Successful People Read 50 Times More Books Per Year Than Average
In one study they found the top CEO’s read around 50 books per year on average compared to the average American who reads less than one book a year. When I was in high school I read about half a dozen books over the entire 6 years. One book a year which was inline with the average person. This of course meant my knowledge was about average for my age. Funnily enough I recall enjoying the books I read but for some reason was not compelled to read more than one book a year. The problem for myself at the time and the average person is actually a vicious cycle. A lack of knowledge means a lack of realisation that what separates the intellect from the average person is the very pursuit of knowledge. This became evident in my late teens whenever I encountered an intellectual who possessed far more knowledge than I could even possibly imagine. I did not connect it in any way to reading. I simply saw them as an intelligent individual due to being born with a more advanced brain than I. It never occurred to me that their intelligence was cultivated through years of reading and hundreds, even thousands of books.
Leveraging other people’s experience
When I left school at age 18 I became curious about music theory especially modes. I would visit the library in my lunch hour to research the topic and my interest in reading began to grow. It was at this time my life began to change and I felt a sense of control over my destiny and a growing excitement of what was possible. Reading, as I discovered, was a way of leveraging someone else’s experience. When I read their story it became a small part of me. Just like a memory of a past experience, reading allowed me to live someone else’s experience like a memory. Once I began reading my knowledge my world expanded. I went from seeing myself as a victim of circumstance with limited opportunity to someone with massive and infinite potential. There really was no limit to what I could achieve and I knew books would provide the necessary knowledge and inspiration to get there.
The broke guitar teacher
A guitar teacher who I spoke to recently complained about how his current financial challenges. He said that no matter what he did his bills just continued to grow. He described the stress and sleepless nights worrying about how it would all end. He imagined himself living on the street and being rejected by his family. In these situations my first question is usually this. “What books have you read on the topic?” When I ask the question to the guitar teacher his replied was pretty much the same answer I almost always get. “I haven’t read any books on the topic.” If they have its generally one book they half read or skimmed. You see the real problem is not the fact that he was in financial debt. The real problem is he is uneducated on the subject of money. If you have a problem as serious as he claims you should be reading every book written in the last 50 years on the topic to find answers. Complaining will not change one’s situation. You must take action and the best place to start is with knowledge on the topic.
Insure yourself against ignorance
To take this one step further, an even better option is to begin reading even before it becomes a problem. Reading as a matter of habit is an insurance policy against ignorance. If I am going to be broke, sick or have poor relationships I at least want to know why. I can read all about money but without taking the necessary action I will remain broke but, if I read I’ll at least be aware of my foolishness. Ignorance is not bliss and who ever said it was, was no doubt being sarcastic. The irony here is that the people who are reading this article are not average. You are a knowledge seeker. You may or may not read books but you at least read educational articles. The alone puts you above average. So I have a question for you.
What’s your big challenge and how many books have you read on the subject?
Lastly I have a Facebook Page called ‘Read A Book A Week’ where I post recommendations and notes.