Do you know that successful people share a common habit that makes them successful? Almost every successful people read, and they read a lot.
Elon Musk, one of the most inspirational entrepreneurs of our time, the man behind Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity, said that he read about 10 hours a day when he was in grade school.
Elon was once asked how he learned to build rockets and how he managed to get all the ideas from, he answered, “I read books”.
And the same habit can be found with other successful people such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mark Cuban, Oprah Winfrey, Jack Canfield, Anthony Robbins, Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg and more.
While it is true that many successful people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett dropped out from their schools, but that did not stop them from pursuing knowledge and improving themselves.
These people understand that if they want to get ahead in life, they need to consistently improve their knowledge and enhancing their skills, through reading.
Tony Robbins, the world-famous success coach coined the term, “CANI”, which means Constant-And-Never-ending-Improvement, and he emphasized that the importance of reading and improving ourselves if we want to be successful in our lives.
In Japanese, the word “Kaizen” is often associated with “CANI” and it is one of the Japanese’s principles in how they handle everything in their lives. This is why the Japanese able to improve fast and stay ahead.
Reading Habits of Billionaires
Let us look at some of the famous billionaires reading habits and how these ultra successful people made it in life.
The Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, the top three richest man in the world said that he spends about 5 to 6 hours a day reading at least 5 newspapers and also read through pages and pages of financial documents every single day.
Buffet is a voracious reader and consumed many books including his favorite, The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham. It is said that Buffet read the book many times before he made his investment in the stock market. Even today, Buffet still recommends the book to other investors.
Warren Buffet spends around 80% of his time reading. And he also recommends books to read in his annual shareholder letters.
The former CEO of Microsoft and the richest man in the world said that he read about 50 books a year, or about a book a week. Gates has his own collections of books and library and he is an avid reader.
In a Forbes interview with Bill Gate’s dad, his dad said that his son is a bookworm:
“Just about every kind of book interested him – encyclopedias, science fiction, you name it. I was thrilled that my child was such an avid reader, but he read so much that Bill’s mother and I had to institute a rule: no books at the dinner table.”
Gates also shared more than 150 books recommendations through his personal blog, “GatesNotes”.
Mark Cuban is a billionaire and the owner of Dallas Mavericks. He spends about 3 hours reading every day and he attributed his early career success in life to reading. He will read just about anything that has to do with the industry he is in. He wants to learn more about the industry and become great in it.
He once wrote in his blog about his reading’s material, “Everything I read was public. Anyone could buy the same books and magazines. The same information was available to anyone who wanted it. Turns out most people didn’t want it.”
This clearly shows that Mark Cuban dedicates a lot of his success to his reading habits and he agrees that reading is one of the key factors to success in life.
Everyone knows that Oprah is a reader and she strongly recommends her talk-show viewers to adopt the habit of reading. She even started her Oprah’s Book Club and the books that were featured in her book club will become an instant bestseller.
Oprah often refers to reading as her “path to freedom” due to the tough start in her career. She said that books widen her imagination and see the world beyond the front porch of her grandmother’s shotgun house. In other words, she implies that books give her the possibilities to move forward and achieve more in life.
Oprah said that she learned to read at age 3 and soon she discovered that there was a whole new world to conquer through reading. She even suggested children spend about 30 minutes on reading each day and make it a habit.
Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder and the billionaire with a net worth of more than $70 billion is a strong believer in reading. Mark believes that if you want to improve the quality of your life, you must commit to personal growth and development. Success does leave clues after all.
In 2015, Mark posted on his Facebook page that he challenged himself to read a book each week for the entire year. He even created a fanpage called ‘A Year of Books’ and posted the books that he has read and updated his progress.
Like all other successful billionaires, Elon Musk devoted a huge chunk of his time to reading when he was young. When he was in grade school, he read about ten hours a day. He read everything in his library and he even read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. Besides, he also completed a six-month BASIC course in just three days.
Being the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie Munger has a net worth of approximately $1.4 billion. And just like the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Warren Buffet, Charlie loves to read.
