4-8 Read, Read, Read

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My friend, Jake Taylor is a professional investor who also runs a website called Five Good Questions and online series dedicated to interviewing interesting authors and creating more inspired readers. Back when he was in business school, Jake won a long shot lottery to have lunch with Warren Buffett. The truth is, is that although he and his business partner, Charlie Munger have incredibly high IQs, their real competitive advantage comes from all the books that they read.

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[MUSIC] » My friend, Jake Taylor is a professional investor who also runs a website called Five Good Questions and online series dedicated to interviewing interesting authors and creating more inspired readers. Back when he was in business school, Jake won a long shot lottery to have lunch with Warren Buffett. Those six hours together with Warren Buffett transformed Jake’s life. » After meeting Mister Buffett, I couldn’t stop wondering how one man had accumulated so much knowledge in one lifetime. I started reading everything I could get my hands on about him. And after about a decade now, I think I’ve finally unlocked what his magic is. The truth is, is that although he and his business partner, Charlie Munger have incredibly high IQs, their real competitive advantage comes from all the books that they read. These guys are nonstop readers. If you want to be the smartest person in the room, it’s pretty simple. Just read more than everyone else. Now [COUGH] and you may say, it is difficult to find time to read. But if you can carve out 20 minutes a day, that will lead to 35 books read in 1 year. So imagine yourself a year from now, when you’ve read 35 book, how much smarter you’ll be? Now, think about yourself 3 years out and the 100 books that you’ll have read over that time. All of this compounds out into a richer and more successful life with better decision-making all along the way. So if I could say, there was one hack, I would say, it’s to read more than everyone else. » One controlled study of well over 3,000 participants found that book readers have a survival advantage over those who read only newspapers or magazines, or who didn’t read much at all. Basically, book readers showed about a 20% reduction in risk of mortality over the 12 years of followup compared to non-book readers. There’s something about book reading that is especially healthy. We talked about the importance of metaphor in learning. Here’s something to think about if you’re trying to be creative, as well as knowledgeable about a field. Let’s say that you’re trying to understand the best approaches to investing. So you read all the most famous books on investing and many other books on investing, as well. What you don’t tend to think about is that everybody else who’s interested in investing is doing pretty much the same thing. So, the same input can mean much the same output. Meaning that you won’t really have much of an advantage on everyone else. However, if you make a habit of reading not only within your discipline or subject area, but also devoting a little time to reading and learning something completely unrelated, at least it seems that way. You have a much better chance of bringing creative new approaches and ideas to the discipline through the metaphors that will naturally develop in your mind. This could be what else ends up giving you that extra edge. In this MOOC, we’ve placed a lot of emphasis on online learning, but don’t forget the value of reading good books in helping you to keep up with life long learning. Do you have a favorite book or author who’s impacted your learning, the quality of your life or your understanding of life and your place in it? Head on over to the discussion forum and let us know what you think, and learn as well from the top insights of professors. [MUSIC]

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