Memorial Day has a great history, and a great purpose. However, for far too many people it is simply an extended weekend perfect for a short getaway. So what will you do with your extra time? According to two of the wealthiest people in the world you probably should consider reading.
Reading?! Yep. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet gave an interview in 2005 at the University of Nebraska where they both struggled to contain their love for reading and what it brought to their lives. Bill Gates famously takes a “reading vacation” where he removes himself from day to day activities for two weeks to do nothing but read books on business, technology, human behavior, etc. Buffett agreed and said reading books were an important part of his “daily work.” At one point the interviewer asked Bill if he could be a superhero, what kind of power would he like to have? Bill replied that he would like to be the fastest reader in the world, and Buffett quickly agreed.
So why is there a disconnect between what we know can improve our lives dramatically – even more than exercise (although also important!) – and what most people typically do? Ironically, all this reminds me of the title of a book I read in college: Fit Bodies, Fat Minds. Do you let your mind get “fat?” How about those who work around you? Or more convicting, those who report to you?
Two quick personal examples:
1. The first regional president that I worked for in Columbus, Ohio would copy articles out of Builder or Professional Builder what seemed like every week with a short note and leave it in my mailbox. I was a 22 year old rookie in charge of doing not much more than making the Sunday newspaper ad each week (wow times have changed)… but I loved it. It felt like he was mentoring me simply by saying “hey – this is something I think you’ll enjoy or will one day be helpful.”
I do my best to continue this legacy by copying articles out of these same publications and leaving them in mailboxes of employees in all parts of our business – even though many of them also get the magazine. You’d be surprised how many times someone thanks me for thinking of them or sharing an article. The chances of them reading it goes way up, and everyone gets better as a result. Don’t hoard great ideas you find from reading - share them!
2. This past month we kicked off something at my builder that is part homework assignment, and part challenge – The Amazing Race: Heartland Edition. We challenged the sales team to brush up on some market research, list their current top objections and write our their own scripted response, and most importantly to pick a book on new home sales to read by the end of June. I told them they could even order Jeff’s new audiobook if they like!
Do you foster a passion for reading in your organization? Do you think you should? What will you be reading this Memorial Day Weekend?
PS: Unsure of what to read? Check out my suggested reading list for 2012.