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Businesspeople who play by the books get ahead

  • Article by: HARVEY MACKAY
  • April 8, 2012 - 3:39 PM

People who read business books earn more money -- a lot more -- even in tough economic times. According to Sales & Marketing Executives International, businesspeople who read at least seven business books a year earn 2.3 times more than those who read only one per year.

Why?

One reason is they have a constant flow of new ideas and strategies they can use to help their careers, their teams and their companies. Given the uncertainty of layoffs and other challenges as the economy slowly recovers, you should do everything you can to help your team and your company. That is the best way to not only safeguard your career, but also to help it grow.

You can find a stream of new and practical ideas to drive your success from the world's business experts. Many of them have written books offering their proven strategies. One winning idea, and the book is worth its weight in gold. It's a terrific investment.

So many good books -- so little time. A study by Bersin & Associates found that while 75 percent of all managers understand the correlation between reading and competitive advantage, they simply don't have the time to read more books.

Regular readers of this column know how often I mention good books I've read. I understand the tug between time constraints and the ongoing need for up-to-the-minute information, and I try to steer readers toward the most useful books I come across.

One resource that I have found extremely helpful is from Sales & Marketing Executives International, which has teamed up with the Business Source to offer the Business Book Summary Program -- concise summaries of books you need to read. Each month, learn the best practices and get powerful insights from leading-edge thinkers, industry experts and renowned business gurus.

The summaries take just 15 minutes to read or listen to and you get two summaries monthly, so your total time investment is only 30 minutes a month. You can check the website for more information on this subscription service: members.thebusinesssource. com/SMEI3.htm.

As a lifelong salesman, I've clocked a tremendous amount of drive time. My car becomes a mobile library every time I get behind the wheel. I listen to CDs and podcasts. I feel so strongly about this that I make sure all the books I've written are available in audio. I get a terrific response from fans who appreciate the service.

In the Kindle/Nook age, you don't even have to find a bookstore and hope the books are available. I love the mobility and accessibility of e-readers. I can even read in a dark room (and not disturb my sleeping wife) or on a plane.

National Library Week is April 8-14, so it's a great time to take advantage of free access to books and computers or even assistance with résumés and job searches. Don't forget CDs, DVDs, newspapers and magazines. Librarians are everyday heroes in my book. Get acquainted with this fabulous resource.

I've repeatedly recommended my favorite book, "Think and Grow Rich," by Napoleon Hill and Dennis Kimbro in my books, columns and speeches. If you haven't read it, read it at least three times. Do not waste another minute. Here's a nugget from this gold mine of business wisdom:

"Assume for a moment that you have in your possession a million dollars in gold. Would you protect it? Would you safeguard this treasure? Would you respect its value? Of course you would. You might even hire bodyguards or install security devices to ensure its safety.

"In comparison, your mind and self-image are worth far more than one million dollars. They're priceless! Your mind is the exclusive source of all you will create spiritually, financially or materially in your life. Your level of joy, happiness and peace of mind originates from one place -- your mind. Now ask yourself, do you protect your mind as carefully as you protect your physical assets?"

A mind is a terrible thing to waste, as we've heard for years on a popular television commercial. When something as simple and inexpensive as a good book can make such a difference in your chances for success, who wouldn't jump at the opportunity?

Mackay's Moral: Open a book ... open your mind.

Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail harvey@mackay.com.

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