Why I Read by Jim Johnson


I have always loved to read. As a kid, I participated in my small town library’s summer reading programs. It seems I always had a book to read. Cable TV, iPads/iPods, iPhones, and the internet didn’t exist when I was a kid. I’m glad. I took to reading.

At work, I’m known for reading. Some of my colleagues are as well. I usually get the “oh, Jim’s the reader of the bunch.” I’m ok with that. There are plenty of reasons why I read:

1. Exposure to new ideas.

As a leader, a manager, a husband, a father, I want to learn new things that will make me better. For me, reading is my ticket to learning the most. With the internet, apps such as Zite, Amazon, etc., there is no shortage of great material either free or very inexpensive.

2. To have my beliefs challenged.

Notice I didn’t say to have my beliefs changed. Oh, that might happen. But when I read content, I want what I believe to be true to be stretched, challenged, run through the fire. Through reading, I can dialogue with the author as I agree or disagree with their ideas. My beliefs, personal philosophy, and foundation become stronger on the other side of a good book or article.

3. To teach others what I’m learning.

I lead leaders. I do not have all the answers and they know it. I read to make me a better leader and share what I’ve learned in order to model something very important to me – life-long learning and self-development. The “school of hard knocks” is not enough. Attending a vendor conference and bringing home free pens is not enough. Reading allows me to share great truths and practical ideas to my leaders as I help them on their own personal journey of excellence.

4. For enjoyment.

I love a good thriller. I love to get wrapped up in magnetic story line with intriguing characters. A great book beats a movie every time for me.

5. To stay on top of new trends.

Our world is changing at a rapid pace. There are countless resources available to help me stay abreast of what is happening within my industry as well as in areas I need to learn more about.

6. To model reading to my children.

I have smart kids. And they are kids who love to be on an iPad or video game or watch something on the Disney channel. I have to be obvious in my reading. They need to see me reading. I talk about my reading. We have them reading every night. Studies continue to show that children who read often succeed more.

What am I reading or have just finished?

* “The Happiest Life” by Hugh Hewitt
* “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg (I finished this a year ago, but I had to mention this powerful book – it has changed my thinking at work)
* “The Book of Manly Men” by Stephen Mansfield (helping me to become a better dad and husband)
* “Disappointment with God” by Philip Yancey (challenging my spiritual life)
* “Thinker Toys: A Handbook of Business Creativity” by Michael Michalko
* “Youtility” by Jay Baer (I just ordered this yesterday. Thank you, Nancy White from Fiserv for the recommendation!)
* Zite – smart phone/tablet app where I can read and be exposed to all kinds of great content. It’s free and searchable. I’m on Zite everyday.
* Blogs – find and follow great thinkers and writers.

Learn. Grow. Read.

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