by Ryan Holiday

Not every reader is a leader, Harry Truman once observed, but every leader is a reader. You have to be.

Being a leader means you’re going to bump into all kinds of situations you’ve never experienced before. You’re going to face problems for which there are no easy solutions. The good news is that no matter what challenge you’re facing, no matter how unique or how modern, you’re far from the first to encounter it. For roughly 5,000 years, human beings have been experiencing, solving, and, most importantly, writing books about these exact struggles.

Think about Truman, who ascended to the presidency after the shocking death of his predecessor in April 1945. Within months, he would be facing the dawn of the atomic age and a new Cold War. These were all very new problems, but Truman, who had begun his lifelong reading habit as a young boy, tapped into the lessons of history that he’d gleaned along the way.