Summer Leadership Reading: Secrets for Making Time to Grow

Not enough leaders make the time for summer leadership reading. Summer is a great season for making time to grow.

No one enjoys reading a good mystery or crime novel more than I do. Great fiction carries me away and can even get my heart beating as I near a climatic ending. Summer is always a great time to enjoy the great weather and read at the beach or in your favorite outdoor spot.  But you can also turn this time into an executive retreat of sorts.

This year, try adding summer leadership reading.

Our minds are more open to new ideas when we are relaxed. We can absorb the information non-fiction books give us during times of relaxation and let that information work into our subconscious.

Try reading a chapter or two of a leadership book, a book on the latest in technology or social media, or any book that helps in your professional growth. Then go off to fish, run, bike or just sit on the beach for a while. Your subconscious will take it from there and ideas will begin popping into your head when you least expect it.

Here are five ways to turn summer leadership reading into a great growth experience:

  • Choose a book that challenges you – If you want to be a leader, but are not one yet, choose a book that will get you there. If you are already a leader, choose a book with a new leadership or management theory outside of your norm.
  • Reread an impactful book from the last few years  – Going back to a book that had impact a few years ago can be a great way to check your growth and rediscover areas you did not carry out. None of us stays in one place. You may find something that didn’t apply before, but does now.
  • Break the chapters into goal segments – Time the book to match your free time. Set goals by segments in the book. If you don’t set a goal you may end up blowing off the summer leadership reading to relax.
  • Try to read in the morning – Whether it is just our nuclear family or we vacation with extended friends and family, not much happens as a group until after 9 AM. I try to time my summer leadership reading during this time. My mind is fresh (coffee as an assist) and I can often enjoy the quiet time down by the water.
  • Plan a relaxing activity – Leave the book behind and enjoy some relaxing time. For me, this has included hang gliding, parasailing, kayaking, bike riding or even a walk or run. It is always capped off by beach time.
  • Capture your thoughts – No matter what you choose to do to relax, be sure you have something to capture the thoughts that pop up as a result of your reading. It can be as simple as a 3×5 card. My new favorite tool is Evernote on my iPhone. The beauty of Evernote is that whatever I capture (in writing, a recording or a picture) is waiting for me on my laptop when I sign on. See for more on this app.
  • Make an action list the night before you return to work – Make your reading actionable. Make a list to bring back to work and start. Put reminders in your calendar to include what you have learned from your summer leadership reading.

Here are some other great thoughts from colleagues on using the summer months to recharge and reeducate:

Chris Brogan – Summer Diet –

Michael Hyatt – Mini Sabbatical –

John Maxwell – Reading List Tweet –

 What books do you recommend for Summer Leadership Reading? How do you choose your summer reading list?

Al Getler is a newspaper, website, book and magazine publisher. He is also a comedian/ventriloquist and a speaker on leadership, customer service and personal branding.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.