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Leaders are Readers

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There’s a cliche you’ve probably heard: Leaders are readers. As with all cliches, there is a nugget of truth and a mountain of misconception. By leaders I do not mean men and women who are in charge, but men and women who change things, who stand out in front, and people follow. By readers I do not mean men who escape the necessities of action and living to walk around in a fantasy, but I mean men who take the knowledge contained in great books and utilize it in their daily actions, which is known more broadly as wisdom—the application of knowledge.

Great statesman like Alexander the Great who shaped the ancient world and founded libraries that have stood for centuries was a reader; men like Caesar who forged Rome into the powerhouse it would become was a reader. In more recent times men like Napoleon Bonaparte when on military campaign would bring an entire library with him; men like Lincoln and Churchill, the greatest orators of their times, were immense readers. Benjamin Franklin had a personal decree that no matter how broke he was, he would always spend money on books. The Wright Brothers were immense readers, extremely well-read in history, literature and most importantly, aeronautics and ornithology. This is true in modern business, too. Bill Gates has a "Think Week" when he does nothing but read. It is the essential ingredient he attributes to his success. Tony Hsieh, billionaire founder of Zappos.com believes in reading so much that he ties employee raises to the amount of reading they do. And it is no coincidence that Amazon.com’s founder, Jeff Bezos, opened his little online store in order to sell books.

In every industry the men and women who move it forward do not rely on a four year education to gain their “book knowledge.” Many dropped out of college or didn’t bother. They understand that to have a clear picture of their industry and their world is the only way to know in what direction things are moving, and how they can move it in the direction they choose.

A reader is like that visionary person who climbs a tree in the famous parable about leadership.

A group of adventurers are out in a jungle searching for the city of gold, Eldorado. Some men stand apart from the others. These men run efficiency workshops to help the workers cut through the jungle faster. They create schedules to maximize efficiency. They hold knife sharpening seminars. These are the managers.

But the leader is the man who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the jungle, and shouts to his team: “WRONG JUNGLE!”

Think of the tree as the Tree of Knowledge. It is not so simple to climb that tree and survey an industry. It can only be achieved by a wisdom which comes only from reading and acting.

There are thousands of books out there and not enough time to read even a small portion of them. We have a new aid to help. We extract the best stories from popular books. In only 1-2 pages you can read the stories of great men and thus some of their experience becomes your own. Sign up today for Book Tales and get the following 4 books sent to you immediately!

  • The Obstacle is the Way: The TImeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday

  • Springboard: Launching your Personal search for SUCCESS by G. Richard Shell

  • Creativity Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

  • Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender

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I read thousands of books and it didn't do me much good. If books were alcohol, I used to be the worse drunk you ever saw. I used to carry a packsack on my back, loaded with books. Every week or 2, I went to the library returning books and bringing back another batch of books. It was a large packsack and it was usually loaded quite full. I kept this up for about 10 years. I probably would have accomplished more if I had done something else instead of reading books.

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Derped it. Sorry.

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I read thousands of books and it didn't do me much good. If books were alcohol, I used to be the worse drunk you ever saw. I used to carry a packsack on my back, loaded wit ih books. Every week or 2, I went to the library returning books and bringing back another batch of books. It was a large packsack and it was usually loaded quite full. I kept this up for about 10 years. I probably would have accomplished more if I had done something else instead of reading books.

But it's remarkable that a Chimp would read at all.

--Brant

or post on OL--Planet of the Apes?

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I was never much of a reader and instead prefer to do real things...

Although if I want to find out how to do something I don't hesitate to read for instructions on how to do-it-myself. So my acquired skill set is far more physical than it is intellectual. Can't say how this approach would work for others, but it has served me well, as I want to be the one who actually builds the motor of my world and makes it run.

While this approach would never make a leader,

it has set me free from needing a leader,

because I learned how to lead myself.

Greg

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Right now I read almost constantly. If I'm awake the TV is on but on mute during the day. I glance up briefly and read it. Posting something is a brief diversion from reading.

