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Secrets of Success: How Reading Gives You an Edge

Secrets of Success. How reading makes you smarter and happierEver since I was a little girl, I’ve loved reading. I was the girl who checked out all 20 books, until they told me I couldn’t check out anymore at one time. My favorite books were always about practical wisdom. (I’ve always had a special appreciation for Benjamin Franklin!) I’m all about Secrets to Success. By this I mean key lessons, beneficial behaviors, and bits of wisdom that just work.

One of the best secrets to success? Reading. What you’re doing right now, in fact! Congratulations, you successful person, you!

In all seriousness, did you know that by reading more you can actually become smarter, lower your stress levels, keep your brain young and fit, and flat out be happier? It’s true. You can.  Here’s the how it works.

4 Ways Reading is a Key to Your Success

1. Reading is the best way to relax

Have you ever felt stressed and opened Facebook or turned on the TV? More than likely, you felt more stressed or just as tense after scrolling online or watching TV. Reading helps us all chill out, and it is a healthy escape from the stresses of day-to-day life. Only six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by more than two-thirds.

2. Reading helps you focus and boosts productivity

If you are like me, you are online a lot. We all know that the fast-paced world we live in is not great for our brains. All the back and forth distractions can hurt our ability to focus.  We need to balance the time we spend racing around the Internet and skimming articles, with time spent focused on a great book.

I’ve found that even reading for a short period each morning helps me to be able to focus, remember things more clearly and be more productive during the day. If that isn’t enough, reading can help fight dementia and even Alzheimers as we age.

3. Reading gives you a competitive advantage

Reading a great nonfiction book will give you an edge because you will gain wisdom you can use in your career. You will be smarter if you are an avid reader. Period. Here’s something to think about. Have you ever noticed how reading biographies and memoirs of people who have overcome crazy odds and challenges and done great things encourages you to do your best?

I’m way less likely to feel sorry for myself if I lose a sale or get a nasty comment about my work when I compare my circumstances to the experiences of pioneers and leaders who’ve gone before me. That is seriously humbling!

4. Reading gives you a psychological boost

There’s nothing like diving into the story of a person who lived life well to remind us that life is more than the (sometime depressing) images and messages we see on TV, life is beautiful and full of opportunity to live it well. Studies show that reading self-help books can also help lessen depression. 

Feeling ready to crack open a book or two?

Good. I have some suggestions! Here are two great books, both written by friends of mine, that will inspire you and make you smarter and happier- guaranteed.

Business & Work Book Pick

Out of Office13916587865_5a2747116d_z

by Simon Salt

If you are thinking about how to set up a home office and what all the options are, you will love Out of Office. Simon goes into great detail on how to set up productivity systems, boundaries (both personal and psychological), and how to work with remote teams.

I like Simon’s book so much, I endorsed it. If you have any questions about all the ways you can work out of office, this is a great choice. Find Out of Office here.

Life & Inspiration Book Pick

Hope RunsHope Runs

by Claire Diaz Ortiz

  I can’t say enough about this book, and Claire’s story of meeting and bringing Sammy to the U.S. under her guardianship. I met Sammy when he and Claire spoke at BlissDom together a few years ago.

 As I read the chapters he wrote (he and Claire co-wrote the book) I was amazed at his perspective, his strength, and his ability to thrive despite such hard circumstances early in life. Here’s a bit of the beautiful story you will find in this book:

“When Claire Díaz-Ortiz arrived in Kenya at the end of an around-the-world journey, she decided to stay the night, climb Mount Kenya, and then head back home. She entered an orphanage, seeing it as little more than a free place to spend the night before her mountain trek.

Sammy Ikua Gachagua had lost his father to illness, his mother to abandonment, and his home to poverty. By age ten, he was living in a shack with several other children and very little food. He entered an orphanage, seeing it as a miracle with three meals a day, a bed to sleep in, and clothes on his back.

Hope Runs is the emotional story of one American tourist, one Kenyan orphan, and how one day became one year that would change the course of both of their lives forever. It’s about opening your heart to outrageous possibilities. It’s about what it means to hope for the things you cannot see.

It’s about how God can change your life in the blink of an eye.”

Hope Runs is a fast read (I read it in a day) and if you have tweens and teens, you may want to give your copy to them to read when you are done. The book is an adventure and a lens to a very different world. Sammy’s chapters will be especially fascinating for boys. My older guys loved it.

*Speaking of people who love to read, Claire can read me under the table. She reads 150+ books a year.

I have never done a giveaway on this site before, but I love this book so much I’ve decided to give 5 copies away.

Simply leave a comment below and 5 people will win a special copy!


Should You Post That Selfie? This Flowchart Can Be Your Guide.

Should you post that Selfie? Use the Selfie flowchart at (Infographic)Selfies. Love them or hate them, we can’t escape them. I love seeing faces pop up all over the web of my friends and people whose work I respect. What I don’t like is the word, “Selfie.” It just sounds ridiculous.

On Facebook yesterday, I asked for your opinions about selfies. So far, we have over a hundred comments and it is still going.


See the whole conversation and join in here. 


My favorite comment was from George Smith, Jr-

 Selfies are like establishing shots in a movie. When done right – it adds context, gives the viewer a chance to see the person behind the camera. When done too often, seems like a mess with no “story” to it. The best people online use photos to establish a storyboard for their life.

One of the biggest take aways from the conversation on Facebook is that most folks love seeing each other’s faces, but many feel awkward or uncomfortable sharing their own self-portraits. Some think it is a bit narcissistic, but most do not.

The truth is, the selfie discussion itself is a big mirror that reflects our individual views on much more than just self-portraits online.

We are part of a cultural shift where CEOs, solopreneurs, pastors and farmers are sharing their daily lives. Selfies can be used brilliantly to tell the stories of who we are, our day-to-day lives and, as George said, to let people see the person behind the camera.

Not only that, faces in images are good for business. They are 38% more likely to get likes and 32% more likely to get comments. 

If you are still unsure of whether you should post a selfie or not, here is a handy flowchart.

Should You Post a Selfie- Alli Worthington (Infographic)


What do you think? Pro-Selfie or No-Selfie?

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