The Importance of Reading – 5 Key Benefits and 5 Recommended Books

In this article, we explore 5 incredible benefits to reading more often and 5 top book recommendations for startups, entrepreneurs and ambitious individuals to read. Guest-written by Letícia Miranda.

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Books, ebooks, newspapers or magazines, no matter which ones you decide to immerse yourself in, the simple act of reading is one of the most effective and accessible opportunities for both personal and professional development. It is through reading that one can disconnect from the real world, breaks the boundaries of the imagination, and discovers new universes, without having to go anywhere.

Creating a habitual reading habit is essential to success. Establishing and creating time each day, reserving a comfortable place and avoiding distractions, to become fully immersed in literature will truly give you the opportunity to expand your horizons. Those who read more frequently are far more likely to absorb more knowledge, encouraging their own personal and professional evolution.

The habit of reading can bring several benefits to our development, and here are just some:

1. Expand Your Knowledge

By reading frequently, you will immediately start to broaden your knowledge of whichever content you invest in. This might sound obvious but by doing so, you expand your ability to understand situations, challenges, alternative mindsets, and human behaviours. Whether reading fact or fiction, both have benefits. Being able to bring a myriad of topics to conversation is also likely to further your creativity.

2. Enrich Your Vocabulary

Reading truly can help you to discover and unlock new words and expressions. This, in turn, can be extremely useful in increase your communication and interpersonal skills. Knowing how to express yourself effectively is a powerful differentiator, likely to immediately place you ahead of the competition.

3. Improve Your Focal Abilities

Our ability to concentrate is often discussed and raised as something impaired by the development of technologies. The countless mobile applications vying for one’s attention through notifications, the instant communication and addictive social tools can all end up leaving our attention fragmented. The habit of reading a book is the best antidote to this trend. Keeping focused on a book can strengthen our ability to hold attention.

4. Increase Emotional Intelligence

Even by reading technical books, you will be absorbing someone else's perspective. Therefore, no matter what kind of literature you are drawn to, reading helps to develop the ability to put yourself in another individual’s shoes. Empathy has been increasingly valued in companies. It serves as the foundation for the solid development of teamwork.

5. Live for Longer (Yes, Truly!)

A study, conducted by Yale University in 2016 with 5,635 participants over 50, found that those who read books regularly have a 20% lower chance of dying in the next 12 years. The difference was observed regardless of race, education, marital status, health status and levels of depression. This is a benefit that cannot be ignored. The habit of reading regularly can increase your lifespan.

American websites Business Insider and The Ladders selected the most influential business books of all time. Below are just some of the books from that list. The descriptions are taken from Amazon.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup, by John Carreyrou

This book tells the full story about the breath-taking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the billion-dollar biotech startup. The story is told by the award-winning journalist who first released the story and pursued it to the end, despite pressure from his charismatic CEO and threats from his lawyers.

Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Coleman

First published in 1995 in the United States, this book transformed the way of thinking about intelligence. It changed education practices and changed the business world. From the frontiers of psychology and neuroscience, Daniel Goleman brought the concept of "two minds" - the rational and the emotional - and explained how, together, they shape our destiny. According to Goleman, awareness of emotions is an essential factor for the development of the individual's intelligence.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins

The findings of the “Good to Great” study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually all areas of management strategy and practice. "Some of the main concepts discerned in the study," comments Jim Collins, "run away from our modern business culture and, frankly, upset some people."

Too Big to Fail, by Andrew Ross Sorkin

The book features one of the most exciting financial narratives in decades about the 2008 American crisis. Andrew Ross Sorkin, a New York Times columnist and one of the most respected financial reporters in the United States, presents the first definitive narrative of the economic crisis that led to world on the verge of collapse.

Lean In: Women, work, and the Will to Lead

In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg reignited the conversation around women in the workplace. Written with humor and wisdom, Lean In is a revelatory, inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth that will empower women around the world to achieve their full potential.

Remember, reading is such a powerful way to develop your career. Pick up a book today to get started and see how you can progress.
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