3x5 Leadership Leaders Are Readers 1

This is Part 6 of an eight-part series addressing the value of reading for leaders’ personal and professional development. You can begin the series with Part I: Introduction HERE.

Here are the amounts of time it took for entertainment and social media platforms to reach 50 million users:

  • Radio: 38 years
  • TV: 13 years
  • Internet: 4 years
  • Facebook: 5 years
  • iPod: 3 years
  • Twitter: 9 months
  • Instagram: 6 months
  • Angry Birds game: 35 days
  • Pokémon Go: 19 days

Our world, the way we spend our time, and the way we receive information is changing. That is easy to see, both in the statistics above and in our own lives. The way we learn should evolve as well.

Our reading programs, and the tools and systems I’ve discussed so far in this series, are ultimately about learning and growing as professionals. Our means of learning should adapt with our environments, meaning books alone (though incredibly valuable) should not be your only source of “learning through reading.” We need to diversify our sources of information and reading. Here are some other great resources to incorporate into your own professional reading program.

Blogs and Online Journals

Some of my best leader lessons learned actually came from blogs. For example, one of my favorite blog posts of all time came from The Military Leader; it was a very short and simple read, yet incredibly impactful on me while in company command. There is much we can glean from reading, especially outside of the bound, published book.

I encourage you to visit the 3×5 Leadership resources page. I routinely update the page to keep it relevant, comprehensive, and helpful for others. Within it are my top blog recommendations and other sources of quality media.

I also encourage you to subscribe to a leadership-centric professional journal, such as Harvard Business Review ($100 per year); personally, I find HBR as the best source of quality leader development content outside of the military perspective. Finally, I recommend you register for an account with John C. Maxwell. I don’t pay for his services (though I read and highly recommend his books), but I get his advertisement emails. Periodically, he offers free material, which I have found to be awesome content, such as an audio series on building trust with others and a guide to reflective activities.


There is extremely valuable professional development content, and an extensive community supporting it, on social media, especially Twitter. In fact, I use Twitter solely as a personal leader development tool, and it can be one for you too. I am selective in who I follow to ensure I receive quality content from others and so I’m not inundated with Tweets by hundreds of unnecessary people. It is a great resource for news and insight from people worth listening to – if you manage who you follow well.

You can find me on Twitter HERE or at my handle: @JoshuaBowen_100.

Here are the top 15 people I recommend you follow on Twitter. These are the people I am learning most from on Twitter right now.

I encourage you to check out Twitter as a resource to support your leader development. You can read more about the power of social media for leader development and engagement here, here, and here.


Podcasts are great resources to engage in between your audiobooks. I’ve only recently made podcasts a near-daily learning platform as part of my “leader learning system,” but I’ve quickly found how valuable these audio resources can be. In fact, the notes I am recording from podcasts recently comprise the majority of ones that make it into my leader learning journal.

From the Green Notebook provided the best list of Podcast resources I’ve seen so far; there is no need to reinvent the wheel and create another list. Check it out HERE. You can also find a few of my favorite recommendations on the 3×5 Leadership resource page.

So What? None of This Is About Reading Books…

Though none of these resources mentioned above are directly tied to my formal reading program, they ultimately support it by allowing me to make connections between my different platforms of learning. Something I hear in a podcast or read in an online journal or blog can lead me to make a mental connection to a book I recently read. This ultimately creates a more comprehensive lesson, which can turn into a bigger, more complete idea to implement in the future.

Further, as many read during 3×5 Leadership’s “168 Series,” many other professionals carve out daily time for social media, online reading, and listening to audio resources. There may be a message worth paying attention to if so many others find the value of these resources for their learning and growth.

Up to this point, this series on professional reading has focused on how to improve your own learning through reading. Next week, in part 7, I challenge you with the responsibility to inspire your people to engage in reading for growth and development. In the post, I outline tools, behaviors, and offer inspiration to help you help others in creating a quality personal reading program.

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