Does Reading Make You Successful? [And What to Read!]

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There are many online and other courses available claiming that after completing the course one will have all the tools to become successful very easily.

The question people that are looking for guidelines on how to follow their dream and become successful, is asking, is whether they can’t get the same input by reading the right books.

Generally speaking, reading books in and of itself can not make you successful. However, reading enhances the chances of success. Reading allows you to learn from others’ mistakes and success. It also makes you creative, imaginative, and smart among other things; helping you achieve success faster.

In this article, we’ll look at the correlation between reading and success and discuss some of the questions you might still have regarding how and why reading has a positive influence on achieving success. 

Can Reading Books Lead to Success?

Before we answer the question of whether reading books can lead to success, we have to look at what “success” means to you.  

Dictionary Definitions and Your Understanding of “Success” 

According to the Collins Dictionary success is “the achievement of something that you have been trying to do.” And   “achievement” is defined as “something which someone has succeeded in doing, especially after a lot of effort.”

Looking at these two definitions, it becomes clear that you are successful when you’ve achieved what you’ve “been trying to do.” For you, success might be to have a lifelong happy, and healthy relationship.

For someone else, it may be to have a fulfilling career, while for others success means to be rich. Whatever you’re idea of “being successful,” in life is, you normally know what you want to achieve to deem yourself as successful. The problem is you’re not sure how to achieve it.

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The Role of Reading

This is where reading plays an important role.  Reading helps you in different ways:

  1. By reading about others’ struggles to become successful, you get motivated to keep on despite the problems you are encountering. 
  2. Other successful people’s experiences help you to make better decisions regarding steps to take to be successful.  
  3. The how-to information you get in books enables you to use the correct tools and follow the correct procedures in pursuing your goal. 

So, whatever you want to achieve before deeming yourself as successful, start reading books about the topic; read the life stories of people who have already achieved what you are striving to achieve; find how-to books to assist you with every step on your journey to success.

Correlation Between Reading and Success

We’ll look at the correlation between reading and successful people, and also at the correlation between reading and the production of innovative ideas.

Correlation between Reading and Successful People   

To be rich is many people’s idea of being successful and therefore it is worthwhile to look at the success stories of rich people. Even if you strive to achieve something else, it is a good start to establish the correlation between reading and financially successful people. 

The author of “Rich Habits,” Thomas Corley, spent many years researching the reading habits of both successful, rich people and not-so-successful people. His findings showed that rich, and thus normally successful, people read significantly more than not-so-successful people.  Some of his findings were that :

  1. 86% of successful, wealthy people loved reading, while
  2. only 26% of poor, and thus probably less successful people, loved reading, and that 
  3. 85% of the successful rich people spent at least 30 minutes reading each day compared to only 2% amongst the not so wealthy.

Correlation between Reading and Innovative New Ideas

To be successful, you have to be able to think out of the box. People that read often and a variety of topics are exposed to things happening outside their own world. They read and learn about new ideas and different ways of doing things. 

In a study at the National Taichung University of Education in Taiwan, it was found that extensive reading is related to high creative performance. The university students who participated in the study had to fill out a questionnaire and complete a creativity test.

They had to indicate the total hours spent on reading. The results of this study indicated that students who had spent a lot of time on reading performed significantly better on the creativity test.

The study concluded that creativity scores significantly correlated with time spent on reading. It is not a hidden fact that reading improves your creativity!

Can Reading Make You Rich?

If you consider someone who is rich as successful you will most probably want to know whether reading can make you rich.  

Reading books can make you rich, if you read the right type of books, and read frequently. Financial successful people have normally developed good reading habits.

By reading the right books and making use of the techniques recommended in the books they keep healthy, happy, and financially successful.

You can find more information on this topic in one of our other recent articles, “Can Reading Books Make You Rich?” 

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Do You Have to Read to Become Successful?

Charlie Munger, the American billionaire investor, was quoted: “In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time.”

You don’t have to read to become successful. However, studies have shown that reading improves imagination, knowledge, creativity, and plays a pivotal role in achieving success. That said, overloading yourself with information is not a guarantee to success either.

If you read for growth essentially, you need to focus your reading. You need the right information, and not necessarily the most.

What Books to Read to Gain Success?

Any book you read activates specific areas in your brain and enhances your ability to think creatively. As creativity is a precondition to becoming successful in whatever field you want to excel in, reading is essential.

So, you don’t have to only read subject-related books – you can read just for the enjoyment of it as well. But apart from that, you have to read books specifically aimed at guiding you on your success journey. 

You have to read how-to books, journals, and other non-fiction books on the subject or field you want to be successful in. You can also learn a lot by reading biographies and autobiographies of people who have been successful in the field of your passion. 

There are also books advising on self-development and general guidelines for pursuing goals that are good to read. Three good books that we can recommend are:

1. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

In this book, you can learn about small, meaningful habits that can add up to a successful lifestyle. You will find tips for personal improvement and guidelines on how to become successful on virtually every page.

2. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. – by Brené Brown

This book teaches you how to take other people with you on your success journey by connecting to people with the same passion as yourself. It opens up your mind to innovative thinking possibilities. 

3. Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know – by Adam Grant

In this book, the author discusses aspects that can influence your long-term happiness during your journey to achieve success.

How Many Books to Read to Become Successful?

The number of books you read is not really important. As mentioned earlier, you don’t have to overload yourself with information. That won’t help in most cases.

It is important to read the right kind of books. However, I’m sure you are still wanting to know a figure. If I could just give a number, set a target to read and you could simply become successful, wouldn’t that be amazing!

The truth is, the number of books you should read to become successful differs from person to person. So it is difficult to predict an exact number. However, we can look at the reading habits of successful people to get an idea!

Here are some famous and successful personalities and their reading habits –

  1. Albert Einstein for instance had about 2400 books in his personal library and it is widely assumed that he’d read all of them.  
  2. Warren Buffett has once said that to be successful you have to read 500 pages every day. 
  3. Bill Gates reads more than 50 books per year – at least 1 book every week. 
  4. Mark Cuban reads more than 3 hours every day.

All this being said, make sure you read the right kind of books. If you are new at reading and don’t know where to start, check out my guide on how to get interested in reading!

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