To be a successful entrepreneur, you must increase the quantity and quality of the books you read.
We all hear about about how Bill Gates and Ben Carson would stay home and read books relentlessly. Reading may not be an easy habit to develop, but it’s one that can help you expand your business.
When I first started reading at the age of 21, I would read very slowly and I wasn’t getting the most out of the books. I would finish a book or two per month and not remember exactly what I learned.
My level of comprehension and lack of speed grew into utter frustration.
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One day, I was fighting my way through a chapter and got so mad at myself that I went on this quest to find out how I could read more books, while getting the most out of them in less time.
For the last several years, I’ve been increasing the number of books I read. I went from reading one to two non-fiction books per month to five or more the next month. Soon enough, I was reading six to eight books per month. Now I read more than 10 books per month — which is about a book every three days. I now read well over 100 books per year because of the five techniques that I am about to share with you.
You can use these five tips to expedite your reading speed while developing a deeper comprehension of the material you wish to absorb:
1. Learn How to Speed Read
Attend a course or read a book on speed-reading. You can find many resources on the Internet that will show you how to read faster as well. One of my favourite books on the subject is called, Breakthrough Rapid Reading by Peter Kump.
I use my hand to guide me along the pages. This method allows me to relinquish my sub-vocalisation (reading aloud in your mind). I also force my eyes to read faster. Skimming and scanning helps me do this. Instead of reading 200 words per minute, I now read well over 1,000 wpm. Talk about reading fast.
It was once said that Josef Stalin read 400 pages per day. John F. Kennedy read 1,200 wpm. They aren’t my heroes, except only in reading speeds.
2. Don’t Read Cover-to-Cover
It’s the biggest myth to read every book you encounter cover-to-cover. If you do this, you’re taking too much time on trivial content instead of getting the most out of the book you read.
Average books offer one to two major ideas, good books offer two to three, and great books offer three to five ideas. In fact, most books are average. An average author could write a 20-page book with all of his or her ideas, but that kind of book won’t sell to the public, so they generally add 200 extra pages to fluff it up.
Now don’t get me wrong, great authors do not add fluff to their books. But how many great books can you really find worth reading over and over again?
However, if you were assuming that most books are average, which they are, do you think it would make sense to read one of these average books from cover to cover?
Instead, you may want to skim the entire book within three to five minutes to get the main idea. You will also want to use the table of contents, which will help you understand the ideas dispersed within the book.
Do your best to make notations on the pages you want to revisit. Of course, you would only make notations on books that you own instead of those that are borrowed from a friend or public library.
Next, you’ll want to read more deeply for 30 minutes on your second visit. Only take time the best parts of the books while you do this. This is more like a scanning process that allows you to inhale the material with good understanding.
Finally, if the book is worth another read, take an hour or two to read the book for the third time. If you can read your favorite parts in the book again, you should be able to remember your material for a while.
Imagine that! You’ve just read a book in less than three hours.
The key here is that it’s more important to get the best information from 10 books than it would be from one book.
In an entire year, you can get through 120 books while another person will only finish 12 of them.
3. Set Time Limits
Setting time limits on what you read can keep you focused. Give yourself four hours to read a 200- to 300-page book. Do it with unadulterated focus. Let there be no distraction as you romance your book.
The key here is to know what you want to get out of each book that you read. If you force yourself to get the most out of a book in four hours, I guarantee you will be able to do it. However, if you give yourself one month, there’s no discipline at all, since your attention will be attenuated.
Too many people waste time doing research while they read. If you’re looking up a word or doing research while you’re reading, your attention will shift and you will take longer periods of time to finish the book.
Instead, take control of the book; don’t let the book take control of you. If there’s a section that you don’t understand, make a note of it and return to it soon. Do the same with unfamiliar vocabulary words.
4. Read the Easy Books First
Most of this is about building confidence at first. If you start reading an academic 1,000-plus-page textbook or the King James Version Bible, this may prohibit your reading speed.
Start with a quick 100- to 150-page book. Get a stack of them on all different subjects. Aim to read one to two of them per week and progressively get better. Eventually, you’ll add the bigger books once you build the confidence.
Some books are complicated or hard to digest. Autobiographies and esoteric non-fiction are good examples of this. You don’t want to get mixed up with these at first, especially as you start your speed-reading tour. Start small, then grow big!
5. Only Read the Best Books
Before you begin a book, decide if it is worth reading. Obviously, you picked up the book to find a solution to one of your problems. Within the first 10 minutes, you should be able to decide if the book will help you solve that problem.
