"Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do."-- Jim Rohn
Before his death in 2009, motivational author and speaker Jim Rohn (Keys to Success, 7 Strategies for Wealth and Happiness, The Power of Ambition, Twelve Pillars, Take Charge of Your Life) encouraged his audiences all over the world to make reading a priority. "Build your library," Rohn told audiences who came seeking his advice on how to achieve success. Rohn often lamented that only a tiny percentage of those who heard him speak so strongly about the power of books would be willing to set aside time in their hectic schedules to read.
During his talks, Rohn spoke about how difficult it was to get people to believe in the relationship between reading and success, and he often wondered aloud to audiences how something as easily available to everyone as a book was so undervalued by otherwise ambitious and highly motivated people.
Data Show Correlation Between Reading and Success
More recently, there has been much written in the press, in academia and on the Internet about the clear relationship between high levels of reading and high levels of financial and career success. A recent survey by the business magazine Fast Company revealed the average number of books read by a CEO is 60 books per year. Recent in-depth research carried out by wealth creation expert Tom Corley found that 85% of the 233 financially successful people he studied were reading two or more self-improvement or educational books per month.
"Billionaire Book Club"
Anecdotal evidence also supports these data conclusions in terms of real world uber-successful individuals who are passionate about reading. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Mark Cuban, Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffet are but a few of the billionaire entrepreneurs who say they are voracious readers--and they attribute their huge appetite for books to their huge success.
“Everybody can read what I read, it is a level playing field,” Warren Buffett is known to say. He was once asked about the key to success and he pointed to a stack of nearby books and said, “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."
Bill Gates is passionate about reading and he often publicly recommends books he finds particularly thought-provoking. Gates reads a minimum of 50 books a year. “Reading is still the main way that I both learn new things and test my understanding."
Oprah's famous book club was born out of her passion for books and her belief that reading was the key to growth and self mastery. “Books showed me there were possibilities in life, that there were actually people like me living in a world I could not only aspire to but attain. Reading gave me hope. For me, it was the open door.”
Mark Zuckerberg is not only passionate about books, he is also passionate about inspiring the love of books in others. He reads more than 50 books per year and shares his recommendations online. He believes “books allow you to fully explore a topic and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today.”
“I read everything I can. I don’t care what the source is,” Cuban told CNBC. He says his reading routine (books, magazines, blog articles, etc.) takes up four to five hours of his day, and he suggests every serious entrepreneur should read voraciously too. "I would continuously search for new ideas. I read every book and magazine I could. Heck, 3 bucks for a magazine, 20 bucks for a book. One good idea that led to a customer or solution and it paid for itself many times over.”
@StevePollackCEO 2020 Year of Books
If you're like me, you really didn't need Gates and Zuckerburg to tell you that books can be your greatest and most cost-effective assets. But, it is reassuring, and maybe a bit gratifying, to know that those of us who do love books and are passionate about reading them and recommending them to others are in excellent company.
As the CEO of Anchor Loans, I strongly encourage you to carve time out of your schedule to read, and in the coming year I will be sharing my thoughts once per week about one of the dozens of books I'll be reading in 2020. Although Anchor is a fix-and-flip lender financing the renovation of distressed properties, we are also a company focused on how our services contribute to the transformation of entire communities, and we value books and the written word as some of the world's most powerful tools of transformation.
I hope you'll consider joining me on my 2020 Year of Books journey, and I hope you'll share with me what you've learned along the way--and how what you are reading adds value to your role as a leader in your business and personal life.
I'll be sharing thoughts about my 2020 Year of Books here on our blog and on Instagram as well at Instagram.com/StevePollackCEO (follow the hashtag #2020YearOfBooks).