Somebody once asked Warren Buffett about his secret to success. Buffett pointed to a stack of 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...”
When I first found this quote of Buffett’s two years ago, something was wrong.
It was December 2014. I’d found my dream job. Some days, I would be there, sitting at my dream job, and I would think. My god, what if I’m still here in 40 years? I don’t want to die like this…
Something wasn’t right. I’d followed the prescription: Good grades. Leadership. Recommendations. College. Dream job. I was a winner. I’d finished the race. Here I was in the land of dreams. But something was terribly, terribly wrong.
In January of 2015, I found Buffett’s quote. I decided to read. I was going to read and read and read and never stop until I got some damn answers.
I didn’t quite make 500 pages a day, but, in these last two years, I’ve read over 400 books, cover to cover. That decision to start reading was one of the most important decisions in my life.
Books gave me the courage to travel. Books gave me the conviction to quit my job. Books gave me role models and heroes and meaning in a world where I had none.
I want to say reading 200 books a year is an amazing thing. But the truth is, it’s not. Anybody can do it.
All it takes is some simple math and the right tools.