“If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
I was always curious about what was making a person more successful or more powerful than others. Why do certain people seem to achieve far more than others? With time, I’ve came to the conclusion that knowledge was a key factor in the rise of great minds. It can be education in school, but it can also be self-education. I remember reading an article on Tim Ferriss blog (author of the 4-Hour Workweek), he was stating that he had been reading 1 to 3 books per week for the past few years. He had been reading 50 to 150 books a year. No surprise to see how successful he is. You can also take the example of Ryan Holiday (Best-seller author) who writes a newsletter per month of the books he has been reading. Those newsletters usually suggest 8 to 10 books a month. I guess Holiday read 2 to 3 books a week. Is being a good reader the path to be a better writer? I don’t know about that, but usually good writers are also good readers.
“As you know, I kind of like to read books” –Richard Nixon
I was curious about successful politician or businessman. I search on reading habits of US presidents. First, Barrack Obama is also known to be an avid reader. Clinton was also a huge reader. Bush peaked at 95 books in 2006. What about successful presidents from a century ago? There are claims that Theodore Roosevelt was reading at least one book a day. Franklin D. Roosevelt was known to have 22 000 books in his bookshelf. It is astonishing to see that people with the busiest jobs in the world find the time to read near a 100 books a year. It’s not a coincidence those people have success. Sir Francis Bacon said almost 500 years: “Knowledge is power”. He was right. Knowledge is leverage for power. Reading is a common habit you’ll find in most successful people. Now we can ask ourselves a simple question: Do I read enough?