I’ve always been a big reader. I remember reading in my middle and high school days. It slowed down in college but my consumption has only increased in my 7.5 years in the adult world. Since the beginning of 2012 I’ve consumed 186 books and 38 of those came last year. Here is why I read alot.
38 is a big number. I was certainly helped by getting into audio books in 2018. I ended up reading 23 books and listening to 15 books last year. Thats a ton of information on top of the podcasts and blogs I also read.
Why would a person ever do something like this?
Emulating Those Ahead of Me on the Success Trail
I look to those in positions I want to hold someday, see what they are doing and emulate their actions and habits. For instance, I emulated Walt Disney and created an overarching picture for my financial life.
Being into entrepreneurship and sports I’ve learned about Mark Cuban quite a bit over the years. Did you know he spends 4-5 hours reading every single day? Did you know he puts learning about current events and reading at the top of his priority list every day?
Warren Buffet & Charlie Munger
Or how about Warren Buffet? When asked how to prepare for an investment career he answered “read 500 pages a day“. He also said that everyone could do this but almost no one will. Warren’s partner, Charlie Munger, has always advocated working for yourself 1 hour per day.
Sitting in one of Warren’s talks one day was a person by the name of Todd Combs. He heard Warren’s challenge of 500 pages a day. What did he do?
He read 500 pages a day. What does he do now?
He works for Warren as a Chief Investment Officer. What does he do now in his current role? He reads 12 hours a day.
Why are They doing this?
The four people mentioned above are all massively wealthy. Whether its Mark owning a smattering of companies or Warren and Charlie being at the head of Berkshire Hathaway, they have a lot on their plate.
They could do nearly anything with their time but they understand that putting in the work and reading is what is going to continue to compound and grow their wealth.
All of these men have been upfront that you have to be a voracious learner. I would imagine their time over the years has transitioned from doing to thinking/learning but they have always carved out a portion of their time to learn.
Top 2 Benefits of Consuming Information
The benefits for consuming this information are pretty straight forward for me.
The first is self-improvement. I mostly read business, investing, biographies and other miscellaneous non-fiction but do mix in some other types of books every now and then. I know that knowledge, just like wealth, compounds. Therefore, being disciplined over decades is going to pay off immensely.
The second is to upgrade my five. By “five” I’m referencing the common saying “you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with“. While I certainly have a lot of people in my life I try to reserve that fifth seat in my mind for all of the people I learn from the books I consume.
Authors spend a significant amount of time and energy into a book so I feel that I get to really understand the concepts and their story. I feel like I get to sit down with the author and learn about something that was important to them. For instance, in 2018 I got to spend time with Gary Vaynerchuk, Jocko Willink, Grant Cardone, Tony Robbins, and William Bernstein.
What a group of individuals. Those people are why I read a lot.
Tools that Offer you 15 minutes per book
There are a few tools out there that advertise how “CEOs read dozens of books a year” and you can too with our app or product. I think those are a bunch of crap.
The whole idea behind consuming a book is to spend a few hours contemplating, learning and thinking through a topic. The whole “a book in 15 minutes” is very fitting for the social media/I want everything now generation.
While these tools may be for some I know they aren’t for me. I could never get value out of a 700 page on Warren Buffet in 15 minutes. How would I ever know the stories behind the dozens and dozens of companies he’s purchased or what his life looked like after college.
Again, those tools may be for you, they just aren’t for me. I believe that to truly allow knowledge to compound you need to prioritize learning and put in the work.
Anything that is worth having is never easy.
Tips and Tricks for how to read a lot
Above I’ve discussed why I read a lot, here is how I do it. To read as many books as I do, its actually very straight forward. I have a kindle by my bedside and utilize the kindle app. The single greatest tip I can give you is to read for a few minutes each night before bed.
For instance, if 300 nights a year I read for 5 minutes that’s 1500 minutes or 25 hours per year you are reading.
For audio books its just as simple. For the services I use I simply download their iOS app and listen while I’m running, during my commute or while I’m doing odds and ends around the house.
Listening to a dozen or two books a year but a little bit every day adds up.
Questions for you
How much, if at all, do you read? I’m working on a way to communicate all the books I’ve read because there are so many good ones.
I’m also thinking that I’ll do a book review every once in a while. Is that something you’d enjoy?