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Reading Habits of Highly Successful People

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“There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.”


― Diane Setterfield, The Thirteenth Tale

reading habits of successful people

Reading is one of those hobbies I cannot vouch for enough. I have always read a lot. Since I was a kid, reading has been really important to me. One of the things that took me out of reality yet somehow helped me grow more and get better in the real world was reading.

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”

-Margaret Fuller

Reading is one of the best ways to learn anything you want. Think of something that you want to learn, head on to the library, and there is bound to be a few books about it. With the internet, it has become easier for people to get their hands onto books that are expensive and difficult to get.

If you don’t have a lot to spend you can still read a lot. Library memberships are a good investment to read physical books. There are tons of ebooks available for free, the ones that require you to pay aren’t that expensive either. You do not have to have a dedicated e-reader to read an ebook. You can read the books on your phone or laptop.

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.”

-Jim Rohn


Most successful people have always read a lot. Reading is always advised by them. They all have a particular reading routine they follow. Today we will be talking about a few so that you feel inspired to pick up a book yourself.

reading habits of successful people

Warren Buffett

Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, business magnate, and investor, is someone a lot of people look up to. His quotes are religiously followed by many.

When Warren Buffett was asked about the key to his success, he pointed to a stack of books, and said, “Read 500 pages like this every day. 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.”

At the beginning of his investment career, he took his reading to an extreme, he read between 600 and 1000 pages per day. He still dedicates 80% of his time reading. He starts his day by reading various newspapers.

“I read and think,” Buffett once said. “So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.”

Read this post on CNBC that talks about the scientific reasons to follow Warren Buffett’s reading routine.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”


–Dr. Seuss

reading habits of successful people

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban is a businessman and investor. Mark Cuban is

  • the owner of the National Basketball Association’s Dallas Mavericks.
  • the co-owner of 2929 Entertainment.
  • the chairman of AXS TV.
  • one of the main “shark” investors on the ABC reality television series, Shark Tank.
  • an author.

Many people starting out in business look up to him. Even with so many things to run, he still finds time to read. Mark Cuban reads for 4-5 hours every day.  He starts with reading newspapers. He is subscribed to Dallas Morning News, The Economist, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and six magazines. He reads curation sites, goes through emails, does technological research.

Since he was 20, he read everything he could get his hands on. He explained what he read with this, “every book or magazine I could get my hands on because one good idea would pay for the book and could make the difference between me making it or not.”

Mark wrote on his blog:

“A guy with little computer background could compete with far more experienced guys just because I put in the time to learn all I could. Most people won’t put in the time to get a knowledge advantage.”


“To this day, I feel like if I put in enough time consuming all the information available, particularly with the net making it so readily available, I can get an advantage in any technology business.”

reading habits of successful people

Bill Gates

Bill Gates is someone whose name is familiar to even people who have no interest in business or investing. He is a philanthropist, business magnate and investor. Who hasn’t heard of Microsoft? Gates was the principal founder of the corporation.

Bill Gates reads 50 books a year, making it one book every week. Unlike the other two we talked about, this one is easier for most to follow. If you don’t read, you can start by following Bill Gates reading routine. A book a week can be achieved easily if you are dedicated enough.

“The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can’t.”


–Mark Twain

Non-fiction gives a lot of information on various topics. Successful people don’t read for entertainment, they read to gather information. They are interested in books that are dedicated to the craft they work on, as well as the biographies and autobiographies of other successful people. You can get life-changing information from reading. Reading is a form of entertainment that is sure to teach you a lot.

From their reading choices, you can make out that successful people are more selective with what they read, they value their time. Tom Corly, the author of “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals,” studied the daily activities of 233 rich people and 128 poor people over 5 years. He found that 67 percent of rich people watch TV for less than one hour a day.

“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install a lovely bookshelf on the wall.”


–Roald Dahl

Success

Consistency: The Key Ingredient to Success

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“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.”

– Dwayne Johnson

Before we begin talking about why consistency is the key to success, let’s talk about what consistency actually is. Consistency means sticking to a routine and doing it over and over.

Consistency: The Key Ingredient to Success

Consistent behavior will help you achieve what you aim for. Being able to continually do what is required for success, is the ability that everyone strives to learn. We try to develop habits in the hope of being consistent with them.

