What do all successful entrepreneurs have in common?
They read books.
Warren Buffett devotes about 80% of each day to reading, Bill Gates strives to read one book a week, and Mark Zuckerberg needs two weeks to read one book and share it in his online book club. Oprah Winfrey selects one of her favorite books every month for her Book Club, while Richard Branson might wow you with his impressive bookshelf.
Why do they read like there is no tomorrow?
Books encourage self-educating, self-improvement, and success. Entrepreneurs read books to reveal marketing secrets and get advice on business strategies, as well as develop necessary skills and get new business ideas and motivation.
The trick is, successful people are highly selective about what they read, choosing books for education rather than entertainment.
“I read every book and magazine I could. Heck, three bucks for a magazine, twenty bucks for a book. One good idea would lead to a customer or a solution, and those magazines and books paid for themselves many times over.”
– Mark Cuban
For those of you who aren’t in the top ten of Forbes yet, it can be challenging to select business books worth reading. Nevertheless, each book that you choose becomes your free but powerful instrument to develop skills influencing the way you do business and, therefore, your success.
The science behind reading makes it clear why an ultra-successful entrepreneur is the one who reads.
1) Reading develops cognitive skills
Good memory, strategic decision-making, and verbal intelligence wouldn’t go amiss for entrepreneurs; so, they should know that reading is scientifically proven to develop cognitive skills no individual can succeed without.
- First, it stimulates areas of the brain linked to memory.
- Second, it develops literacy and verbal intelligence.
The more you read and learn, the easier it becomes to retain information. The benefits also include keeping your learning capacity sharp, boosting your analytical thinking and helping to prevent some health diseases.
2) Reading boosts brain power
“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.”
– Charlie Munger
According to the research from Standford, reading provides “a truly valuable exercise of people’s brains.” It requires the coordination of multiple complex cognitive functions and, therefore, leads to creating distinct patterns in the brain, which we need to analyze situations and data.
Isn’t it a must-have skill for every entrepreneur who wants to succeed?
Regular reading changes our brain, mainly its language area responsible for vocabulary, ability to communicate, and spatial awareness. It makes the blood flow acting like a workout for brains and stimulating its activity.
Psychologists at the Liverpool University say that the more difficult texts we read, the more our brains fire up. Specifically, poetry boosts activity in the right side of the brain, enabling it to evaluate our experience and relate it to the received data.
3) Reading improves speaking
It goes hand-in-hand with vocabulary expansion. Well-written books affect your speech, as observing fluidity and writing styles of other authors influences the way you build sentences and words you use at business meetings, conferences, and public speeches afterward.
It’s all about reciprocity: the more you read, the better your oral skills become. Being articulate and well-spoken is of great help for entrepreneurs, as it influences self-confidence and boosts self-esteem, which is significant for them to have, too. Continuous improvement in vocabulary knowledge provides better communication.
Novels cope with this task best. The rich and beautiful language of fiction authors expands a bigger vocabulary for conversational usage.
4) Reading reduces stress
Among numerous skills for a successful entrepreneur to have, the ability to de-stress lies in not last place; and reading a newspaper or book is proven to work better and faster than listening to music or going for a walk. According to the University of Sussex research, reading reduces stress levels by 68%.
Psychologists say this is “because the human mind has to concentrate on reading and the distraction eases the tensions in muscles and the heart.” So, to calm your frazzled nerves, find at least 30 minutes a week to read something: the study confirms it’s enough to feel 20% more satisfied with your life.
5) Reading cultivates the theory of mind
The study results published in Science a couple of years ago show that reading can improve people’s ability to understand others’ mental states, which is a crucial skill for entrepreneurs in navigating social relationships.
Ability to detect and understand other people’s emotions is known as the theory of mind or understanding that others have beliefs and intentions that are different from yours. Entrepreneurs can benefit from this skill when planning their business strategies, taking into account the psychology, needs, and desires of their target audience for driving profitable customer actions.
Empathy, social perception, verbal intelligence, public speaking, focus, and de-stressing are as significant for entrepreneurs as analytical thinking, strategic decision-making, competence, and management. The powerful instrument to develop them is books.
When choosing what to read, make sure you’ve studied business in general, and your knowledge in your industry is current. Also, simply choose subjects that interest you: whether philosophy, science, or fiction, your bookshelf will motivate and give you the material for groundbreaking business ideas.
About the author:
Mike Hanski creates content strategies and writes essays and papers for bid4papers.com. He often examines reading lists of well-known entrepreneurs to get the idea on how they become who they are.