Richard R. Troxell is President of House the Homeless, an educational and advocacy group that was founded in Austin, TX in 1989. Their mission is education and advocacy surrounding all issues of homelessness.
Richard has been striving to end homelessness since he first saw it come into existence as a mortgage foreclosure preventionist in Philadelphia in the 1980s. His work has been recognized by HUD, Texas Governor Ann Richards, the Pennsylvania Senate and the United Nations. He has also received the Five Who Care Award and the JC Penny Golden Rule Award, among countless others. Having designed a paradigm change for homeless service delivery, he secured $100,000 from former Texas Governor George Bush for the jobs component.
He’s the author of Looking up at the Bottomline: The Struggle for the Living Wage, an intense personal, political, and educational guide through the last 30 years of homelessness in America.
Richard's an obvious leader. Obviously, I had to ask him:
Leaders are readers. Jim Rohn says that. I just quote him. You're an inspiring leader. What are you reading, serious or for fun?
And he generously answered:
I just put down John Grisham's Ford County: Stories. This was interesting to me. It was about Ford County in Mississippi where he immerses us in the workings of a small town. This was a series of short stories. That was fun.
I’m looking at Short Story Masterpieces with Faulkner and James Joyce, the classics. I’m having fun getting through there.
I’ve been looking at Doris Kearns Goodwin. She wrote the Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln. It's a fascinating read. He had some really stiff competition as he headed towards his election. So, he made him his cabinet. He’d rather have them working for him rather than against him. They were the smartest people he knew. That’s call The Team of Rivals.
I’m working on American Lion which is about Andrew Jackson in the White House.
You mix these things with the daily newspaper and you see it going on.
That reading list, that behavior, is common among leaders. They jump around a lot. The books on their reading list reflect a diverse set of interests and curious minds, minds always seeking to learn and learn from other experts in other areas outside their area of expertise.
That is how you create a culture of learning as Gary Harpst talked about in an earlier show. That culture of learning is critical if you want to continually learn new tools and resources and skills and master more talents. That is how you discover new solutions for the new challenges that your growth will bring.
That is also how you develop a culture of leaders. Learners are leaders. Reading is one way you learn. Reading what leaders read is one way you accelerate that learning, accelerate that leading for yourself and your company.