Charlie even jokes that he reads so much that his children think that he is a book with a couple of legs sticking out. Here is what he said about reading:
“Warren and I do more reading and thinking and less doing than most people in business. We do that because we like that kind of a life. But we’ve turned that quirk into a positive outcome for ourselves. We both insist on a lot of time being available almost every day to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. We read and think.”
Being the boss behind Virgin Group, billionaire Branson has a net worth of around $5 billion and he too is an avid reader just like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. In honor of World Book Day, Branson shared 65 books that he thinks that everyone could benefit from reading during their lifetime.
Branson said that he wakes up as early as 5am to kick start his day. He said that he would spend time reading, exercising, and spending time with his family. And this puts him in the right frame of mind to start his day productively.
As the CEO and co-founder of Twitter and Square, Jack Dorsey is a busy man managing two companies at the same time. No doubt that he is a great leader and also a great reader. He focused on pushing himself and offers recommendations on his favorite book titles too. From time to time, Jack shares his favorite book titles through Twitter.
Everyone knows that Jeff Bezos is a billionaire and he started Amazon, ‘The Everything Store’ from selling books online. And soon enough, Amazon sells basically anything you need in life. The company grows tremendously from selling just books to everything you need each day within a decade.
And just like most other successful people, Jeff Bezos has a habit of reading books too. Bezos is very passionate about books and reading. And in the appendix of Brad Stone’s book on Amazon, there is a list of books called “Jeff’s Reading List”. You can find the books recommended by Jeff Bezos there.
Why Is Reading Important To Your Success?
Now you understand how successful people are able to achieve outstanding results in their lives. They improve themselves every single day through reading. They read a lot and they learn from books.
So when was the last time you read a book? People today spend more time in social media checking updates than they spend time in reading and improving themselves. If you want to be successful and produce extraordinary results in your life, start by making reading your habit.
We all know that reading is important and it is a must-have ingredient to success, but are you doing it? Do you even know why reading is important?
1. Enhances Your Imagination
Do you know that reading can enhance your imagination and boost your creativity? Just like what Oprah Winfrey said, she found a whole new world of possibilities through reading.
When you read, you are reading from other people’s experiences and the author’s thinking. Imagine when you read a book written by a billionaire or a successful entrepreneur, you are truly reading is the author’s thinking and experiences.
Therefore, this will boost your creativity to think and enhance your imagination to what is possible to achieve in your life as well.
Remember, you are not limited by your resources and who you are right now. And through reading, you can see what is possible in your life.
More importantly, our brain actually thinks in pictures. And when you read, your mind is crafting and imagining the pictures in your head. It helps in improving your visualization skills.
2. Train Your Focus and Concentration
In today’s world, we are constantly distracted by the instant messaging App, the social media and also the buzz from our smartphones. It is difficult to stay focused and complete one task when your friend can share something interesting with you through Facebook or message you with Whatsapp and that requires your instant attention.
In a single 15 minutes, an average person has to divide their time into their work, checking email, chatting with other people through instant messaging, keep their eyes on Twitter and Facebook, and also pay attention to their cell phones.
Things will be different when you read a book. Reading requires your attention to focus on the words. And when you put your full attention into reading, the rest of the world just fades away and you are in the world sucking up knowledge from the book.
If you are not used to reading, it will be a little challenging in the beginning because your mind will wander around and look for something else to do.
However, as you stick to the reading and continue to focus your thought on the words, you are taking control of your mind and training it to concentrate on the task at hand, which is reading.
Science has shown that reading can make you more focused and improve your concentration.
3. Improves Your Memory
Besides that, when you are reading books, you tend to remember the story, the characters, their background, the keywords, the points, the important events and so on. This will improve your memory and make you remember things better.
It may seem a little bit too much to remember, but do not forget that your brain is one of the most powerful tools you ever possessed. Your brain can remember easily and it has a vast capacity. Whenever you needed that information, your brain will recall and get you the info you need.
Studies have also shown that when you read, you are staying mentally stimulated and this will slow the progress of brain aging, preventing illnesses like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
When you read, you keep your brain active and your mind is engaging with the materials you read. This is just like you are exercising your mental muscle, increasing your brain power.
