Reading Program for Army Leaders

Today, I want to share some reading ideas for Army Leaders.  To be quite frank with you, it’s foolish not to read.  You really have no excuse not to try to get better as a leader.  And without a doubt the fastest and easiest way to improve as a leader is to have a reading program.

What is a reading program?  It is nothing more than a personal commitment to read at least 15 to 60 minutes every single day, no matter what.

Most people feed their body at least three times a day.  What most people don’t realize is that your physical body, at most, can make you about $20 per hour.

The people who get paid the most, and do well, feed their brain.  They realize that their brain power, their thoughts and their knowledge are what will ultimately make them successful.

As a result, they are always putting new information and positive things into their brain.  And they do this by reading books.

Now, that I’ve made my point about the importance of reading, I want to talk to you about developing a reading program.

The first thing you need to do is determine how much you will read a day.  If you are just starting out, commit to 15 minutes a day. You can raise it in the future.

Once you set aside how much time you will read, determine when you will do it.  I’ve found it’s best to do it when you wake up in the morning, or before you go to bed at night.  For some people, reading during lunch break works for them, too.

The next thing you need to think about is what you should read.

I suggest you read a variety of books on topics such as relationships, military history, leadership, conflict resolution, communication, career advancement, people skills and more.  If you need a reading list, we have one on this website.  Just remember that your books should be non-fiction.

Reading a romance book or science fiction book will do little to advance your Army career, so if you want to read that type of book, do it outside of your reading program.

In addition to reading books, it would also be a wise idea to read manuals, regulations and ARTEPS.

Start with a list of regulations that every small unit leader should know, and then find Regulations and Field Manuals that apply to your MOS or specialty.

Chew on this for a moment.  If you read just 30 minutes a day for a year you would read about 50 books.  How much do you think you could improve and learn if you read 50 books?  My answer is  A LOT!

The bottom line is that leaders are readers and readers are leaders.  The FASTEST way to improve is to read, whether you enjoy reading or not.

If I had to credit one thing to my success in the military, and in life, it’s my passion for reading.

Please keep in mind that I hated to read when I first began my reading program at the age of 25.  You couldn’t have paid me to read a book.  But as I started to read, a few things happened.

  1. My attitude improved
  2. I learned new skills
  3. My mind was mentally sharp
  4. I developed people skills
  5. I became a better leader
  6. I loved to read and learn. 

These are the reasons that I continue to read each day.

If you look at who I was 10 years ago, it is not even a small reflection of who I am today.  And that is because of all the information and knowledge I fed my brain.

I hope you will follow this idea and establish a reading program for your own Army career.  And I hope you will teach your subordinates to do the same.

Create a reading program for the people who work for you.

Assign one book a month or one book a quarter and have everyone get together to talk about what they learned.

Do what you can to get your subordinates to fall in love with reading.  

It’s a great way to develop them for positions of increased responsibility.

What do you think about having a reading program?  What tips or information can you share on this subject?  Leave a comment below to let us know what you think.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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2 thoughts on “Reading Program for Army Leaders”

  1. As an author/freelance writer, I have discovered over my years just how important reading is also. I would say that for all the education I received in classrooms, it is reading that has taught me the most. I love how you made the example of reading for a short time each day can guarantee that you will read 50 books per year. I would also highly recommend that as a military person, you read a chapter from a manual or other military book, and also a chapter or two from another non fiction book on self-help or other genre. This was a wonderful post. Thank you for helping us book authors Chuck.

  2. Candace Ginestar

    I love reading, Chuck, so this is a great article. I do need to focus more on professional reading, but I have always loved reading, so this won't be hard for me to do. I am also really fast!

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