What’s your reading agenda?

Nashville Business Journal

September 19, 2014


Continuous learning is essential to business success. We know reading is a key component of learning, so do you have a reading agenda? Never dismiss the importance of regular reading for both your total knowledge and specific business acumen.

Reading comes in so many forms. Don’t overlook tried-and-true newspapers—either print or online. They are essential for keeping up with current events. If you’re not current you’re often already out of the conversation and may appear lost in certain situations. You can’t possibly read every paper, but you should have a reasonable plan for regular reading. Scan the front pages and inside headlines, and select a handful of daily articles that look to be the most helpful for you. Three suggestions:

  • Local paper: Know the key news items and trends in your community.
  • Nashville Business Journal: Keep up with local businesses, competitors and leaders.
  • Wall Street Journal: Stay current on business trends in the world, nation and your industry.

Magazines look at issues over longer time periods and often examine big-picture business and industry-specific trends. I typically scan the contents and highlight several articles that might be of interest. Two suggestions:

  • Forbes or Fortune magazine: There are always articles of interest in these established national business magazines.
  • Trade journals: Find what’s best in your industry and keep up at least monthly.

Reading books takes the most time and concentration—and is also most often put off. I do my best book reading on airplanes and on vacation. I also recommend choosing new authors each time since so many second books are a repackaging of the first book. Each year, try reading at least one book from each of these categories:

  • Basic business (organization, strategy, relationships, etc.) Learning is the key.
  • Leadership (business, government, historical). You need to be challenged.
  • Biography (business or political leader). Or anyone you admire.
  • History (preferably American). It will put things in perspective. 

If you have gotten this far you might be saying to yourself that all this is great, but I don’t have the time. I used to say the same thing but learned that I had to find the time. It’s amazing where it’s hidden.

Remember, reading is a key to your personal growth. Knowledge is essential to your success. And finding the time is matter of personal prioritization.

Joe Scarlett is the retired CEO of Tractor Supply Company and
Founder of the Scarlett Leadership Institute
He can be reached at joe@joescarlett.com

Comments and Discussion:


Posted Dec 17, 2014 at 7:59 PM by DON NELSON
Thanks, Joe! I have this posted over my desk..it reminds me of YOU! "In times of change, learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists." ERIC HOFFER

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