🌼All The Billionaires Do This One Hobby Religiously. Here Are 4 Reasons Why
It’s extremely beneficial in your daily life and a stepping stone to making more money and having bigger success
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none. Zero.”
– Charlie Munger, billionaire investor and businessman
Have you realised that every billionaire business titan is an avid reader?
Elon Musk would often read for 10 hours a day when he was a kid. Today, he learned rocket science by borrowing books from his SpaceX co-founder, Jim Cantrell.
Warren Buffet read up to 800 pages a day in his early investing career. Nowadays, he still dedicates 80% of his day to reading.
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In an HBR article, “Nike founder Phil Knight so reveres his library that in it you have to take off your shoes and bow.”
Larry Page when he was asked how did he learn to lead, answered “I read a lot.”
Bill Gates reads about 50 books per year.
Mark Cuban reads for 3 hours every day.
Mark Zuckerberg read a book each week.
So, why do they read to such extremes? Here are 4 reasons why.
#1. Future-proof their business
Julius Caesar said “experience is the teacher of all things” or “experience is the best teacher.”
It’s no doubt that experience is the mother of teachings compared to just studying at the table. But it takes time. It can be months, years or decades to fully understand the industry they’re into.
So, an alternative for that is reading others’ experiences and making them as personal mentors. There are two sayings:
“A book may take a year to finish writing, but the lessons in it may take the author 20 years to learn.”
“The reading of all good books is like conversation with the finest people of the past centuries.”
– Descartes, 17th century French philosopher
Taken from worldhistory.org
We can say that by reading, they may learn 20 years’ worth of lessons or research in just a week from the finest people in the world that are already dead or still alive! That’s an ultimate life hack!
If they wait 20 years to learn what a week can teach them, they won’t be on Forbes’s real-time billionaires list right now. Speed is extremely crucial in business. If they snooze, they lose.
“The only way to win is to learn faster than everybody else.”
– Eric Ries, entrepreneur, blogger, and author of The Lean Startup and The Startup Way
Plus, a book won’t cost them an arm and a leg.
Books allow them to learn from incredible people thousands of kilometers away in the comfort of their homes for the fraction of a 1-on-1 coaching price.
For example, Alex Hormozi, a serial entrepreneur who has a $100 million net worth said he spent $120,000 on 4 phone calls with Grant Cardone. That is just for sales knowledge. What about marketing and customer service?
Do they want to spend another $240,000 to learn marketing and customer service? I bet not. Besides, most of them don’t have the means to spend that much in their early career.
Books are around $10 each. If they buy sales, marketing and customer service books, it cost them $30 only. So, books are the absolute go-to.
#2. Supercharge creativity
Reading a lot of different topics is extremely effective to be more creative in coming up with brilliant ideas that challenge conventional wisdom. This supports them in developing better products or services to stay a step ahead of their competitors.
Dr Stuart Brown wrote in his book, Play:
“Creative ideas are often those that bring together ideas from different domains or fields.”
In other words, idea sex. It’s a combination of two or more ideas from different fields.
For example, consider Elon Musk’s thinking when he wanted to get into the aerospace industry. Conventional wisdom said rockets are too expensive and no one has ever made them cheaper. But he ignored it and began thinking about the problem.
He combined his aerospace knowledge with first principle thinking, derived from Physics, to solve it. The idea of the first principle is to break down problems into basic elements and then reassemble them from the ground up.
“I tend to approach things from a physics framework,” Musk said in an interview. “Physics teaches you to reason from first principles rather than by analogy. So I said, okay, let’s look at the first principles. What is a rocket made of? Aerospace-grade aluminum alloys, plus some titanium, copper, and carbon fiber. Then I asked, what is the value of those materials on the commodity market? It turned out that the materials cost of a rocket was around two percent of the typical (rocket) price.”
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket cost $62 million per launch while NASA’s space shuttles, which were retired in 2011, cost an average of $1.6 billion per launch.
So, instead of buying a ready-made rocket, he started SpaceX, purchase the raw materials for cheap and build the rockets from scratch. Within a few years, he managed to cut the launching cost by 10x while still making profits.
If he is not an avid reader, I’m sure we wouldn’t know him today.
Another example is Relativity Space, an aerospace manufacturing company, just like SpaceX.
What’s unique is that they are building a rocket by combining aerospace knowledge with 3D printing technology instead of traditional manufacturing. This allows them to build rockets 10x faster and use 100x fewer parts which will result in even lower launching costs.
Left to right: Tim Ellis (co-founder and CEO of Relativity Space) and Elon Musk (founder and CEO of SpaceX). Each name is hyperlinked to credit the owner of where this picture is taken from. Then, the author combines them.
One more example comes from me after reading three books that pretty much have talked about powerlessness in some way or another, and combining it with salesmen’s commission.
Imagine you need to hire great people for your early-stage startup. But how do you convince them to work with you when they can work for other big and established companies?
One thing you can do is look at how salesmen get paid. The more they sell, the more they get.
So, what if you take that approach and apply it to the first 10 employees who agree to work with you? As the company’s annual profit reaches some level, their salary increases by 10% without having to ask, for example. Maybe that will excite them to join you, and be motivated to work harder.
#3. Foster greater empathy
“Reading is an exercise in empathy; an exercise in walking in someone else’s shoes for a while.”
