What do billionaires Warren Buffet and Mark Cuban have in common? Their daily habit of reading. Both Buffet and Cuban devote extensive amounts of their day to reading and this sets them apart from their competition.
In HBO's documentary, "Becoming Warren Buffet," Buffet admits to reading five to six hours a day. Buffet encouraged students at Columbia University to read 500 pages each day because knowledge builds up like "compound interest." Cuban attributes reading to his success in his first technology business because of the time he put into learning as much as possible. These men owe much of their success to their investment in reading.
Many of our former presidents also admit to being avid readers, as books often shaped and refined their political and social stances. Thomas Jefferson said that he could not live without books. Abraham Lincoln relied primarily on books for his self-education. George W. Bush read around 186 books while in office, between the years 2006 and 2008, alone.
These highly-accomplished and influential individuals reveal the impact reading has on a person. Joseph Addison said, "reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Readers are on a path of learning, growing, and discovering what few are able to experience in the world.
Reading is freedom. Slaves were prohibited from learning to read because of the power that it holds. Readers catch nuances of the world that most miss and are able to see what most overlook.
As a child, summer meant lots of reading. This may sound like a nightmare for some, but my brother and I would have had it no other way. Each summer, our mom would sign us for the summer book club at our public library. My brother and I would explore the shelves of the library searching for just the right books and eagerly walk out with dozens of books in tow. We would record each book we read in a summer reading log with hopes that we would read enough books to earn a medal at the end of the summer.
Though we're far past the age of summer reading clubs and book medals, not much has changed. Our days of summer reading produced lifelong readers who still understand the joy and value in a good book.
Reading ushers in a myriad of benefits and is synonymous with growth. Reading opens our eyes, deepens our understanding, and gives us clearance to what is just beyond our grasp.
Reading teaches us that good guys do win, heroes do exist, and happily-ever-afters do come true. Reading helps us not to see things as they are, but as they should be. Reading equips us to dream big dreams and believe in the impossible.
To read is to possess a free ticket to virtually anywhere in the world. Dr. Seuss said that "the more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."
Take hold of this tool of liberation and get to know just how important this privilege is. Reading is a a free education and a worthwhile investment.
Use this summer to unplug and unwind through a good book. You will be amazed at all you will find. The whole world is literally at your fingertips.