How to Leverage Reading as a Blogger + Influencer: Tips for Mind-Sharpening

How to Leverage Reading as a Blogger + Influencer: Tips for Mind-Sharpening

How to Use Reading to Your Advantage as a Blogger + Influencer

Six months ago, I was sitting in a corporate-style conference room with 5 other guys…all who were talking about global current events, new tech startups and what the great business minds in the community were saying about them…

…and I’ll never forget the look on their faces when, not only did I chime in, but I started leading the conversations.

And they looked at me like, “Who the f is this 24-year old blonde PR girl? Isn’t she just like supposed to be posting on Facebook or something??”

The whole reason I could contribute (and contribute intelligently) is because of reading.

And what I try to do to keep my mind sharp and pointy.

reading for entrepreneurs

For bloggers and influencers, I think it’s so fun + valuable to leverage your reading knowledge in business situations.

Especially especially as female entrepreneurs, I am always just internally cheering SO loud when a young woman I’m in a meeting with speaks up at a business dinner, raises her hand at a conference, adds in a tidbit to the conversation that is SO smart + knowledgeable.

And for that reason, I’m a HUGE supporter of reading + mind-sharpening.

 

Why Focus on Mind-Sharpening as a Blogger?

1. Duh, creativity.

Stepping outside of your own mind to get into a mystical world or inside the mind of a billionaire finance investment banker, it’s amazing for your writing and amazing for your worldview as a blogger + influencer.

But my point is, it’s an amazing tool for keeping your creativity and inspiration flowing.

2. Participate in the big conversations

Like I said above, keeping your mind + wits sharp is just so game-changer in the business world.

As a blogger, you ARE a business. And when you’re working with brands and launching products and collaborating, you’re in meetings, lunches, dinners, cocktail hours, etc. and it pays back in spades to sound intelligent.

3. Your writing + vocabulary also gets a boost

Research shows that as you read more, your writing + vocabulary naturally get a little boost.

Reading gets your storytelling vibes down – at the core of all content creators is the fact that we tell stories.

Whether it’s a YouTube video or an Instagram post, we’re telling a story with our content captions photos etc.

When you dive into books, all you’re doing is reading stories – that let you see how other people write their narratives, what you like about a certain storytelling style, what you don’t like about a certain storytelling style, etc.

reading for entrepreneurs

How to Sharpen Your Mind as a Blogger

So now that we know how much I love + support the diabolical plan of mind-sharpening, here are some strategies for building your own reading + learning plans.

1. Organize banger reading lists in Trello

Guys, Trello has literally changed both my life and my business.

I use Trello to keep track of what I want to read each month.  

To make sure I stay on track with reading and analyzing books and, I use Trello to organize my monthly and quarterly reading list. That way, I can plan out my books and make sure I am reading a delicate balance of weird fantasy box and nonfiction mind sharpener.

I break it down into a Q1 List of January, February, March, so I can track new releases, books I want to keep on my radar, and basically helps me know what I need to order from Amazon every month.

I’ll also break down my January reading list below, so you can see why I choose what to read.

reading for entrepreneurs

PS – Trello is the home base of how I organize my entire life and the best part is…it’s completely free. You can sign up for Trello for zero dollars and work on systematizing your workflows, keep documents all in one place…literally best case scenario. I cannot emphasize this enough that it costs me $0.00 a month and is the most AMAZING resource for any blogger.

2. Search for books in Goodreads

So, my reading list lives in a mix of Trello and Goodreads.

Goodreads is an online site, owned by Amazon, where you can categorize books that you want to read, have read, etc., and it’ll give you book recommendations based on what you already like.

I created three shelves to plan out my Q1 reading list in Goodreads –> you can see that exact shelf here

 

reading for entrepreneurs

 

3. Dive into non-fiction

Now, non-fiction can get a bad rap for being boring, but I aim for 2 non-fiction books a month.