Another thing you can do is to rate your book on a scale of 1-10. To rate them approprately, use this score, with “1” being the lowest and worst book that you can read and “10” being the highest and best book.
If you’re on a time crunch, you don’t have time to read any book that’s less than a “10.” If you’re reading a book that doesn’t interest you or bores you completely, put it aside. This means that you should organise your books, too. Line up 10 to 20 books for the month and choose a few out of the stack every month. Always replenish the stack and play with your library accordingly.
Make sure you stay on top of your reading by only reading the books that captivate your attention the most. If you come across a bad book, throw it out. Don’t even take the time to donate it. If it’s garbage, leave it in the trash.
Reading books lead to magnificent experiences. Take advantage of the current books that are available to you. Enjoy the stories, language, jokes, and precepts expounded by your predecessors. Fill yourself up with usable knowledge and wisdom.
Our libraries are paved with gold. You have to know how to use the gold you have. Own your books by buying them and taking notes.
Take advantage of the current books that are available to you. Enjoy the stories, language, jokes, and precepts expounded by your predecessors. Fill yourself up with usable knowledge and wisdom.
Know that all books can solve all the problems and challenges in the world. Even though you aren’t going to read all of the books, you are going to read the ones that help you the most.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Listening To These 8 Audiobooks On Success Is A Better Use Of Your Long Commute
Commuting is mostly just unpaid work, unless you make an effort to learn something along the way.
Commutes are getting longer, and in some cities they’re up to two hours each way. I have a friend in Los Angeles who does this. He passes the time with audiobooks. Now that’s still a lot of time to be stuck in transit, but he doesn’t view it that way. He says it allows him plenty of time to feed his personal and professional goals.
I’ve spent years listening to literature in the car while commuting, but somewhere along the line I switched over to books on business and personal improvement. I mostly gravitated toward amazing people who built their success from scratch and who experienced tremendous hardship. It stands to reason that if you’re dealing with hardships like a long commute, it’s important to hear motivational words that can help you transcend the difficulties.
Here are eight audiobooks that will help grow your success, both personal and professional, on your next commute:
3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018
Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.
Goal setting as a concept makes perfect sense. At the most basic level you decide on the destination and then plot the way to get there. But as with many things, we like to overcomplicate that which should be simple.
Before you know it, you end up with 2 big goals in 15 different areas of your life and 100 micro goals that will help you reach your 30 big goals.
Complicating something simple. Some of the biggest obstacles to people in reaching their goals are:
- The overestimate the effort it will take to achieve those goals
- They want to go from 0-100km/h in the blink of an eye
- Life is dynamic and static goals often do not make sense
- They get so entrenched in the day to day running of things that goals get pushed aside.
What if instead of goals, we just focused on giving our best every day?
Of course, you still want to have an indication of where you are going.
But, if you are giving your 100% every day then you can forego the micro goals for a better way of calibrating your compass… using questions.
Related: Goal Setting Guide
I suggest you ask yourself these three questions regularly:
1. What does better look like?
The question at the heart of development and incremental improvement. This question allows you some creative space in which you can imagine a better future.
- What does better health look like?
- What does a better business look like?
- What does better customer service look like?
- What does better leadership look like?
By reflecting on this question, you materialise the gap between where you are and where you could be. Now, the only thing that is left is to align your daily actions with the better future you imagined.
2. What can I control?
Borrowed from Stoicism this question highlights the power of decision in your life. Epictetus said we should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”
Once you ask this of yourself regularly you will feel more in control of your life and more in control of your business.
Because your focus is solely on the things that you can influence. It restores the belief that you can actually impact the world around you in a meaningful way.
3. Was I impeccable with my actions today?
One inherent flaw with goal setting is that the goal setter often feels judged. As if we need more of that. In addition to the constant negative self-talk we have to endure we now have an additional source of judgement – whether we reached our goals or not.
As we discovered in question #2 We cannot control everything. Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.
So, instead of judging yourself, commit to giving your best every single day.
What I love most about these questions is that they provide a built-in layer of accountability. Use them every day.
To Be Successful Stay Far Away From These 7 Types of Toxic People
You need a network of talented people, not toxic personalities who undermine you.
Surrounding yourself with prospective mentors is an excellent way to build lifelong success. When Steve Jobs founded Apple, he learned from colleagues like Steve Wozniak about what it took to build computer hardware. And he learned from early investors like Mike Markkula about what it took to build a successful company and market a product. Now imagine if Jobs had surrounded himself with toxic personalities instead. It is likely that he would not have been able to create a company that is on course to be valued at $1 trillion.
