I have nothing against reading particular books when you need the answers they have to offer. Books have helped me tremendously and they continue to.
But modern culture of (apparently) smart thinkboi circles have you believe that you MUST read for 30 minutes a day if you want to be successful.
I know many successful entrepreneurs, directly and indirectly, who did not have a reading habit and still are successful. Reading may help you be successful in other fields, like academics. But not in business.
The only way to succeed in business is to understand the market better than it understands itself and deliver to it what it needs.
Books are inefficient
I find most books are boring and inefficient delivery vehicles of information.
Most books could've been blogposts, or at the very least, they could have been 50% the length and still be valuable. Anything above 200 pages is a red flag 🚩
As someone who's busy building, I do not have the time or the patience to read through fluff the author had to pack in there to meet the publisher's word-count criteria.
My workaround: I just listen to the author speak on a podcast or on stage. Usually, these give short and more specific advice. Plus, I can watch it when I need it instead of going through an entire book.
Coaching calls with mentors, mastermind groups, consultants, etc. help much more than books when it comes to solving problems.
My anti-bestseller policy
I have a strict anti-bestseller policy. I do not want to read books the masses read. This is my aristocratic belief.
I realise that sounds extreme. But it hasn't been detrimental to me.
- I haven't read Rich Dad, Poor Dad. My finances are better than most who have.
- I haven't read 12 Rules for Life. My life is better than most who follow Dr. Jordan Peterson devotedly.
- I haven't read Atomic Habits or Deep Work. I still am more productive and have better routines than most who have.
This isn't a comment on the quality of the books, they're probably great. It's just not how I operate. I actively choose not to become part of the collective zeitgeist.
Reading is not substitute for doing
Assume both of us are beginners in sales. You choose to read a sales book.
In the time it will take you to do that, I'll hop on a few sales calls (and likely fail). But I'll have learned a lot and improved gradually. I am ahead of you as I have shed blood in the arena. I can go back and skim through the book now, with my experience, and the words will have a much larger impact on me.
Reading books is better when you have the experience and need to unblock yourself. Most people read a book a week and subtitute doing by reading. I am not this kind of a personality.
I'd rather build a business than read about Elon Musk or Steve Jobs. I'd rather write a book than read one.
I want to drive home a broader point against consumption. It has been brewing in me for the last couple of years but I really have adopted this mindset starting 2022.
Consumption vs. Creation
There's too many podcasts, books, blogs, videos, and courses today. We live in an age of content overwhelm. It's tempting to keep consuming these to "learn more" and "self-improve". Not just tempting, it's recommended by people you look up to.
But the truth is, after a certain level, you reach saturation point. Each new piece of information does not improve your life or business as much.
The last generation of businessmen were readers. And everyone today likes to follow their footsteps to replicate their success. I disagree.
The next generation of massively successful businessmen would know what to block actively. There's too much content out there. The smart ones will not consume, only execute.
Everything is already out there. Everything has been said before and done before. The only variable to success is doing it.
This is my belief. And I believe this so strongly that I'm betting my success on it.