Learn
Learn
Close

They Ask, You Answer

A revolutionary approach to inbound sales, content marketing, and today’s digital consumer.

Learn MoreLearn More

Free Courses in IMPACT+

Dozens of sales, marketing, and content courses inside IMPACT+. Start learning now.

See all coursesSee all courses
Events
Events
Close
IMPACT+ Membership
IMPACT+ Membership
Close
Coaching & Implementation Services
Coaching & Implementation Services
Close

Services Overview

See how you can dramatically increase your inbound leads and sales.

Services Overview

Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery

Fast track your team’s success with IMPACT's most popular service.

Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery

Web Design

Launch a beautiful website that consistently generates leads and revenue.

Web Design

Virtual Sales Training

Equip your sales team with comprehensive training designed to help them close more deals in today's virtual-first world.

Virtual Sales Training

HubSpot Training & Implementation

Train your company to take ownership of HubSpot and get the most out of your investment.

HubSpot Training & Implementation

Case Studies

See dozens of examples of companies succeeding with Digital Sales and Marketing Mastery and They Ask, You Answer.

Case Studies
Become a Coach
Become a Coach
Close

As an Inbound Leader, I Read 52+ Books in 2018 & Here Is What I Learned

As an Inbound Leader, I Read 52+ Books in 2018 & Here Is What I Learned Blog Feature

Chris Duprey

Chief Learning Officer and Coach, 10+ Years in Business Development & Leadership, Former Infantry Officer

January 3rd, 2019 min read

I love reading. I love books. I always have.

For some reason, they are magical to me.

I blame my mother. Every single morning, you would find me on my mother's lap, reading the morning paper along with her -- or as best as I could, at my age. As I grew older, I continued to devour as many books as possible. 

Because of her, I'm now "that guy" who always says the book was better than the show or movie, and I read for both entertainment and education.

In fact, when I was deployed in Iraq, I had ended up having to ship a massive footlocker home that was stuffed to capacity with books I had been reading. Books I brought with me. Books sent by friends and family.

That’s why last year I set a goal.

One that I didn’t know if I was going to be able to achieve.

I decided that to continue my education as an inbound leader; to ensure that I brought my best to the team each day, I needed to read more than I had been -- even though I was reading one to two books a month.

So, I challenged myself to read a book a week -- 52 books -- in 2018. 

I initially started a list of books to read in my notes tool, later transitioning to Goodreads as a place to not only track my progress but also to log and develop what to read next. (Thanks again, Marcella!)

I'm proud to say I’ve achieved my 2018 goal by mid-December, and actually ended up surpassing it, reading 54 books in total.

I’ve read a ton of business and leadership books, some fiction, some nonfiction, and a ton of books on mindfulness and Buddhism.

So, after a year of reading, here are a few things I learned.

Reading a Book a Week Is Really Hard

I’m glad I actually set a total number of books to read, rather than hold myself to a book a week. Throughout the year, there were weeks where I wouldn’t finish a book and others where I would finish three.

I found that to read -- when I say "read" I also include listening to audiobooks -- 52 books this year I needed to be reading multiple books at a time. I would also have to optimize my time to fit in enough time to not only read the books but to appreciate them, as well.

I found that listening to audiobooks at 1.5 speed allowed me to quicken my pace while still being able to fully take in the book. Any faster and I think I would have lost a lot of the context.

When I would start a book if I wasn’t hooked on the concept or the writing within the first 10 minutes of diving in, I stopped reading the book. This proved to be really helpful. I never felt that my reading time was forced or not enjoyable.

All that said, it took a lot of time and effort to get through all of the books, but it was time well spent.

I Noticed 2 Common Leadership Themes 

While most books had their "one big thing," underlying all of those one big things were self-awareness and self-mastery. Surprisingly, this was my biggest takeaway from my reading adventure.

Self-Awareness Is the Heart of Leadership

The importance of being self-aware was at the heart of every single business and leadership book. Every author touched on it in their own way, but I found myself becoming aware of this principle everywhere. It was re-enforced exponentially in all of the mindfulness and Buddhist works I read.

I started to see the principles from those mindfulness books and my own mindfulness practice jumping off the pages. The idea that we must be present to lead.

That we must first be aware of and help ourselves to truly be able to help others.

Whether it was about team dynamics or one on one communication, you needed to be self-aware to get the most out of the situation.

Self-Mastery Follows Close Behind

The need to master oneself was a close second to self-awareness.

I found that there was a distinct thread in most of what I read --that the more we work on ourselves, the more success we and those we lead will have. In essence, rather than trying to answer:

"What’s wrong with my team?"

...we need to ask ourselves:

"How do I optimize and better myself?"

Memoirs Help (a Lot)

For "breaks" from learning, I chose to read a few memoirs.

