The other day I ran across an interesting article that talks about the reading habits of billionaires. Apparently, billionaires have time to read, and they actually read a lot! This suggests a direct correlation between a CEO’s commitment to regular reading and his or her success in business.
Indeed, the reading habits of some of the greatest business minds of our time are astounding! For example, Oprah Winfrey famously said, “Books were my pass to personal freedom. I learned to read at age three, and there discovered was a whole world to conquer that went beyond our farm in Mississippi.” In 1996, Oprah then turned her passion for reading into “Oprah’s Book Club,” which recommended one book per month to the viewers of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
In a 2019 interview, Bill Gates, the richest man in the world who reads about 50 books per year (about one a week), explained why reading is so powerful: “If you read enough, there’s a similarity between things that make it easy, because this thing is like this other thing.” “If you have a broad framework, then you have a place to put everything.”
Another titan of the American business world, Warren Buffet is also a voracious reader. Considered the most successful investor of the 20th century, Buffet read a staggering total of 600 to 1,000 pages every day (!) in his earlier years and still spends 80% of his day reading. “Read 500 pages . . . every day,” Buffet recommends. “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.”
To be sure, the reading lists of these business giants are daunting. If you don’t have the focus or time in your day to read books, there is a great alternative: consider working with a great coach or mentor. It is all about learning and self-improvement, whether you glean the information from books or people who have the knowledge you need. What’s more, having the personal support of a professional guide is priceless. A great coach helps you become the very best at what you do, and can warn you when you are about to make a costly mistake or go down a dead end.
I’m attributing my own business success to working with coaches, of whom I have had many over the past 15 years. My mentors have included some of the most well-known professionals in the coaching industry. And, yes, my work with these experts has been a major financial investment for me. But the return on all the coaching fees has been multiples of the actual cost. That is why I will continue to work with coaches and mentors for as long as I remain professionally active.
My obsession with learning and self-improvement started much earlier in my life. By the time I completed graduate school, I had earned not one but two doctorates. After that, it was multiple coach certifications. As of now, I’m a Certified Value Builder as well as a Certified Book Yourself Solid Coach, and I recently started a third certification program. I just love the race for more and more knowledge!
If you think that I’m a geek, you’re probably right! But what may surprise you, the most effective mentors I have worked with also have their own coaches! We all understand that self-improvement leads to business success. Even more importantly, our own education and training as coaches enables us to better serve our clients. This in turn allows our clients to better serve their own customers and clients!
And this is how we are spinning good energy in circles all around us.
It’s a win-win for all parties involved.