Who reads what books?


Have you ever walked into someone’s home or office and looked at their library to see what kinds of books are on the shelf? You can tell a lot about a person from the books he reads. You can also tell a lot about a person by how they dress, how they eat, who they relate to, what they do, etc. Without deliberately trying to find information, we learn more about people just by observing. In essence, this is how we get to know someone, or get to know someone better. This is also how people are attracted to each other as friends, business partners, etc. When you find out what books they read, that’s when you find out what they are thinking.

When I look at someone’s book collection, I can tell if they like to read the same kinds of books that I read. You may have read the same book. I believe, more than anything else, that I can tell more about a person just by seeing what books they read. If there is someone I want to learn from, I will try to find out what books they are reading. I would love to have seen the library of Thomas Edison, Napoleon Hill, and Donald Trump, just to name a few. Sometimes the best books we read were books recommended by someone. I’d love to know what books all the Forbes 400 users have read in the last year. Or I would like to know what books others in my industry are reading.

If you want to be successful at something, look at others who are successful and do what they are doing. It sounds simple, but here’s another way to look at it. Find out what books they are reading and you will learn what they have in mind, what they are thinking about. If you want to learn how to invest, find out what Wall Street professionals are reading. If you want to learn how to invest in real estate, find out what real estate investors are reading. If you want inspiration to start a business, find out what other entrepreneurs read. You can even read biographies of people in similar companies or industries. You will find that successful people in any vocation often read biographies, self-help books, and anything else that can inspire, motivate and educate.

If someone is looking to lose weight or just get in shape, I would ask the people at the gym what books they would recommend. My personal favorite is Live Young Forever by Jack LaLanne. I think a great conversation would be between sports fans discussing some of the best books they have read. I would love to be in that conversation with my pen and notepad at the ready. How cool would it be to have the ten books recommended by Magic Johnson? There you would get a double bonus as he was a star basketball player as well as a great businessman. With all of this in mind, is there a new conversation starter? “I’ve been reading good books lately.”

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