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180 billion dollars.
That’s the combined net worth of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, two of the world’s wealthiest and most influential men.
Their total assets are worth more than the nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of some countries.
Each made their riches in different fields. Gates built Microsoft while Buffet struck gold in the stock market.
You might be thinking, “Of course they got rich. These two are geniuses. They have been blessed with uber-intelligent minds.”
Sure, maybe. But while they don’t have the same sets of skills and expertise, there’s one vital attribute they both share.
It’s that one trait they recognize as the key to their success:
Do you know how many books Bill Gates reads in a year?
Fifty. That’s right. The former Microsoft CEO finishes one book a week.
His close friend, Warren Buffet, one of the greatest stock market investors of all time, reads between 600 to 1,000 pages a day.
You might be wondering, “Sure, that’s impressive. But aren’t they supposed to be managing their businesses and doing more important things?”
Exactly my point! It only shows how valuable it is to these two titans that they dedicate hours of their day reading even if they have billion-dollar businesses to manage.
If two of the planet’s richest men says reading is essential to success, we better listen.
If you’re some kind of a basketball junkie, you probably know Mark Cuban. He’s the billionaire who owns the Dallas Mavericks. He reads more than 3 hours a day.
In the book, “Change your Habits, Change your Life”, author Tom Corley interviewed several self-made millionaires and 88% of these financially successful respondents revealed that they spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day reading.
Most read non-fiction: biographies, self-improvement, business, and history. They take key lessons and actionable advice and apply them to their daily lives.
Still not convinced? Let this quick list of benefits sway you towards the right direction.
The Benefits of Reading
Gain knowledge and insight
Our ancestors have been writing books for more than 5,000 years. Knowledge and wisdom have been captured in these books, passed on to generation after generation. If you want to solve a problem, chances are, someone already went through it and the insights and solutions have been captured and immortalized in a book.
Why waste time and risk failing by trial and error? Gain insight from the perspective of someone who have years of experience on the subject and leverage it to your advantage.
For example, would you want to know how to code by yourself if there are hundreds of books out there showing you how to do it? Use this existing knowledge to your advantage.
It makes you smarter
Reading exposes you to facts, ideas, histories, how things are made, how stuff works, and more. Through it, you’ll understand stuff that would otherwise remain a question mark in your head.
It helps you discover and understand yourself better
As we read, we get to know the world through the lens of the author. It’s quite fascinating, reading another person’s thoughts and opinions on a subject.
It allows us to relate and connect our own worldview and ultimately have an improved understanding not only of the subject, but of ourselves as well.
Reading gives you better ideas
As you read more, you expose yourself to answers and strategies that you can apply in your life. For example, if you want to know how to boost your productivity, read several books on the subject.
You’ll find that most ideas and advice are similar and can be linked in some way or another. Use these ideas to come up with your custom strategy that you can apply in your situation.
Books are Immortal Mentors
Do you think Luke Skywalker will be as good of a Jedi without Obi Wan and Yoda’s guidance? No, I didn’t think so too. Want to be good at chess? Know how to play the guitar?
Want to know how stock market investing works? Read books on these subjects. It’s like having your own personal mentor who is always within reach.
It expands your vocabulary and understanding
The exposure to a wide range of words expands our vocabulary. We can use this to communicate better, not to mention, understand better.
As you gradually increase your reading time, you’ll notice you tend to have a better grasp of stuff that were previously difficult to understand. You see, reading is exercise for the brain. As you read more, you develop your “brain muscles” which help you improve your comprehension.
It takes your mind to places and situations you’ve never seen before
Whether it’s a wonderfully crafted fantasy or a grippingly intense story, reading brings hours and hours of enjoyment awash with vivid details and emotions it will make your heart race.
Before all sorts of multimedia devices were invented, reading was the ultimate form of entertainment.
It relaxes and calms a busy mind
The internet, social media, smartphone, television, and all sorts of modern distractions can be overwhelming. And addicting.
Reading is a pleasant alternative not only for all the benefits it brings, but also for the calm nature of its method.
10 Best Business Books for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” – Erasmus
Ready to dive into the treasure trove of wisdom and information but don’t know where to begin? Let our list of the top 10 business books guide you on your journey.
1. The Lean Start-Up
This book by Eric Ries shows you how to run your business—”when to steer, when to turn, and when to persevere-and grow a business with maximum acceleration.”
➤ Test frequently and learn quickly
➤ Observe and measure the behavior of your customers
➤ Focus on actionable metrics
2. The Art of War
Considered to be the definitive book on military strategy and warfare. It was written in China way back in 500 B.C and has been passed down to generations to help its readers determine the best course of action to defeat the enemy and win.
