To learn how to lead – or to learn about anything – nothing beats simply getting out there, giving it a go and picking it up as you go along. But another useful and enjoyable way is to read what others have done, take what works for you and adapt it into your own life.
Richard reading to young Sam
As I’ve said when asked why I’ve written my new autobiography Finding My Virginity, I believe if you live a full life that other people could learn from, you should record it. A book is a wonderful way to do this, whether it ends up being read by thousands of people or just a few loved ones. I think everybody leads a life worth writing about. No matter what you do in life, your children, grandchildren and friends will be fascinated by your experiences. It’s a magical thing to share. Hopefully some of you have read Finding My Virginity – or find it in your Christmas stocking – and #ReadToLead with it.
One example of a book that has helped me to #ReadToLead this year is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. While the book came out a few years ago now, I got around to it this year, and am very glad I did. I’ve always been fascinated in what makes humans human, and how people are constantly evolving, changing and growing. The genius of Sapiens is that it takes some daunting, complex themes and breaks them down into a fascinating, simple narrative.
richard branson reading with a pen
I certainly wouldn’t consider myself a big reader of paleontology or anthropology – not good words for us dyslexics! – but I enjoy learning about how society has unfolded and history has developed in an exciting, easy to read way. The sequel, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, is a fascinating look into the future too. While these aren’t traditional business or leadership books, they are all about people – and learning how to work with, live with, interact with people and get the best out of them is what leadership is all about.
What books have you read in 2017 that have shaped your perspective on leadership, or anything else? I’d love to hear about them on social – give me some recommendations.