Now, we are consistent in some things. It might be putting off work, putting off exercise, eating junk food, drinking alcohol, smoking, making wrong choices, not sticking to a routine. See, being consistent is not the exact magic here; being consistent in the right thing is.

“Consistency is found in that work whose whole and detail are suitable to the occasion. It arises from circumstance, custom, and nature.”

– Vitruvius

We are already consistent in keeping a hold on our bad habits; what we need to learn is to turn it around and convert our bad habits into good habits. To experience a life of fullness, you need to learn to be consistent with the efforts you take, not only in your professional life but your personal life as well.

Like everything negative, we need to get negative consistency out of our lives. It is really easy to pick up damaging habits and be consistent with them, but that is what you need to stand up against.

We all make plans; making plans is easy and difficult at the same time. Knowing what you want to do is half the battle won, but this part of the battle is something that everyone does in abundance. Take New Year’s Resolutions for example. Every year you make tons of resolution, but they don’t even last a week before you go back to your old ways.

You have a plan, that’s great. Now, all you need to do is stick with it. Drive yourself to win the other half of the battle. Once you realize being inconsistent is what is stopping you from achieving your goals, you will be tempted to change that, and that is exactly what we want – a willingness to bring about the good change.

Start out by consistently accomplishing small goals before you try to hit it big

For anything to stick, you have to take baby steps. Aiming for a difficult thing is okay, as long as you know it is a long shot. If you think that you are going to decide to bring about a big change and stick with it, it’s likely not going to happen and that is when you fail.

Consistency: The Key Ingredient to Success

For example, let’s say you don’t run. You decide to go running; you set the alarm, pick out your clothes and shoes, research the changes in diet, etc. But, you set your goal to run 10 miles every day. How realistic do you think that is? How do you think you are going to fare? This is you, setting yourself up for failure.

Aim for 10 miles, yes, but don’t start with that. Start with a mile and then go on increasing it until you reach your goal, and then you can set a new goal. Baby steps all the way is the most sensible way to get habitual to something.

It is said that we need 21 days to develop a new habit. So, to try and stretch yourself out for 21 days you can do certain things. When you think of it as just 21 days, it is easier to do it because you can see a deadline, and deadlines drive us. After you start doing whatever it is you want to, do it for a week and then ask yourself questions like how you feel, is this what you envisioned, will it help in the long run, etc. Anything that will remind you why you started doing this.

“Part of courage is simple consistency.”

– Peggy Noonan

Reflection of your progress is important to motivate yourself. Start journaling so that you can log in your thoughts daily about the new habit you are picking up, and you can find out if there are problem areas and immediately solve them.

Doing this gives you a third-eye perspective to your process and progress. You can help yourself to not give up. Setting up a daily routine is one thing, and sticking to it is a whole another thing.

What if you skip a day?

Consistency: The Key Ingredient to Success

Don’t fret much if you skip a day. It is okay! Do not let that pull you down. Start again the next day, make a note of what made you miss that particular day, and try to find a way around so that it doesn’t happen again. Failure isn’t the stop; you just have to start again. Being consistent in your pursuance of consistency is also an important phenomenon. Stick to it, and you will see results!

“I pray to be like the ocean, with soft currents, maybe waves at time. More and more, I want the consistency rather than the highs and lows.”

– Drew Barrymore

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How to Read More in Less Time and Comprehend More

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How to Read More in Less Time and Comprehend More

The one piece of advice that is common when coming from successful people is to read more. They dedicate their knowledge about their specific fields to reading.

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

– Frederick Douglas

If you want to learn about anything, read.

If you want to grow, read.

If you want to polish your skills, read.

If you want to sharpen your mind, read.

Reading isn’t limited to only books. With the internet comes a ton of reading material to choose from. You don’t even have to go out to get a newspaper or magazine; everything is online. Why not make the most of it. Reading – books, newspapers, magazines, poems, stories, blogs, articles – anything counts.

With so much to read, one question that I usually come across is how to find time to read. Now, this is one of the questions that you can answer the best because you know your schedule better than anyone else. Like everything else you do, you need to find time to read.

How to find time for reading

How to Read More in Less Time and Comprehend More

“If you are going to get anywhere in life you have to read a lot of books.”

– Roald Dahl

Look at your schedule, find the time that you spend watching TV, shows, YouTube videos, Netflix. Reserve half of that time for reading. Calculate the time it takes to commute (if you use public transport) and reserve it for reading. Find the days you have appointments that have a little waiting time, take a book along.