4. Personal Improvement
Do you know that one of the easiest ways to gain knowledge and to improve yourself is through reading? Most people can read, but unfortunately, they choose not to. They prefer to watch TV and to spend time on unnecessary activities that have nothing to do with improving their lives.
Imagine if you read just 2 books a month, and within a year, you will have read 24 books. And if each book you read is able to give you an inspiration, you will have 24 ideas and inspirations to improve your life.
Even if you just able to grasp 2 ideas out of the 24 books you read, you will still be better off than most people who never read a book after their graduation.
This is why reading is so important in developing you to become a better person. And this also explains how successful people like Mark Cuban and Elon Musk able to learn and achieve outstanding success in life.
5. Reading Can Motivate You
One of the most important benefits anyone can get from reading is motivation. Everyone knows that motivation comes and go. And those who are successful are those who are able to maintain their motivation and persevere until the end.
Thus, you need to read inspirational books to get motivation from time to time. In fact, many successful people read biographies of their idols and they learn a lot from other successful people through books.
You can do the same. Who do you want to model in your industry? If you are in tech, most likely you will go for Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg. If you are into e-commerce, you may want to read about Jack Ma of Alibaba. If you are into stock investment, you can read a lot about Warren Buffet.
These books will inspire you and motivate you to go further in pursuing your dreams.
6. Communication Development
This is common sense. When you read, you will increase your vocabulary because you exposed yourself to more words and writing styles.
When you can communicate and express yourself better, it will be a great help in your career. And when you can speak up and express yourself better, you will have better self-confidence.
7. Reduce Stress and Promote Tranquility
Depending on the subject of the books you read, reading can make you feel relax and reduce your stress.
Studies have shown that reading spiritual texts can lower your blood pressure and bring a sense of calm. At the same time, reading personal development books can help in lowering mood disorders and mental illness.
There are plenty of benefits you can receive from reading books. Therefore, commit and make it a habit to read. It is crucial if you want to become the best in your industry and create extraordinary results in life.
How to Develop Habits of Reading
Now that you understand reading is an important part of your life. If you want to get ahead, move forward, produce an outstanding result in both your professional and personal life, achieve your goals and make your dreams come true, adopt the habit of reading.
The challenging part is that most people find it difficult to read, let alone make it a habit. Do not worry; here are some effective ways to easily help you develop the habit of reading so that you too, can reap the reward from this productive action.
However, before you develop the reading habit, you must understand that anyone can turn reading into a habit. If you find that reading is boring, it is because the book you choose to read is boring, or it can be that you are still to identify your reading goals.
Once you knew that reading can be fun, engaging and helpful in your life, you will be more willing to spend more time in doing it and making the habit stick.
1) Set Your Reading Goals
In order to make it a habit to read, you must first set it as a goal. And of course, like achieving any other goal, you must come up with a strong reason as to why you want to read and make it a habit.
When you have a strong reason supporting your action, you will commit to your action and stick to it. And if your reason is not strong enough, you will choose not to do it. You will procrastinate and you will choose to do other things rather than reading books.
So identify your reading goals. How many books do you want to read in a year? Or how many books do you want to read by the end of this year?
On average, people will set to read 24 or 12 books a year. And that means you will either read a book or two within a month. It is a great start and a good milestone to hit.
2) List Down The Books To Read
After you have set your reading target, list down the book titles that you want to read.
Depending on which area you want to improve in your life, you can choose the categories of books you want to read.
For instance, if you are into business, you can read a few autobiographies from famous people, some self-help business books and maybe one or two fiction books that relate to your business.
And knowing what books to read is important because if you choose the books that you have no passion to read and to learn from, you will feel boring to read. This will lower your motivation and make you procrastinate.
So how do you choose the right book to read? The answer is simple, start from the bestsellers list. You can browse Amazon’s review and check out Google on the best titles to read in your industry. And you can start from those.
You don’t have to buy all the books that you want to read within the year, you can go slowly and just buy one a month.
Whenever you have finished reading the book, pay a visit to your local bookstore and buy the next book. If you can’t find the book you want, get it from Amazon instead.
3) Make It A Habit To Read Every Day
In order to make reading your habit, you must do it every single day and if possible, stick to the same schedule each day.
