Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
It is a statistical fact: the most successful men in the world read and read a lot.
Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. Mark Zuckerberg at least one every two weeks (25 per year). Warren Buffet reads between 500 and 1000 pages a day from the age of eighteen. Elon Musk doesn’t keep an account, but he’s an avid reader; When asked how he learned to build rockets, he replied: “I read books.” Oprah Winfrey founded a book club that discusses one book a month and has millions of members.
Steve Siebold , a billionaire who has interviewed more than 1,200 millionaire and successful people, says there is a hobby that 100% of them share. It is not the golf, it is not the cars, it is not the mansions. You guessed it: everyone reads . And a lot.
Bill Gates always reads on paper. Richard Branson is a fan of the Kindle. Stephen King enjoys audiobooks. Are there differences? Many. Does it matter? In the end, no.
Nelson Mandela had to defend his right to read in court while he was in prison for twenty-four years. He didn’t ask for better food, television, or pillows; but books. Carlos Slim is a passionate reader of biographies and finances; Bill Gates enjoys books about the future; Barack Obama reads classics and history. Zuckerberg is a science fiction reader. Branson loves memories of great men and self-help. Everyone has their favorites: don’t feel obligated to read what others want. Read what you are passionate about and make you grow.
There is no doubt: the most successful men in the world read. It’s one of their definitive habits: they don’t read just for entertainment, but above all to learn and keep growing. They put aside the fad novel or the gossip magazine and look for something they are passionate about – and they keep learning.
From “education” to “self-education”
We have heard many – but many, many times – “Education is going to change Mexico .” And it’s true. But we also always imagine that this “education” has to do with governments, unions and educational projects. Actually, for all of us, it has to do with something simpler: what we have on the bureau next to our bed.
Bill Gates puts it very simply: if you had the opportunity to speak for ten minutes with the wisest, most successful, or most brilliant men in history, would you take advantage of it? What would you ask them? Now realize that you can do it, because they wrote what they think. Am I going to let only others take advantage of that wealth? He would have to be crazy.
Every New Year’s bell tolls, millions of people in the world make different resolutions: to run more; eat less; save more… And they are all good purposes. However, he has heard of few people who have set out to READ more .
That is why today I propose it to you. Why wait for the new year? Whether you’ve been kicking the habit or never had it, I’m sure you know that the habit of reading can transform your life in ways you’ve never imagined, expanding your horizon with endless professional, intellectual, and personal possibilities. Maybe you don’t know where to start, or maybe you have a lot of books that you want to read, but you haven’t had time.
Even though I love reading, I realized after the birth of each new child (I have four!) And with a lot of work in the office and at home, that suddenly days and weeks went by without my reading progress. . I had to make the decision to read again. This is what I did.
I propose this challenge to you. The habit of reading is like any other: we must consciously desire it and accustom our body and mind to do it “automatically”. The difficult thing is to start and then… the difficult thing will be to quit.
These are the ten steps of the LEE FIVE MINUTES challenge.
1. CHOOSE A BOOK THAT FITS YOU. It can be a novel or an interesting topic; but it must be a book that has an order and sequence from beginning to end (not a comic, a magazine, or an encyclopedia). The Hobbit serves the same as Little Capitalist Pig . Preferably not too long. If you don’t know where to start, I recommend: The Little Prince , Momo , The Prince and the Beggar or The French Delegate .
2. READ FIVE MINUTES A DAY. No more. Not less. You don’t want to run marathons before running a hundred meters. You will arrive.
3. TRY IT TO BE AT THE SAME TIME. I like to read in bed, before going to sleep; but you choose the time you prefer: after eating; when you arrive at the office or at the time you want. Try to keep it the same time, but if one day you can’t keep your schedule, just READ FIVE MINUTES at some other time.
4. DISCONNECT THOSE FIVE MINUTES. Don’t make the mistake of reading on your smartphone. Better put it in silence and, for a while, disconnect and let yourself be immersed in the book.
5. NEVER, FOR ANY REASON, STOP READING FIVE MINUTES A DAY. Even if you go to bed at one in the morning; even if you are traveling; Even though you’re busy, even if you’re sick I’m absolutely sure that five minutes you get them. For five minutes you are not going to stay up any more or stop doing your job.
6. SHARE YOUR OWN CHALLENGE WITH ANOTHER PERSON. Tell your wife, your mom, or your best friend what you’re doing, or better yet, both of you do it. Help each other not to miss five minutes of each day.
7. IF YOU DON’T LIKE YOUR BOOK, CHANGE IT. It is not punishment: it is an adventure. My usual mark is this: if on page 50 you haven’t caught me, I’ll quit. There are so many books waiting!
8. DO IT FOR THIRTY DAYS. Put a little leaf, if you want, behind the door of your room and mark the days you take away. Every day think what is five minutes? And do it.
9. ON THE THIRTY DAY GIVE YOURSELF A PRIZE, IF YOU HAVE ACHIEVED IT. Agree with your wife or your friend the award and, if you have achieved it, go to the movies or buy yourself that shirt that you love.
10. KEEP AHEAD. What else in the world would you like to discover? Planets, history, insects, politics? Find your favorite topics and authors – they are wonderful veins of culture.
How does it work?
The motor principle is very similar to financial savings. By saving small coins, you soon realize that, little by little, you save a lot. Books, at first, can be dry and seem long. But in reality they are not. On average, a medium book can be read, in a row, in three to four hours. It is very likely that in these thirty days you have read an entire book, almost without realizing it!
It is also very likely that, within a few days, you want to read MORE than five minutes a day. For the first thirty days, try not to read more. Staying with the desire will make you return to reading tomorrow with more emotion.
In the second month it goes up to 10 or 15 minutes. If you do this for a full year, by the end you will have easily read fifteen or twenty books. Once your brain is used to it, you can read for hours without a break and devour entire books in an afternoon. That’s very good. But remember: you will be a reader if you can read at least five minutes each day throughout your life. If you always have a book with you, you will find valuable time while you wait for an appointment or at the restaurant.
Then intersperse fiction books with books on other topics. There are also pages, clubs and spaces where you will find other readers and new recommendations. If you have to spend thousands of dollars and thousands of hours in gyms to maintain your body, isn’t it fair to do the same to exercise your mind?
So tell me do you have five minutes?
Do you read almost nothing today? Start with five minutes a day. Very little? Do you read junk? Don’t worry, but look for things that you are passionate about and get lost for a while. Not sure where to start? Classics are classics for a reason; Or you can also search the internet for lists of books recommended by all the people I mentioned. You have no money? There are literally thousands of sites and libraries where you can get free books. Don’t you like the book you are reading? Close it! There are too many great books to waste time on junk.
Habits become our destiny. Build a habit that allows you to always grow, always learn, and then choose content that will keep you hungry, curious, and passionate. You will see how soon it will be impossible for you to leave it. Welcome to the fifties club.