The point here is to read in the little time gaps you get. If you can’t find out a few hours space to dedicate to reading, sprinkle it in between your commitments.

Better yet, you have to make reading your priority, you need to find time for it. If you really want to do something, saying you don’t have time means you don’t really want to do it. Because when you really want to, you find the time.

Why should you base reading goals on your reading speed?

How to Read More in Less Time and Comprehend More

If you want to set a routine then being realistic about it is the best way to go. Just because Warren Buffett reads 500 pages a day, doesn’t mean you have to. Take inspiration from things and tweak it according to your situation, following others down to the T can actually ruin the whole thing for you.

Find out how many pages you can read on an average, or how many words per minute. Staples (the popular office supply chain) has a test you can take to find out how fast you read. They collected reading speed data as part of their advertising campaign for selling e-readers. The speed reading tool used for the campaign is available online to try.

Use the speed reading tool, take the test, and see how fast you can read.

The test also asks questions based on the passage you read to see if you actually comprehend what you read. Just reading fast means nothing if you can’t actually retain the information.

According to the data on how fast other demographics read against yours, which can be seen after you answer the question, the average adult reads 300 words per minute.

Here are the demographics shown on the Staples graph-

  • Third-grade students – 150 words per minute
  • Eight grade students – 250 words per minute
  • Average college student – 450 words per minute
  • Average “high-level executives” – 575 words per minute
  • Average college professor – 675 words per minute
  • Speed readers – 1,500 words per minute
  • World speed reading champion – 4,700 words per minute

If you are not a regular reader, chances are you will fall between eight grade students and average college student, that is, 250 to 450. People who never read, easily fall under the eight grade students mark.

This isn’t to judge your reading speed as slow or anything. You just need to know this so that you can make a realistic timetable for your reading.

What kind of reading is best for you?

How to Read More in Less Time and Comprehend More

“Reading is a basic tool in the living of a good life.”

– Mortimer J. Adler

There are four types of reading that are used by most of us.   

1. Scanning – Scanning means looking for only specific information while reading, like using keywords.

Examples of this are: searching for a name in a phonebook, searching for your favorite soup on the menu.

2. Skimming – Skimming is the opposite of scanning, here you gather the main idea of the text, then you look for information or lines to back up the general idea of the text. This is used to read more in less time.

Examples of this are: reading other people’s reviews while buying products, reviewing your notes before an examination.

3. Intensive Reading – This is one of the most time-consuming reading techniques because it is used to retain information for the long term, so you read every word carefully.

Examples of this are: reading legal documents, reading business proposals, non-fiction works.

4. Extensive Reading – Extensive reading is the technique used when you read for pleasure. You choose your material, your pace, and the way you comprehend. This helps you read for fun while helping you improve your writing, better your vocabulary, and increase your comprehension power.

Examples of this are: Fiction, poetry, fun articles.

Now that you know the main kinds of reading we do depending on different material and different situations, you need to figure out what are you aiming for. If you are looking to read more, then you surely are aiming for intensive or extensive reading.

Intensive Reading works best for non-fiction because you want to actually use the information in real life, make lifestyle changes based on what you read, and apply your knowledge obtained from reading. For this, you need to remember what you read and grasp the concepts entirely.

To get the most out of a book, what you can do is make notes as you go. Use highlighters to highlight the paragraphs that you find important, use sticky notes to write your thoughts, scribble in the margins, use tons of page markers. Writing a review of the book, once you are done, also helps. When you come back to the book in the future, you will be able to recall information based on your takeaways from the book.

Extensive reading works best for fiction is because you aren’t reading to retain information. You are reading for entertainment, for fun, to just enjoy. This is one of the most popular hobbies and the reason why fiction sells.

Fiction has important lessons to teach too, but those are mostly life lessons hidden away in the story. Although this is done for fun, you actually improve your reading, writing, vocabulary, and comprehension skills, which is why you are always suggested to pick up reading as a hobby.

Why do you want to read more?

How to Read More in Less Time and Comprehend More

“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.”


– Mortimer J. Adler

People thinking about reading more boils down to two things: reading faster, and reading lots. A combination of both is every book lover’s dream. When both are incorporated simultaneously, it can boost your reading routine to another level. Both of the things, when done alone on their own, have their benefits too.

