Working a little light reading into your day can help you tremendously in your career. For designers, one of the biggest challenges you face is that you probably spent the majority of your college days studying design. This is well and good, but being a good designer is only one part of being a successful designer. Without the knowledge of social engineering, marketing and the arts, you can only ever be a good designer and a good designer without clients isn't going to get very far in the industry.
Reading for Pleasure
The important thing to understand, something that will help you to become a better and more successful designer, is that nobody knows everything. We're all trapped in a bubble that encompasses our entire world view and this can be incredibly limiting to us both as designers and as people but especially as salespeople and, make no doubt about it, whether selling yourself to a client or a creative talent agency, you are a salesperson.
People who work habitual reading into their daily life live in much larger life bubbles than those who don't and we're not just talking about non-fiction, history or biographies on your favorite designers and advertising pros. Reading literature like drama and philosophy not only expands your view, it keeps your brain sharp, which is of vital importance if you want to stay on top of your game. The NEA suggests that the decline in reading is directly responsible for a decline in future prospects for today's young people. The truth is, a habitual reader has a sharp competitive edge over other designers: If you don't read and read often, you're hardly even in the game.
What To Read for Business
When you're competing for work, developing and maintaining strong reading habits is no longer a matter of acing a test or passing a college class, it's a matter of survival. Not sure what to read? The Harvard Business Review makes a great argument for reading for pleasure and lists some of the author's favorites here. Looking for business books to read? Here's Inc's list.
Erika Anderson tells Forbes.com that it doesn't matter what you read, as long as you enjoy it:
So if you’re feeling self-indulgent as you sit out on your porch of a weekend with Game of Thrones or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest or Lady Chatterly’s Lover in hand – reassure yourself that you may be improving your chances of business success just as much or more than if you were reading the Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal.
So go ahead an pick up that book! When you're done, tweet us and tell us what you were reading. Want even more great life advice? Read this post on discovering the better designer in you.