There is a saying that “success leaves clues.” If you look at successful people, you will find a common core of habits that contribute directly to their success. One of the most common habits is reading. Successful people across all industries dump the TV and read! They are voracious readers and consume books with an energy level that matches their success.
One of those highly successful individuals is Jeff Bezos of Amazon. Now the world’s richest man, with a net worth of over $90 billion, Bezos devours books! Of course, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise, when you understand that Amazon began as a book platform. He’s spent his career changing the way books are published and sold, devouring many small bookstores in the process. Amazon now appears to be laying claim to the entire retail universe — and beyond. It is a formidable force in such disparate fields as cloud computing, movies, music, food, artificial intelligence and the distribution of washing machines and toasters. What does Jeff Bezos read for success and professional development?
The Bezos Top 12
1. “The Remains of the Day” by Kazuo Ishiguro
2. “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by Jim Collins
3. “Creation: Life and How to Make It” by Steve Grand
4. “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins
5. “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton Christensen
6. “Sam Walton: Made in America” by Sam Walton
7. “Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation” by James Womack and Daniel Jones
8. “Memos from the Chairman” by Alan Greenberg
9. “The Mythical Man-Month” by Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.
10. “The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvements” by Eliyahu Goldratt
11. “Data-Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know” by Mark Jeffery
12. “The Black Swan” by Nassim Taleb
But Jeff Bezos isn’t alone in reading for success and professional development. When Warren Buffett was once asked about the key to success, he pointed to a stack of nearby 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.” He takes this habit to the extreme, reading between 600 and 1000 pages per day when he was beginning his investing career, and still devotes about 80 percent of each day to reading.
Successful people tend to choose educational books and publications over novels, tabloids, and magazines. And in particular they obsess over biographies and autobiographies of other successful people for guidance and inspiration. There are many examples of successful people dropping out of school or foregoing a formal education, but it is clear that they never stop learning. Reading is a key part of their success and professional development.
If reading as a pathway to success isn’t enough to get you motivated, consider these health benefits of reading: it has been shown to help prevent stress, depression, and dementia, while enhancing confidence, empathy, decision-making, and overall life satisfaction, not to mention, enormous wealth and success.
What is on your nightstand?