Bill Gates has a "think week" where he does nothing but read.
Elon Musk reading
Jeff Bezos founding a company to sell books.
Churchill. bestselling author. Accomplished painter. Renowned orator. Leader. Immense Reader.
There’s a cliche you’ve probably heard: Leaders are readers. As with all cliches, there is a nugget of truth and a mountain of misconception. By leaders I do not mean men and women who are in charge, but men and women who change things, who stand out in front, and people follow. By readers I do not mean men who escape the necessities of action and living to walk around in a fantasy, but I mean men who take the knowledge contained in great books and utilize it in their daily actions, which is known more broadly as wisdom—the application of knowledge.
Great statesman like Alexander the Great who shaped the ancient world and founded libraries that have stood for centuries was a reader; men like Caesar who forged Rome into the powerhouse it would become was a reader. In more recent times men like Napoleon Bonaparte when on military campaign would bring an entire library with him; men like Lincoln and Churchill, the greatest orators of their times, were immense readers. Benjamin Franklin had a personal decree that no matter how broke he was, he would always spend money on books. The Wright Brothers were immense readers, extremely well-read in history, literature and most importantly, aeronautics and ornithology. This is true in modern business, too. Bill Gates has a "Think Week" when he does nothing but read. It is the essential ingredient he attributes to his success. Tony Hsieh, billionaire founder of Zappos.com believes in reading so much that he ties employee raises to the amount of reading they do. And it is no coincidence that Amazon.com’s founder, Jeff Bezos, opened his little online store in order to sell books.
In every industry the men and women who move it forward do not rely on a four year education to gain their “book knowledge.” Many dropped out of college or didn’t bother. They understand that to have a clear picture of their industry and their world is the only way to know in what direction things are moving, and how they can move it in the direction they choose.
A reader is like that visionary person who climbs a tree in the famous parable about leadership.
A group of adventurers are out in a jungle searching for the city of gold, Eldorado. Some men stand apart from the others. These men run efficiency workshops to help the workers cut through the jungle faster. They create schedules to maximize efficiency. They hold knife sharpening seminars. These are the managers.
But the leader is the man who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the jungle, and shouts to his team: “WRONG JUNGLE!”
Think of the tree as the Tree of Knowledge. It is not so simple to climb that tree and survey an industry. It can only be achieved by a wisdom which comes only from reading and acting.
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The Obstacle is the Way: The TImeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph by Ryan Holiday
Springboard: Launching your Personal search for SUCCESS by G. Richard Shell
Creativity Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces that Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull
Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender