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Business executive or lawyer sitting on his office couchPresidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy weren’t only great leaders. They were avid readers. Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs, also had a strong appreciation for reading. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is passionate about reading and recommending books. Many of the most successful people in the world do a lot of reading. So it’s no surprise that studies have linked reading to a wide array of benefits that can help you in your career.

Reading books can be a great way to explore different cultures, new ways of learning and innovative thinking. Ideas have always been the most valuable currency. The skills you need to meet daily challenges are amply illustrated in books and articles.

Books penned by successful business leaders can provide valuable information and advice. Companies today are looking for employees with great ideas. Reading quality business books can provide you with creative inspiration to successfully tackle challenges and/or problems at your company. Studies also show that reading can help you better develop your vocabulary, boost your writing and analytical skills and help you relax. Some studies have shown that reading also can help people be more empathetic. Here’s one more skill books can teach us: perseverance. Some books take more of a commitment to finish than others! Research shows that reading a book at bedtime can even help you fall asleep better than surfing the Internet or watching TV.

Every time you finish another book — fiction or nonfiction — you’ve increased your capacity to reshape your mind and your environment with new ideas. That’s why virtually all truly great leaders, both yesterday and today, dive into books and articles.

Reading does more than simply gift you with an invaluable education: Reading can challenge your mind, broaden your social skills and improve your confidence. What you glean from books also can help you better understand the people you work with and/or lead, and what motivates them to aspire to greater achievements. Reading regularly also keeps your brain sharp, not to mention helping to improve your ability to adapt yourself to a continually shifting business world.