And okay, I’m going here again…

Sometimes, bloggers + influencers are portrayed as “airheads,” “Instagram stars,” “people who go to cocktail parties, lattes, and talk about what they wear…”

There is nothing I love more than seeing women be able to sit in a poorly-lit room full of guys who are talking history, current politics, start-up technology news…and I watch the look on their faces when these girls chime in and mic drop with knowledge that no one ever expected them to know.

Use your non-fiction books to educate yourself on the world – nationally, globally, and historically.

Dive into a few non-fiction books slowly, and I guarantee the next time there’s a high-level conversation happening around you, you’re going to kill it.

reading list entrepreneurs

My Non-Fiction January Reading List

I’m only going to break down non-fiction section because maybe you guys don’t want to know about the weird YA fiction books I read??

Idk.

What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton

Can’t wait to read this. I just NEED to know the inside head of the first woman to run for President.

Also, I feel like there has to be some bomb lessons on picking yourself up after losing, right?

Get it on Amazon –> here

reading for entrepreneurs

Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday

Guys, this book title speaks to me at a cellular level.

Ryan Holiday is like an OG PR, press manipulator – he did some early campaigns at American Apparel that were so disruptive, got national media attention, and also brought a relatively unknown clothing brand into being the major player it is today.

I am fascinated by his thinking.

Get it on Amazon –> here

reading for entrepreneurs

Wrap Up

Stepping outside of your own mind to get into a mystical world or inside the mind of a billionaire finance investment banker…it’s amazing for your worldview as a blogger + influencer.

If these mind-sharpening hacks sound right up your alley, drop your name + email below to download my EXACT Trello board that I use to organize my reading list.

reading list entrepreneurs

Give it a whirl and try planning out your own mind-sharpening lists, and if you do, tag me on Instagram Stories because I’d love to see what you guys are reading!

 

Follow:
  • Oh girl I love everything about this post!! I’m going to go friend you on Goodreads!

    I’ve always loved reading, but didn’t get into business books until last year. So I’m trying to read a good mix of business, personal development, history, and fiction. Whenever I feel down or uninspired, books always pick me up and get me on my toes again.

    Plus being able to hold a conversation about history + archives with old white men is one of my favorite things.

    http://www.insearchofsheila.com

    • Lol please don’t judge me for all the terrible YA books I read. I just can’t help it.

      Also, I totally imagine you killing a convo on archiving with a bunch of old white guys 😂

  • This is a great post! I love Goodreads and I love reading nonfiction. I also try to have a word of the day. I’ll try to use it throughout the day so I can enhance my vocabulary.
    Kiersten Rives

    • That’s an awesome idea, too! I love any daily habit you can cultivate that ups your writing game 🙂

  • Mimi Chenyao

    Wow, this post spoke to me on a new level. I’m a software engineer and productivity/tech blogger who happens to really love preppy, girly dresses, and one of my favorite activities is to attend hackathons or other tech-related events and see the looks on the sponsors’ faces when they realize that, yes, I do know how to code, and that I’m actually technically competent.

    I’m a huge fan of Ryan Holiday’s books, too, especially the ones on Stoicism. If you’re looking for more good books to add to that Trello board, here are a few that have changed my mindset (and therefore my life) in the past few months: http://asianbarbie.com/favorite-books-part-1/

    • Wow girl that is so amazing! I can only imagine that being a woman in the San Fran tech world is just that much more challenging. I love the tech world out in that area, but sometimes the egos of the guys just murder me. But I am so in love with the fact that you wear girly dresses to hackathons.

      I’ve never read his books on Stoicism, but I’ve heard about it SO many times. I’m def going to add it to the Q1 list now! And thanks for sending me that list – I’ve wanted to read Emily Ley for a while now!

      xoxo

  • I have been on a reading kick lately and constantly getting new books to read. My latest read has been The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson, it was so good! I am reading You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero right now. I am always reading nonfiction (business, personal development, etc.), young adult fiction, and books revolving around social justice.

