There are many different habits attributed to the success of entrepreneurs and business leaders. Some people say, “Get up early”. Others say, “Find the right mentors”. Although both can be great advice, there is one habit that is arguably the most recommended━read a lot.
In fact, studies have found that on average Fortune 500 CEOs read 4 to 5 books each month or 60 books a year. Why is reading so important especially for budding business owners? There are many reasons, but these are three that you must know.
1. You can self-educate anytime.
Thomas Corley, author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals, interviewed 1,200 of the world’s most prominent and wealthy people and found that the majority had reading in common. According to the findings, 88 percent of the wealthy read at least 30 minutes a day for self-improvement.
Finding a mentor and asking experts for advice is a great way to learn more about your specific industry or entrepreneurship in general. The main pitfall is that people aren’t available to answer your questions 24/7, and even if they were, one person doesn’t have all the answers.
With books, you have a wide range of experiences and knowledge at your disposal at any hour that you choose.
2. It shows that you do your homework.
Nearly any question you have, you can plug into Google and find an answer. Because information is more readily available than ever before, people have a much higher expectation for entrepreneurs to have “done their homework” before sales, investor pitches and other meetings. Yet, there are often questions that you don’t know to ask. Reading as a habit opens you up to ideas and knowledge that you may have never thought about before.
3. It could boost emotional intelligence.
Most associate reading with improving your business intelligence, but some studies suggest that it could benefit your emotional intelligence as well. As a reader you see through the eyes of and get an inside look into the feelings of several diverse characters. This ability to empathize can be crucial to lead and run your company more effectively.
The world’s most renowned business leaders cite reading as one of their top reasons for success. From Bill Gates and Elon Musk to Mark Cuban and Mark Zuckerberg, it seems like everyone is hitting the books. How often should you read? There’s a spectrum.
Warren Buffett might be the most extreme case and biggest advocate for reading. When asked about his success, he credited books saying, “Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”
Why don’t more of us read?
Perhaps it is because some would rather watch a reality TV show than pick up a book. But, I have a feeling that since you are reading this, you don’t fall into that category.
Most likely the reason is that there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. When you’re building a business, juggling work and family, finding the time to sit and read a book can seem impossible. But, if busy CEOs can do it, then we all can. Here are some time-saving tips:
- Listen to audiobooks. It may take some time to get used to audiobooks, but with them you can read while you cook dinner, work out at the gym or walk your dog.
- Read while in transit. If you take the subway or bus to work everyday, use the time to get through a few pages. If you’re traveling by plane, read during the flight.
- Find blogs, podcasts and eBooks. If reading a full book each week seems too ambitious for your schedule, then supplement with shorter but valuable content.
What should you read?
There has been some dispute as to what genres people should indulge in to be more successful. Some studies suggest autobiographies, educational books and articles. Other studies suggest that reading fiction novels can boost creativity and improve decision making among many other emotional benefits. But, a mixture of genres may be the right compromise. Lean more on the educational and self-improvement side, but don’t be afraid to include one novel every month or every other month.
Here are some books we like and that you can add to your reading list:
- Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
- Content Inc by Joe Pulizzi
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
What books or blogs do you recommend? Which ones are on your reading list?