The Strategist

How reading habits can make you a billionaire

11/29/2016 - 15:40

Most entrepreneurs and investors never stop learning. It’s possible to repeat their success by making reading a habit. Science says that reading as much as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates can make you smarter and richer. When Buffett was asked what was the key to his success, he replied: "Read 500 pages every day. So knowledge is formed. It accumulates like compound interest. Any person can do it, but I assure you that not everyone will do it". Buffett starts each morning from reading dozens of newspapers and then pays a great deal of time to books during the day.

Mark Cuban spends on reading up to three hours a day, and Bill Gates swallows 50 books a year. When Elon Musk was asked how he learned how to build a rocket, he just answered: "I read a lot". Not surprisingly, scientific studies proved these giants of the financial world right. Habit of reading really makes a person smarter, and affect ability to succeed and make a fortune.

Thomas Corley, author of "Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals" writes that rich people (with annual income of 160 thousand dollars and above, and liquid assets of more than 3.2 million dollars) read to improve their skills, gain knowledge and succeed in business. Less successful people (annual income not more than 35 thousand dollars, and value of liquid assets less than 5 thousand dollars) mostly read entertaining literature. Most successful entrepreneurs never stop learning. They become their own supervisors, and there is nothing surprising in the fact that they read to know more.

Take, for example, Bill Gates. Apparently, he reads by perforce, his list of books just confirms it: fiction is very uncommon to him. More often, you can find in his hands scientific or biographical writings, which help Bill and Melinda Gates implement projects of their Foundation.

His favorite literature, however, isn’t necessarily about charity. The billionaire eagerly reads about transformation of society, new economic models and approaches to management. Below is a list of books he liked so much that he recommends them to everyone.

1. Carol Loomis, "Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012"

Fortune’s journalist Carol Loomis gathered interesting facts and stories, and even wrote entire essays about famous billionaire and Bill Gates’ friend Warren Buffett. The book tells about Warren Buffett’s investment strategy. His approach to the business has not changed for half a century, and Gates in his review advises readers to "get into the head" of the famous financier.

2. Vaclav Smil, "Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization"

Bill Gates claims that Vaclav Smil is his favorite author. "Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization" describes the most important theme for Gates: how much raw materials does humanity need, and how much is actually used? The billionaire-philanthropist is sure that ideas of Vaclav Smil will help us find a balance and stop polluting the environment. Most importantly, Smil in his books answers to the question of how to defeat poverty.

3. Elizabeth Kolbert, "The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History"

Elizabeth Kolbert’s book is devoted to problem of extinction of rare species of animals. According to the scientist, there have already been five periods of mass extinctions in the planet’s history, and we are about to approach the sixth, triggered by artificial rather than natural causes.

Bill Gates suggests paying attention to the situation, and highlights the fact that even those human activities that do not directly threaten wildlife may harm it indirectly. 

4. Steven Pinker, "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined"

In his book, Steven Pinker advocates a theory that the human story is not such a sad thing: people are gradually becoming more relaxed and less aggressive. Bill Gates claims that this scientific work impressed him as a man who is trying to look at the world from optimistic point of view. The book contains a huge amount of evidence pointing to the fact that we increasingly less want to kill each other.


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