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?
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.
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? 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!