Note: Dear Readers: Please comment below and tell me what you are reading now!

My pal and fellow Colorado Speaker Jay Arthur and I are in the same mastermind group. After a discussion about reading in one of our meetings, he wrote the following letter, and I thought it was absolutely right on.  Check it out:

Years ago, I listened to a tape by motivational speaker Brian Tracy.festival of books
He said that if you read an hour a day, that in five years you’ll be a worldwide expert in your field.
I listened and adopted his advice.

In 1976, my friend Dave told me that “Everything you need to know is written in a book somewhere; all you need to do is find an author who speaks to you.” At that time, I was three years out of college and hadn’t read a book since.
I listened and adopted his advice.

And, I rarely buy a book anymore. I check them out of the library.
I found that too many books are “all feathers and no meat.”
Every once in awhile I find a book that’s really meaty and I buy a copy to highlight and review.

I’m going to suggest, that if we aren’t reading in our chosen field and other fields that might have stimulating ideas, that we are becoming obsolete and irrelevant.


Then I responded:

I’d like to chime in. I second Jay’s advice. I read all the time. I love novels, but lately have read books about everything from Base Ball Strategy, gourmet cooking, New York chefs (—I was on a roll!), West Point, D-Day, and John Adams. I like them and feel that I’m learning about the world. I think this type of reading is important.

But at the National Speakers Association CSP/ CPAE summit books(I have at least one of those) my main take away might seem relevant.  And I’ll save you the $1500 it cost me to get it: become a thought leader. This means reading in my field and related fields and then be able to think and write uniquely in my field.

Seriously, that was what I got out of the seminar. ALL of the people making big money are big thinkers.  Period. Product, speeches, consulting etc follow….they don’t lead.

So I immediately bought six books. Four of them blow, but I’m going VERY slowly and carefully through the remaining two, which are awesome. (I need to start working the library like Jay). I’m on a roll and already have several other books cued up.

There are two immediate results from my reading:

1. I’m learning stuff that is applicable to my writing (blogs/books) and to my keynote. I’m taking organized concrete steps toward increasing my expertise and ability to be a thought leader.

2. I feel damn good about myself because I know this is a good idea. And I’m taking the time to read, take notes, highlight, try to think of it thru’ my eyes as a ‘happiness/humor-at-work guy.” Seriously, I feel great about doing this. I’m an idiot for not adopting it sooner.

I’m still reading about cool stuff that I love. And I still love novels. But now, as part of my work week I’m reading.

My main goals in my work day include only 4 things:
1.  website improvement and maintenance.
2.  Work towards being a thought leader. (Read now, write soon)
3.  Work all incoming calls/email leads to death.
4.  Build a herd.

Everything else is either secondary or a subset of one of the top 4.

Thanks Jay for starting the conversation.


So my question to you is:  what are YOU reading, and why? Can you learn, as I have, from Jay and others like him?  Read now and you’ll be an expert before you know it.

Need an expert on how humor and happiness effect our productivity at work?  Go to the contact page now.

Note: Dear Readers: Please comment below and tell me what you are reading now!


Brad Montgomery
Motivational Speaker, Reader, and…. Thought Leader!

PS. Sign up for Jay’s ezines at and

10 replies
  1. Jay Arthur
    Jay Arthur says:

    Brad, thanks for taking action!

    I also find that authors I know and trust recommend other books that they really liked. Speakers reference favorite books in their PowerPoint slides.

    If someone you know likes a book enough to read it and recommend it, it’s probably worth your time.

    My latest read-then-purchase book? FREE by Anderson. Wild insights into the value of Free stuff (e.g., Google search is Free; Google ads are not.)

    Customers used to want better, faster and cheaper. Now they want FREE, PERFECT and NOW!

  2. Brad Montgomery
    Brad Montgomery says:

    Jay, every time we chat, it tends to cost me money — which I spend at Amazon. : ) Ok…. I’ll check out Free. Thanks brother!

  3. Elaine Dumler
    Elaine Dumler says:

    Hi Jay and Brad,

    I’m a pretty poor reader, but your columns reminded me of it’s importance. I end up enjoying the books I read, and I always learn something – I just have to do it more.
    I was having coffee with an associate this morning and the information he was asking me about caused me to respond by suggesting a book that I had read in the past. I still call on it’s learning points often so I offer that as my “current read” to your request. It’s “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. I know it’s been around for quite awhile, but I find myself talking about it’s basic tenents often, so it must have made a difference.
    I suggest that you give it a read if you haven’t already. It’s points on success and focus have been a force behind my success as a military speaker and author for military family readiness. I hope it helps everyone else focus on their goals on what they can become.

    Thanks again Brad!
    Elaine Dumler

  4. Brad Montgomery
    Brad Montgomery says:

    Tipping Point rocks. Ok, ok, I admit it. I haven’t read that either. I also wanna read BLINK but haven’t done that yet either. More for Amazon! Thanks Elaine.

  5. Lamikin
    Lamikin says:

    Hi Brad, at the moment am rereading the first Harry Potter, Dantes Numbers and Rumpole and the Primrose Path. Just finished Newes from the Dead and the Shape of Water. P

  6. Brad Montgomery
    Brad Montgomery says:

    I loves me my Harry Potter! Don’t know about News from…. I’ll check it out. thanks!

  7. LeAnn Thieman
    LeAnn Thieman says:

    I just read Scott Halford’s Be A Shortcut, The Secret Fast Track to Business Success.Lots of basic good ideas. Mostly I’m reading nursing journals and websites to learn even more about my area of expertise, nurse recruitment and retention.I know it is important to be on the cutting edge of these trends.

  8. Brad Montgomery
    Brad Montgomery says:

    Scott is a colorado speaker, a pal, and a smarty pants. But I haven’t read his book yet. Clearly I need to get right on it baby. Thanks LeAnn!

  9. Erika Kidd
    Erika Kidd says:

    Salt: A World History by
    ~ Mark Kurlansky
    Mark Kurlansky (Author)
    A fascinating read about the only rock we eat and it’s amazing effect on major world events (the Great Wall of China, US Civil War, medicial value, preservation, etc.) Creds: I learned about it from Alton Brown’s site.

    Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs (sorry guys, no videos).
    Categorized on a scale from Bad-for-a-Season to Bad-to-the-Bone. If we can’t laugh at ourselves while pointing to ancient folk, when can we?

    How was that for diversity? I love my library card! They keep everything stored so neatly. I only have to dust or move the really good ones at home.

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