Summer Reading is Not Just for Kids

Most of us have participated in a Summer Reading Program or have had a child enrolled in one. It was exciting to follow the progress to the top of the board. The purpose of the program is not just to give out awards. It is to build skills, knowledge and cover the learning gap that summer break brings. It is also a way to see reading as a fun activity.

As busy adults, especially business owners, we don’t seem to find the time for summer reading. That is a missed opportunity. Reading for knowledge or enjoyment is something everyone should be doing. This is one of those habits that rarely has a downside.

Education and Reference

Books give us information in a condensed form, as opposed to taking a college course or extended training. If I need to improve my marketing message, reading a book is a great resource. Yes, I could scour 100+ blogs and I would end up more confused than ever. A carefully edited book gives me a single point of view. There are usually several action items I can take even if I don’t do everything the author suggests. The same is true whether the topic is sales, leadership, or any other business topic.

The books on my shelf have many tabs and highlights marking passages that I can easily refer back to. Something I read might not be applicable when I first read it; however, I will remember to go back to the information when it becomes relevant. These books give me a different perspective and ideas beyond what I already know. They challenge as well as inform me.

Reading goes much deeper than the 30 second sound bites from broadcast media. They get into the layers and explain the why behind the concepts presented. As a business owner I am looking for a long-term solution, not just a quick fix.

Keeping up with the Times

Taking the time to read in-depth articles and books makes you a well-informed citizen as well as a business owner. Understanding the political climate and being aware of economic conditions will greatly enhance your ability to make good decisions for your business.

Expanding Interests

There are many topics that I am interested in, but maybe not interested in becoming an expert on them. I enjoy cooking – I am not a chef. Reading about food, about the people who create recipes, about the chemistry of mixing ingredients, as well as the blending of flavors makes me a better and more adventurous cook (still not a chef).

Sometimes reading up on a topic reinforces what I am not interested in pursuing. Stories from long-range hikers are always interesting and have convinced me that I am more of a day hiker with air conditioning available after my hike.


Yes, even busy people should take time to read for pleasure. Getting lost in an autobiography, or a juicy mystery is a favorite pastime of mine. Reading for fun releases stress and helps me to rest so that I can focus when I am at work. Everyone enjoys different genres of books. Exploring what you like is part of the adventure.

Adult readers are models for children. When children see adults reading, they learn that reading is not just for school. It is part of being a well-rounded person. Plus, they will pick up their own book and let you read yours!

Time and Effort             

Unlike a textbook, there are no time restrictions on when you have to complete a book.

There are so many ways to read today, there really should not be a barrier for anyone. If you like the classic paper book that you can hold there are plenty of bookstores with knowledgeable staff ready to make recommendations. Ask friends and family to share books that they enjoy. Your local library has plenty to choose from. Libraries and some non-profits often have used book sales. It is a very affordable and eco-friendly way to try a new topic or author.

Audio books are another option. When planning a long car trip, the selection of books is as important as the route.  Driving a straight, flat road can be far more exciting when the plot thickens! Audio books are also great for when you are working on home projects – cleaning, cooking, gardening, repairs.

E-books are another favorite of mine. I never have to worry about finishing my book and not having another to read. The real beauty for me is that I do not have the weight and bulk of three books in my suitcase or backpack. You can customize the font, font size and background color for less eye strain making it even easier to read.

There are several free reading apps that allow you to read books for free. Libby is a great one if you are a member of a local library.

What to Read

Reading is very personal. Joining a Book Club will expose you to a variety of genres and authors. My personal recommendations for this summer are:

“Dare to Lead” by Brene´ Brown

“The New One Minute Manager” by Ken Blanchard, PhD and Spencer Johnson, MD

“Predictably Irrational” by Dan Ariely

“Still Life” by Louise Penny (and the 17 subsequent books)

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

Happy Summer Reading!

Author: Sandy Merritt, Business Coach in Louisville, KY

Summer Reading is Not Just for Kids