--Brant

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I read thousands of books and it didn't do me much good. If books were alcohol, I used to be the worse drunk you ever saw. I used to carry a packsack on my back, loaded with books. Every week or 2, I went to the library returning books and bringing back another batch of books. It was a large packsack and it was usually loaded quite full. I kept this up for about 10 years. I probably would have accomplished more if I had done something else instead of reading books.

That's interesting. So you think that reading has caused you not to take action when you should have?

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All non-fiction??

Where's a mention of reading novels???

Maybe he was a semi-auto didactic...evil-look-smiley-emoticon.jpg

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I read thousands of books and it didn't do me much good. If books were alcohol, I used to be the worse drunk you ever saw. I used to carry a packsack on my back, loaded with books. Every week or 2, I went to the library returning books and bringing back another batch of books. It was a large packsack and it was usually loaded quite full. I kept this up for about 10 years. I probably would have accomplished more if I had done something else instead of reading books.

That's interesting. So you think that reading has caused you not to take action when you should have?

I did not say that.

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Right now I read almost constantly. If I'm awake the TV is on but on mute during the day. I glance up briefly and read it. Posting something is a brief diversion from reading.

--Brant

Posting is a good balance to reading because it's output as a complement to input. We don't have television so I usually have the Drudge Report on my monitor for news.

I enjoy Capitalist entrepreneurial ventures and just launched another new business yesterday... waste water treatment. :smile:

I've been hosting "Sewer Tours" of our waste water treatment plant to promote the business.

My first client had their entire septic system in full blown failure. It was a total stinking mess... a broken concrete tank and three pits all of which refused to percolate. The owners got bids from septic contractors who all told them they needed a complete new system at a minimum cost of $20,000.

I installed two new tank risers with lids, a septic aerator, an effluent filter with check valve, and built the form to hold the poured concrete that will repair the tank. ( I'll be pouring it next week when I have some free time off electric work.)

With just 24 hours of aeration the smell is all gone and the water is clearing up rapidly. It'll take a few months for the aerobic bacteria to reverse the damage to the pits and get them perking again, but the quadrllions of little air ingesting nanobots will work their magic and the system will be better than when it was new because now the water is usable. They want to start a small orchard of fruit trees downhill from the system, so diverting the water for automatic gravity irrigation will be a snap to implement.

I'm mulling over names and so far I like Crapshoot Waste Water Treatment the best.

This way my slogan can be "Every job is a Crapshoot." :laugh:

The best thing about this microbusiness is the investment is ZERO. It's just me, my skills, and my experience from teaching myself how to successfully convert our system. This is just one reward for learning how to lead yourself instead of needing leaders to lead you..

Greg

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Are there licensing requirements for you and county inspection of the work?

I'd leave "crap" out of the name. Crap is what people are trying to avoid and likely not be reminded of. "Supplemental Waste Water Treatment"?

If you could put a whole compact system together with size variations as needed and various pipes to accommodate site variations, you might have a patentable thing and the basis of a manufacturing industry.

--Brant

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Divining Designed Waste Water Treatment

LLL.jpg

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Are there licensing requirements for you and county inspection of the work?

That's how you city people think.

This ain't the city.

This is the Gulch. :wink:

Greg

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Are there licensing requirements for you and county inspection of the work?

That's how you city people think.

This ain't the city.

This is the Gulch. :wink:

Greg

Uh, I didn't say "city." I said "county."

--Brant

I'm a county people because I don't live in the city and the county is what is next left over

you don't carefully read what you're responding to, but seem to have a bunch of responses to go you pull out of a hat

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I'm a county people because I don't live in the city and the county is what is next left over

(shrug...) That's still city thinking, Brant.

The first thing city people think is "what about the government?" It's such a huge factor in living their lives because of their dependence on it. I had quoted this staggering statistic:

The government cuts 200,000,000 checks every month.

Need breeds the control mentality.

Greg

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I'm a county people because I don't live in the city and the county is what is next left over

(shrug...) That's still city thinking, Brant.

The first thing city people think is "what about the government?" It's such a huge factor in living their lives because of their dependence on it. I had quoted this staggering statistic:

The government cuts 200,000,000 checks every month.

Need breeds the control mentality.

