Books Are The Most Powerful Weapons In The World

Books Are The Most Powerful Weapons In The World

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A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.
~ Will Rogers

The other day I was talking with my mom – who owns a delivery service – and she asked, “Dan, you know a bit about business, what can I do to grow?” (You may find this funny, but I’ve never talked business with my mom.)

That’s when I realized I had one chance to share with her something that, if it stuck, could help her improve her situation… so I thought about it for a few minutes, then asked, “How many business books have you read?” to which she replied, “None.”

That’s when I suggested to her,”Your business will grow the same percentage as you invest into learning about business. If you invest 1%, your business will grow 1%. If you invest 50%, then your business will grow 50%. It’s really that simple.”

When you think about it,

Books are the most powerful weapon every entrepreneur has to fight the war of failure.

If you look at the top Billionaires, it appears that there are not many commonalities amongst them, but they are ALL voracious readers.

Take Warren Buffet for that matter… did you know that by the time he was 12 years old, that he had already read every business and investing book in the Omaha library?

I only started reading when I was 23 years old – AFTER FAILING TWICE in business. Books changed my life. I now read and consume advice almost 50% of my day.

Here are my thoughts on finding the right books to read, the time to read them and what to do with what you learn:

Just In Time vs. Just In Case Reading

One of the worst questions you can ask me is, “What book should I read?” It lacks context. I don’t believe you should read a book just because I liked it. Instead, read about what you need to learn right now and what will help you the most. I call it “Just In Time” (JIT) Learning. This is also why I’m such a fan of talking to experts – it’s another form of JIT Learning.

Many people read using the “Just In Case” version. This means they read because it’s “supposed” to be good but don’t have anything specific to apply it to, which can be inefficient and a waste of their valuable time. That’s the same thing that frustrates me about education. The best time to learn something is as you need it.

Finding The Time To Read

“Go to bed a little wiser than when you woke up.”
~ Charlie Munger (Vice-Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway)

The person who can’t find time to read is the person who needs to read the most. No one should be in a position that they honestly can’t find the time or energy to read 30 minutes a day. That being said, here are some ways I find time to continue reading:

In The Bathroom: Everyone uses the bathroom – everyday – so why not use that “sacred time” to get a little reading done? Leave a book near the toilet and you will be surprised at how much reading you get accomplished!  No excuses.

During The Commute: I’m fortunate that I share my life with someone who values learning as much as I do… so when we take family vacations, we’re always listening to an audiobook. If you’re in a car, you should be “reading” a book.

At The Gym: Another way to read, is to listen. I use Audible.com and buy the latest books and listen to them while I run or bike at the gym. I can’t, however, listen to them while I do weights as I need my music to get me pumped up.

Vacation: I buy books every week and just stack them up for when I go away for a few days. Then I sit in the pool and read. Yep, I prefer to sit in the pool, at the edge and read.

Get Out Of The Battle And Fight The War

Once you decide to read and learn, then you have a decision to make… what do you do with the information? One habit I’ve created over the years is that I ALWAYS implement at least one thing I’ve learned from reading a book. It could be something as trivial as changing my email signature, or as extreme as restructuring my whole organization. Regardless, I always take one idea and implement it. I’m fighting a war.

Without some kind of commitment to doing something with what you’ve learned, then you’ll only be in the battle without understanding the war. The war is the goal, the purpose, the outcome. What do you want from your life? Once you know that, then just read the best information to support this. Go deep. Go all in.

—-

We shouldn’t teach great books; we should teach a love of reading.
~B. F. Skinner

Regardless of what your economical situation is or where you live, we all have access to books. Reading can and will change your life. If you’re feeling down, read an inspiring biography. If you’re feeling confused, read a self-help book or a “how to” book to gain insights and strategies.

The one thing no one can take from you is your knowledge. Invest in it, as the ROI is exponential.

What book changed your life? How often do you read? Leave a comment below with your suggestions.

Resources:

Personal MBA: Skip business school and the $150,000 loan: you can get a world-class business education simply by reading these books.

17 Startup Books by Hiten Shah

21 CEOs Name Their Favorite Books

Sites that will summarize books for you so you can save time.

The Unusual Books That Shaped Billionaires, Mega-Bestselling Authors, and Other Prodigies

  • http://www.kostyniuk.com/ Jon Kostyniuk

    Admittedly, I could be better about sitting down and reading physical books sometimes (a needed area of improvement for me). However, I love to read online about current events, politics, what’s happening in my community, and technical tutorials (online) for technologies I’m interested in.

    The audio book suggestion, especially using Audible, is something my wife and I have been doing for years now. Any time we’re on a road trip, or even just making dinner, something is on that we can learn something from – both fiction and non fiction. I also commute for approx. 60 minutes per day, so I’m either listening to an audio book or some podcast while I walk.

    While sometimes I need the mindlessness of music, I’d say at this point it is more the exception than the rule.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Most people would rather be entertained then educated.

      Great to hear that you listen during your walk / 2 birds with one stone.

