Why Entrepreneurs Read A Lot

Why Entrepreneurs Read A Lot

books in library

The Link Between Wealth and Books: Why Entrepreneurs Read A Lot

Do you know the common thread that weaves through all rich entrepreneurs? They read. They read a lot.

From Warren Buffet to Elon Musk to Jack Ma and every other entrepreneur in between, reading is not only a hobby but a daily habit. If you search the internet for any photo of an entrepreneur at his home, office, workplace or on a flight to a business meeting, chances are you will often see a stack of books nearby. So, why do entrepreneurs read a lot?

Every year, Bill Gates shares his reading list on his blog, “Gates Notes.” The Microsoft founder and currently fourth-richest person on the globe confesses to reading over 50 books every year. This is phenomenal if you think about it. It breaks down to around 1 book each week.

Other well-known business leaders and opinion-shapers in entrepreneurship seem to read as much. For example;

  •                 Elon Musk was once asked how and where he learnt rocket science. He answered cheekily, “I read books.” Elon Musk is currently the richest person in the world.
  •                 Mark Zuckerberg often posts his reading list on his Facebook Page. Zuckerberg built his multi-billion company, Facebook, from his college dorm.
  •                 In an interview with Oprah Winfrey (who is herself an entrepreneur and an avid reader), the rap musician and entrepreneur Jay-Z boldly declared that there are books that changed his life. Jay-Z makes more money from the companies he has built than from the music records he sells.
  •                 Kim Kardashian, in one of her tweets in February 2017 stated that she has started a reading club, along with Chrissy Teigen. Kim Kardashian is an entrepreneur with a chokehold on the beauty and fashion industry. In 2015, she reportedly earned more than US$53 million from her TV reality series only.

So, guys…. @chrissyteigen & @jenatkinhair & I are starting a book club!

— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian), Twitter. February 2, 2017

And they are not alone, many other entrepreneurs have described how reading is a part of their lifestyle.

So, is there a link between business success, entrepreneurship and reading habits? How does reading help build business confidence? And how can you build this reading habit to emulate your role model entrepreneur? Let’s explore more.


Reading Opens Up Your Mind to A Whole New World

pop up book

If you have not read a single book this year, you are in good 

company. According to statistics, over 25% of American adult citizens have not read a single book since the year began. If you are among hundreds and thousands of others, you need to change. Entrepreneurs are risk-takers, outliers and the things they do differently is what makes them successful. Among these things is reading books.

Reading books opens up your mind to a whole new world. In a study carried out by the University of Toronto, results showed that subjects who read fiction are more open-minded as compared to those who do not read often. The result concluded that reading fiction eliminates “cognitive biases”.

We can see that entrepreneurs often come up with unique out-of-the-world ideas. Most of these ideas seem fictional until they are actualized. For example, when Elon Musk first mooted the idea of space tourism, it sounded like something from a fiction movie. He has other crazy ideas, too, like the hyperloop, his mars colony program and many others. All these ideas must come from somewhere. The ideas are likely shaped by the nature of books he reads.


Learning is infinite

Regular people think that learning is confined mostly to the walls of a school or institution. There could be nothing further from the truth. Every day, the human mind learns something new. There is no limit to what the mind of a human can accommodate. Great business ideas come from acquiring knowledge. Entrepreneurs know that this knowledge is hidden in books.

Reading books shapes the world view of entrepreneurs. It is a way for them to enter into the minds of other people, flesh out the ideas that are stored there and build on the ideas they have for themselves.

Many entrepreneurs are said to be college dropouts. But as we started by establishing from the onset, most entrepreneurs will always have a book close by. They take learning as a continuous process even after college.

If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, then you should look at learning as a continuous process. Ensure that you learn not from observing the trends and experiences of others but by grabbing a book and delving into the ideas written by someone else.


The Brain is a Muscle

Just like your body needs food – mind your carbs, eat your veggies, regulate your protein – your mind needs books. Books are the nutrition of the mind as food is the nutrition of your body. But it doesn’t end there. You may have heard that the brain is like a muscle. Like all muscles need regular training and exercise to remain fit, the brain needs regular exercise to remain fit.

Books stimulate your brain and cause the many chemicals in the grey and white matter to achieve their highest potential. By diving into a book, you are taking your mind to the gym.

Entrepreneurs read a lot because they understand this little fact. The best sportspeople hit the gym daily, like a religion. Likewise, the best entrepreneurs read daily.


It is a myth that Genius is born not made.

In 1982, J.K Rowling tried taking the entry exam to Oxford University. She was denied entry. She, later on, went to study elsewhere and led a relatively quiet academic life. Based on her denied entry to the most prestigious university in the world, one could argue that she was not born a genius.

Today, J.K Rowling is known the world over as the author of the Harry Potter series of books. She is a globally recognized name. Her books have sold more than 500 million copies and raked in millions of dollars in merchandise, movie sales and royalties. She is an entrepreneur in her own right.

How did she leap from a university failure to a successful entrepreneur? She read books! In an interview with the New Yorker, she recalls her campus days as quiet and to herself. When asked what she remembers of those early days, she says she does not remember much. But the one thing she remembers doing actively was reading.

“I did no work whatsoever. I read Dickens and Tolkien.” – J.K Rowling

It is a myth that geniuses are born that way. Most people with remarkable achievements in business (or indeed elsewhere) confess to having a point in their life where they read a lot of books.

As an entrepreneur, you need to make reading an active culture. Successful entrepreneurs understand this fact.


man reading a book

In summary – Entrepreneurs Read Because It Is A Culture

We could go on and on, but it is evident there is a link between why entrepreneurs read a lot of books and the success they achieve on the business front.

Do you want to be a successful entrepreneur? Make reading part of your daily routine. A reading culture is easy to develop. Once you get to it, it becomes a lifestyle.


“If I replaced some of the time I spend scrolling aimlessly on my smartphone, then maybe I could read 10 books a day.” – Said No One Ever.

Having said all that, the question remains, what kind of books do entrepreneurs read? Many well-known global entrepreneurs have “reading lists” that they publish annually. For the lesser-known entrepreneurs, their reading lists can be found on their social media pages and handles. A quick inspection will show that the entrepreneurs read a lot of books on almost any topic. On observation, there seems to be no rule on the nature of books they read. All genres like finance, science, biographies and inspirational books seem to feature in the reading lists. And while fiction makes several appearances, it seems that they do not indulge in magazines or tabloids or other kinds of “leisure readings.”

If reading for the sole reason of becoming successful business-wise is not enough motivation, then perhaps you should consider reading just for its health benefits. Through numerous research studies, people who read appear to have low-stress levels, less depression and fewer cases of dementia. In addition, reading increases confidence and decision-making, not only in business but in daily tasks. So, on the global scale, even if not for entrepreneurship, reading has immense benefits.

If you are an avid reader, good! But if you are among the 25% who have statistically not touched a book since the year began, here is a list of 5 great books to start you off:






The New Jim Crow

Michelle Alexander

Bill Gates


Girl, Woman, Other

Bernardine Evaristo

Barack Obama


The Seat of the Soul

Gary Zukav

Jay Z


Merchants of Doubt

Erik M. Conway and Naomi Oreskes

Elon Musk


Rich Dad Poor Dad

Robert Kiyosaki

Daymond John

Enjoy reading!

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Matthew McFarlane

"I'm an enthusiastic blog writer who loves exploring the world of entrepreneurship. I enjoy breaking down complex business ideas into easy-to-understand articles, helping aspiring and experienced entrepreneurs find their way. My goal is to inspire creativity, share practical advice, and connect with fellow business enthusiasts."

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