It’s no surprise readers are leaders and leaders tend to make more money than followers. But did you know that reading just six minutes a day could reduce your stress levels by 68%? It’s a fact that’s been reported in a study by the University of Sussex in the UK. If that’s not enough to get you reading, the National Academy of Sciences claims that aging people who read regularly are 2 ½ times less likely to develop debilitating mental illnesses like Alzheimer’s.

Vintage photo from 2011. In the photo are my dear pals, Nancy Walker who owns Walker Brands, and Joy Galator who has recently semi-retired to a beach in Hawaii.

Vintage photo from 2011. In the photo are my dear pals, Nancy Walker who owns Walker Brands, and Joy Galatro who has recently semi-retired to a beach in Hawaii.

Vintage photo from 2011. Showing off my two published books, Brand Turnaround and Brain Tattoos are my dear pals, Nancy Walker who owns Walker Brands, and Joy Galatro who has recently semi-retired to a beach in Hawaii.

It gets better. People who read . . .

  • Are more empathetic
  • Have wider vocabularies
  • Possess a worldly perspective (no travel required)
  • Are more focused and purpose-driven

If you are not a reader, give it a try. Try reading 30 minutes a day. It could be the life game changer that you’re looking for in 2016.

I’m a very slow reader, slightly dyslexic, and I get easily distracted. Here are a couple of things that I’ve started to do that have made a big different in my engagement (so that I don’t get sleepy) and that increase my reading comprehension.

  1. I wear headphones while I read and play either white noise or hit the sound eliminator that comes with my Beats headset.
  2. I read aloud. I don’t suggest this in public places unless you are volunteering around a campfire.
  3. I use a blank white piece of paper against the page to guide my eyes on every line I read.
  4. I mix up my positions of sitting and standing while reading. I found a 13 inch white cooler at Walgreens that is the perfect height. I set it on my desk and then either place the book I’m reading or my computer on top of it. This keeps me not so sedentary.

Here are three worthy books that I’ve read recently and I got a lot of value from each of them.

Communicate to Influence: How to Inspire Your Audience to Action

Written by communication masters Ben and Kelly Decker who have helped some top business leaders, public officials, and entrepreneurs, this book is a must-read for anyone in leadership or sales positions. Particularly, anyone charged with the challenge of getting people to listen, embrace, and act on what they are presenting. It’s packed with clear examples of do’s and don’ts, practical tools, and simple exercises that will make a huge difference in your persuasion and action outcome. I highly recommend this book for all professionals who are looking to strengthen their influence with team members, customers, and prospects.

Just one gem I learned from the Deckers’ book:
Practice giving your talk more than preparing your content.

[tweet_box design=”default”]Big mistake -Most people spend a lot more time developing material and content for a presentation than they do practicing it. Practice makes the difference in top presenters. @DeckerComm [/tweet_box]

The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy

Lewis Howes penned this super-inspiring book. I received the book as a gift and when I first saw the title I had my doubts. What’s left to be said about greatness? Or so I thought.

My assumptions were 500% misled. This book is awesome and Lewis’ take on the subject is fresh and eye opening. The book is a mix of his life stories, which could amount to a book by itself, as well as lessons he learned from spending time with some incredible people who have reached greatness many times. This book has lots of easy to do exercises and quick tips to apply to your unique situation. I could not put this book down and I’m totally pumped about implementing Lewis’ recommendations.

A huge take-away from Lewis Howe:
Being a little over weight is a big deal

[tweet_box design=”default”]You think being a little over weight isn’t that big of a deal. On the road to greatness, it affects your overall energy level and can be that one thing that holds you back. Take a look at Forbes’ list of billionaires. @LewisHowes [/tweet_box]

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

The last book I highly recommend is also a New York Times best seller. It’s called Lean Start and is written by Eric Ries, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author of the popular Start up Lessons Learned blog. What I love most about this book is Eric’s view on what an entrepreneur really is. He claims:

[tweet_box design=”default”]An entrepreneur is anyone building/launching anything in a space of extreme uncertainty. They’re found in garage startups and in big businesses. They share the same stage. @ericries [/tweet_box]

He also contends that the conventional thinking that big company management and entrepreneurship are at conflict with each other is a big fat myth. Without giving away the book, Eric shares a proven way for both big fish and little guppies to succeed by continuously innovating in a lean way. His methods include tap building, fast launch, and validated learning. He cites many examples of companies who are following his formula and doing amazing things. He also talks about how fear and silos ruin a lot of businesses and kill dreams. Plus he shares ways to deal with this human condition. This book has HUGE winning ideas and its principles can be applied to any problem, department, or any type of company. A must-read.

A few blog posts ago, I mentioned that I was working on a new book on business simplicity. The proposal is done and off being shopped around to publishers by a stellar agent. All good vibes are welcome! It’s time to light candles, do the publisher dance, and think positive thoughts. I will keep you all posted.

Big thanks!

Brand on!