Reading, writing, and arithmetic – the three basics of a traditional education. As an entrepreneur, you already know how important the writing and arithmetic are. But reading is just as important, and the end of summer is a perfect time to start (or finish!) a few business-related books hanging around your nightstand.

 

Of course, actually reading is tougher than resolving to do so. Use this problem-solving guide to help you on your way to a more complete education:

 

If you think you don’t need to read: The average adult reads fewer than two books a year. If you read a book a month, you are automatically in the top 5% of the population when it comes to educating yourself. Reading informational, educational, or inspirational books is one of the easiest, least expensive ways to give yourself a competitive edge.

 

If you think you don’t have time to read: No free time to crack open a book? I have one word for you: AUDIO. Books on CD, books on tape, books downloaded from places like audible.com, podcasts… you have a plethora of choices for listening to books. Borrow a few from the library, download a book from the Internet, and load up your MP3 player. Listen away while you’re mowing the lawn, exercising, watching the kids’ soccer practice, or driving around town.

 

If you don’t know what to read: If you don’t know where to start, choose one area you’d like to improve upon, whether it’s public speaking, networking, technical skills, or time management. Then head over to Amazon.com and look at top-sellers in that field, or put out a call for suggestions on your Twitter stream, Facebook page, or blog. Pick one and go.

 

If you forget what you read: Even the most dedicated readers can burn through books, then move on the next, only to forget what you read in the first volume. While knowledge is great for knowledge’s sake, it really only becomes wisdom when you put it to use. By reflecting on what you read and choosing one or two lessons to implement in your own life, you will convert your knowledge to wisdom and improve your business. Think about joining a business book club where you read a business-related book a month or quarter, and discuss what you’re learning. That will also help the lessons sink in.

 

There’s a famous quote that says that a year from now, you’ll be exactly the same as you are now, except for the people you meet and the books you read. Start now on your path to a bigger and better you.