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7 mins

The Reading Habits of Highly Successful People

The world’s highest achievers have one thing in common: an appreciation for reading. Books were their most profitable investment.
by Sandra Wu | Mar 4 2024

1. From $2 to $20 billion

Two teenage boys found employment at a grocery store in Omaha, Nebraska. The older boy, from a poor family devastated by the Great Depression, bred and sold hamsters for spare change. The younger boy, grandson of the store owner, had been delaying college and working odd jobs, like selling chewing gum and coke bottles door to door.

Back then, each boy made about $2 a day. Just a few decades later, they’d be raking in $20 billion in profit per year with their conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway. Who were these boys? None other than Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett.

How did they become the most successful investors America has ever seen?

2. Buffett spends 80% of his day reading

Fast track to 2007, the 84 year-old Charlie Munger, reveals to a crowd of aspiring law students the secrets to their success:

“I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up and boy does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you.”

Supposedly, in the early days of Buffett’s investment career, he would read 600-1000 pages in a single day. Nowadays, he still dedicates 80% of his day to reading.

“Read 500 pages…every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”

His takeaway for everyone: no matter where you are in life, keep on learning and you will succeed.

3. The billionaire book club

Buffett and Munger are not the only ones who credit their success to reading.

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk reportedly learned how to build rockets by reading books. Musk was bullied a lot as a child in South Africa. He found comfort in fantasy and science-fiction books, which inspired him to leave a legacy in the world.

Bill Gates, the richest man in the world and a lifelong bookworm, reads about 50 books a year, but strictly nonfiction ones. Although he gets to visit a lot of places and meet interesting people, he would still rather read books to acquire new knowledge.

Similarly, Mark Zuckerberg invited the whole world to join him on his quest to read a book every two weeks in 2015.

So, what are your reading goals?

4. Want to go to bed a little wiser tonight?

Although reading is valuable, most people see it as a chore. Why read when you can end the day with your favorite TV show? Or a nice gathering with friends? What if you could get all the benefits of reading without giving up your other interests? You can!

Blinkist is a learning app that transforms the world’s best nonfiction books into 15 minute reads. You can learn about rocket science over breakfast, stock trading over lunch, and the 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People over dinner. You can also learn on the go with Blinkist audio. This way, you can become a learning machine!

The founders of Blinkist (from left): Niklas Jansen, Tobi Balling, and Holger Seim (Not pictured: Sebastian Klein)

5. A Book Explained in 15 Minutes

It takes the average person 10 hours to read a book, which is a lot of time many of us don’t have. It’s difficult to find time to read widely recommended classics like The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, or the latest bestsellers like, Thinking Fast and Slow, or Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time.

With Blinkist, it’s now possible to gain an understanding of ‘must-read’ titles in just 15 minutes. The busiest people including top CEOs, full-time moms, and leading intellectuals turn to Blinkist to fit reading into their hectic days and keep up-to-date with the latest top titles.

Plus, every month the titles in The New York Times bestsellers list are added to Blinkist, as well as new recommended reading lists based on latest trends and areas of interest. This way, Blinkist ensures there’s always new, powerful things for intellectuals to learn from some of the world’s most important books.

The sleek and simple design makes it easy to learn from some of the world’s best books in minutes — whether that’s through listening or reading.

6. One Of The Best Apps In The World

“Blinkist is one of the world’s best apps.”
– Apple

Blinkist has won numerous major awards from Apple, Google, and even the United Nations.

Plus, Blinkist is addressing a problem a lot of us and many leading intellectuals have—wanting to read more, but feeling like we have little time. By helping to resolve a reading problem, and benefiting millions of people, including top intellectuals around the world, Blinkist employees are very proud and passionate to be a part of the team.’

The app is a favorite among book lovers who use Blinkist to keep their mind young and discover new titles:

“Can’t read everything everyday; what am I going to read today? Just signed up w/Blinkist after reading or listening to over 26 books in the last few months. Today I listened to Language Intelligence/Joseph Romm & reread Alexander Hamilton/Ron Chernow.”
–Debby Tomlinson (@Tomlinsonsd)

With a community of 29 million people located across the world — from tech entrepreneurs in New York to meditation teachers in the Himalayas — we have a band of people spanning the globe who are all thirsty for inspiring knowledge.

Be part of it! Download the Blinkist app now and join the 29 million curious minds who also love to learn.

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