For people to start reading and make it a habit, they have to understand why reading is important to them. Reading has to be driven by a need, and then and only then will they make the time to do so. Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and other successful people understand this, and that is why they read with purpose, and read books that make them think.

A study by the Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy indicates that, “in 2007, CEOs in the United States took home an average of $10.5 million, 344 times the take-home for typical American workers . Thirty years ago, chief executives averaged only 30 to 40 times the average American worker paycheck.” And American CEOs read on average 1,000 pages each month, which translates to four to five books assuming that the average book is 200 – 250 pages in length.

There is definitely a connection between how much you read and earning potential. Can anyone afford not to read in a 24/7 world where the ability to apply knowledge is KING?

Earl Nightingale in his audio program Lead the Field, quotes Louis Shores, a librarian, poet, social activist, and maverick educator as saying:

“Each of us must find his own 15-minute period each day for reading. It’s better if it’s regular. The only requirement is the will to read. With it, you can find 15 minutes, no matter how busy the day. That means you will read half a book a week, two books a month, 20 a year and 1,000 in a lifetime.”

But in the age of rapid change, reading half a book a week is simply not enough. How about reading a book a week which is on par with western CEOs? Allocate 30 minutes each day for reading instead of the 15 minutes that Louis Shores recommends.

Each of us has the same amount of time, 8,760 hours every year. If we allocate 5,000 hours for work and sleep, we are left with 3,760 hours to satisfy our responsibilities, and use however we choose. Life is about choices, and we have to decide how to spend our time. But for those who want to achieve personal and professional success, you have to make reading books a MUST. Couldn’t you take 130 of those hours to invest in your professional development? That’s just half-an-hour a day, five days a week. Wake up 30 minutes earlier or go to bed 30 minutes later to carve out your reading time.

In Better Than Good, Zig Ziglar mentions a University of Southern California study, which revealed that, “If you live in a metropolitan area and drive 12,000 miles a year, in three years’ time you can acquire the equivalent of two years of college education in your automobile... As a result, you can get the type of education that will equip you more effectively for what you are doing.”

Based on the research results, Zig Ziglar came up with the concept of “Automobile University,” where people can use their commute time for professional development. Today, the concept could be called “Mobile University” since so many people use public transportation for their long commutes, as well as mobile technologies that enable electronic reading. Commute times can be used for reading or listening to books.

Look at each day, how much time is spent waiting: doctor’s office, checkout lines, delayed flights and so on. Those precious minutes could be spent listening to or reading a book.

When going on road trips with family and friends, instead of listening to only music and talk radio, also include a few audio programs that everyone can enjoy.

Any professional can find at least 30 minutes each day to dedicate to reading. Make sure that you always have a book with you for the unexpected delays.

Author's Bio: 

Avil Beckford, Chief Invisible Mentor, writer and researcher with over 15 years of experience is the published author of Tales of People Who Get It and its companion workbook Journey to Getting It. Subscribe to the Invisible Mentor Blog for great information to ignite your hidden genius, and explore the Resources page for free whitepapers and an e-book.