Want to know how some of the world’s most successful people got where they are now?
The answer could involve a variety of factors, but we can tell you that they do tend to have one thing in common: they read.
While we can’t guarantee that reading will make you a multi-millionaire, it does provide countless benefits and is still one of the easiest ways to expand your knowledge. The trick is to make it a habit.
5 Successful People Who Read Regularly—and What You Can Learn from Them
Below are just a few of the people who credit reading as a huge part of their success.
1. Warren Buffett
Back when he was just starting out in his investment career, Warren Buffett would read anywhere from 600–1,000 pages of newspapers, corporate reports, and magazines each day.
Today, he still spends around 80% of his day reading books. According to Buffett, this is the best way to build up knowledge “like compound interest.”
How You Can Read Like Warren Buffett
- Schedule Time: Set aside a block of time for yourself when you won’t be disturbed and commit to reading for a set time, like 30 minutes.
- Learn to Think for Yourself: Ask yourself how you can use this new knowledge to grow and work toward self-improvement.
- Invest in Yourself: As Buffett says, “The most important investment you can make is in yourself.” If you want to change your life, you have to form productive habits and be eager to learn each day.
2. Mark Zuckerberg
As the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg has a net worth of over $70 billion and also credits his achievements to reading.
In fact, back in 2015 Zuckerberg invited the world to join him in his challenge to read one new book every two weeks, which led to the creation of his book club, “A Year of Books.” Selected titles included The End of Power and The Rational Optimist.
Zuckerberg says he believes books are valuable for how they “allow you to fully explore a topic, and immerse yourself in a deeper way than most media today.”
How You Can Read Like Mark Zuckerberg
- Find a Balance: Although Mark checks social media first thing every morning, he still makes time for a little reading every day. Try finding the right balance in your daily routine as well.
- Set Goals: What do you want to learn? When he’s not working, Mark is reading and studying to learn Mandarin Chinese. Ask yourself how reading can expand your knowledge and further your goals.
3. Elon Musk
Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has credited books with teaching him how to build rockets.
As a child, Musk would spend more than 10 hours each day reading science fiction novels. He would also read everything in the library and even completed a six-month BASIC course in three days.
Among the most influential books for Musk was Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series. The books focus on the work of a visionary who invents a scientific method for predicting the future based on crowd behavior.
How You Can Read Like Elon Musk
- Find What Makes You Curious: Reading regularly is much easier when the content interests you. If there’s something you want to learn or are just curious about, start reading up!
- Prioritize Learning: As an adult, you probably don’t have 10 hours to spare for the library. But if you’re serious about reading and learning more, you might have to make a few sacrifices to reach your goals. Prioritize your time accordingly.
4. Bill Gates
Bill Gates is the co-founder of Microsoft and for a long time was the wealthiest man in the world (until recently being bumped by Jeff Bezos).
Gates says that reading is his favorite hobby and way to indulge his curiosity. His father claims that when Bill was a child, he read so much that they had to institute a rule of no reading at the dinner table.
How You Can Read Like Bill Gates
- Take Notes: Taking notes in the margins helps Bill ensure that he is really processing the information, especially in non-fiction books.
- Don’t Start What You Can’t Finish: Bill Gates’ rule of reading is to never start reading what he can’t finish.
- Read for One Hour: Every night Bill sits down and reads newspapers, books, or articles for over an hour to make progress on his reading.
- Read What Bill Reads: Gates’s personal blog, GatesNotes, now boasts a hefty sum of over 150 book recommendations.
5. Oprah Winfrey
If you’ve ever watched The Oprah Winfrey Show, you know that the TV mogul loves to read.
Having grown up in poverty, Winfrey says that books were a path to freedom that helped her envision a world beyond her grandmother’s front porch.
How You Can Read Like Oprah
Add Reading to Your Bedtime Routine: Even with her busy schedule, the Queen of Daytime finds time to read every evening before bed.
Read With Friends: Oprah loves discussing new reads with her friends. This is a great way to dig deeper and get different perspectives on what you read.
Read What Oprah Reads: Every month, Oprah continues to select a favorite book for members of her book club to read and discuss.
What Do Successful People Read?
Your path to success doesn’t end when you pick up any old book—what you read matters, too.
According to best-selling author Steve Siebold, wealthy people tend to favor education over entertainment.
Whereas the middle class majority tends to indulge in tabloids, novels, and other mass market fiction, successful individuals are more likely to turn to nonfiction materials for their evening reading.
They particularly love studying the biographies and autobiographies of other successful people because, you know, there’s always room for improvement (even if you’re Warren Buffett).
So, next time you feel like curling up with a nice book before bed, maybe trade Us Weekly (or your Instagram feed) for some engaging and inspiring nonfiction.
Quick Tips for Reading Your Way to Success
- Read Every Day: If you want to develop a habit, consistency is key. Start reading a little bit every day, for whatever amount of time you can afford. If you can, gradually increase your page count.
- Read Nonfiction First: Find what interests you and challenge yourself to become an expert.
- Summarize: Write a few sentences about what you’ve learned from your reading each day. This will help you to read actively, rather than passively, and you’ll stay more engaged.
- Prioritize Your Goals: All of us can increase our knowledge by reading every day. But to reach your goals, you might have to make a few sacrifices, like spending less time on social media and more time reading.
We can’t all be Bill Gates, but we can certainly learn a thing or two from his habits.
One of the easiest ways you can start living like the world’s most successful people is by picking up a book. Even if it doesn’t make you rich, your mind will be wealthier because of it.
What are your reading goals for this year? Feel free to share in the comments below!