If you want to be the boss, you need to read now

reader rise to the top of the corporate worldPlaying sport or a musical instrument are all nice to have, but if you want to wind up in charge at the office, you need to be pouring over the books as a teenager. We’re not talking about hitting the books, as you study the prescribed material, but the kind you find in libraries and bookshops.

So this week’s Neurotechnology Tip encourages you to use the free time during your break to READ.

1970 babies ruling the world

Oxford University researchers started a big sociological study 25 years ago, to try to figure out what it takes to “succeed” in the world of work.

The study rounded up 17 200 sixteen year olds, and asked them what they did with their time outside of school. The researchers then tracked down the participants 25 years later , at the ripe old age of 33, to see what had become of them.

Readers rule

The researchers discovered that teenagers that included reading in their extra-curricular activities, ruled the business world.

The readers, both girls and boys, were far more likely to be in a managerial post, than the non-readers, irrespective of their education background. But readers also were more likely to have attended university – a university education, typically gives one a head start on the corporate ladder.

Muesuems and matinees made no difference

None of the other activities, such as taking part in sports, socialising, going to museums or galleries, or to the cinema or concerts, or practical activities like cooking or sewing, had a significant effect on their careers.

PS. Some of you might be relieved to know, playing computer games didn’t doom people to the bottom of the pecking order, in a job environment, but it did decrease the odds of going to university. Of course, the computer games were a little more primitive than what is available today, but they did exist in the late 1980s.

Why is reading for pleasure so important ?

No one is 100 % sure.

Exposing your brain to new stuff obviously creates new pathways and opening up your thinking. But I suspect, the real benefit comes in expanding your vocabulary and fine tuning your ability to string sentences together in some cohesive form. You learn it by osmosis.

People who write well, are worth far more than people who can barely write.  Readers are “writers” and being able to communicate, is the key to corporate success.

Does reading still count in the digital world ?

More than you realize. It is the one skill that is taking strain in the digital era.

Those 1970 babies would probably beat you in a read-a-thon, although they wouldn’t have had a clue how to SMS or update their facebook profile. Computer reading is not the same as reading a real book.

Read yourself to greatness

So start yourself on a management development programme today. You don’t need to fork out thousands for an MBA , books borrowed from a local library are the ticket to the big time.

Find a book, curl up in a corner somewhere and read yourself to the top.

The above story is based on a press release from the University of Oxford titled Reading at 16 linked to better job prospects

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Further reading

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Hire Dr Sandy from a Spoonful of Science to be the keynote speaker at your next event.

Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..

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