What are you reading or listening to this summer?
The writer

What are you reading or listening to this summer?

When was the last time you read a good book? Are you an avid reader, an average reader, or a "non-reader"? Given that we have audiobooks, in this article, I refer to reading to include listening to audiobooks.

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Some will argue that nothing beats the old-fashioned feeling of turning the page, but times have changed.

It’s Summer Reading Time:

You may have had the habit, but now it's a pastime, or you have never really enjoyed reading. Or, like the avid readers of the day, you are looking forward to receiving your summer collection.

Whatever your situation may be, you can get into the mood. Here is an opportunity to get started. It's early June, and summer is a couple of days away.

Several organisations and leaders have begun recommending what to read during the summer. Nothing is better than having a good book and lying on the beach. 

You may be wondering what the fuss is and all these recommendations. Mark Twain said, "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." What's the purpose of being literate if not to continue reading good books? 

Read to Lead:

Many influential leaders, including Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, had a voracious appetite for reading. Former President Obama spent an hour a day reading despite his busy schedule while in office.

Warren Buffet, the wealthy investor, is an avid reader and attributes much of his success to his reading habits.

Bill Gates blogs about what he is reading and shares recommendations on essential books in various disciplines.

You join this category of elite leaders as soon as you begin to read. Soon you may start to see the money and wisdom flowing into your life. 

The business imperative to read:

Whoever said it, whether it was Joseph Addison or Mortimer Adler, I agree that "reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life". The benefits of reading are enormous. Reading introduces the reader to other perspectives and new ideas.

Through reading, we experience different worlds and develop a nuanced understanding of people, places and our relationship with our world. It's not surprising that readers are leaders, and leaders are readers.

How do you stay relevant without reading in a world where everything changes and our knowledge becomes obsolete daily? You may not see it immediately, but you lose your advantage if you stop reading.

Reading also builds your vocabulary, which enhances your ability to communicate effectively, a critical soft skill much needed at work today.

You can read to live longer and many lives:

Over six decades of research on the benefits of reading by scientists, doctors and psychologists based on MRI scans, life outcomes, etc., have identified several benefits of reading.

Research has proven that reading strengthens your brain and increases your ability to empathise as you become exposed to other worlds and perspectives.

By reading regularly, you can prevent age-related cognitive decline and keep your brain sharp. It also reduces stress, prepares you for a good night's rest and helps alleviate depression symptoms. 

All the benefits described above demonstrate that consistent reading improves overall well-being. And there is more. You may even live longer.

A long-term health and retirement study by Bavishi, Slade and Levy titled "The Survival Advantage of Reading Books", published in 2017 concluded that people who read more than 3.5 hours every week were 23% more likely to live longer than those who didn't read.

Bavishi, Slade and Levy followed a cohort of 3,635 adult participants for 12 years. So you can live many lives while living longer when you choose to read.

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There is room for improvement in global reading standards:

In 2020, one of the things most people did when they were staying at home because of COVID-19 was to read.

According to the World Reading Habit, 35 per cent of the world read more due to the coronavirus. The unfortunate situation made us find or revert to our best selves in many ways, including reading.

India, China and Thailand spend the most time reading books during the week. 

Judging from the data on the number of books read and the number of hours spent reading in various countries, the minimum number of books to sustain a meaningful habit is four, one great book a quarter. 

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Sources you can review and pick up your books this summer include: 

Rather than making specific book recommendations, I recommend sources you can visit and, based on your interest, select titles that you are motivated to read. Now we are open to more than our local town's library collection. 

Gatesnotes.com summarises the books Bill Gates is reading and recommends books in various fields. I recommend this if you want to read about new developments in your discipline or deepen your knowledge.

He has published his summer reading recommendations, which include "Born in Blackness, Africa, Africans and the Making of the World" by Howard French.

Many global organisations, including Mckinsey, provide excellent recommendations covering business, leadership, economics, science, culture, politics, etc. JP Morgan's 2023 summer list is out, and it features Ginni Rometty, the former IBM CEO's book, "Good Power: Leading Positive Change In Our Lives, Work, And World."

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The New York Times has published its summer reading list. Other media outlets, including BBC, CNN, and Washington Post, also publish recommendations.

The website, www. bibliolifestyle.com, also features an exciting array of recommendations. Victoria and her team have successfully converted many "non-readers" into avid readers. 

What is the cost of reading?

In addition to finding the time to read, getting this habit underway requires a trip to Amazon, but I can assure you the ROI is immense. And if you pick well, you can change your life with one book.

For some great books, the price of 250 GHS or less makes it a giveaway. You are getting the wisdom, practices and ideas that have changed the world for that money. Some local bookstores also have great titles.

I buy a couple to read and share with my CEO friends yearly. If you are a business leader and need help figuring out where to start, email me, and I will have a book delivered to you.

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