How to read a book on leadership.
Typically, books on leadership are not the easiest material to read. They can be a bit dense and cumbersome, which is why I wanted to show you the method that I use to get as much out of these books as possible. Let’s dive in a learn how to read a book on leadership.
I want to recommend a few books, but one of my concerns is that if you are not used to reading leadership books, or you don’t have a great system to do so, they take time to read, which if you are like most leaders you may not have an abundant amount to spare. Reading is vital as it is part of our ABC system (Apps, Books, Coaching), so is there a way to learn more about what I need to know without spending too much time reading?
The simple answer is yes! But it does take a bit of preparation before you do the reading.
Reading books quickly and efficiently.
1- Get your hands on the book that interests you. If possible, find an ebook (a free pdf version will do). I am not sure why I separate where my e-books get downloaded to (Kindle app) and where I download all my PDF version books (Apple Books). I have been doing this for a couple of years now.
2- Read the table of contents and preface. This will give you a quick overview of what the author is about to explain.
3- Go straight to the last chapter. Most authors summarize their thoughts in one or two pages. Now, this might seem counterintuitive because you are skipping all the “meat” of the book, but trust me, you want to read this last chapter.
4- The next thing I always do is go back to where it all began (the first chapter). If charts, graphs, or images go with the topic, I like to see what they look like and take notes on what I feel is essential.
5- Now, go back to the last chapter again and read it slowly and carefully. Take your time with this step, and keep in mind that if you need more information about a topic, there’s still plenty of time to refer to the previous chapters. Also, don’t be afraid to take notes on the last chapter and the first one.
6- Read the entire book as you would typically do: front to back, start to finish. Whenever you get stuck or want more information, refer back to what you read in steps 5 and 4.
7- Go back again to the five steps above and repeat them as many times as necessary.
8 – Use book summaries to also give you a jump start into some leadership books.
Try this Method of how to read a leadership book and I think you will find it is very time efficient. You are using the last chapter to get a general overview of what you learned, which allows you to absorb more information faster. Also, it’s less intimidating if you don’t feel like reading an entire book before getting started with the learning part.
Implement what you learn from a leadership book.
I read a leadership book, which is good, but I can’t implement what I learn. What should I do?
That’s the comment we hear most often from people who begin to read leadership books.
You understand that reading more books on leadership will help you to be a better leader, but you wonder why it’s so hard to implement what you learn.
The problem is not the book. It is your plan for implementing what you read. That’s why you need a plan for implementing the ideas that are important to you.
What should I do? Start with this article which will show you how to get actual results from reading leadership books! Here are the five steps you should follow for each book on leadership that you read:
1) Read it!
2) Highlight what matters to you.
3) Get the key ideas of each chapter on one page. Capture your thoughts throughout the entire book without spending time marking up the whole thing. You can use this as an outline or as a way to identify what’s essential and what is not so important as you read.
4) Jot down what you plan to do to make the ideas stick. Write it in your own words, not verbatim from the text. What is supposed to happen? Who is supposed to do it? When will it be done by? This step is likely where most people fail – they read a book and don’t think about how they will apply any important information. That’s why this step MUST come BEFORE —
5) Implement! Could you go out and DO IT? Nothing changes if nothing changes. Reading another leadership book without implementing what you learn is like studying for an exam but never showing up to take it (except this one costs less than $25, and you can do it from the comfort of your couch).
It isn’t enough to read a book, highlight all the great ideas, and then set it aside. If what you’re reading is important to you, if you want to become better at leading others in any capacity, take some time and develop a plan for how you will personally implement it. If not for yourself, then do it in support of those around you who need your leadership.
Time to Read.
Here are only 2 recommendations to start with. Start to practice the simple steps on how to read a leadership book and then how to implement what you have learned from the book. Get this system down and watch your leadership flourish.