How Much Do You Read?

I was traveling last week and heading over to Europe. On the plane from New York City to London, one of the gentlemen I was sitting next to started a conversation with me just after take off. He was a businessman from Atlanta. He was heading over to London for some business consulting with some small businesses just outside of London. I asked him how long he had been doing business consulting. He had been involved in the small business consulting arena for a little over 15 years. I asked him how he was able to sustain his business for that long. I’ve always worked for a large corporation and had the benefit of thousands of employees.

Frankly, I was taken back by his response. He didn’t give me an answer. He asked me a very interesting question.

How much do you read?

Well, I read quite a bit, actually was my answer. I read everyday. I had a copy of the Wall Street Journal and Inc. magazine sitting on my lap, so I picked them up and showed him. He started laughing. Hey, okay, what is so funny? I already saw what your reading materials were just after you sat down. I’m sure the Wall Street Journal and Inc. magazine have some very interesting advertisements and come decent content.

Then he asked me another question. How much do your materials change you on a weekly basis? What do you mean change me? I mean how deeply is the Wall Street Journal changing the way you do business, on a scale of 1-10? Honestly, I didn’t have a solid answer for him. I paused for a bit. Well, I guess I’d say it was maybe a 3. Are you sure it’s that high? Give me an example of how your reading materials have given you a 3x factor change in your life, any aspect of your life…

I didn’t have an answer. So are you telling me that what you read has helped you sustain your small business marketing business over the past 15 years? Yes. That is the primary way I have grown my business. And I’m not just reading trending business books on the New York Times best seller list. I’m talking about the classics, biographies from entrepreneurs who have built business empires, psychology books, and some of the classic how-to business books. You see, your current mindset is holding you back from making any change in your life. Even getting a low 3x factor of change in your life.

You are viewing life through what you read. The modern business life is all that you are getting fed. Look, there are books that were written hundreds of years ago that can give you a 8x-10x change factor in your life. But you’re focused on the modern advertising driven reading materials. While the modern world offers many conveniences, there are also drawbacks. If you want to experience a significant change in your life, you have to change what you are filling your mind with and engage in reading some solid classic books, human psychology books and how-to business books. Get your hands on biographies written by┬ábillionaires. Read books on human nature and how it influences business decisions. Purchase some books on classic business how-to and how entrepreneurs have built successful businesses 50 years ago.

Interesting conversation that challenged me to my core. It was cutting. I wasn’t laughing, but he was. I’ve got to change my reading habits and grow my library. Hello Amazon.

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