George Ambler

Helping Leaders Grow

Leaders Are Readers

Reading has always been a habit of great leaders. It’s one of the most powerful sources of growth, inspiration and new ideas. Reading is a great investment in your personal development.

If you want to improve your leadership you need to read. Effective reading is a habit that goes beyond just skimming or scanning. Effective reading requires you read deeply, understand and apply the ideas and lesson to the challenges of the day. Here are some habits that will help you get the most out of your reading.

“Not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers” - Harry S. Truman

  • Leaders Read Quality. To get the most out of your reading time requires you read books of quality. Quality books nourish your mind and inspire your heart. Effective reading requires you read right and that you read quality. As they saying goes “garbage in, garbage out”, we need to as careful what we feel our mind as we are about what we put into our bodies.
  • Leaders Read Broadly. Don’t limit your reading to a single genre, such as business or fiction. Develop the habit of reading broadly include books from a broad range of genres such as, biographies, philosophy, history, science, literature and the social sciences. This helps leaders broaden their worldview and become multi-dimensional thinkers. If you have traditionally only read business books why not commit to read two or three books outside of your comfort zone this year?
  • Leaders Share Insights and Inspire Others. Take notes from the books you read to share with your team. This is a great way to share ideas, initiate innovative discussions and spark action. A benefit of sharing your insight is that it inspires a culture of learning, reading and personal growth. Another great way to share and help others is to start a book club. To do this pick a book, invite a number of people to read it with you over the next month, then hold a group discussion to share insights, reactions and views.
  • Leaders Re-read Great Books. There are many books that you will gain significant more insight and understanding on the second reading. This is especially true for quality books; they usually require a second reading. Then there are a number of books that you many want to consider reading every year, especially books with ideas that you need to keep top of mind.
  • Leaders Read and Leaders Write. Whilst reading is a critical leadership habit, in the same way writing should be considered as important. Writing is the best tool for sorting and organizing your thoughts and ideas. Combining reading and writing helps to improve the value you get from what you’ve read. So once you have completed a chapter take time to write down a summary, your thoughts and reactions.
  • Leaders Never Stop Learning and Reading. Reading great books stimulates a leader’s thinking and is a source of new ideas and insights. Leaders are always on the lookout for great new reads.

Reading is to the mind as exercise is to the body. It keeps the brain active, healthy and productive. Reading is one of the best ways for a leader to keep learning, growing and impacting the world around them.

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What are your reading habits?



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  1. Sebastian @ Grow Some

    Hell Yeah!! Leaders are Readers!! Wish policy makers and politicians would read more!

  2. Jake Posey

    This was a great post. I’m glad I’m not weird for sharing the Books I read with my Team and my Friends

  3. Reading Military leaders’ biographies is one of my favorite sources of inspiration. I think the most revealing source of one’s soul and mind is a tour of their bookshelf.

  4. Thank you for sharing this post! I have been making a really intentional effort to be reading “business books” but your post reminded me of the importance of continuing to read all different types of novels. I recently read “A Man’s Search for Meaning” (my review is here: and truly felt it was a powerful leadership book with a truly different angle.

  5. Shirley Zeng

    I love you so much! I was searching the things about reading to finish my project, then I saw your passages. They are awesome! Even though I’m a Chinese student from Beijing, but I will always focus your passages on the Internet!
    P.S. I will tell my classmates to see your website. It was great!

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