I have always believed that your output in this world is only as great as your input. You need to always be striving to learn more, and consuming as much as you can so that you bring more value to whichever table you are sitting.
Information is the strongest currency you own. And your ability to interpret and use that information is what makes you valuable.
Author Brian Tracy explained it best when he said:
“If you read only one book per month, that will put you into the top 1% of income earners in our society. But if you read one book per week, 50 books per year, that will make you one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field. Regular reading will transform your life completely.”
If you want to become more successful in any facet of life, you need to be constantly reading, constantly learning. It is no coincidence that the most successful people in any industry are all well-read–to be a leader you need to be as knowledgeable as you possibly can on as many subjects as you possibly can. Setting aside time each day to read is not only a practice in discipline but a practice in becoming the best version of yourself.
That’s why I tell anyone looking to improve their lot in life to try to read at least 2 hours a day. It may seem like an exorbitant amount, in today’s fragmented and distracted world, but if we break it down you will realize it’s actually not enough. If you want to be the best, and there’s no reason you shouldn’t, you need to be striving for that 50-books-per-year goal.
Know this: it’s not just the books you read; the mere habit of making yourself read each day, and keeping to a plan, is a major ingredient in success. In a handful of fairly recent examples, I attempted to get the employees of my company to read a book together, and we met weekly to discuss what we read. Every time, after only one or two weeks, the ‘book club’ was disbanded because there were always those individuals who did not read, no matter how much time we gave them. No matter the book, no matter the topic, they just didn’t read.
All I could do was sit back and watch them as they accepted a life of mediocrity and complacency. They slipped into the unfortunate mindset that they knew everything possible about their industry, or about the power of thought, or about an organization.
If this is you, get out! Start to read before it’s too late. It doesn’t matter what. Pick up a book and stick your nose in it
Let’s work with a few base assumptions:
The average adult reads about 30-40 pages in an hour
The average book (according to Amazon) is about 64,000 words (or about 300 pages)
We can safely assume, then, that it takes around 10 hours to complete an average book.
Of course, the world doesn’t always operate this simply – some books are longer/shorter, and subjects that are denser require more time and effort to understand. But if we stick to the discipline of reading 2 hours a day, we allow more than enough cushion to keep our intended pace of one book per week. It’s a long game, but it’s one that pays dividends immediately as well, and is the quintessential definition of a SMART goal. If you do this, I assure you that you will become “one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field”. Who wouldn’t want that?
There’s no time to waste either. If we are to assume that every book offers an opportunity to learn something new, and there are roughly 130 million books in the world (thanks, Google), then we’re already playing catch up. A book a week, for 30 years, would be 1,560 books – doesn’t seem like that much does it?
But remember this: if you read those 1,560 books, that small number is what has a profound effect on success, and a major determining factor in your wealth. Since when has one thousand of anything had such a powerful impact? One thousand troops never made the difference in any large battles in history. A thousand dollars difference means nothing when comparing wealth. But one thousand books, over thirty years, can make or break your career.
Time to start reading.