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Succeed at Anything: The Power of Reading

Succeed at Anything: The Power of Reading

“Want to be rich! Follow this quick and easy method!”

Yuck right. 

This isn’t a late night commercial or some cheesy pop up ad trying to swindle cash out of your wallet. And you’re probably not the kind of person that would follow the link or ring the number to find out the next step to “live the life you’ve always dreamed of”.

Still, these sales hooks attract buyers.

The reason being, is that almost everyone would like to have more resources at their disposal. More cash, more time, less work, less stress. But in order to achieve these, anyone with half a brain knows that it is not “quick and easy” and doesn’t involve calling up a late night informercial or entering your credit card details into a pop up add.

So what does it involve?

One core habit that is more highly correlated with success than anything else is… Reading!

In this post I’m going to walk you through why you should read, what you should read, how you should read and how reading will improve your chances of success with anything you are trying to achieve, especially succeeding in launching a clean-tech startup.

Why Read?


The Power of Reading

As it turns out, studies have been actually carried out to find some underlying correlations between those you succeed and those who don’t. These correlations typical actions that you’ll find advertised for “a get rich quick” product, but they do offer insight to why some rise up and achieve their goals and why others don’t.

Here is some data from a study completed on the separation between the rich and the poor.

Research on the Rich and the Poor.

A study was completed by Tom Corely where for five years, Tom observed and documented the daily activities of 233 wealthy people and 128 people living in poverty. He discovered there is an immense difference between the habits of the wealthy and the poor.  During his research he identified over 200 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots.” Perhaps the most significant self-improvement Rich Habit that Tom uncovered in his five-year study on the daily habits of the rich and poor concerned reading.

Here are some statistics on reading from Tom Corely’s study:

  • 86% of the wealthy love to read. 74% of the poor do not love to read.
  • 85% of the wealthy read two or more educational books every month. Only 15% of the poor have this Rich Habit.
  • 88% of the wealthy read thirty minutes or more each day vs. 2% of the poor.
  • 63% of the wealthy listen to audio books during their commute to work. Only 5% of the poor share this Rich Habit.

Source: Corley, T. C. (2009). Rich habits: the daily success habits of wealthy individuals : find out how the rich get so rich (the secrets to financial success revealed). Minneapolis, MN: Langdon Street Press.

Presuming that you want to achieve anything j. But what do clean-tech founders and employees need to be reading…

What to read?

There are a couple factors to consider when deciding what reading material to sink into. Defining what you want to achieve is one factor. Back to the Tom’s study, let’s first look at what topics that people who have succeeded at accumulating mass wealth read.

But what do the wealthy read? What is the reading material of the rich?

  • 51% read about history.
  • 55% read about self-help.
  • 58% read biographies of successful people.
  • 79% read educational material.
  • 94% read about current events.
  • 45% read financial material such as the Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, Kiplingers etc.

Source: Corley, T. C. (2009). Rich habits: the daily success habits of wealthy individuals : find out how the rich get so rich (the secrets to financial success revealed). Minneapolis, MN: Langdon Street Press.

So maybe becoming exceptionally wealthy isn’t your main goal. However, one thing is for sure, these people achieved what they were trying to accomplish. That was to become wealthy. So given that, let’s look at the types of contents you could be indulging in to improve yourself as clean-tech engineer, scientist or entrepreneur.

  • Clean-tech news and updates: Very key to follow what’s happening in the industry. Learn from others and helps you start to see patterns and opportunities that might exist.
  • Business and career related content: If you are an entrepreneur read business books if you are a employee read business books. There is no reason why if you work for someone else that you won’t gain from reading about business. The purpose of reading business and career based content is to increase you earning capacity and the key to this is to increase you ability to produce real value in your firm or for your customers.
  • Self-improvement material: Most people don’t read self-improvement material. Most people don’t achieve what they want to achieve. Reading self-improvement will make you a better person not just for your business and career but also for you family, friends and personal life.
  • “How to” based content to learn new skills: Learning new skills can help you improve your work, increase your earning and better you as a person. Learn how write or learn how speak another language. With the amount of free information available in our age you can learn just about anything and a much of it is on the web.

