Reading is fundamental for business professionals.
If you are an entrepreneur, you're a business professional. And, you're a leader. Regardless of how your leadership shows, whether in content you share via social media, or in a blog, or a newsletter, or just in posts on your Facebook page, you have become a leader in your community by virtue of becoming an entrepreneur.
Hence, you should read. It's been said that leaders are readers - by more people than I can list here so let's just accept that it's true. Leaders read.
The question is - do they real a lot? Do leaders read a book a week? Two books a week? If so, how do they do it? Many of us regular folk find getting through a business book of about 250 -350 pages a bit of a task that might take a whole week. We're left wondering about those leaders who read so fast - do they really or are they fibbing?
Or, worse yet, do they know something we don't.
Truth is, people read at different paces, and levels. It's easy to brag that you're one of those 'fast readers' who can gobble a book up in one day. The 'day' being relative, of course. Was it a whole day where they had nothing else to dot? Or, was it a half day and part of a night? And, did they read the whole book, really?
I read faster than many people. I read faster than my husband, Tom. I can read a business book in one day, if it's not too dense. I will be blatantly honest now - when I do this, I skip a good bit of content. Because I read phrases and headings and move my eye about the page searching for the point the writer is making.
Wired Magazine has an article about this, Sorry, But Speed Reading Won't Help You Read More by Mark Seidenberg. The article introduces the subject by telling us that speed reading depends on exactly what you're reading, to start with. It's easier, for instance, to read Under the Rose Colored Hat by Tracy Chamberlain Higginbotham than it is to read War and Peace. One is a small, spiritual book of personal stories, and the other is, well, War and Peace.
The most important part of the article, in my opinion, is the small section on sub-vocalization. A bit of research on Google shows numerous articles and blog posts saying we should get rid of this habit as soon as possible. What is it? Wikipedia tells us,
"Subvocalization, or silent speech, is the internal speech typically made when reading; it provides the sound of the word as it is read. This is a natural process when reading, and it helps the mind to access meanings to comprehend and remember what is read, potentially reducing cognitive load."
Seidenberg, in the Wired article, says,
"Most people have the sense that they are saying words to themselves (or hearing them) as they read. Speed-reading programs appeal to the intuition that this habit slows reading. Speed-reading programs exhort people to suppress subvocalization, providing exercises to promote the practice.
He goes on to say subvocalization is not a bad thing and readers shouldn't give up on it, just to learn to read faster. There are a lot of "what ifs" around it, and eliminating it from the way you read might be harder than you think, and for less reward.
I am a subvocalizer. I do exactly what they say. Yet, I still read fast.
What if I could help you read faster by doing one little thing? One small, tiny, minuscule thing? What if you could forget all the other advice you've researched about how to become a faster reader - all in an attempt to be a better leader and business professional - and do one thing that would help improve your reading skills dramatically?
What if you wrote a book?
I know, there I go again. Like a broken record. Write a book. Write a book. Write a book.
Here's the key - what if you wrote a book just for you?
Upfront disclaimer: I have no scientific proof that writing a book will make you a better and faster reader, but I'm here to say anecdotal evidence exists.
There is ample research that tells us reading makes us better writers, like this post from Antara Raisa Rahman in Reporter.rit.edu . Therefore, why wouldn't writing make us better readers? Here's how I see it, writing requires concentration, vocabulary, intelligence, knowledge, and experience. When writing a business book, for instance, you write to the level of reader in your audience. Your stories must relate to those readers the same way they would relate to you, if you were the one reading your book.
The act of writing forces one to pay more attention to the process and purpose of reading. When you write a book, you also read the book. More than once, by the way. You may be tired of your own book before you are done (this only lasts a short time, in due process you will become excited about your book again), but you will learn how to read effectively by becoming "the author of." Even if said author never puts her book on Amazon.
Writing is a study in reading
The act of actually writing a book, fiction or non-fiction, requires a certain level of reading skill. Even children's books come with challenges.
My assertion that writing will improve your reading comes from my own experience working with dozens of writers. They come to me with backgrounds in business and entrepreneurship eager to be a voice for others who are struggling as they once did. When we work together, they mention and include in their writings, books they've read. Books that helped influence what they are writing.
As we work together to write their book, they discover this need to be present in the reading, as well as the writing. As they write, some of them discover they can read more effectively now. The act of writing a book has improved their reading skill. Often, we learn new words together. Often, we uncover hidden styles of writing that hinder the writer's comprehension and will therefore hinder the reader's comprehension.
If reading is fundamental for business leaders and entrepreneurs, then I'm here to say, writing a book is also. You will be better at everything you do, if you tackle the job of writing a book this year.
I would like it to be a book I can help you with as your developmental editor and coach, a book you want the world to read, but if that is not meant to be, then merely write it for yourself. As a test to see what you might have to share, someday, with the whole world.
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