An attractive, single, friend of mine is constantly asked out on dates. Before she will consider saying yes, she asks the men a series of questions. The first, and most important, question she asks is "How often do you read books?" Surprisingly, many of the men read very little. They are quickly rejected. Sadly, most business people don't read as much as they should. But there have been studies showing that successful CEOs read as many as 3--4 books per month.

With 2015 coming, you've got a great opportunity to make reading at least 2 books per month a New Year's resolution. Reading new books is the simplest and fastest way to grow smarter and more successful all on your own. Here is how reading more books each month can help you on the path to success.

1. You will learn about yourself.

Self-exploration is a critical component of success. You have to understand the way you think and act in order to constantly improve. Books like Strengthfinders and 5 Temptations of a CEO can help you self-assess and adjust your style and communication.

2. You will get a better cultural understanding.

Biographies and historical fiction provide great insight into how the market thinks. I have learned much from books like Devil in the White City or The Poisoner's Handbook. It's difficult to grasp today's society if you don't understand the history of how we all got here.

3. You will stimulate your imagination.

I just spent a cross-country flight reading a book by Garrison Keilor. The escape fiction was on one hand a great rest for my mind, and on the other, it stimulated new thoughts and ideas. Stories make your mind expand beyond the fix it, solve it thinking of normal work.

4. You will fill educational gaps.

How-to books and textbooks come in handy for learning specific skills. For Dummies books can be useful reference that you can apply immediately to advance your cause.

5. You will be a better conversationalist.

The key to great networking is being able to maintain an interesting discussion. Books are excellent topics to banter about and can often surface common ground.

6. You will solve problems easier.

Doing the same thing daily without new stimulation will get you in a rut. Reading a variety of 24 books over the year will expand your perspective and help advance your critical thinking.

Published on: Dec 29, 2014