    • Ah You Are A Badass in on my list for March! Let me know if you end up liking it!

      Mark Manson is awesome, too – if you like his book, he was on The Skinny Confidential’s podcast and he deep dives into some of the principals behind it, which is great.

  • Such an awesome post topic – never read anything like it, especially pertaining to bloggers & influencers. I’m not a reader at all… I have a good attention span, but for reading, it’s never been there haha! It needs to change. I can’t remember the last time I read a book for enjoyment… though, I read tons and tons of articles on many topics. You’ve inspired me. I’m going to search for a book and work my way through it.

    • Lol that’s amazing! I know it’s tough to get into reading if you don’t actually like it, but I swear if pays off in spades if you can try to make a habit of it. Lmk what you end up reading! xx

  • yasss! you have to tell me how Hillary’s book is! I heard her speak in high school and have always been in awe of her, despite everything. She’s amazing! And I’ve had Ryan Holiday’s book on my list forever! I’m reading some books to prepare for shaman school and even reading those have elevated my conversations lately and it just boosts my confidence so much!

    • Haven’t started her book yet but I’m almost done with Ryan Holiday’s and it is a gem! He’s so manipulative but also honest about it it’s great. Elevating conversations = 10/10 <3 xoxo

  • Michele Renee

    This was such a helpful post! I am interested in checking some of those books out. I absolutely love reading and now starting to get more into non-fiction books that aren’t memoirs so this was exciting to see ways in which it’s more beneficial to be well-read.

    • For sure girl , let me know if you end up liking any of them! I was def not into non-fiction either because I thought it was just biographies, too. But I found categories that I really like, so it makes it so much easier.

  • Love this! I stay up on my current news and read a lot of things online, but admittedly, my book reading has dwindled SO much over the years with how busy things get, technology, etc. I have a ton of books on my shelf that I’ve been wanting to read though and I’m really going to make an effort to get back on track with it this year!

    • It really is tough to make reading a priority! I use Powersheets to track daily habits I want to cultivate, and checking that off every day helps me be like, “Am I reading every day or at least every day?”

  • Cris F

    Reading has always been one of my favorite activities. I absolutely love the freedom to learn anything and go anywhere at anytime.

    • Me too. Plus, now that I have a Kindle, I can bring SO many books with me and read whatever I want whenever I want. I was against e-readers for a long time, but now I’m so into it.

      Thanks so much for reading xoxo

  • As a librarian I have to say I love this! Reading in general is really great for a wide variety of jobs, but especially for entrepreneurs. Also as a side note I see you have Scythe on your “to read” list, which I highly recommend!

    • Omg that makes me super excited for reading Scythe! I think it was one of Goodreads finalists for 2017, right? I can’t wait to check it out.

      And thanks for reading this girl! So fun that you are a librarian – my friend, Sheila, is an archivist!

  • SUCH GOOD TIPS, GIRL! First off on a total sidenote, Contagious is such a good book. I had him as a prof in school! SEcond, reading is SO GOOD. I got so out of it in the past year or so and this is my year to get back on track and hit actual reading goals. I’m determined! Third, I LOVE TRELLO. Trello is life. How can I get this board you speak of?!?!

  • I’ve seriously been meaning to read more… but I just haven’t. But this post totally inspires me to go out and get some knowledge just so I can shock people! That’s the best feeling!

    Emma | Seeking the South

  • Taylor Smith

    This is awesome. I don’t always think about this but I am an avid reader. I am also much better at keeping up current events since meeting and marrying my husband. He was an international business major in college, so I always felt like I needed to be up to date on what was happening to impress him while we were dating LOL. Now I read non fiction and the news for me!

    • Lol well obviously you did something right! But that’s fun you guys can kind of talk about stuff too! Thanks for reading this girl xx

  • Rawlings

    I can’t do without reading and am really passionate about it. Through books i got key words to write on and even better ideas to expand and work on personal projects.

    https://rawlingsunday.wordpress.com/2018/01/05/do-you-have-plans-for-the-year/

  • Reading is so important for all these reasons, plus reading supposedly helps make you more empathetic so that’s always a win 🙂 I’m not familiar with “Trust Me I’m Lying” so I’ll have to check it out, it sounds interesting!