      Reading like anything is a habit. Takes time to build it … its just my default state now.

      DM

  • duncan_stewart

    My only additional comment is that you seem to be talking about business books only. They have their place, but most of the studies out there suggest that people who read a lot do well: in business, in life, in relationships, etc. And the weird thing is it doesn’t seem to matter WHAT they read.

    As an example, one of the books that most helped me think about the progress of technology and adoption was the Patrick O’Brien Aubrey-Maturin novels. Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels have also been great: more use than any business books by Kurzweil, et al.

    I think that applies to entrepreneurs too. Fiction has its role too.

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      I write for entrepreneurs .. so like to keep it focused, but I totally agree. I read for what I need to learn, that includes health, relationships, being a great father, etc.

      Thanks for the comment!

      DM

  • isfan

    My most recent list (last 6 months), mostly on Audible (have subscription).

    Zero to One (just started it)
    Growth Hacker Marketing
    To Sell is Human
    Never Eat Alone (from your recommendation, awesome)
    Tink Like a Freak
    Winning (awesome)
    Start with Why
    The Icarus Deception
    An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
    The Hard Things about Hard things (awesome)
    High Trust Selling
    The Little Red Book of Selling
    The Everything Store (fascinating)
    Getting to Yes
    Accepting Normal
    David and Goliath
    Youtility
    The Referral Engine
    Good to Great
    Steve Jobs

    Other books that I think about often and recommend:
    The Innovators’ Dilemma
    Made to Stick
    Freakonomics (great podcast too)
    4 Hour Work Week

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Allan, the more interesting follow up question to your list is what did you learn/implement because of the book.

      That’s a neat high order bit to consider.

      DM

  • http://shortsaleology.com/ Cory Boatright

    I’ve read all those books listed below and hundreds more. I listen to Audible at 2-3 x speed. I actually created an app about the ability to raise 1 I.Q. basis point from listening faster. http://www.prweb.com/releases/iphone/player/prweb9449861.htm

    One book that I thought wasn’t going to be good turned out to be one of my favorites. It’s by M.J. Dmarko and it’s called “The Millionaire Fastlane”. I ended up reading it 3 times and use it in my coaching sessions. The formulas M.J. uses are quite good for simplistic understanding and memory of successful business practices and strategies.

    My favorite book of all time is “How to Win Friends and Influence People” followed up with “The eMyth Revisted” by Michael Gerber.

    All Seth Godin books are awesome.

    Florence Scovel Shinn is another powerful author.

    All the Dan Sullivan books from “Strategic Coach” are excellent.

    Peter Drucker books are powerful.

    Simon Sinek “Start with Why” provided a deeper understanding of the pursuit of “doing”.

    I could on all day… I have a subscriptions to Audible.com, Summary.com, Flashnotes.com

    I love reading. I read a book a week and have done that for years. It’s not difficult. You just read for 2 chapters a day and put the book down. Most books will be under 15 chapters and you can finish a book a week. You can do it much faster listening to Audible at 2x-3x regular speed.

    I also consume a ton of TED videos and other specialized learning videos (Udemy, Youtube, etc). You can purchase a tool http://resourceology.com/myspeed that will allow you to speed up video 2x-3x faster. It takes a while to get used to the speed, but once you go back to regular listening or watching speed you can’t believe how Sllllloooooooowwwwww people talk. ;0)

    Apology for any link bombing…. just used the ones off my head, but I’m affiliated with thousands of programs so I sometimes I forget if I’m an affiliate or not… that’s actual truth.

    Love your blog Dan and it keeps getting better bro!

    Remember… be a servant,

    Cory

  • http://www.markevans.ca/ Mark Evans

    Anything by Steve Krug should be on your list for anyone interested in Website usability.

  • http://cristivlad.com Chris

    There are many books that changed my life. One of them is Dale Carnegie’s masterpiece. It changed my life because I’ve constantly applied the principles from it. Besides, I’d like to add another way of audio learning, and that is to listen to podcasts on the topics you’re mostly interested in.

    Thanks Dan, I just followed you on facebook!

    • http://twitter.com/danmartell Dan Martell

      Dale’s book is a classic!

      Thx.

      DM

  • http://www.atcontent.com Alexey Semeney

    Awesome post Dan. I usually use books as instructions for my current actions. I see it as the only way to get the most of the books I read and really make a difference.
    Thus, I usually implement 50% or more of the books’ ideas in to my current actions. I’d add this in to your formula – “you’ll grow your business by the same % as the % of the books’ ideas you’ll use in your day-to-day life”.

    When I recommend a particular book to somebody, I usually say “treat this book as a math tutorial”. By telling that I mean – read it and do exactly as the author says. And frankly – it’s fun. This way every book is like a new experience, because you try it right away.

  • Laurayoga15

    Love this post! I have read voraciously for years – business-entrepreneurship-self-empowerment etc. The key though is to do exactly what you say – apply a principle you learn from your reading every day. Otherwise, the knowledge remains solely in your head and does not change your life.

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