You can choose to read 30 or 50 pages or you can choose to read for 30 or 60 minutes a day. Both measurements will work. The important key is to make sure that you do it every day.
Studies have shown that the best time to read is early in the morning upon waking up and at night before you sleep.
If you want to develop the reading habit in the morning, wake up a little early and spend the time into reading. Stick to the habit each day regardless of whether it rains or snow. Even if you are traveling, choose to stick to the habit and do not miss it.
4) Reward Yourself
Unless you enjoy reading and you have made it a habit, choose to reward yourself once you fulfilled your target.
For example, if your target is to read 30 minutes a day and you have done that, you can reward yourself by taking a snack, rest and give yourself a pat on the back and so on. Another great way to reward yourself is to make a cup of your favorite beverage and enjoy it while reading.
The act of rewarding yourself is important because you want to train your brain to associate reading equal fun and something to look forward to.
This is important in the progress of developing the reading habit that you desire.
5) Build Encouraging Reading Environment
Whenever you want to read, make sure you are in an environment that is encouraging. Stop visiting the busy coffee house to read. When it is noisy, it will distract you and take your attention away.
Make sure the lighting in the room is bright enough for you to read. You do not want to spend an hour each day reading in a dark room and only to find that it damages your eyesight after a year.
Get a good reading chair when possible. It will be a tool worth your investment. When you can sit comfortably and read in a quiet environment, it will encourage you to read more.
6) Jot Down Ideas And Inspirations
Don’t just read books for the sake of reading. You are not in school and nobody is there to force you to read. Remember your purpose of reading. You want to improve your skills and within your knowledge.
So read the books and whenever you come across any ideas and insights that inspire you, jot them down. Get a journal and write down everything that you have learned from reading books.
Do you know that billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson carries a small notebook with him wherever he goes? He will write down every idea that he comes across and what he needs to get done, including insights he gets from reading books.
7) Carry A Book With You At All Time
Try to bring a book with you all the time. You can keep the book in your bag and whenever you are free, take it out and read it. You don’t have to waste your precious time waiting for your client. You can utilize your commute time and turn it into your improvement time.
This may not be easy to accomplish because not everyone is willing to carry a book with them all the time and it is easy to kill time by playing with your smartphones.
However, time is a precious commodity that once you have lost it, it will be gone forever. Hence, rather than wasting your time on unproductive tasks such as checking updates on Facebook or watching YouTube, use the time for improvement and it will bring you a great reward in the future.
8) Create A Reading Day
From time to time, perhaps, once or twice a month, you can create a reading day where you devote most of the time into reading. This is a good practice as you spend your day reading and finish the entire book.
You can visit a café or simply read in a park. Choose a good venue and once you feel saturated, change a venue.
A reading day is good because you do the reading all at a time and this allows your mind to focus on the same subject that allows you to learn everything fast in a day or two.
9) Exchange Ideas And Insights
One of the most effective ways of learning is sharing or teaching. When you share your knowledge with others, you are enhancing the memory in your mind on the knowledge. Plus, when you know that you have to share or teach others what you have read, you will read with a learning mindset and you will try to distill every golden nugget from the book.
You can form a reading group or a mastermind group for sharing information from books. Furthermore, when you have the commitment to share, you will stick to your habit and read the book as you do not want to break your promise and disappoint your partners or team mates.
10) Know When To Give Up Reading
You have to understand that not every book will be appealing to you. If your passion is in business and you read a book about art, there is a high chance that you will feel bored and sleepy after reading the first page.
You should try to read further or give the book a few more reading sessions before you decide to give up on it. And when you give up on a book, it does not mean that you should throw the book away and never read it again. It simply means that you stop reading it for now and when there’s a chance, you may want to pick up the book again and read it.
Knowledge, growth, and improvement are important parts if you want to produce extraordinary results and achieve outstanding success in your life.
And the best part is that anyone can pick up a book and read. You can become an avid reader and pursue knowledge and strive for growth in your career, your business, your finance, your fitness, your relationship, and your mental health through reading books.
All you need to do to become better each day is to commit to reading and develop it into a habit that will make you successful in life.