“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” ― Henry Ford
The most common advice you hear from highly successful people is to read often, and always be learning more. Typically they are talking about reading for education, like business books, or biographies of other successful people. There is ample evidence of the power of knowledge.
You can learn so much reading about other great business minds, from how they think to their habits. The curious mind of entrepreneurs is a common theme in many good business books. How a business is built, to overcoming obstacles. In business if you are saddled with a problem, it is likely someone has previously experienced the same issue. If you read enough you can learn their process and apply it to your business.
I often look do a search online for the books successful business people recommend. Most of the books are about business but there are always a few on each list that are about life. One thing I note is if a book keeps showing up on multiple lists then I probably should read it.
Examples of Books I keep seeing are:
Think and Grow Rich, How to Win Friends and Influence people, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, 4 Hour Workweek, The Effective Executive
If you run a business and need to learn to motivate and mange people better, then reading is your answer. There was a good article from Harvard Business Review titled ‘For Those Who Want to Lead, Read’. The articles sites classic leaders in business and politics (Steve Jobs to Churchill) and their passion for reading. There are always good consulting books on a particular subject to improve (management, sales, etc.) any desired skill.
If you’ve ever looked at the Forbes 400 list of the richest people in the U.S., and review the characteristics of the names at the top – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett. All of them are big readers.
I googled ‘Warren buffet reads’, and found some fascinating information regarding his reading habits. Buffett claims he spends 80% of his day reading, and claims his success is from being an avid reader, and then thinking about what he read.
Speaking of Buffett, I highly recommend a great biography about him from the 90’s -Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein. It is not only a great read, but full of business wisdom, and investing advice.
Quartz Media has a good article that talks more about Buffett’s (and Gates) reading process. The article also mentions a study of rich people and the common thread of reading: 'But successful people don’t just read anything. They are highly selective about what they read, opting to be educated over being entertained. They believe that books are a gateway to learning and knowledge.'
Business Links to Reading Lists:
The Lifehack.org website has 2 good articles regarding reading. The first gives some quick advice on how to incorporate reading into your daily routine. Some quick takeaways are: read 20 pages a day (usually takes about 30 minutes), and do this to start your day off. It is the time you will be energetic to do it, and it helps the rest of your day.
The second lifehack article is about the 10 benefits of reading, from knowledge, to self improvement, and stress relief. Reading also helps organize your mind so you can think better. Your vocabulary also improves over time from reading, along with writing skills.
I wrote a blog last year about Business Education, and here are some more tips for reading if you are short on time:
If you do not have the time to read so many books, there are some really good shortcuts. There are books on tape, or now CD or MP3 downloads. You can listen in your car and make your commute more productive. You can easily go thru a book a week that way.
If you still enjoy reading books, but time is limited, Amazon often has summaries of books that are cheaper and faster to read. There entire websites dedicated to executive summaries of books that can be downloaded and usually the monthly subscription cost is very reasonable, especially given the knowledge and time saving.
YouTube is a great outlet for information on books. Enter the author and book into their browser and it is not uncommon to find a one hour talk given by the author summarizing the key points of their book. A lot of times if you do a search of a particular book and enter ‘summary’ (or pdf’) after the book title you will get a summarized version of the book in an article, slide show or pdf to learn the main takeaways.
If you want to read the 2016 blog, click here.
Good luck with your reading and business.