The assertion, ‘readers are leaders’ is a universal proposition whose authenticity is often questioned based on its light of reality. Just as leadership is far beyond representing a group of persons, reading is also far beyond reading a particular book or few books. Books are the carriers of ideas which the society needs for its advancement, and only the leader, who could unveil these, can successfully pilot the affairs of the society.
Critical thinking is one of the conventions that leaders exercise. A leader who thinks very critically and analytically is always ready to adequately resolve societal problems and able to put square pegs in square holes. Critical thinking is a product of conventional reading; hence, readers are critical thinkers. According to Sir Richard Steele, ‘reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.’ When you read, you are motivated and your cognitive processes are stimulated. These make you to have positive mentality. Therefore, the authenticity of ‘readers are leaders’ should not be doubtful because ignorance does not rule the world, rather, knowledge does, and this is what reading offers.
Furthermore, the developed societies have attained their height because of the scientific and technological knowledge and insights they have acquired through consistent reading and researches. There are ills in the society and these cannot be driven by those who do not know the remedies. And also, these remedies cannot be known without reading about them. Thus, it is impossible for one to give what he does not have (nemo dat quod non habet); he who does not know the remedies of societal ills cannot eliminate them (ills). But the readers, who could decode these remedies, have the best chances of leading. Hence, the authenticity of the assertion is res ipsa loquitur – a fact that speaks for itself.
Additionally, readers possess leadership attributes. According to John Coleman, ‘deep and broad reading are defining characteristics of great leaders, and catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness.’ Learners are readers, readers are leaders, and leaders are listeners and developers. Whenever you read, you should always take note of the fact that you have in you what societies long for and you are reading how to go about actualizing it. It is only when you give up in reading that leadership traits fade away from you. Leaders keep reading and readers keep leading.
Also, reading is considered an essential tool for society engineering. Every book has amazing messages to pass across to its readers. The more you read, the more you know, and the more you know, the better the society becomes through you. Books give readers the opportunity to travel around the world, taking note of the experiences. Reading is an indispensable factor to every discipline or field in the society. For this reason, it is unnecessary to over-emphasize the fact that books supply the recipes and mechanisms of governance and this can only be ascertained through reading.
Accordingly, there is no society that is led by an ignoramus. Knowledge is power; so, it should be hunted for personal and societal efficacy. If you do not read, cultivate the habit of reading today and if you read, do not assume that you have read enough. This is because there are lots of books you have not read which contain the best ideas that will help to make you the whole individual that you were meant to be. Aaron Swatz sums this up by saying; ‘be curious, read widely, try new things; what people call intelligence just boils down to curiosity.’ Reading never ends just as leading never ends.
In conclusion, leadership is not a piece of cake. It does not come to everyone; it only comes to those who have the criteria. Readers are indeed leaders but this solely depends on the books you read, how you read them, and how you are able to apply the learned ideas to subsisting situations. You can become the whole leader that you have dreamt to be if you continue reading the right books.