Why Great Leaders Are Devoted Readers


Some of the points you’ll discover in this fascinating episode include:

  • why a home fully loaded with books is a beautiful home
  • the importance of going deep in a world gone shallow
  • how to have a conversation with a great producer by reading their book
  • why installing the daily ritual of reading for an hour a day [I call it “The 60 Minute Student Protocol”] will–over time–cause you to lead your field.

I’m already getting a lot of requests for me to open up registration to my famous annual self-transformation event Personal Mastery Academy…

…this year it will be held on June 3+4 at The Ritz-Carlton in stylish Toronto, Canada so save the dates in your schedule now. [If you’re really ready to work + live at world-class, you absolutely need to be in the room with us].

…my team isn’t opening registration yet but they have started a Waiting List given the massive demand for the limited seats.

Get on the Waiting List here

We’re also happy to provide you the transcription at no cost.

Why Great Leaders Are Devoted Readers

Hi it’s Robin Sharma, author of The Leader Who Had No Title, founder of of The Titan Academy. Welcome to this Mastery Session.

This Mastery Session is called “Why Great Leaders Are Devoted Readers.” One of the great blessings of my life has been having amazing parents. My mother is absolutely awesome. She was a teacher, and my father has had a great influence on my life as well. For 52 years he was a family doctor

As I was growing up my father always would buy us books. I believe a home filled with books is a beautiful home. Even to this day I am always downloading books. I am always reading books. My home is full of books, and with my loved ones we spend a lot of time reading together.

When I was raising my kids, when they were younger, we would do reading nights. When we would do family outings a lot of times we would actually go to bookstore. We would leave with these armloads of books back when those terrestrial books were even more popular than they now are.

I see a world right now where we love the quick fix. Where we love quick videos. Where we love instant bites of information. Yet, there’s great value in the devotion of taking a 200-page book, and reading it. It builds rigor, it builds focus, and it builds depth. There’s something about the process of going through a 200 page book in terms of the depth of insight it gives you, the ability to go deep. In a world where we want a 10-second video to fuel our quick hit.

I wanted to share with you 3 reasons why great leaders - the one’s I’ve worked with, you know, many of the fortune 500 CEO’s, billionaires, titans of industry, why great leaders really are devoted readers.

1. Reading a book is nothing more than having a conversation with the author

You know this, but you become your conversations. There is incredible and indelible influence, and imprinting going on with your philosophy and on your mind, when you read a book.

You have a conversation with someone, and I’m sure you’ve had a conversation, maybe it’s with a chef, or a great entrepreneur, or a wise human being, and maybe it was just 1 conversation, but that person in that 10-minute conversation, or hour long conversation said something to you that formed your philosophy that changed the rest of your life. That’s what you can get in a book.

You can have a conversation tonight with Kanye. You can have a conversation the next night with Edison. You can have a conversation 2 nights from now with Nelson Mandela. You can read the biography that I recently read of Elon Musk. You can read about Steve Jobs. You can read about Vincent Van Gogh’s life. You can read about Martin Luther King Junior’s life.

You can read about the Titans of Industry, and what they went through, and how they innovated, and how they dealt with struggles, and how they dealt with wealth. You can read books on productivity from the most productive people on the planet. You can learn how people who built companies like Ikea, and Red Bull, how they did it. They took a small idea, and built it into an empire.

What I’m suggesting to you with great love, and respect as I always do in these Mastery Sessions, is reading a book is nothing more than having a conversation with the author.

You can spend your evenings, or mornings, or afternoons, or lunchtimes connecting with the greatest minds who have ever graced the planet. You cannot put a price tag on that.

Before I get to point number 2, please remember the power of audio books. If you commute, and a lot of us commute, or you go to grocery shops to buy your groceries, or when you’re doing so called “down time” just waiting. While the victim is addicted to entertainment you can be in love with education through the power of audio books. You can be reading while you’re walking, driving, and running.

Which brings me to the second reason why great leaders are devoted readers:

2. Reading collapses the timeline

It collapses the timeline. Let’s say you’re a business builder. Let’s say you have a startup. It could take you 20 years to figure it all out, or it could take you 5 hours of going through a book by someone who has done it. To go, “Oh, here’s the strategy. Here are the tactics. Here’s how you birth a great product out into the world. Here’s how you hire an A team. Here’s how you really do it. Here’s how you manage when you fall down. Here’s how you manage when you get dismissed by the cynics.” You can get all of that in one book.

You can collapse literally what would normally take you 10 years to build a A level company, or a great life, or a great family. It might take you years to really dial in to how to get fit like the professional athletes do, because you’re trying to figure it on your own. The nutrition, and the rest cycles, and the right fitness regime - but if you read the right books you literally can collapse what has taken most people years to do, into a very short period of time.

Related to that, when you are reading a 50-page book, or a 100-page book, or a 200-page book by an icon of business, or science, or creativity, or humanity, or fitness. They are summarizing the best information they’ve learned over a lifetime of their rise to world-class in their book. You really do collapse the timeline. You really do save tremendous amounts of effort that you would have otherwise had to expend.

3. Reading sustains hope

Then the final reason why great leaders are devoted readers is that it sustains hope.

You know, I think you’re a lot like me. Every single day as we pursue our mighty mission, as we walk out into the world, and chase our brave ambition we face adversity. We stumble. We get misunderstood. A lot of times we doubt ourselves. Can I really do it? We lose energy, because life has all these distractions. When I read - I read the right books, I read the books of brave leaders. I read books that fuel my joy. I read books that sustain me.

What I’m trying to suggest to you on this final point is when you read books of great leaders, when you read books on productivity, and when you read books on leadership, when you read books on lives legendarily lived, it sustains your hope. It reminds you that life is full of ups and downs. It reminds you that the very journey of being human has these unexpected twists.

I don’t know about you, but education fuels my energy. I can be having a day where, you know what? I’m not at the top of my game, and I just make the time to read a book. It gives me this burst of fire in the belly to give me another 2 or 3 hours of creativity, or productivity.

More than anything else, when I read books it reminds me of the best of life. It reminds me there are no extra people on the planet. It reminds me, make your “I can” larger than your “I can’t.” It reminds me that every single one of us does have this lofty ambition, and this hidden greatness within us that is our birthright to live every day.

I hope this Mastery Session has been valuable to you. More than anything else, do what I’ve shared, because ideas without execution are hollow victories. Take one of the 3 tactics I’ve shared with you, and execute on them with a lot of passion before you go to sleep tonight. Then you start the process of going from where you now are to where you and I both know you deserve to be.

I’ll talk to you soon. Thank you so much for following these Mastery Sessions, and sharing them with your friends, and your teammates, and I’ll see you next time.

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