Our Podcast

BY Joel Junker

Episode 134 – One Thing Business Leaders All Have in Common…

What do business leaders have in common? They read. For the first 20 years of my life, I was not a reader.  I paid the price.  My verbal, reading and writing standardized test scores were average.  This was an indicator that I was missing out on a whole world of development and education out there.  Not until my spring break as a sophomore in college did I start reading.  I picked up a novel by John Grisham called, The Firm.  Not exactly a professional development book, but it kick-started my love of reading and took off from there.  Now, I have insatiable appetite for all kinds of books.

If you want to be a leader, you need to be a reader (read this article by Forbes for additional reading).  Why? The business world and leadership is dynamic.  One way to not only keep up but to stay ahead is to connect with experts.  Most of us cannot schedule a meeting with a leadership expert like Jim Collins because we don’t have the network to get in with him; we can’t interact with a manufacturing and process improvement expert like Taichi Ohno because he passed away in 1990; or the founder of the JMO to business transition, Roger Cameron, because he is retired and on the golf course.  Yet, we can learn from their expertise by reading books and articles they have written.

Additionally, reading is like food.  Even though you ate a meal last week, it won’t sustain you today.  Even though you read several leadership books last year, how much do you really remember?  You need to keep reading to stay sharp!

Finally, if you are making a transition from the military to business, reading is critical for several reasons.  My colleague, Pete Van Epps, highlights them in this blog post.  They include preparing to interview and explaining how your background relates to companies.  You want to be able to connect your military experiences to business terms so they understand what you have done.  Additionally, you want to ensure a smooth transition and hit the ground running.  You want to learn as much as you possibly can before you start your new job.

Some of the books I recommend in the podcast include:

PCS to Corporate America 4th Ed. by Cameron, Alvarez and Junker

Mindset by Carol Dweck 

The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

I would share more of my favorite books, but these are 4 at the top of my list.