We leaders are busy people facing multiple demands. Although we know the saying, “leaders are readers,” too often, reading dropped from our schedules. It feels like a luxury we can’t afford. Especially reading fiction.
But fiction may be just what leaders need to excel. In a recent EntreLeadership podcast, host Ken Coleman interviews Shawn Stevenson on his research into the importance of sleep. Toward the end, Ken shares his surprise at having found himself reading more fiction, especially before sleeping. Shawn agreed that the fiction is a way of easing our mind into sleep.
How to vs. Fiction
How-to books are the stuff of leadership. We read how to manage our time, how to lead our employees, and how to complete our goals.
And this is good. It helps us grow as leaders.
But they also fire up our brain, engaging our thoughts in analyzing about how we can change.
Instead, fiction seems to tap into a different place in our mind. It opens up creative processes and leads to restful sleep. (Although as Ken mentions, and I can confirm, reading action packed spy novels before bed can lead to some very weird dreams!)
Leaders are readers – and storytellers
In Stephen King’s “On Writing,” he says authors need to be avid readers. It struck me that as leaders, we need to be constantly telling stories. So a corollary would be that storytellers are avid story readers too.
So fiction helps us become better story tellers too.
Even knowing all that, fitting reading in can still be hard. I’ve found that if I make reading a goal, I give myself permission to do it. So I’ve added reading fiction as a goal too. Now I find myself enjoyably getting immersed in a story without any of the nagging doubt that I could be doing something “more productive.”
Who knows. Maybe setting it as a goal will work for you too!
Summer Fiction Reading
If you need a place to start, I recommend the Branigan Powers Mysteries. Deb Richardson-More just release the second book in the series. She’s created a compelling heroine who face complex real-life mysteries involving things like addiction and homelessness. But her books are so well written that you won’t want to put it down!
What books do you think you’ll be reading this summer?