– Malorie Blackman, British writer
Reading various genres and from many authors will expose them to different arguments and perspectives. This will reduce their ego to be more empathetic and acceptable to listen to others’ opinions.
Empathy is one of the most important skills every business leader must have. The ability to see the world from others’ perspectives is crucial to business success.
According to Google’s Project Oxygen which surveys its employees about their opinions of a great manager, technical skill is the least focus. Instead, the top 10 skills employees value in a manager are primarily soft skills — such as empathy — and utilize more emotional intelligence than computer or systems training.
Increased empathy, for example, will lead to more empowerment and less micromanaging because if they understand people, they must know that people want to have freedom in their job. Employees who lose the ability to make choices become disempowered. Who likes being controlled like a kid?
For example, Warren Buffet’s leadership style is called Laissez-Faire or “delegative leadership.” This type of leadership works for him because it puts strong trust in skilful and motivated talents which Berkshire Hathaway doesn’t lack.
Here are some of the characteristics of Laissez-Faire according to this article:
Leaders give employees little hand-holding. Leaders leave employees to experiment and solve problems on their own so that they can figure out things that work and things that do not. This can give them a greater sense of accomplishment.
Leaders also give employees the power to make decisions. Employees don’t ask the leader what should be done. They decide for themselves. They learn judgment this way, experimenting with which decisions are good and which are not as good.
While leaders do not intervene with employees’ work, they still provide the resources so that they are able to make results.
Taken from westawaysausages.com
Another example is from Google. Google lets employees experiment with new ideas. The result? Gmail, Google Map, Google News and AdSense were born.
“We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google,” wrote Sergey Brin and Larry Page in their IPO letter.
Give employees a little freedom, and watch their creativity blossom.
Other than that, empathy also will help them understand their customers better and meet their demands quicker to stay relevant. As Bill Gates said:
“Everybody must realize that if you don’t meet customer demand quickly enough without sacrificing quality, a competitor will.”
For example, stating “no hidden fees” on the sales page is one way of showing empathy and meeting the demands for kind companies as some companies are branded as evil by laypeople. This builds trust because customers don’t like their money being secretly taken away. Who does? Hence, sales may increase as they are more likely to pay more if the company is being transparent.
According to an article from latana.com, “94% of respondents will stay loyal to a transparent brand. Approximately 75% of these same customers will be happy to pay more for products or services from a brand they believe to be genuine.”
4. Substitute for meetings
“The only way you’re going to get me for a meeting is if you’re writing me a check,” said Mark Cuban.
He also prefers email over in-person meetings and phone calls. “Love it. Live on it. Saves me hours and hours every day. No meetings. No phone calls. All because of email. I set my schedule,” he said.
Jeff Bezos set a two-pizza rule in Amazon. The idea is that if two pizzas can’t feed the entire group, the meeting is considered too large. It acts as a guideline to keep the meeting small to maximise efficiency.
In 2018, Elon Musk sent an internal email to Tesla employees to ramp up Tesla Model 3 production. He also gave six productivity tips and three of them were about meetings.
“Excessive meetings are the blight of big companies and almost always get worse over time. Please get out of all large meetings, unless you’re certain they are providing value to the whole audience, in which case keep them very short.”
“Also get rid of frequent meetings, unless you are dealing with an extremely urgent matter. Meeting frequency should drop rapidly once the urgent matter is resolved.”
“Walk out of a meeting or drop off a call as soon as it is obvious you aren’t adding value. It is not rude to leave, it is rude to make someone stay and waste their time.”
If they don’t do meetings, what is the substitute for it? Reading!
Quoting from Read For Your Life by Pat Williams and Peggy Matthews Rose:
“Reading puts us in direct contact with ideas from others. If you’ve ever sat in on a brainstorming session, you’ve experienced that electricity, that spark that leaps through a room where great minds come in contact. Imagine sitting in a room with a good book and having a brainstorming session — seemingly all by yourself! I’ve done it. People think you’ve lost. Oh, if they only knew! Books do that. And books do so much more.”
They are also wise enough to see that they don’t have to invent the wheel to solve the business problems they face. A lot of problems have been dealt with and recorded by someone. All they have to do is decide which solution to try and tweak according to their situation.
Just by reading, they have a massive competitive advantage over their competitors who are slow to learn or refuse to read.
Reading is not just for entrepreneurship and of course it won’t guarantee you a billion dollar net worth. But it’s extremely beneficial in your daily life and a stepping stone to making more money and having bigger success.
For example for career development. If you want to climb the corporate ladder, be the best-informed employee about the industry you’re into.
Let’s say you’re in petroleum engineering. Read everything you could find about geophysics, petroleum geology, petroleum production engineering, etc and experiment a lot with what you’ve learned.
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Do that long enough and you will know more about petroleum engineering than your seniors and can climb up the ladder twice the speed of other employees.
Another example is to stand out among other scholarship applicants. One common thing to do during application is to write an essay. If you don’t read enough, how are you going to write an attractive essay? Reading is closely linked to vocabulary and writing skills development. The more you read, the better your vocabulary and writing skills because you’re exposed to many unfamiliar words and various writing styles and structures.
So, reading is one way to show that you deserved the scholarship. It acts as a signal that you value education, have an open mind and are a broad learner.
With that being said, Jim Rohn, one of the finest motivational speakers said:
“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”
In other words, read more books than the average, and you’ll become above average.
CONTRIBUTED BY Danish Fikri
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