2-½ minutes to read
Like most of us, I got advantages and disadvantages from my upbringing. We’d lived in five different cities and eight houses by the time I was nine years old. Maintaining friendships has been a challenge for me ever since. My dad was an engineer (electronics not train-driver). Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he would get work on a project and once the contract was done move on. Not a recipe for financial stability. But I was fortunate to have received many blessings from my parents. After their love and belief in my success, the most important is they made me a reader.
Being Literate and Going to College Aren’t Enough
By 1969 only 1% of the U.S. population couldn’t read. However, this statistic hides all but the utilitarian benefits of reading. Just because someone can read signs or simple forms doesn’t mean he’s reaping the advantages that come from literacy.
I’ve written before about why getting a degree won’t make you more money. These days an undergraduate degree is about as valuable as a high school diploma was 30 or 40 years ago. Master’s and doctoral degrees do not lead to wealth. Less than a quarter of the 400 wealthiest people in the United States have an advanced degree. Your success depends on two things:
- Knowing what it takes to be successful, which colleges don’t teach at any level.
- Increasing your value to your organization or clients.
So if college doesn’t guarantee success, what will?
Steve Seibold interviewed over 1,200 of the wealthiest people in the world. He found the one pastime they have in common is reading. Two factors distinguish the reading habits of wealthy versus middle and lower income people.
- Rich people use books to educate themselves on how to be more successful.
- Middle-class people read to be entertained.
Even more so, wealthy people value the life-long learning that comes from books.
- 67% of wealthy people watch an hour or less of television a day and only 6% watch reality shows.
- 23% of poor people watch less than an hour of television a day and 78% of them watch reality series.
If you want to succeed, get in the habit of reading books on personal development, success, and that give you the most advanced knowledge in your field or industry.
Read to Succeed Because…
Beyond the ability to create wealth, reading leads to better health. Michael Grothaus reports reading reduces stress and may stave off depression and dementia.
Not to sound like a Ronco commercial, but there’s more. My top three reasons for being a reader are:
- You learn without getting the hard knocks of life.
- You have experiences you cannot have any other way.
- You can challenge your ideas in a safe environment.
What good comes from developing relationship skills by trial and error? Many excellent authors and books will help you do so more elegantly and efficiently. My favorite for business relationships is Judy Robinette’s How to Be a Power Connector. Dr. Mark Goulston deals with professional and personal relationships in his book Just Listen If you have a particular relationship challenge, post a comment or send me an email. I’m happy to recommend a book.
You’ll never ride to Samarkand on a fleet Mongol horse or live the genteel, 19th-century life of an English country gentleman. But Patrick O’Brien will take you to China and Mongolia in The Road to Samarcand. Anthony Trollope invites you for a long visit to Barchester in Framley Parsonage. Though some may dismiss these as worthless novels, they contain many lessons about leadership, human inter-relations, and the values that support strong relationships.
Exchanging ideas with another person can build a more solid connection. But it can also lead to arguments. As well, you may want to explore an idea so you can engage with someone more intelligently. No matter how heatedly I attack what’s written in a book, it’s never slugged me.
You can improve every area of your life without leaving a comfortable armchair. Develop the habit. Read to succeed.
What are you reading? Please comment below.