Consultant And Soft Skills Trainer
Lisa Isaac
Richa Joshi
Training Consultant
+1 Other

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READING HABITS: They matter a lot

Many aspiring managers come to me for knowing what they should do to improve their expression. Especially with reference to English. They are worried about the vocabulary or rather the lack of it. Keeping with today’s trend of instant every thing, they ask me if they can have any instant remedy. They want to improve and yet they are in search of short cuts. The fact remains that there is no substitute for the old fashioned hard work. Sadly, hard work is old fashioned and it is supposedly replaced by smart work, whatever it means.

All other things, such as qualifications and age remaining constant the differentiating factor which usually tilts the balance in the favour of a young person who is more aware about things around him. A person who can discuss, can impress with some better insight about the event in question distinguishes himself and walks away successfully. The process does not end there; on the contrary, it assumes more intense proportions in the next course of delivering the goods as per the wishes of the management.

One of the major components in becoming a capable manager is developing the reading habits. All successful persons, some how find sufficient time to read despite being very busy. Reading, and knowledge so acquired can develop into a very strong foundation upon which the growth of a person remains stable. On the other side those who are stuck up, may be, are the non-readers. All those who feign that they do not time for reading some how know that they are not talking sense. To justify they would cite success examples of persons they know who are not readers. May be it is possible to succeed with minimal or no reading, but to me it is the exception which proves the rule. More over I am sure that if these exceptional people were to read, they would have achieved much more than their present levels of success.

It is never late to start to read. The reading in the initial stages can be at random or with a direction. It may start with your own language or English. Each language has a treasure hidden in the books. One may start very early with books like the very famous Chandamama (available in almost all Indian languages), Famous Five, Nancy Drew, Enid Blyton, and other easy to read books. In every region and language, such books are available, which are adored by the children. During this time, the parents and the teachers play a very important role in cultivating the reading habit.

The teenagers can read any newspaper, the sports sections, the fiction, the autobiographies, and the periodicals like India Today, Frontline, Outlook, and Reader’s Digest. It is also suggested that one should preferably continue reading same magazines and newspaper at least for two years. It helps in picking up the style of writing and expression. When reading fiction, the same rule should help. Suppose you start with Arthur Hailey, then you should read all his books. Each book would give you an insight in one activity. For example, Airport deals with working of an international airport and its management, Hotel tells you about the operations in a five star hotel, The Final Diagnosis, deals with the hospital working, Wheels gives an insight in the automobile industry, while Money Changers details about the stock markets. Although termed as fictions, these books give a bagful of factual knowledge to all readers. Any willing young man should read all books of the following authors:

• Arthur Hailey

• Leon Uris

• Ayn Rand

• Alistair MacLean

• Robin Cook

• Henry Denker

• Wilbur Smith

• Desmond Bagley

• Fredrick Forsyth

• Jonathan Black

• Irving Wallace

• Robert Ludlum

• James Hadley Chase

• Sidney Sheldon

• Dan Brown

• Manohar Malgaonkar

• Ernst Hemingway,

• And so many others

Each of the above is a master story teller and reading their books is an enriching experience. These books impart knowledge as easily as listening to a bedtime story. The books are a result of exhaustive research, planning and hence they are sought after by the millions all over the world. What is true for English also holds true for our languages. It is a matter of pride for us that so many of Indian authors are recognized at the international level. The ideas, the novelty, the Indian touch adds a great taste to the reading.

Serious reading as it is fondly called starts when you graduate to non fiction, reference books and even more serious text books. In addition, a very welcome band of authors writing on the motivation, self development, and other such subjects has further enriched the field. The list is given below:

• Dale Carnegie

• Zig Zigler

• John c. Maxwell

• Norman Vincent Peale,

• Robert Schuller

• Shiv Khera

• Skip Ross

• Dr. Hary Alder

• M. Scott Peck

• Doug Schwartz

• Napoleon Hill

• Pradip Khandwala

• Deepak Chopra

• And many others.

All young people on the road to success must read all books by these authors. When a person is on the ascending path of his life he is expected to lead a lot of people. To lead you have to read is a golden rule which should be imprinted on the minds of all aspiring managers.

These days the information is also available on the internet, which is a welcome change. Whether one reads printed matter or the e-books and periodicals, it really does not matter so long he reads sincerely and with a purpose. However personally I would prefer buying a book, a periodical and then reading. You may walk any path but ensure that you reach your goal of becoming a well-read person. The results are visible not only to you and your near ones but also to your colleagues. The quality of responses would improve and chances are that you would be taken more seriously than ever before.

How do you know a reading person and the non reading one? Mostly, by the knowledge content and the ease with which it is expressed.

The author is The Dean (Training and Placement) at the LTJSS NAGPUR

Rajendra Chandorkar

Aabha, 53 Vasant Nagar,

Nagpur: 440022

Cell: 09423102543


I guess Reading doesn't matter a lot .......thus no replies/comments to this mail.........Rajendra I do agree with you, reading skills should be inculcated in an individual in the initial years itself, nowadays very few schools/ homes encourage this habit. Library hours are used for other subjects, at home TV watching is encouraged by the parents.Teachers themselves [English lang also] wouldn't have read books beyond the prescribed texts ...........English coaching Institutes advertise courses which help you develop fluency in a language which you have no idea about within 3 months !!!!
As you say.........there is no quick fix solution....it takes time and effort

As a young officer in the Army, we were to read three books and then write book reviews of the same which would be perused by the Commanding Officer every year. After that we had to give a small talk to our peers of the books. When one looks back, there was immense benefits by such actions that helped cultivate a great habit of reading and also helped improve one's written expressions.
May be, we need to come out with such ideas in schools and colleges. Col K Srinivas

As a young officer in the Army, every year we were to read three books and then write book reviews of the same which would be perused by the Commanding Officer. After that we had to give a small talk to our peers of the books. When one looks back, there was immense benefits by such actions that helped cultivate a great habit of reading and also helped improve one's written expressions.
May be, we need to come out with such ideas in schools and colleges.
Col K Srinivas

Mr Chandorkar,Col Srinivas & Lisa,

I agree with you whole heartedly because I see young people, and some older people who consider themselves to be 'hip and happening' just because they have landed a big moneyed job/title in a company to NOT be very good at conversation. Conversation, good conversation, meaningful conversation,attitude changing conversation comes from those who read --> be they books - fiction/non fiction; magazines -- any (and not just the ''filmy ones, which those above mentioned seem to be able to converse in); newspapers -- different sections (and not just page 3,cartoons).

Col Srinivas, I had heard that in the Army officers were asked to do book reports,and it made me feel good.

An early habit of such reading inculcates so much more than just conversation -- it opens up horizons,enlightens ones mind. Having had the privilege of studying both abroad and in India - it used to dishearten me when we in India did not do any book reports, and the library classes ended up being an 'off period' to engage in gossip,games etc.

As a trainer, I DO ask each of my trainees to read because it will enrich not only their language of expression, but them in turn too...but alas like Col Srinavas,Lisa and Mr. Chadorkar -- I really think ''reading' needs to be introduced into the classrooms at school levels and not just for the students, but for the teachers themselves who maybe in the grind of things dont read either.

And sadly....reading books,magazines,newspapers is NOT considered a ''cool'' thing by youngsters these days,and hallmark signs of a nerd,and thus uncool.


Richa Joshi

dear all
it was a pleasure to receive your comments.
that it takes a spl effort to read, write and speak any language is a thing of past.
mistakes are more acceptable. it is a sad state of affairs and it seems that no body is bothered except a very selected few.

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