The Power of Books
By: Kai Patrick Mesaros
What if I told you that there was portal through which you could access all the information garnered by nearly every person who has lived? Would you believe me?
Information and knowledge collected by the richest entrepreneurs, the most influential politicians, world-renowned innovators, genius military leaders — and that’s just naming a few. You could insert yourself into their perspectives, experiencing how they became their most immortal selves.
Some might think, “No, that sounds too good to be true,” “Impossible” or “Why does that even matter?” This “portal” has existed since the beginning of civilization: books and written records. Through books, you can learn 2,500-year-old strategies from Sun Tzu, you can experience John D. Rockefeller’s transformation of America (and making a handsome profit) or you can read how Winston Churchill triumphed against the Nazis during some of the world’s darkest days.
Think back to your days in high school, forcibly reading crusty books and giving half-hearted presentations about people or events you simply didn’t care about. Our public school system immeasurably ruins books — and the learning experiences that accompany them — for most people. Students complete assignments and take tests on difficult content deemed important by the teacher, not the student. It was boring, difficult and mentally exhausting. However, don’t let this bad experience discourage you!
Great books are written to inspire, not discourage. Great books are meant to be appreciated, not rebelled against. Great books are meant to be a vehicle of learning, especially learning from others’ mistakes. Don’t just take it from me; Warren Buffett said it best: “It’s good to learn from your mistakes. It’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.” Great books will change your life.
Ralph Waldo Emerson is famously quoted as saying, “If we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” So, what if I told you that there is a significant correlation between a person’s level of income and the number of “educational” books they read per year — would you believe me? Do you think it is a coincidence that the average CEO reads roughly 60 books a year? When was the last time you picked up a book? Maybe that time is now.
We all have 24 hours in a day: Start making reading a priority. If you desire to be above average, you need to do more than the average person. Reading the right books can shave years off your learning curve, allowing you to save time and energy by avoiding the mistakes other people have made before you.