Reading more can mean different things for different people:

  • Having more time to read
  • Reading faster/ Speed reading
  • Reading more books
  • Finishing all the books started but never finished
  • And so on

Tips for reading more

How to Read More in Less Time and Comprehend More

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”


– Dr. Seuss

I would suggest taking a speed reading class to pick up some things, but apart from that, here are some techniques you can use.

  • Listen to audiobooks – People who have difficulty reading can start by listening to audiobooks. Listening to audiobooks means you do not have to take time out of your routine apart to do it, you can listen to it while doing other things. Many people have started realizing how beneficial it is.

    You can listen to audiobooks while cleaning your home, doing laundry, cooking, commuting, taking a walk, going to the gym, etc. Even by incorporating it in your daily routine you actually get to listen to a lot more than having to take time out to read.
  • Adopt a new way – If you really have no time to read, say you work two jobs and are thinking of starting your own business. You would obviously want to learn all you can. There’s where you have to think outside the box.

    You can listen to reviews by people who have read a particular book you want to read and get the summary. Most of the time, people give their opinion with the review so it sort of takes away the privilege of forming your own opinion. So if that doesn’t bother you then go for it. Listen to 3-4 people whose opinions you value.

    If you are really short on time, then use a service like Blinkist, which has summaries of almost all the popular non-fiction books and are adding more daily. I have a premium subscription of Blinkist and make it a point to read at least one summary each day. And this is apart from the reading I do on a daily basis. Blinkist basically helps me decide which books I want to read by reading a 15-minute summary of that book. The best part is that these summaries are available in text as well as audio format. This changes the way we consume books.
  • Take up reading challenges – Reading challenges motivate everyone, if you would like accountability for your challenges, then join reading groups. Goodreads and Facebook have reading groups that support each other to reach their reading goals. There are various reading challenges that run on YouTube and Instagram that you can participate in. There are also yearly challenges you can participate in, keeping track of the books you read based on the genre, publication, author, and so on. You can find my yearly challenge on Goodreads here.
How to Read More in Less Time and Comprehend More
  • Use a pen as a pointer – Remember how we were always told to read with our fingers pointing at the words when we were kids, it’s the same thing. This technique makes sure to keep your eyes directed at the sentence you are reading and also doesn’t let you lose your place in the paragraph.
  • Buy an e-reader – An e-reader like Kindle means you don’t have to carry a bulky book any place you go. If you are not into the book you are reading, you can quickly change the book. There are tons of free books. You can get any book you want, no matter where you are. The books cost you less in terms of money as well as the time required to get a physical book. This gives you no other reason not to read. For the record, I use a Kindle Paperwhite.
  • Make time to read – Saying I don’t have time just won’t do if you really want to incorporate reading into your routine. You have to give up some other hobby to fit reading in, or you just would have to find time to do both.

Reading more depends as much on your decision as it does on a mixture of all of these tips. If you decide that no matter what, you are going to find time for reading, then you have half the battle won already.

“Luckily, I always travel with a book, just in case I have to wait on line for Santa, or some such inconvenience.”


– David Levithan

Some classes you can take to learn how to speed read and comprehend what you are reading-

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4 Principles You Should Follow to Make Better Life Decisions

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4 Principles You Should Follow to Make Better Life Decisions

Making a life-changing decision is something that everyone dreads, and everyone feels if only they could get away with not making it. But, just like math in school, you have got to do it. There are many factors at play, knowing what to focus on first and how to go about it helps.

So, today I will be talking about the 4 principles I follow whenever I find myself in such predicaments. This is something that knowingly or unknowingly all of us do anyway. But, when you make a conscious effort to follow these, we feel a little more in control, and that is what we need at that moment.

1. How much importance does it hold?

By default, when we are in a tough situation, we make decisions based on our emotions. What we are feeling at the moment clouds our judgments. Because of this, we neither make an informed decision nor see the bigger picture.

Considering all your options, evaluating the effects of the decisions in the long term, taking into account your plans and situations are all important parts of decision making. When we skip all of this, there are high chances that we are setting ourselves up for failure.

While our emotional state rules the decisions at the moment, our physical, financial, social, mental states are neglected, and as a result, suffer as soon as the phase passes.

