5 Ways to Beef Up Your Reading and Out-learn the Competition

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On January 5, 2015

5WaysToBeefBusiness leaders are always looking for a way to gain competitive advantage over their competitors. Because things in business are in a continual state of change, companies that learn and adapt quickly have a distinct advantage. So how do you keep learning?

Reading has always been one of the best ways to assimilate information. But it’s not just a matter of spending more time reading (a luxury most of us don’t have). Here are five ways to beef up your reading and out-learn your competition.

  1. Give Up: You probably don’t get too much business advice that tells you to give up. We’re supposed to persevere, right? It’s those who “gut it out” that get ahead. But if you’re reading a business book that just doesn’t resonate or is beyond boring . . . give it up and move onto something that challenges and inspires you. If there’s some really good information in the book, get a friend or colleague to give you a summary. Don’t get bogged down just so you can cross the book off your “must read” list.
  1. Schedule Time for Tougher Books: Some books aren’t boring or bad; they’re just tough to read. You need to think about the content as you read. Schedule specific times to read bite-sized chunks and think about what you’re reading. Treat this kind of reading as a mental workout.
  1. Skim Instead of Reading Word-for-Word: For some material (especially newspaper, or magazine articles), you can glean as much from them by skimming as you can by reading each and every word. If you find something you want to pursue in depth, go ahead and read it, but not everything requires an in-depth read.
  1. Vary Your Reading Style: Nobody ever said that the only thing worth reading is a book. Blogs can be a great source of information (if they’re well thought out and presented). Some business leaders publish regular Emails (it’s really the same thing as a blog). Some people prefer listening to a Podcast or an audio book. That’s can be a particularly attractive option if you have some regular driving time every day—or like to break up your day with a walk.
  1. Keep a source of material handy for unplanned downtime. If you’ve ever been stuck in traffic or had to wait for a delayed flight, or found yourself waiting at the pharmacy for a prescription—that can be a great opportunity for a quick read. There are all kind of reading apps for smart phones and tablets that can allow you to take advantage of those unplanned “opportunities!”

Make 2015 the year that you rethink your approach to reading and find ways to out-learn your competition!