How to read?

This sounds like a stupid question right? But choosing the format is very important to consider as making reading a habit means that it has to suit your lifestyle.

  1. Books/Audiobooks: I personally make an effort to read/listen to published books/audiobooks everyday. I rank this as highest priority because of the quality of the material you are reading. Think about it. A good non-fiction book is a complied body of work by an author that often summarises years of work in a particular field. Often this can be a summary of 5-10 years of study or real world experience of a topic and preparing the absolute best findings and lessons to present in the pages of the book. After that high quality content is complied, refined and summarised it is then sent to editors who’s sole job is to make the high quality content interesting, engaging and easy to understand. All of this presuming it is a good book of course. Whether you prefer to read a physical copy, ebook or listen to an audio doesn’t make a difference as long as it is high quality and edited content. I often read ebooks so I have them on all my devices (phone, tablet, computer) and make notes. This allows me to travel and keep them close, as well as have them all easily accessible. I also listen to audiobooks whenever I go walking or when I am sitting in traffic.
  2. Newspaper/Blogs/Magazines: Whenever you can follow current affairs, news, and high quality articles. Avoid typical press stories that are designed to get your attention and engage you but do not offer real value. Specifically do not engage in reading scandal stories, and be judicial about reading political articles. You should avoid articles that are purposefully negative because after reading them, you are not better prepared to do what you what to do, and often the pessimism in such articles rubs off on you. You can read the newspaper, follow blogs (like this one!) and read magazines related to your goal, or mission.
  3. Video/Podcasts: Consuming video content is a great replacement to TV and podcasts are great way to engage in high thinking discussion. I routinely watch video’s instead of TV and listen to podcasts while doing menial tasks like doing the dishes.

Most of all be creative.

You consume high quality content anyway that works for you and your lifestyle, just make sure you do it.

What to expect from a reading habit?

In the study they also asked the wealthy their reasoning behind a reading habit. They study found that…

the reasons the wealthy read so much included:

  • To increase their knowledge-base for their job in order to uncover opportunities to make more money or to make themselves more valuable to their employer, customers or clients.
  • To learn more about success.
  • To stay current with events.
  • To exercise their mind.
  • To learn new things.

Source: Corley, T. C. (2009). Rich habits: the daily success habits of wealthy individuals : find out how the rich get so rich (the secrets to financial success revealed). Minneapolis, MN: Langdon Street Press.

By now it’s pretty clear the benefits of reading for achieving anything. But many people have unrealistic expectations from reading. Because many people have never made a habit to read books they think that if they begin, then they will instantly succeed.

Why not right?

Making millions overnight, the life you’ve always dreamed of and succeeding at everything you attempt.

Unfortunately success isn’t as simple as that. We wish it was and that’s why some people get caught with the “Get rich quick” marketing rather than focusing on leveraging their time and effort to bettering themselves through patience, information and action. Reading will improve your situation. Studies show this, but don’t expect it to happen overnight.

As you take action towards achieving whatever outcome you might have, make sure you read. If you are involved in a clean-tech firm at any level reading will aid you. Because if you do, you can expect to have more new insights, ideas and a through gaining a better understanding of the world you can make better decisions on a day to day basis.

It is this ability to make better decisions which is the real benefit of reading. Making these decisions on a day to day basis will empower you and promise the benefit of long-term success. Reading daily will help you to improve your decision making everyday so that you can look back one day and be amazed at how far you have come and what you have been able to achieve.

Personally, I enjoy the confidence that reading daily gives you.

It’s not so much about learning new things that will help me tomorrow, but more about having the knowledge that whatever might come up in business, career or my personal life I’ll be better prepared to handle it. Once you begin a daily reading habit expect to feel a sense of higher consciousness and increased awareness. This may sound a little new-agey, but hey I think it’s the best way to describe it.

If you begin to read daily you can expect to see patterns that most people don’t see, you’ll begin to see opportunities that most people don’t see and over time you’ll end up succeeding in a way that most people won’t!

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