What you have to do is take a deep breath, calm yourself down, and think. Write down everything on your mind, when you do that, you get a clear picture of where you stand and what you stand to gain or lose if you go through with the decision.

Sometimes, it so happens, that to avoid distress in our near-future, we set ourselves up for an even bigger failure. And that brings me to my next point.

2. Is the win worth it?

4 Principles You Should Follow to Make Better Life Decisions

Sure, you get your peace for the moment. You feel like you have solved the problem and you can take a breath of relief. But, is that really the case?

Most of the times temporary solutions are just that, temporary. It might get you out of difficult times, but it isn’t going to last. Problems that aren’t solved properly have a way of coming back. Hasty decisions have the same fate.

Sometimes losing right now is okay if that means a big win in the future. Risks are important if you want to get to the next level. Most big things don’t happen without taking big risks. Failures are needed to learn and grow and get better opportunities.

Always think of the ratio between the losses of failures and the benefits of success. When you make a decision that involves a lot of risks, knowing it is worth it helps.

3. What are you going to regret?

Now talking about failures and successes brings us to this point. While we need to not let emotions control our decisions, we need to use them as an important tool to learn the base of that decision.

Where exactly is that decision stemming from? What caused the ball rolling? What will happen if you fail? What do you have to lose? Can you afford it? What have you got to achieve if you succeed? Can you do without it?

The answers to these questions will give you a clear vision of what you actually want from the decision you have been toying with.

  • Where exactly is that decision stemming from? Knowing what part of you wants whatever it is to happen is important. Sometimes we think we want something just because it is triggered by something completely unrelated to the topic of the decision.

Suppose you want to quit your job. There can be many reasons – you found a better opportunity, you feel underappreciated, you feel overworked, etc. But, if the reason is that your co-worker quit his job and then won a lottery, then you really might want to rethink your decision.

  • What caused the ball rolling? Like I talked about the job example. If you had any of the other reasons then that would mean, you were feeling that way for some time, which in turn made you come to the conclusion that you need to quit the job. That means that the decision was at work in your brain for quite a while, meaning you had the chance to ponder over it.

If your decision is based on the lottery thing, then that means you didn’t have enough time to think of all the pros and cons and all that matters. Which means it isn’t as important to you. I am not saying that instantaneous issues aren’t worth it, they are. But, understanding why you need to make the decision and what will happen if you don’t is very important.

  • What will happen if you fail? What do you have to lose?  You know what you have on the line if you fail. If you don’t, you need to have a clear idea of what all you are betting on this decision. Which is why it is important to write everything down. Consider all the aspects of your life that can and will be affected by your decision.
  • Can you afford it? Once you have the idea of it, think about the implications. If you fail, would you be able to deal with it? Will you be able to get back up from the fall? If the answer to that is yes, only then go ahead. If you are sure that failing can make you lose more than you can afford then it is probably not worth it.
  • What have you got to achieve if you succeed? While considering the failing scenario is important, so is the succeeding scenario. No, you are not counting the chicks before the eggs hatch. You are just thinking about the meaning of having those eggs in your life. You know that you can make a profit with them. You have to focus on that. Is the success you are going after significant enough to make the change, take a risk, apply the decision? If yes, then that brings you to the last thing you need to ask yourself.
  • Can you do without it? This is something that many people either don’t do, or they most probably don’t know about it. Yes, thinking about how much profit will the eggs bring or will you be okay if all the eggs break is important. But, will not having the eggs at all bother you enough, is the question that is the last nail here.

So, when you are about to take a huge decision, think about it. Think if you really need that thing if you are aiming for. If you are going to regret not going after something, then that is something you should definitely go for.

4. Write everything down

4 Principles You Should Follow to Make Better Life Decisions

I have mentioned it one or two times in this post already. But I feel it is one of the most important things, so it needs a separate mention as well.

When you write everything down, you can see all the points together visually. That brings you a clearer idea than when everything was swimming in your mind surrounded by uncertainty. Make a list of pros and cons, of requirements, of cost, of profit, of ability, of everything you can think of. Put it aside for a day or two. Come back to it and go through it with a fresh mind and you will know what you want.

Making big, tough, life-changing decisions can be nerve-racking but taking a structured approach towards it, thinking of it is as just another puzzle to solve can help you a lot. I hope this helps you feel less overwhelmed about the changes you need to make in your life and helps guide you through it.

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