29 Jan 2018
I have been reading since long. Last few years, I have been reading a lot more. And I strongly believe that IFAs will benefit a lot by developing a habit of regularly reading books. Here are a few things I have learned about being an effective reader.
1) To be able to develop the habit of reading, it should not be done from the perspective of gaining benefit or learning. It should be done as a hobby or leisure. It should be effortless.
2) Most people consider reading as an opportunity cost of doing something else as reading doesn’t provide any instant gratification or economic benefit. So they ignore, avoid and put it off for tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes in reading. Reading must form part of everyday life. A routine. A ritual. Tune this in your mind.
3) Don’t force yourself to read a particular genre or subject. Start with reading whatever interests you. Over time, you will automatically know what you like. Go with the flow.
4) It is not necessary to read all the books cover to cover. Doing this will consume a lot of time. Instead, you need to learn the art of skimming (glancing through/capturing the main idea) and skipping (irrelevant sections and repetitions). With time you will learn to do this. This is extremely important to understand that you simply don’t have enough time to read everything that’s written. So, learn to read fast. Apply the rule of marginal benefit. Typically, a 300-page book will require 10 hours of reading. At some stage, you should be able to finish reading such books in 3-4 hours through skimming and skipping. Of course, books that interest you and keep you engrossed, you can read them cover to cover no matter how much time it takes.
5) After you have read a reasonable number of books (say 50-100), you will have a fair idea of basic stuff author write. This will greatly help you read faster.
6) Reading does to mind what exercise does to your body. It’s a slow process but bit by bit you will feel the difference in your ability to see things with a different perspective, make you analyze better and stop you from being judgemental.
It is extremely important for IFAs to give an hour every day to read. It could be anything. Initially, the habit should be formed and then IFAs will themselves be able to filter what you read. Ideally, it should be a mix of business and non-business readings. A widely read IFA will be able to convince a client on the basis of his/her knowledge rather than fluid convincing. A decision based on knowledge is expected to stand the test of time. Clients also like to stay longer with advisors who shows the serious commitment to the profession by being up to date.