The Cheapest Self-Investment with the Highest Rate of Return

It has long been eulogized that one of the main differences between the uber successful and the rest of humanity is how they think in general and more specifically how they view learning.

Warren Buffett was once asked about the key to success. He pointed to a stack of nearby books and said, “Read 500 pages like this 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.”

Mark Cuban in his book, “How to Win at the Sport of Business,” is noted as saying.

I read every book and magazine I could. Heck, three bucks for a magazine, twenty bucks for a book. One good idea would lead to a customer or a solution, and those magazines and books paid for themselves many times over. Some of the ideas I read were good, some not. In doing all the reading I learned a valuable lesson.
Most people won’t put in the time to get a knowledge advantage. Sure, there were folks that worked hard at picking up every bit of information that they could, but we were few and far between.
To this day, I feel like if I put in enough time-consuming all the information available, particularly with the Internet making it so readily accessible, I can get an advantage in any technology business

Investing in yourself is one of the most profitable returns on investment you can have and reading is the cheapest way to do so.

Not only does reading have the potential to impact your financial well-being, it also plays a strong role in your mental health. Reading has been shown to help prevent stress, depression and dementia, while enhancing confidence, empathy, decision-making, focus and concentration.

The Four Types of Reading

“Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested.” ~Francis Bacon

Knowing what to read is equally as important as knowing how to read. Mortimer Adler, author of “How to Read a Book” states that there are four types of reading a reader can engage in.

  • Elementary — As the name suggests, this is how you learned to read in elementary school. It’s the front-to-back method that basically gets you to the point that you can understand the words on a page and follow a basic plot or line of understanding.
  • Inspectional — It’s a way to parse out information about a book to decide whether the book is worth reading. This is done by looking at the highlights and reading the beginning and ending of the book.
  • Analytical — A.k.a. The deep dive. This is where you immerse yourself in a book. Consuming all information contained within with technical precision. You take notes, you highlight words, phrases, paragraphs and look up words or references you don’t understand.
  • Syntopical — This is mostly used by writers and professors. It’s where you read multiple books on a single subject and form a thesis or original thought by comparing and contrasting various other authors’ thoughts.

How to Make Reading Count

1. Preview the book you want to read

Before spending time or money on a book or text, you should know whether said book or text is worth your time or money. Preview the book by reading its cover, introduction, table of contents, and skimming through the chapters.

2. Identify your ‘why’

Upon determining that a book or text is worth reading the next step is to identify your ‘why’. Why have you chosen to read this particular book or text? Are you reading with a purpose, or just for pleasure? The way you read a book or a text depends very much on your reasons for reading it.

2. Read Interactively

If the purpose of your reading excludes entertainment, always aim to read interactively. Also referred to as “active reading”, reading interactively allows readers become an integral part of their own absorption of information.This is done by highlighting or underlining key information and summarizing key points and actionable ideas. Writing the ideas you get helps you further internalize those ideas.

3. Revisit what you Read

A good book often contains a lot of actionable ideas that cannot all be appreciated in a first read. Revisiting these books over time allows you to process and analyze what you have read and catch something you may have missed. It is also a great way to keep the most important parts of a book active in your mind.

In his program How to Stay Motivated, Zig Ziglar tells the story of people who say to him “you know Zig whenever I get down I put in one of your tapes and it gives me a little boost.” Zig says “why on earth would you wait until you get down? That’s like constantly waiting to fill your tank until it’s almost empty.”

4. Apply what you Read

Tomie dePaola said; “Reading is important, because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything.” Learning involves application.

You get the most out of a book when it significantly improves your life to the greatest possible extent. You will not know this until you put the ideas garnered from reading into action.

Reading is a great way to level up and level the playing field. So, read about money and about business. Read about life and about health. Read the stories of those who have gone before us. Read to learn and to be entertained. Read to be smarter than you were yesterday.