By Liz W. on March 7 2014
What the Rich Read
Warren Buffett is a successful investor and philanthropist. He’s consistently listed among the wealthiest people in the world. What does he do to fill his days? He spends 80% of his work days reading. To be fair, he also thinks and talks, but a big chunk of his work time goes towards accumulating knowledge. But when it comes to reading material, there are so many options. Take a walk to Barnes & Noble one afternoon or simply browse Amazon’s digital pages and you’ll see what I mean. There are so many different genres and formats. What do the affluent read?
The Wall Street Journal is at the top of Warren Buffett’s reading list. The Journal has a very wide reach and is especially popular among the rich. More than 2 million people read either a hard copy or online version of it every day. Another top paper is the New York Times, also favored by Buffett. The Times has a nationwide daily circulation of roughly 1.8 million copies including digital editions.
The rich read a lot. It’s one of their favorite pastimes, and it’s often one of the ways they differ from the not-so-rich. Millionaires didn’t get where they are by wasting time watching TV. They enjoy learning, and they read a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction. The Catcher in the Rye is one of Bill Gates’ favorite books. Mark Zuckerberg is partial to Ender’s Game and Oprah Winfrey’s all-time favorite is To Kill a Mockingbird: 50th Anniversary Edition.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos enjoys Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. In fact, “success” books are bestsellers particularly among the self-made wealthy. Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, was written in the 1930s. It is a highly recommended motivational classic. More recently, there are books like Outliers and its much touted 10,000 hours of practice. Good to Great is also recommended as a no-nonsense leadership book, and the 4-Hour Workweek is a decent read for those who seek insight about making a successful living without burning out in a 9-to-5 job.
In 2010, American Consumer surveyed 860 households with income of $250K or more. These 10 magazines topped the list of favorites:
Interestingly, while these were the favorites, they were not the most read. The New Yorker is famous for its long articles that are stimulating, but apparently not easy to finish. The most read magazines included Better Homes & Gardens, Times and Consumer Reports. National Geographic and Consumer Reports were on both lists.
There are so many benefits to reading. It stimulates your mind, expands your vocabulary and reduces stress. It’s also one of the best ways to obtain knowledge. The best business people make quick decisions. In order to make decisions on the fly, they must be educated and prepared to act. Reading consistently helps them gather information so that they’re ready to react to investment opportunities as they are presented.
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