The Lesson

This week’s challenge is inspired by Sue Wylie, legal assistant for law firm Robinson, Reagan, and Young based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Last week Sue emailed me with a challenge that she is currently working on called Good Read’s 104 Challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to encourage people to read 104 books in 52 weeks, or in other words, two books each week, and from the sounds of it, Sue is off to a great start.

Personally, I try to read three books each quarter (one fiction, one biography, and one business-related book) and at times I struggle with keeping that commitment. I have to admit, Sue’s determination to complete this challenge is impressive and inspiring and to be honest, I am not sure that I could complete the challenge.

Some statistics that are floating around cyberspace indicate that reading even one book a year would be a daunting challenge for many people. Check out these stats posted on

  • 42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
  • 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
  • 70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
  • Each day in the U.S., people spend 4 hours watching TV, 3 hours listening to the radio and 14 minutes reading magazines.

I’m not certain how scientific these statistics are, however, my gut tells me that they are in line with what I observe in the world around me. Reading, for many, it seems, has become a necessary evil — we only do it when we absolutely have to.

However, there are many benefits that reading presents. In his post The 26 Major Advantages of Reading More Books and Why 3 in 4 People Are Being Shut Out of Success, author Brad Isaac gives the following benefits (You’ll have to click through for the details):

  1. Reading is an active mental process.
  2. It is a fundamental skill builder.
  3. Improves your vocabulary.
  4. Gives you a glimpse into other cultures and places.
  5. Improves concentration and focus.
  6. Builds self-esteem.
  7. Improves memory.
  8. Improves your discipline.
  9. Learn anywhere.
  10. Improves creativity.
  11. Gives you something to talk about.
  12. Books are inexpensive entertainment.
  13. You can learn at your own pace.
  14. New mental associations.
  15. Improves your reasoning skills.
  16. Builds your expertise.
  17. Saves money.
  18. Decreases mistakes.
  19. You’ll discover surprises.
  20. Decreased boredom.
  21. Can change your life.
  22. Can help you break a slump.
  23. Reduces stress.
  24. Gets you away from digital distractions.
  25. You’ll make more money.
  26. The book is always better than the movies.

I’d say there are plenty of reasons why reading a good book – or 104 good books – is a good idea. Brad also points out that, “Brian Tracy has said one way to become an expert in your chosen field is to read 100 books on the subject. He also said by continuing the same for 5 years you’ll become an international expert. With the Internet and blogs, you could hone that time down to 2-3 years if you follow through.”

Many of us have upward career goals and using books to improve our skills seems like a natural fit.

The Challenge

Maybe you disagree with Brad and Brian, but certainly you wouldn’t disagree with Dr. Seuss, would you? As the good doctor stated, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

This week, you get to pick your challenge:

  1. Join Sue in her quest to read 104 books. If you do it right, you might be able to couple that challenge with Brian Tracy’s challenge of becoming an expert in your chosen field by selecting books from your profession.
  2. If you haven’t read a book in awhile, try picking just one good book and go from there.
  3. Schedule 15 minutes each day to read a book, a magazine, or a blog.

The Reflection

1.  Do you think reading has an impact on career success?
2.  What would you add to Brad’s list of benefits?
3.  What is your opinion on Brian’s 100 book theory?
4.  How many books did you read in 2010?

Enjoy a good book!

Gary Jensen
Editor | collector mentor

To download companion worksheets to use with The collector mentor Challenge™, please visit

About collector mentor
Published bimonthly, collector mentor is a quick-read publication dedicated entirely to delivering articles and practical advice that teaches credit and collection professionals how to increase collection results, enhance productivity, improve teamwork, and become better stewards of the industry.

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