Quite a bold statement but I happen to believe it; reading regularly and widely will make you look intelligent.
But that is not the reason to invest your time and energy. Let me explain the actual reasons why you should:
- It broadens your horizons and expectations. Reading beyond your current remit develops the idea of thinking bigger (Have you ever heard the phrase, “think strategically” or “think outside the box”)
- It forces you to ask why? To question things. Good material explains the linkages between things, they show cause and effect and encourages thinking beyond the immediate activity. I.e. Why do this thing? Understanding and acting on “Why’ is possibly one of the biggest differentiators of any employee at any level
- It exposes you to new concepts and ideas beyond your day to day thinking so that if you come across them unexpectedly in work, it doesn’t slow you down
- It develops you. Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body. Check out the 10 benefits of reading here
- Largely, its a cheap way to broaden your scope of understanding (and even free if you have a library card)
What to read
Please don’t assume that following people on social media is the only way to do this. Sure, picking some excellent people to follow will expose you to ideas, but general current affairs knowledge and industry information is essential. I split this into 3 areas and suggest the following:
1. Current Affairs
A weekly periodical such as The Economist, Newsweek or Time Magazine.
2. Industry Knowledge
Pick any material relevant to your chosen field of interest. At very least, any magazine, website or email newsletter of the professional organisation representing your chosen field.
3. Leadership and Business Skills
There are a number of fantastic authors in this field to choose from such as:
These sources will help you ‘stumble’ onto further areas of interest. Very soon, you’ll have generated your own essential author list.
Start now. Do not wait and ensure this becomes a weekly habit and behaviour. You are not reading to answer a question of today. You are reading now to prepare for the future.
And believe me, it will also make you look intelligent.