From the Archive: Do you have the habit that makes people successful?

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” ― Mark Twain
“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
― Mark Twain

As I wander through bookstores in New York City, I thought I would bring this blog post back that deals with the habit of reading.
In his article 10 Habits of Ultra Successful People: The Secret Sauce to Success, Charley Mendoza divulges to us what has made Bill Gates, Elon Much, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Cuban and others so successful. The list is excellent and I try to apply many of these, regrettably somehow missing the wild success mark, but that is a tale for another day. But I do follow the habit that was listed as the NUMBER ONE habit.

Read a lot

Many very successful people read books every day. Mark Cuban reads three hours a day. Bill Gates reads an hour every night before bed. Elon Musk said he read biographies all the time. He considers them to be “self-help” books because he said people don’t write about you unless you have done something very well or very bad. Either way the is something to learn. As Mendoza writes “Reading helps you learn from the mistakes and successes of others.  Instead of just diving in; relying on your guts and motivation to lead you, reading gives you a mental map to bypass rookie mistakes people make in life.” One writer said the 19th-century authors provided a great lesson on human behavior.

A lesson from Tom Peters

The inspiration for this post came from reading Tom Peters’ The Little BIG Things, which I take inspiration from often. Tom has a section titled Out-Read “Em! from which I offer you the following quote:


Read Wide!

Surprise yourself with your reading picks!

Read Deep!

Read Often!

Out-READ the “Competition”

Take Notes!


Share with others what you read!

(Not to impress them, but selfishly, because there’s no other way to embed what you learned.)

Create/Join a Reading Salon!


I presented that just as he wrote it in order to convey the emphasis he puts on it.

Other Quotes

I have come across another couple quotes that I think are good ones about the value of reading.
A book is a device to ignite the imagination.” –Alan Bennett, a successful playwright, author, and actor.
Following that is one from Haruki Murakami, a successful Japanese author, who said: “If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” This echoes Peters’ statement about the necessity or reading widely.
Lastly one of my favorite motivational speakers, Jim Rohn, says “The book you don’t read won’t help.”
I try to follow Peters’ advice of sharing by writing reviews of books that either end up here on my blog or in Amazon’s book review section. If interested in what I have reviewed you can visit there.

How it enhances your career

Having the habit of reading will enhance your career in many ways. These include:

  • It allows you to learn from the successes of others
  • It allows you to learn from the failures of others
  • It stimulates thought and creates ideas
  • It gives you a broader perspective on the world
  • It gives you a broader perspective on human behavior
  • It will make you a better conversationalist
  • It will make you a more interesting person

Kevin Eikenberry says reading gives you “mentors at a distance.” How very, very true.
That combination of factors is guaranteed to enhance your career. So read, read more and pass on what you have learned.

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