    • Definitely agree on the empathetic part too! Trust Me I’m Lying is a super cool book about media manipulation, the press, the Internet, all about that cycle of news. It’s super interesting if you’re into that sort of thing.

  • Nicole

    Love that you’re using Trello to manage your reading lists. I’m a huge fan of non fiction books as well (comes with being a lawyer I think) but now to just find the time to get it done! Enjoy your books 🙂

    Nicole | The Professional Mom Project

    • Lol I bet being a lawyer also might make you want to step away from books sometimes, right?? One of my best friends just graduated law school and she was always knee-deep in reading. Thanks for reading this Nicole <3

  • Andrea Peruzzi

    This was a rally great post – I actually didn’t expect that so thank you very much. Curious- are you reading on a device or paperback and also- how do you like to fit reading into your day? Thanks!

    • Lol I’m glad we could exceed expectaions here. I read on my Kindle and in paperback – for business-y books, I try to read in physical format because I find it helps me focus more. Then, for fiction and anything else, I buy it on my Kindle bc it’s cheaper.

      A Kindle is super great for traveling, too. You really can’t beat carrying around 100s of books with you. As far as fitting it into my day, I always try to read for about an hour before I go to bed. That’s a time I can focus and slow down.

      Thanks so much Andrea for the cool questions 🙂 xx

  • One of my resolutions this year is to read more! I have a few books on my list, including the “You are a Badass” book and I’m so excited to read it more 🙂 I love your idea of using Trello to create lists! There are so many amazing books out there, it’s hard to keep track of them!

  • This is a great post! I have been meaning to get more into reading on the side (outside of college) since it got harder to do so with workloads. Goodreads is such an amazing resource! I hope to use it more actively this year, because it’s so great to look back on what you have read and to find out what others are recommending. I’m reading a book right now called Minimalism and Veganism and it’s been quite an interesting read for me so far! I love both concepts and seeing them unified in one book has been so cool! 🙂 I will definitely check out some of your recommendations, and would love to know what YA you’ve read (it’s a genre I read a lot too!).

    xx Alyssa | http://www.thewisewillow.com

  • Girl, every time you mention Trello, I get closer and closer to signing up for it. Actually, I already am signed up! I just need to figure out how to actually make it work for me.

    andddd I defs need to learn more about politics and the big issues in the world. Business I could talk about all day, but it’s those big topics that almost make me pause. Thanks for the inspo! 🙂

  • Karen Bardales

    This was a great read for me! I’ve been contemplating on reading a new book each month and this made my decision easier. I’m definitely going to be trying the Trello app! And Hilary Clinton’s book is the first book I’m going to read. Ahh keep posting on what books you’re reading, I’m interested! 🙂

  • I love this. It really hits the nail on the head about why writers/anyone in an online space should also be reading beyond their every day. Some great tips and books here, I will need to take some notes! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Amy French

    So many great reasons to read more…AND I want to know what weird YA fiction you’re reading as I do that too 😂

  • Great post. I read (or listen) to books every day. I find that I never know everything about anything, so I like to keep learning new things. Also, you’re right; reading helps make me more creative. I usually end up jotting down an idea or two that I can use in a blog post or in some other way. Thanks so much for a fun to read post!

  • Sally Greider

    I kept this page open on my computer for like a WEEK before I could find time to read it but i knew it was going to be amazing and it so is. The former English Major side of me and Organizer-above-all side of me are both SO HAPPY from this post! I would really love to download the trello board – how do i get it? I’m already on the email list but i didn’t get it there either.

    Also these book recs are FIRE. Been meaning to read Hillary’s book for a while. THank you for writing such a perfect blend of my personality type of post that really speaks to me. Love it!!