put anything into practice from the seminar they attended 5 years ago. A lot of information feels good to hear, but putting successful ideas into practice is often never convenient. My co-founder (acquired recently) said something to me that has really helped speed up my productivity. He said when building a "business culture" it is a priority to base all company decisions on "action first-emotion later".
-Hope that helps,
at least 1 hour of improvement reading daily...more on the weekends and certainly with excessive note taking and full implementation....
Yes agree it is interesting and there is no right or wrong answer - my car doesn't go anywhere without a audio personal development cd - as Jim Rohn and others have said turning your car into a 'in car university' can mean you learn on the move - getting into the habit of reading 10 pages of a great development book every day - means you can read several books every year without really noticing! But for the serious leaner reading an inspirational book last thing at night and first thing in the morning helps get the mindset right.
Who said you have to read to continue to learn?
In my experience, meeting with other successful entrepreneurs, and making business decisions (and ultimately learning from success or failure following these decisions) can be much more valuable, than reading.
Reading is important, but due to lack of time (every entrepreneur's challenge), I take as much time as needed to research and read about most important issues and challenges I might be facing at any given moment. In other words - read strategically.
I subscribe to multiple marketing groups and online publications so that I get all the latest news and articles related to marketing. When I see something of interest I can save it for later or if it's really relevant I will print it and add to my collection of references. I would suggest allocating your coffee break each day to take the time to browse and read industry related publications-those 15 minutes each day really add up!
I would like to devote at least 2 hours to 5 hours per week on self improvement, meditation and life enhancing reading. The amount of time you invest into reinventing yourself and increasing the quality of life that you live will translate into your business quality and networking opportunities.
In Reality I find that the only way to remain solid in the reading is to consistently devote 1 hour each evening before I rest.
Great question, Thank you.
I used to rely on travel time to keep up on my reading, but since my business travel has waned, so has my reading! I need to create a new reading ritual.
I do find myself watching online videos from Inc., Ted, Stanford Technology Ventures, etc. for inspiration.
I love to read business books as a way to spark my imagination, learning new ideas, methods, strategies, and research. I fly a lot and always enjoy reading on the plane. My mind tends to get overwhelmed so soon I'm writing pages and pages in one of my legal tablets. But it's that time spent reading, thinking, writing, and dreaming that can lead to amazing things!
The answer to this is surely as many as you can so long as you are able to build this personal development time into your charge out rates.
If your weekly income requirement is £1000, full time delivery would mean you need to charge £25 per hour. If you spend 10 hours a week reading to improve your knowledge and ability to deliver to clients you will need to be able to charge £33 per hour to maintain your income. What hourly charge will your market bear to keep you busy and earning the income you need to maintain your lifestyle?
I do read, mostly blogs since they are not as long as a book :) - but I also have read some books from friends of mine who are authors and some that are National speakers. If I like the subject matter, I will take a Saturday or sometimes Sunday afternoon and read the book entirely on one sitting.. I can't read a book for 15 min and then get back to it the next day, my mind does not work that way.
In my opinion, "experience" is the best guide one can get, especially in matters of business ownership. Business and self-help books make for an interesting read, however battles that we face everyday end up teaching us a lot more...
There is one other thing I wish to list here, apart from what Piet had mentioned.
There are two equal halves to considered.
1. The first and the foremost will be the "CUSTOMERS" - Listening to them would lift oneself in their business or what they do.
2. The other is your "COMPETITORS" - Probably, you have to win them over at the race (i.e., the business niche) that you have stepped in.
Apart from the books, pragmatic incidents would help us to gain a better realization :)
As an entrepreneur and researcher, I read a lot ... books (~1/month), magazines (many), journal articles (even more), blogs (occasionally). However, you really can't beat experience and personal interactions for learning purposes that will stick. An hour-long meeting with a successful serial entrepreneur or well-respect business mentor will likely net you much greater benefit than hours of poring through books. The experience will also likely remain for a lifetime. On the other hand, much of the info from a book that was read 3 years ago is likely all but forgotten - or at least a little blurry.
Mary, two things, read more early in your career, perhaps twenty books per year however much time that takes. To find your voice, develop your business philosophy, you need to read extensively. Don't read for a formulaic answer, read for ideas, try them on and see if they fit.
Two, business books are just the ones in the business book section. One of my favorites in Money Ball - I found the concepts relevant for any talent development. The history section is filled with business books.
I would recommend podcast downloads and anything you can take on the go more than reading. I love to read and have hundreds of books, but with a young famiy and running my own business, I find that the time I have to focus is on the road between visits, using my iphone w headsets while exercising, or even listening to a podcast while cleaning around the house. Another thought is limit the amount of email groups you belong to. I find that as valuable as these can be, they can become an easy distraction during the work day. Lastly, remember to read something light that is non business and just for you to enjoy at least 1 hour a week (I do this in 15 minute chunks before bed to unwind). My latest was "Choosing to See" by Mary Beth Chapman.
15 minutes a day on a book and you will get through 50 books a year. 15 minutes a day on audio.