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Stay Informed, Read Constantly

By: Steve Johnson

8/4/2008 - 77 Comments

Throughout history, reading has remained one of the top characteristics of success.

The prosperous are constant readers, consuming information on a daily routine. Donald Trump and Robert Kiyosaki both acknowledge to being active readers, in their book “Why we want you to be rich”. Reading as much as 3-books a week.  The reason is because business trends move very quickly, and staying informed provides them the edge to envision the future. Most people stop reading after college, but the very successful make consuming information a lifelong habit.  

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Your financial education could perhaps be the best investment of your life. Whether it's paying for your own education, your children's education or investing your time in self education by reading blogs, books and financial magazines. Reading constantly has helped me discover some of my best methods and business strategies.

Reading has the following advantages

  • Increases your knowledge 
  • Improves your view of the future
  • Gets you thinking, which produces new ideas
  • Improves your communication skills
  • Helps you understand the past, so that you can make better decisions about the future

Invest in your future

I spend about $300 per year on books and magazines. My $300 investment is probably the best investment I make each year because it results in the profitability of my business and the return on all my investments.  Besides, the $300 I spend on book is a business expense, which means I’m spending tax-free dollars.  If I were to look at a one year period, I would guess that the information I consume increases my profitability by around $5000-$10,000 per year.

Why I don’t use the library for business ideas

The library is a great source of information and if you live close to a library all the better.  My family uses the library for lots of books and movies, but for current news and business ideas – it falls short and here is why;

It’s not fast enough – When I find an upcoming book, I sometimes pre-order it before it’s even published. I’m constantly looking for new ideas, which are very important in a quickly changing economy climate. New books cannot be found in the library for up to 6 months after publication and usually have a waiting list.

I can’t keep the books - When I find a good book, I usually reference to the book for years, sometimes decades. Getting a book from the library doesn't allow me to keep the book and there is no reason to use the library to ‘test’ the book before purchasing because the technologies online already allow me to review several pages of the book along with reading several reviews by others that have read the book. With these technologies, I know that I’m going to want to keep a book before I buy it. These technologies have also improved the effective use of my time by eliminating many books from consuming my limited reading time. 

Reading Seasons

Sometimes I get very excited about a new technology or new trend that I buy several books on the subject only to struggle to find the time to read them all. This event triggers a ‘reading season’ were I find myself reading a lot of the time.  A season of reading usually follows with a season of not reading very much, because I’m usually doing something in response to the season of reading that I just finished.

Reading Just For Fun

A lot of people, including me like to read for fun, but I don’t like to read ‘just for fun’.  Some people read and read and read lots of books, but never do anything with the knowledge they have gained.  I don’t like to do that because to me if I’m going to invest the time into reading about something, then I feel compelled to follow through and put into practice the new ideas that I have discovered. At the end of the day, I want to be a producer not a consumer.  A producer consumes information in the process of producing something, while a consumer consumes information just to consume it.

Reading Books vs. Online

Books have several advantages over reading online and will probably never be completely replaced with online content. Books contain more condensed information because they go through a lengthy process before getting published, including several stages of edits and reviews. Books also contain publishing brands that give them credibility. For example, a book published by Harvard Business Press has more respect then a book published from a no-name publisher. The only real advantage of online publishing is speed to market.  A good strategy is to read online for daily news while reading business books from reputable publishers for solid business ideas.

Teach Your Kids to Love Reading

If reading is really one of the top characteristics of success, then one of the greatest things you can do as a parent is to teach your kids to love to read. To do this, have a lot of books around the house and read to your kids when they are young.  Have the older kids read to the younger kids. Show them the library and how to use it. Buy them book series to encourage them with the goal of reading the entire series.

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