Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Most Important Thing to do is Read Books

Mitch Joel, the inimitable guru of web marketing, writes an important post on 'the most important thing'. Two times on one day he ran into thought leaders who said, unequivicably, that the most important thing to do to move ahead in your life is to read books.

Yesterday morning, I went to see Jeffrey Gitomer (best-selling author) speak. Gitomer is pretty clear about what it takes to be successful. After spending some time with him, it's obvious that the real secret (for him) is in the reading. Gitomer reads a ton. He not only collects the books that inspire him, but he devours them and surrounds himself with them. He loves words. He's constantly learning and educating himself, and - from there - the ideas for his writing (whether it's a book, article, presentation or tweet) flow from an overflowing brain of ideas and inspiration.

Then, it happened again.

After Gitomer's presentation, I went for lunch with Julien Smith (co-author with Chris Brogan of Trust Agents)who told me about Charlie Munger (one of Warren Buffet's peers) and his passion for reading. Munger loves reading. Munger believes that the most successful people he knows are those individuals who are constantly reading... like in a non-stop kind of way.

Most of us really give up on reading after university.

I've been thinking a lot about reading lately (and how much I love it)... Tweets, status updates and Blog posts that tell you how to generate more Blog readers don't count much . . . The majority of newspaper and magazine articles are probably right on the edge of valuable reading, but the guts of reading that will truly make you smart and successful comes from the high brow stuff. The books, periodicals and longer thought/research pieces.

1 comment:

Sarah Stitzlein said...

Recently I've come to appreciate how reading good books can open one's mind to imagining how the world can be different---how it can be better. I think that this is especially valuable when feeling constrained, overwhelmed, or oppressed within real life. Books allow us to entertain difference, to imagine ourselves as better people in better places. Confronting sorrow and suffering in books can help us to better understand the complexities of life and motivate us to work to end such sadness for ourselves and others. In those ways, I'd have to agree that reading books is one of the most important things to do, especially as a starting point for action to play out in real life.