➤ Choose your battles
➤ “Mask strength with weakness, courage with timidity and order with disorder”
➤ Be clear in your instructions to steer your army (or your employees) in the right direction
3. Built to Last
This book shares the stories and examines the methodology applied by 18 companies to thrive and remain dominant for many years.
➤ Focus on the process of generating ideas
➤ A company should serve a high purpose and follow a set of core values
➤ Visionary companies are like big families
4. Good to Great
Similar to “Built to Last” (written by the same author) but instead focuses on the question of what it takes for a company to become truly great. Just like his first book, Jim Collins looks into the stories of 28 companies who managed to make the the jump from being good to being great.
➤ The “Hedgehog Concept” – Figure out what can you be best at, what you’re passionate about, and determine the key economic indicator you should focus on
➤ Be careful in adopting new technology
➤ Never sugarcoat unfavorable truths and trust that you’ll have the wisdom to figure things out
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
One of the most widely recognized books in personal and professional effectiveness. This book explains 7 insights and principles that will lead you to success.
➤ Begin with the end in mind
➤ Learn how to say No
➤ Be effective, not efficient
6. Outliers: The Story of Success
This was the book that popularized the concept of 10,000 hours. It explains how a series of lucky events, rare opportunities and other factors that are out of our control affect our success more than we think.
➤ To be world-class at something, you have to put 10,000 hours of work and practice
➤ Where you come from matters
➤ After you cross a certain threshold for your skills, anything additional won’t make you better
7. The Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business
Author Charles Duhigg tackles the idea that habits are at the center of all our actions and explains how we can understand and modify it to our advantage.
➤ The Habit Loop: Cue, Routine, Reward
➤ Habits can be modified by simply changing the “routine” part of the loop
➤ Willpower is the most crucial habit
8. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
This book posits that by being selective and focused on the essentials, you can vastly improve your productivity and quality of living. It’s about knowing what to focus on and giving it all you’ve got.
➤ If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will
➤ We have the power to choose
➤ Add 50% time buffer to finish a task or project
9. The One Minute Manager
This deceptively simple and short book provides managers with actionable tips that will greatly improve the way they do their jobs. It shows managers the tools to help employees deliver great work, stay motivated and happy.
➤ Set 3 Goals for each employee that can be reviewed in a minute or less
➤ Give 1 minute of positive feedback to the employee
➤ Never go beyond 1 minute to express your dissatisfaction to an employee who erred.
10. Business Adventures
This book by John Brooks was picked by Bill Gates as his favorite business book of all time. Guess who recommended it to him? His pal Warren Buffet, of course! The book is narrated wonderfully and shares 12 stories that give insight to human nature in the context of business, technology, and best practices.
➤ Pay close attention to your customers
➤ Be wary of instant successes
➤ Humans are irrational and highly emotional beings
Want more recommendations? Here are other great books that fall into a similar category.
- “The Four Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss
- “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill
- “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki
- “The Richest Man in Babylon” by George S. Clason
- “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg
- “The One Thing” – Gary Keller
- “The Obstacle is the Way” – Ryan Holiday
- “Tools of Titans” / “Tribe of Mentors” – Tim Ferriss
- “Grit” – Angela Duckworth
Want even more? Check out this massive list of the best business books of all time by our friends at Hack the Entrepreneur!
6 Tips on How to Read More Books
“I’d love to read but I just don’t have the time.”
“I read slow, it’s frustrating.”
“I’d rather (insert activity here) than read. It’s a waste of time.”
These are some of the most common answers people say when asked why they’re not reading more often.
And it’s a shame. Because we know that reading books bring a ton of benefits that improve our lives. Yet, we can’t even find a few minutes in our day to do it.
Here’s a true story. A friend of mine once shared that she bought her daughter a bunch of books to encourage her to read.
The problem is, while her daughter did read them, reading was not successfully reinforced as a daily habit—which is what she hoped for in the first place.
She shared this with me because she knows I love to read and was hoping to get some advice. I told her that buying books was a great start. But to pique her kid’s interest and make reading habitual, the topics and stories should initially be about stuff that she loves.
Why? Looking back at my childhood days, I remember being slumped on a pillow reading “The Great Book of Questions & Answers”. I thoroughly enjoyed ogling at the images and explanation of how stuff works and the history behind them. I loved that book.
And that’s the first step. Eventually, it will branch out as the child gets exposed to more stuff she likes, I told her.
Nowadays, it’s a lot harder to dedicate time to read, let alone nurture good reading habits to kids because of all the digital distractions around them.
But it’s doable. And perhaps the most important tip I personally suggest to anyone, kids and adults alike is item number 1 on the following list.
