Leaders are readers…but why?

It was President Harry Truman who famously said, “not all readers are leaders but all leaders are readers.”

I love reading, I try to read 3-4 books per month which admittedly is well short of President Roosevelt’s 3-4 books a day (!) but maybe you’d say, “I’m not a reader?”

Whether it’s one book a year or one book a month, whether it’s audible, Kindle or a book with pages, reading is one thing you can do this next year to help you grow….

Question is why is reading so essential to leading?

Here’s a few of my answers to that question….

Reading helps you switch off the engine – as a leader you can park the car but switching off the engine is much harder! Reading helps me relax, rest, recharge and reset.

Reading helps you get out of your own head – as a leader sometimes your “stuck” place is your head space, too many unknowns and too many decisions. Reading helps take you out of your own head and helps you clear the fog.

Reading helps you get into the heads of others – I read leadership books, biographies, fiction and non fiction and I find that gives me access to the best thinkers, strategists, leaders, coaches and mentors on the planet! Who wouldn’t want all that wealth of experience and knowledge?

Reading helps you grow – once you stop growing you stop leading! The apostle Paul in prison towards the end of his life sends for his books, Jesus at the age of 12 models a posture towards growth in what has become a life verse for me, Luke 2 v.52,

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man”

Reading helps you dream, imagine, create and explore – new ideas, new thoughts, new possibilities can all come your way when you read…..

Here’s my challenge to you….read more books in 2021!!

Why not find a few people and read a book together then discuss it?

The book that made the biggest impact on me in 2020 was….

Get your life back by John Eldredge

This book helped me grieve, it helped me acknowledge where I wasn’t resting well and gave me spiritual principles and practical tools that helped my soul care during this crazy year!

Finally, some of the books that have made a lasting impact on me….and why…

General living…

The call – Os Guinness

The difference between a primary and secondary calling….

Dangerous Wonder – Mike Yaconelli

The joy of rediscovering a child like faith and the thrill of really living…

Travelling light – Max Lucado

The richness of Psalm 23 and the depth of these few verses…

Soul care…

Get your life back – John Eldredge

How to live with a healthy soul in the modern world…

Resilient life – Gordon Macdonald

How to navigate the questions each decade of life throws at you…

Replenish – Lance Witt

How to identify enemies of a heathy soul and strategies for soul care…


Deep and wide – Andy Stanley

A philosophy for building church that reaches people far from God and grows disciples…

Unstoppable force – Erwin McManus

The power and beauty of the local church and Gods design for her…

Cracking your churches culture code – Sam Chand

The one thing I wish I’d learned years ago, culture is king!!


Ego is the enemy – Ryan Holiday

Not specifically a Christian book but life changing…ego is always the enemy…

Lead like a shepherd – Larry Osborne

The heart of leadership is a heart for people…

Leadership pain – Sam Chand

The reality of leadership pain and the lessons that pain brings that can’t come any other way…

‘Leaders are readers’….this year…..read more….

What’s the last book that made an impact on you and why?

Would love you to leave a comment…

5 thoughts on “Leaders are readers…but why?”

  1. Dear Reader by Cathy Rentzenbrink… a brilliant book about books. The author has always been a reader, she awakens memories in me as she talks about books that have made an impact on her. There are so many fantastic books out there… I ordered another 4 after reading her book 🤣

  2. The Irresistible Revolution- Living as an ordinary radical. Shane Claiborne.
    Rediscovering the radical challenge of following Jesus in an authentic, compassion filled way leading us to reach out and build transforming communities.

  3. Lorraine Johnson

    I can’t name just one!
    Chasing the Dragon – Jackie Pullinger – just wow
    The Meaning of Marriage – Dr Tim Keller – essential reading
    The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness – Dr Tim Keller – learning that a truly gospel–humble person is not a self–hating person or a self–loving person, but a self–forgetful person
    Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus (How the Jewishness of Jesus can Transform Your Faith) – by Ann Spangler & Lois Tverberg –

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