Motivational speaker Charles “Tremendous” Jones is well known for saying “You’re the same today as you’ll be in five years except for the people you meet and the books you read.” I believe he is right. Yet, studies consistently show that approximately 25% of Americans will not read a book in a year. Of those who do read, the typical American will read 4 books a year.
Compare this to highly successful people. Warren Buffett read approximately 1,000 pages a day when he began his highly successful investing career and today still reads about 500 pages a day. Mark Cuban sets aside three hours a day to read. Bill Gates reads about 50 books a year.
There is also a significant difference in what people read. Studies find that wealthy people read primarily for self-improvement, education and success. People with annual incomes of $30,000 or less read mostly for entertainment.
As I write this I am sitting in my study surrounded by six bookshelves filled to overflowing. Reading has been an important part of my life since I was a child. Growing up we didn’t have much money for books, but my mother took me to the county library almost every Saturday where I would get a stack of books to take home. Today I have well over 1,000 books sitting on my shelves, and I have probably disposed of about that many in recent years as I’m trying to dispose of my library as I get older. Still, I have a stack of five books waiting to be read. My own goal is to read 50 books a year, and I usually hit that goal or at least come close. Out of the 50 books perhaps 1-2 will be fiction, The others will focus on leadership, theology, history or self-improvement.
These books have allowed me to be mentored by experts whom I would never have the opportunity to personally meet. I have three degrees, but these books have been an important supplement to my formal education. Jones is right. I would not be the man I am today if not for the people I’ve met and the books I’ve read.
What are you reading? What books have influenced your life and, perhaps, even transformed it? What is on your current reading list? Does your reading stretch and challenge you thereby helping you grow, or are you reading to be entertained? Or do you read at all? As we approach 2019 what are you planning on reading?
These are important questions to ask if you are committed to lifelong learning and personal growth.
Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to finish the last chapter of one of the books I’m currently reading before I go to bed.