Do you believe that people who read business books make more money?
Introduction to People Who Read Business Books Make More Money
While reading an email from an association that wants me to rejoin, “people who read business books make more money” caught my eyes. The email further added,
“According to a number of studies*, business people who read at least seven business books a year earn over 2.3 times more than those who read only one book per year.” Later in the email, “A study by Bersin & Associates** found that while 74.9% of all managers understand the correlation between reading and competitive advantage, they simply don’t have the time to read more books. This is directly impacting their careers – and incomes!”
Below is a portion of the email I captured using Evernote (Review of Work Smarter with Evernote by Alexandra Samuel). The email reports that the source for the statistics on the correlation between reading business books and income cites the source as United States Department of Labor, Survey by Yahoo! Chief Solutions Officer Tim Sanders and Business Majors, but no links are given. I am going to try and track the original source.
UPDATE: This post was first published in May 2013
People Who Read Business Books Make More Money: Reading Critically
I conducted some research on the internet, and there are many websites that have the quote, except sometimes they say business books and other times it’s just books.
The statement, “people who read business books make more money,” baffles me because I have read time-and-time again that the most successful people do not read business books, instead, they read books that make them think – philosophy, poetry, biographies, psychology, religion and so on.
Further Reading: For Those Who Want to Lead, Read
People Who Read Business Books Make More Money – Weighing the Evidence
When I was gathering information for my book, Tales of People Who Get It, one of the questions that I asked was, “Which one book had a profound impact on your life?” And the response was seldom a business book. Respondents often reported that business books do not impact their lives. Even years after my book was published, I still ask interviewees the same questions, and business books are seldom mentioned.
In the New York Times article, “C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success,” written by Harriet Rubin, business books are missing from the book shelves of these very successful people. For instance, Michael Moritz, venture capitalist with Sequoia Capital says,
“I try to vary my reading diet and ensure that I read more fiction than nonfiction,” Mr. Moritz said. “I rarely read business books, except for Andy Grove’s ‘Swimming Across,’ which has nothing to do with business, but describes the emotional foundation of a remarkable man. I re-read from time to time T. E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom, an exquisite lyric of derring-do, the navigation of strange places and the imaginative ruses of a peculiar character.”
If you carefully read the statement at the beginning of this post, it says a number of studies, but it doesn’t really cite any of the studies that report, “Business people who read at least seven business books a year earn over 2.3 times more than those who read only one book per year.” So do you believe that reading business books will allow you to earn more income?
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People Who Read Business Books Make More Money – To Agree or Not to Agree
You have probably guessed by now that I do not believe the statement “people who read business books make more money”. I think that it depends on the books that you read. In the Bersin & Associates report, How Executives Stay Informed, they report,
“In this study, less than one-quarter of respondents typically read books, articles, or journals in their entirety. The majority of the responses, two-thirds, indicated that they read summaries, skim the material, or read just the sections of interest. Comments from respondents strongly support that executives want easy-to-read, to-the-point, highly relevant pieces of information that can be accessed easily and digested quickly…. The topics of interest vary widely but the books most frequently relied-on are focused on four areas, including books on business strategy, major business trends, and by authors who are major business leaders…. Executives highly value the information in leading business books but cover-to-cover reading is difficult given the pace of business.”
Some Final Thoughts on People Who Read Business Books Make More Money
I am writing this as a reminder to myself. When you read, you shouldn’t take what you read as facts. Where possible, you need to verify the information. The quote that supports the research that says people who read business books make more money, come from the article, Read Any Good Business Books Lately, which is on Harvey Mackay’s blog. Harvey Mackay is a well-respected business leader, but I have problems believing the statistics because it is contrary to what I’ve heard. I’ll leave up to you to decide if people who read business books make more money.
I’d also like to add that now more than ever, it’s important to read critically.