Not all readers will be leaders, but all leaders must be readers

About a year and a half ago, I was given the opportunity to sit in for a presentation from Pat Williams. For those unfamiliar…

Pat Williams is the senior vice president of the NBA’s Orlando Magic. As one of America’s top motivational, inspirational, and humorous speakers, he has addressed thousands of executives in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies and national associations to universities and nonprofits.  Clients include AllState, American Express, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Disney, Honeywell, IBM, ING, Lockheed Martin, Nike, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Tyson Foods to name a few.  Pat is also the author of over 55 books.   (Source:

I considered this a tremendous opportunity. Growing up a huge Orlando Magic fan, I knew of Mr. Williams and his success within the sports world. If it weren’t for him, the city of Orlando probably wouldn’t even have the Orlando Magic! Obviously, I was eager to listen to his sage wisdom. I had no idea what kind of an impact Mr. Williams would have on my outlook on life. 

Mr. Williams began by going through his story. About his rise through sports, starting with the Philadelphia Phillies & Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball, before switching to the National Basketball Association and working for teams all over the country including; Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and eventually Orlando. Being a huge sports fan, I was enjoying his story. He spoke of his mentors and his trials and tribulations. The decisions that led him to where he is today.

Then his story took a considerable turn towards reading. Pat Williams, being an avid reader and having a knack for writing, he began to write his own books. The topics ranged, but many were directed towards leadership, and learning from successful leaders of our time. Some of them were from the sports world (Chuck Daly, John Wooden, Bear Bryant), and some were not (Walt Disney, Rich DeVos).

Then Pat Williams said something that I will never forget. It’s one of my favorite quotes, and I constantly remind myself of it.

“Not all readers will be leaders, but all leaders must be readers.”

This little phrase changed the way I viewed success. I used to think that getting my degree and just having a strong work ethic while in the office would take me everywhere I wanted to be. This made me realize something relatively simple, but something most people don’t seem to realize. It’s what separates the most successful people in the world from those that wish they could reach those levels. You don’t have to be the sharpest tool in the shed to be successful, you just have to work hard, both in the office and out.

Pat Williams would end his presentation with a challenge to everyone in attendance: to read one book a week. 52 books in a year is a daunting task. But Williams would urge us, explaining that by reading a books on different topics throughout the year, the wealth of knowledge we obtained would do wonders for us, not only in work but in social settings. Always having a view on a particular subject comes in handy when networking, that’s for sure!

I’ll have to admit, though I was eager to start this challenge, I found myself putting it off. About four weeks ago I took up the challenge, and so far I’ve been successful. Hopefully once a week I’ll be able to share my views and commentary on the book I’ve read. But for now, I urge each and every person who comes across this blog to take on the challenge with me. Of course, some books are much bigger than others, so adjust the challenge how you see fit (maybe impose a goal for # of pages read per day/week).

So when you find yourself putting off reading that book. Just remember…“Not all readers will be leaders, but all leaders must be readers.”

Happy reading!

For more information on Pat Williams visit


About Jason Willis
Jason graduated from the University of Central Florida in the fall of 2011 with a B.S.B.A. in Finance. He currently works at The Newport Group as an Investment Analyst on the Asset & Liability Management Team working with Non Qualified Deferred Compensation Plans. In his spare time he continues to give back to AKPsi by assisting with the CFAC and NX Chapter at UCF. He also currently operates his own blog entitled Professional Hedging, and is also preparing to acquire his Series 7 and 66 Certifications.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: