Introduction: Profit Reading: Make Money from Books Worth Reading
When was the last time you read a great book? The kind of book that made you stop to think about what you were reading? I am asking you because I want to know. I have this theory that you can profit from the books you read, if you read the right books. I am calling this idea profit reading – making money from the books you read.
If you invested four to eight hours reading a book, should you not reap the benefits of the applied knowledge? I believe you should get a return on investment for your time. Profit in this case could be a promotion, an in-demand product you create to sell, a new service you offer, and so on.
I think if more professionals approached their reading with this mindset, they would want to read more. And they would make the time to read, even if it means giving up another activity.
The most successful people understand the concept of profit reading, even if they do not call it that. Take Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, he spends about three hours each day reading, even though he is a billionaire. In his book, How to Win at the Sport of Business, Mark Cuban says,
“I learned from magazines and books, but I also learned from watching what some of the up-and-coming technology companies of the day were doing. It’s funny how the companies that I thought were brilliant back then are still racking it up today.”
In the Quartz article, A brash, legendary film producer’s secret to finding acclaimed movies: He reads—a lot, we get insights into how and why Harvey Weinstein is so successful.
““I’m a reader,” Weinstein told the Hollywood Reporter. “That’s where the sauce comes from.” Weinstein says he reads three books in a typical week and 10 scripts. At that rate, he’d breeze through an impressive 156 books and 520 scripts a year. Weinstein says the habit helps him find and lock down projects before other studios have a chance to touch them. It’s how the movie mogul landed the 1998 Oscar-nominated indie comedy Little Voice at Miramax, the indie studio he co-founded and ran with brother Bob Weinstein.”
Profit Reading: How to Make Money from Books Worth Reading
To profit from your reading, you need a systematic way to generate innovative ideas. The profit is in the innovative ideas that you generate. The first step is to take notes while you are reading a book. Tie the information to what you already know.
Any insights that come to you while reading, jot them down. And if ideas come to you about how to use the information, jot that down as well. When you finish reading each book, review your notes, then extract the core ideas.
What I have noticed about myself, is that I have to read over my notes several times for the information to start to gel. While you are re-reading your notes, if insights come to you, write them down. You may find that you want to group notes different, so copying and pasting information may become your best friend. When you have read five books, start combining the ideas from the different books you read.
Another point that I would like to make, is that it is important to read diverse books in a concentrated amount of time. I read that Bill Gates used to take two one-week reading sabbaticals every year and binge read. Not everyone has that luxury, but you can copy what he does. To read five books in a month, you need to read a book every sixth day.
If you remember, Harvey Weinstein reads three books a week.
To ensure that you profit from the ideas from books, make sure that you tie them to a human need. What you are trying to do is to create a solution to a problem that matters. It is good to revisit the Maslow Hierarchy of needs at this point.
If you need added guidance on how to combine ideas, I created the handy guide, How to Spot Great Ideas When You Read Books. It costs $6.49 and it walks you the process. Please also make sure that you read the following four posts, because they have a lot of information that you can immediately use.
Have you read?
Profit Reading: What Books Are Worth Reading
I want to spend a few minutes talking about what makes a book great. I emphasize this because I do not think that every book will allow you to make money. You are looking for profitable ideas, so you want to focus on the kinds of books that will deliver. The late Professor J Rufus Fears says,
- Its focus on great themes such as love, courage, and patriotism
- Its composition in a noble language
- Its ability to speak to readers across the ages
- Its ability to speak to readers not as groups, but as individuals
The books that Professor Fears is referring to are classic literature such as: Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the Odyssey, In Praise of Folly, Utopia, The Brothers Karamazov, Animal Farm, Tristan and Isolde, and Brave New World.
There are also many contemporary books that are worth reading. The most successful people like to read books that make them think. Besides reading books that make me think, I also like reading books that teach me skills, and books filled with great ideas. I think the profit is in the ideas that live between the pages of books that are worth reading.
Have you read?
When you read a book, you should have a purpose for reading it. One way you can find books worth reading on a topic is to conduct research on Amazon, then take the time to read a few reviews. What I prefer to do, which is not for most people, is to visit the library and talk to a librarian. Sometimes I do the research on the library’s website. You can also talk to your colleagues to get book recommendations.
I also pay attention to what great thinkers read. For instance, you can keep track of what Bill Gates is reading on his blog GatesNotes. Although he reads some fiction, he tends to read books that deal with difficult problems. At this stage in his life, he is looking for solutions to difficult problems such as world hunger and poverty and clean water in the developing world.
I recommend that you watch the lectures at the Floating University because they deal with big ideas. There are 12 lectures, and each is close to an hour long. I watched them over a space of two weeks a few years ago. It is time for me to watch them again.
Profit Reading: Reading Books to Thrive in the Future
You are probably sick of me talking about the World Economic Forum reporting that you need to learn 10 key skills to thrive in 2020. Right now, I am learning the 10 skills. Below are some of the books that are worth reading. If you are up for the challenge, I would recommend that you also read some of the classic literature that I mentioned above. This adds diversity to the books you read, therefore, adding diversity to the big ideas that you generate.
If you can take a reading sabbatical, read the books within a concentrated time frame to see what kinds of results you get. It is worth mentioning that you will not profit from your ideas if you do not apply the knowledge. And remember the more the idea solves a meaningful problem, the more profitable it will be.
Animal farm: A Fairy StoryBrave New WorldThe OdysseyUtopiaThe Brothers KaramazovThe MacGyver Secret: Connect to Your Inner MacGyver and Solve AnythingBe Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service (Disney Institute Book, A)Collaboration: How Leaders Avoid the Traps, Build Common Ground, and Reap Big ResultsPeople Management: Everything you need to know about managing and leading people at workKiss, Bow, Or Shake Hands: The Bestselling Guide to Doing Business in More Than 60 Countries