Greg

The problem, Greg, is your answering a simple question with your standard boilerplate. I'm going to respect that for reasons I won't go into in this case. They could be important from your perspective. I don't respect, however, that insofar as it's been generally applied by you on this site when those reasons aren't applicable, which is most of the time.

To digress a little, I understand there is a stark differentiation between your personal and philosophical in your postings. You may not. That doesn't matter. If it were all personal I'd not have a basis for not doing actual business one on one with you. But taking you as a whole, here expressed, I could not trust that in business there would not be a serious bleed over to the detriment of the business, at least to my detriment, all of which is to say I could not trust you. You see, I consider your philosophical positions to be essentially a pile of rationalizations. I wouldn't care to take the chance of a bad business deal accompanied by a rationalization to the effect it was all my fault and you're clean as a whistle. You see, your entire philosophicalizing seemingly is to leave you in all circumstances as clean as a whistle, which you more credibly ascribe to all your business transactions. I don't respect a human being's ability to compartimentalize that well.

I could trade with you, though. What is being traded would be the security buffer. I give you a buck and you sign over your SUV. You're happy(?) and I'm crazy happy (except it's low on gas). [Joke Alert (JA)!]

--Brant

  • Haha 1

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I'm a county people because I don't live in the city and the county is what is next left over

(shrug...) That's still city thinking, Brant.

The first thing city people think is "what about the government?" It's such a huge factor in living their lives because of their dependence on it. I had quoted this staggering statistic:

The government cuts 200,000,000 checks every month.

Need breeds the control mentality.

Greg

The problem, Greg, is your answering a simple question with your standard boilerplate. I'm going to respect that for reasons I won't go into in this case. I don't respect that, however, insofar as it's been generally applied by you on this site when those reasons aren't applicable, which is most of the time.

--Brant

Our difference in approach is that the last thing I think about is the government. The first thing I think of is how my idea can serve others like it has served us to solve our own water problems.

My first clients were going to have to sell their home because they couldn't afford to shell out $20,000 for a new septic system. I solved their problem of a totally failed septic system with my simple waste water treatment conversion for about a grand, plus they now have enough free usable water to irrigate a small orchard. I kept their costs to an absolute minimum by listing the same parts they needed to get online that I had gotten to build my own plant... and then I simply installed the components for them. They were positively stunned at the transformation! :laugh:

Business isn't just about money and bureaucratic government control, Brant. That's "city people" thinking. The real purpose of business is about becoming a genuine blessing to the personal lives of others by serving them. This turns work into play... and is the secret to why I never have to worry about money for the rest of my life. :smile:

Greg

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Find the actual "pain" problem.

Solve it.

Collect the rest of the fee.

Simple.

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Find the actual "pain" problem.

Solve it.

Collect the rest of the fee.

Simple.

Do that... and people throw money at you. :smile:

There's also another component to business, and the most important one...

...the goodwill of others.

That is a precious treasure stored in Heaven that no one can ever take away from you. :wink:

Greg

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Greg,

Your post (which I really like) motivated me to find this list: 8 Things Really Great Problem Solvers Do

Reading the list it occurred to me: this is EXACTLY the opposite of the bureaucratic mindset.

4, 6 and 7 are really central with today's technical opportunities

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There are no county codes, regulations or oversight that Greg takes into consideration when advising a homeowner on how to improve a failing or substandard septic system. Or, there are no gummint brokrat tentacles that he would mention to us here.

I think his system is inventive and all-things-considered a pretty great option, and I wish him well in a new venture. There is some competition in his area from 'certified' septic experts, and if he can offer a better system for a lot cheaper price, only a churl would question him on details or bureaucratic whoopee. Or only a churl here -- who has no need of sewerage improvements. Choosing to live abutting a state park/wilderness area means you don't ever have to deal with The Man. Or not enough to mention. Or something. PukeRats begone.

In Galt's Gulch, no one ever had to take a shit.

septci_Untitled.png

Edited by william.scherk

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"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing...

...you may know that your society is doomed."

--Ayn Rand

You can always count on William to speak on behalf of "men who produce nothing". They're his people. :wink:

Greg

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