I carry my Kindle around all the time. When my fiancee goes to the bathroom, I whip out my Kindle and continue reading. When she’s trying out shoes, I head straight for the “boyfriend chair” and read. It’s fun.
Reading rocks my socks.
Think about it: Someone spent years becoming an expert on a particular topic, organised it in a logical manner, added a bunch of stories to make it interesting, and YOU get to benefit from it for a grand total of 5-10 bucks. It’s a no-brainer.
Entrepreneur and author James Altucher once said:
When you die at the age of 100, you’ve just lived one 100-year life. But when I read a book in a few days time, I just absorbed an entire life, curated, of someone I admire or respect. It’s like every book I read is a mentor. How many mentors do I have? 1000s.
Reading is incredibly beneficial and easy to do, yet NOBODY DOES IT. Check out these statistics:
- 25% of people have not read a book in the last year
- Reading frequency declines after age 8
- 98% of people on the MRT are watching a Korean drama right now (Ok, I made that one up)
Here’s the thing. Reading’s the one habit that can dramatically improve your odds of success. In fact, since NOBODY does it, reading just a minimal amount already puts you ahead of the game. Here’s author Brian Tracy:
If you read only one book per month, that will put you into the top 1% of income earners in our society. But if you read one book per week, 50 books per year, that will make you one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field. Regular reading will transform your life completely.
So I read and read and read and read. I average about 1-2 books a month, which is fun. It helps to expand my mind, gives me ideas to write on this blog, helps me to grow my career, and entertains me when I’m bored.
Three Books I Loved
Here are three books that I read recently that I especially loved or found useful (aff links).
Nate is a rockstar statistician – the equivalent of Bon Jovi in the statistics/data world. He became famous when he successfully predicted the winner of 49 of 50 states in the 2008 US presidential elections. In The Signal and the Noise, Nate explores a whole bunch of topics – from chess to weather forecasting to poker to stock-picking – and how data can make or break you in these fields. He does a great job in telling stories and explaining things in a non-technical way. Highly recommended.
I generally try to avoid “Believe in yourself and chase your dreams” books on happiness because they’re way to fluffy. And woo-woo. But I enjoyed The Happiness Project because Gretchen Rubin grounded her book on solid academic research on the burgeoning field of “positive psychology” – i.e. how to be happy. And to bring it to life, she translated the research she read into a real-life project to grow her happiness. I like how it’s not a cut-and-dried “do this and you will definitely be happier” recipe, but it explores the nuances of each tactic when applied to real life.
This is written by Google’s ex-CEO Eric Schmidt and former SVP of Products Jonathan Rosenberg, and they describe Google’s inner strategic, HR, and commercial considerations on how they ran one of the world’s most successful company. While some of their thoughts may be a little difficult to apply outside of the context of Google, it’s a great read and especially useful if you’re in a position of leadership (junior or senior) in any organisation. The authors are perfectly aware that someone out there might be using the insights in a book to start a company that could upend Google – and they’re excited about it.
What Are You Reading This Long Weekend?
So this long weekend, let me encourage you to pick up a book and read. Read anything. Read a business book. Read Singapore’s history. Read about how to improve your golf swing. Read about religion. Read a book that could give you something to talk to your CEO about when you bump into him or her.
Most people who come to this site might start off with personal finance or investing books. Personal finance is a great way to start. I spent about 2 years reading every personal finance book I could get my hands on, until the messages started repeating themselves. But through the process, I learnt:
- How to invest
- How to set up systems to save automatically
- How to spend on the things that maximise my happiness
Today, I’ve expanded to devour a variety of non-fiction books. I’m generally interested in marketing/self-improvement/psychology/business-ish books, but I’ll read anything as long as it’s interesting.
I wanted to share these amazing hobby that I’ve benefitted so much from, so I revamped the Reads page on this blog. I included a whole bunch of new books that I loved and some new categories. These books met at least one of the following criteria:
- The book was practically useful
- The book had at least one key, original insight
I’ll encourage you to start off with any one of them. I’m sure you’ll love ‘em.
Do you have any books that you’ve personally found useful and original? Drop me a note to let me know.
P.S.: And to all my fellow Singaporeans reading this, Happy National Day!
Image credit: Brittany Stevens
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