After the first one of these "breaks," I realized there was just as much to learn about leadership as there were in the business books I was reading.

Hearing about the trials and tribulations of others helped me put things in perspective and gain hints of insight into situations I was facing.

Memoirs also add a different style to the mix.

Rather than the business or leadership book that usually has the "one big idea," I found that memoirs had much much more. They were filled with examples of those big ideas in practice.

Why Am I Sharing This with You?

While inbound leadership is an approach that yields greater organizational success through an almost maniacal focus on your people, it is not one that is achievement-focused. 

An inbound leader is always learning. Always seeking greater truths and understanding. In a way, you must always be a student of leadership. 

As we start this new year together, my hope in sharing my experience with you is that you see and understand the importance of setting tough goals around learning.

Goals that help you "sharpen the saw," as Stephen Covey would say. 

If you don't set goals around learning as an inbound leader -- or as an aspiring inbound leader -- it won't get done. Learning will remain an abstract aspiration, unmeasured and unmanaged. 

"I'll make time for it later," you'll say. 

And there's a good chance you won't. (I know this from personal experience.)

Of course, your challenge does not need to be about reading.

It could be new podcasts or watching leadership-focused TED Talks. Or, if reading does pique your interest, here are 15 books I highly recommend for any aspiring inbound leader(Also, if you want to see what I’m reading or what I’ve read check out my Goodreads page.)

It doesn't matter what you decide to get after in your pursuit of learning as an inbound leader; all that matters is that you define and document a goal of some kind, and then push yourself to achieve it. 

It won't always be easy, but I hope I've shown you how immensely rewarding it can be to work on yourself, so you can then work on your team. 

I know you can do it. So, dive in. Do the work.

What's Next for Me?

Here’s the deal -- I really enjoyed this year and working towards this goal. And my love of reading is only superseded by my love of learning.

So, am I going to do it again! 60 books in 2019, here I come!

No, just kidding.

I’m still going to read a ton, but I plan to slow down a bit in 2019 on reading, so I can focus more on writing. (You'd think after writing 8,000+ words last year on inbound leadership, I would have had enough -- but you'd be wrong.)

Want to learn more about digital sales and marketing?

Master digital sales and marketing when you join IMPACT+ for FREE. Gain instant access to exclusive courses and keynotes taught by Marcus Sheridan, Brian Halligan, Liz Moorehead, Ann Handley, David Cancel, Carina Duffy, Zach Basner, and more.

Sign up for free
Take a peek

Access hundreds of FREE courses and keynotes

Free Course
Digital Sales & Marketing Framework for Today’s Buyers
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
A New Way to Compete & Win
By: Brian Halligan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
How To Genuinely Feel Confident, Be Likable, And Build Trust On Camera
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Future of Marketing is Conversational​
By: David Cancel
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
HubSpot On a Budget: Getting Started with HubSpot Starter Hubs
By: Courtney Caldwell
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Assignment Selling: Content is Your Greatest Sales Tool
By: Marcus Sheridan
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Big, Bold, Brave New World of Marketing​
By: Ann Handley
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Investing in Incredible Digital Sales and Marketing Results
By: Chris Duprey
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
How To Show Your Content Makes Money With HubSpot Marketing and Sales Hubs
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
The Visual Sale
By: Marcus Sheridan & Tyler Lessard
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Marketing Tech: What’s Now, What’s Near and What’s Not Anytime Soon?​
By: Dharmesh Shah
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Inbound Lead Generation & Conversion Optimization
By: Carina Duffy
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Virtual Keynote
Fundamentals of Videography: You Can Be a Great Videographer Too
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
The Ultimate Customer Service Toolkit for Any Budget
By: Andriti Gulati
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
6 Topics Subject Matter Experts Need to Address
By: Kevin Phillips
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
Fanocracy: The Power of Making Business Personal​
By: David Meerman Scott
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
The Power of Pillar Content
By: Liz Moorehead
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Keynote
SEO for the Future
By: Franco Valentino
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing
By: Stephanie Baiocchi
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Deep Dive
A Practical Guide To Video Graphics
By: Colton Trcic
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Session
How To Get Your Community To Know, Like, And Trust You With Video
By: Marki Lemons Rhyal
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Free Course
Video Sales and Marketing Strategy
By: Zach Basner
View Course Preview View Course Preview
Here Are Some Related Articles You May Find Interesting

Want to Contribute Content to impactplus.com? Click Here.

IMPACT+ Sign Up
A FREE online learning community with on-demand courses, hundreds of expert-led sessions, thousands of your peers ready to support you, and much more.
Check it out
Hundreds of courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE
Check it out
Access hundreds of digital sales and marketing courses and recorded keynotes, completely FREE