If you interact with people who demonstrate questionable behaviour, you’re more likely to model that behaviour yourself or to become stressed as a result. At the very least, you will be missing out on the opportunity to network with more successful and inspiring individuals.
This article will review seven personality types that should be eliminated from your life in order to build your most successful self. Once these people are gone, you can work on building a network of people who influence you positively.
According to a report by NPR, micromanagement is one of the biggest factors associated with employee dissatisfaction, lowered motivation and lack of professional creativity. To be successful, you must learn to solve problems independently. Micromanaging can make it difficult to develop these skills.
Related: Keep An Eye Out For Toxic Employees
2. Short-term thinkers
If you surround yourself with short-term thinkers, it will be difficult to know if an idea is destined for long-term success. Those who are narrow-minded may be more likely to dismiss one of your ideas because it will take time to develop into a meaningful success.
Take the creation of Airbnb as an example. The company was founded in 2008. At the time the “sharing economy” did not exist, and hotel chains like Starwood and Hilton dominated the lodging market. A short-term thinker would have criticised an idea like Airbnb.
In order for the company to be successful, Airbnb would need to change people’s attitudes and expectations about travel. They would need to encourage people to be comfortable staying with strangers, and they would need to find ways to mitigate possible liability should something tragic happen during a customer’s stay.
Well-respected venture capitalists decided to pass on Airbnb because of these short-term concerns. The Airbnb founders were only able to find success once they connected with people who were comfortable thinking long term.
Pessimism is not always a bad trait; at times it can help entrepreneurs to recognize certain pitfalls that might otherwise be overlooked. However, a steady diet of pessimism is toxic when it comes to taking big professional risks.
As David Armor, an assistant professor of psychology at Yale University, says, “An entrepreneur starting up a company, for example, might drive himself to work 18-hour days for months and even years because he optimistically believes that there will be a big payoff for him at the end.” Conversely, a pessimistic attitude would make it difficult to tolerate such a prolonged stressful situation.
For those interested in taking on stressful professional situations, pessimistic people should be avoided in most cases.
4. Selfish people
Relationships that contribute to success are mutually beneficial. This dynamic cannot exist when dealing with selfish people. As a result, it is best to eliminate selfish people from your life in order to make room for more giving relationships.
A recent study found that a job applicant who is referred by an existing employee is 15 times more likely to be hired than someone who applies via a job board. If you befriend a selfish person, you probably can’t rely on them to introduce you to new career opportunities. However, forming connections with someone who is altruistic could give you a professional leg up.
5. Risk-averse personalities
Business success is about making informed decisions by weighing risks and rewards. If you are surrounded by people who over-index on possible risks while ignoring the possible rewards, it will be challenging to identify good business opportunities.
Take Amazon as an example. In 2014 Amazon launched a smartphone called the Fire Phone. In the end, the phone was not successful. Following the unsuccessful launch of the Fire Phone, risk-averse people might have avoided developing another piece of computer hardware.
But instead, Amazon correctly assessed the opportunity for an in-home smart speaker, and launched the Amazon Echo just one year later. Today, Echo has 75 percent of the smart-speaker market in the United States.
6. Unmotivated individuals
People who lack motivation or work ethic set a bad example for those interested in working diligently to become a professional success. There is no worse colleague than someone who simply does the bare minimum to get by.
Rather than associate yourself with people who cut corners or avoid hard work, try to surround yourself with people who are motivated to succeed. Collaborating with people who have a healthy drive for success can instill an extra dose of motivation in you.
Financial responsibility is a critically important quality to develop if you want to become successful. Warren Buffet is perhaps the supreme example of a financially responsible and successful person.
Buffet is the third wealthiest person in the world, worth nearly $80 billion. But despite his professional success, Buffet does not spend his money on flashy cars or large homes. In fact, Buffet still lives in the modest home in Omaha, Nebraska, that he purchased in 1958.
Those who associate with spendthrifts may be more motivated to make irresponsible financial decisions in order to fit in. At the very least, it will be harder to associate with people who make good financial choices, as these personalities are frequently diametrically opposed.
Business is all about who you know. From landing a new job to launching a new company, your network will enable or prevent future professional success. When developing a network of talented people, it is best to avoid toxic personalities who could set a bad example or demotivate you.
Be sure to avoid people who are micromanagers and short-term thinkers, as they can make it difficult to think autonomously. Risk-averse individuals or pessimists may cause you to think twice about great business ideas, and spendthrifts or selfish people may hamper your ability to grow. Last but not least, stay away from unmotivated individuals, as your success is dependent on your willingness to work diligently in order to succeed.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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