1. Change your mindset about reading
The main thing I noticed about people who don’t read often is that they seem to equate reading with “sitting down, opening a book, then start reading.”
If you see reading as an “activity” then you’re doing it wrong.
It’s not supposed to be some kind of task that you have to get over with. We’re not studying for exams.
Let me ask you a question. The last time you were waiting in line (bank, supermarket, etc), what was the first thing you did?
Here’s my guess: Pull out your smartphone.
Once in their hands, people go on autopilot and tap that cute little “f” icon on blue background. Some check out the latest snaps in Instagram, others look for tweets. Others prefer to visit imaginary worlds and pawn enemies as they play their favorite mobile games.
Is this wrong? No. But if you’re serious about reading more books, you should carve out a nice sliver of your time for it. Which brings me to item number 2.
2. Cut back on social media or gaming on your phone for a few minutes
It can be as short as 5-10 minute bursts when you’re in between tasks. When waiting in line, pull out your book (or e-book app on your phone) and read a couple of pages. You’ll be surprised with the progress you’ll make.
A few pages here and there throughout the day easily adds up. I read two chapters of Mark Manson’s excellent, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” while waiting in line at a bank. Give it a try. It works.
3. Make it easier to read books on your smartphone
The things we do most often are usually the things most accessible to us, right? Our phone is always with us that’s why it gets the most use. We put the most-used apps on the home screen for easy access.
Use this to your advantage. Carry a book with you always. Use an e-Reader (I have a beat-up Kindle), or as mentioned earlier, install an e-Book reader in your smartphone.
Load up your device with 2-3 books you find most interesting right now. When you have a couple of minutes free, launch the e-reader app.
Pro tip: Put the e-reader app shortcut on your main screen so you can be reminded to use it more often. Remove shortcuts for social media apps and games. It will work wonders for your progress.
The more you see the e-reader icon and less of other time-sucking apps, the more you’ll be inclined to read.
4. Audiobooks are excellent alternatives
If for some reason you can’t physically crack a book open or read on your smartphone, listening to an audiobook might be a more appealing option.
I personally listen to audiobooks (and podcasts) when I’m doing mundane stuff at home like washing the dishes or cleaning. I also listen to them while commuting. You’ll be surprised how many “pages” you can finish in a few minutes of listening.
Also, some of us tend to absorb and comprehend better when listening. If you’re one of these people, you can use this to your advantage.
5. Learn how to read the right way
Tip #1: Don’t subvocalize. It’s a phenomenon where a person “speaks” each word being read in his head. This dramatically slows down your reading speed. Trust me, you are capable of reading at a much, much faster rate if only you stop doing this habit.
Tip #2: Scan or skim the material first. I read almost only non-fiction books so this technique works really well for me for better understanding and retention. Before reading any book, I check out the table of contents and check out how the whole thing is structured. It gives me a bird’s eye view of what the author has to say and a good idea of what to expect.
I got this idea from reading the timeless, “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer J. Adler (yes, such a book exists). It’s the first of several steps for truly understanding and retaining lessons from a book.
Next, I go through the chapters I find most interesting very quickly. Usually, if the material is good, this ups the anticipation and excitement of reading the whole book, which makes you want to read it ASAP.
Lastly, this step allows you to decide if the book is worth reading. It’s just like browsing books in a bookstore. You open a book, check its contents, then decide if it’s worth buying.
There are millions of books out there. If you’re not super sold on a particular book, buy something else that you like more.
6. Set a simple reading goal
Popular blogger and author James Clear said that his secret to reading more books is to set a goal. He tasked himself to finish 20 pages every morning. By doing this, he is able to clear an average of 36 books a year.
If you want to read more, set a small goal. You can start with one page a day. How long does it take to read a page? Less than 5 minutes. Yup, it’s really that simple. Ask yourself, “Do I really don’t have 5 minutes to spare?”
It’s not the number of pages that is important. It’s about developing a habit. Once reading gets ingrained in your daily routine, you’ll start to love the process and read a whole lot more.
I’d like to end this piece with a popular Warren Buffet quote:
“The most important investment you can make is in yourself”
And I couldn’t agree more. It’s not always the most talented or gifted people who succeed in life.
It’s those who have the capacity to take a hit and rise up and take it upon themselves to improve.
Go grab and read a book. It’s time to invest in yourself.
Ready to take the leap, and start your own business. Check out some of our comprehensive business guides:
- The Definitive Guide on How to Start a Business in the Philippines
- 10 Ways to Fund & Finance your Business
- How to Register a Corporation in the Philippines
- 100+ Profitable Small Business Ideas & Opportunities in the Philippines