“What you know is already outdated.” Read. That. Again. Success in any field doesn’t just depend on what you know, but rather on how quickly you can learn. This is important because change happens at a very high rate these days, and you cannot use the same thinking which got you into a problem to fix that problem you are facing. This is the reason why learning is so important, because you get exposed to new ways of thinking, and new ways of approaching what you do. Any wonder then that billionaires are avid readers and people hungrily comb through any books that these successful people recommend?
When you read what a billionaire is reading, you get a glimpse into what is shaping the outlook of that billionaire, and you too can fashion your thinking processes along the same lines on the journey to your own success. In this post, we briefly peek into half a dozen books that billionaires recommend. Have you read them? If not, grab a copy, read it and implement what you learn from the following books.
Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens
This one is the most recommended book by millionaires, the likes of Bill Gates, Ray Dalio, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, Daniel Ek, Reid Hoffman, Changpeng Zhao and so many others.
The book explores human progress as we know it and traces its origins, the mechanisms through which it works and the effects that progress has had. For example, the book takes a critical look at the three main revolutions which have shaped the world as we know it. These are the cognitive revolution that happened about 70,000 years ago; followed by the agricultural revolution occurring 10,000 years ago; and the third is the scientific revolution whose origin can be traced to about 500 years ago.
The book is very popular because it portrays human potential as boundless and that if progress continues the way it is growing, humans could transcend the status of mere mortals and become gods. Read it and be inspired to play your part in this collective evolution!
Ray Dalio, Principles
This is the second most-recommended book by billionaires. Its high-flying fan base includes billionaires like Howard Marks, Drew Houston and Dustin Moskovitz, among others.
In the book, Ray Dalio, the founder of the largest hedge fund called Bridgewater Associates, breaks down the different principles which have helped him attain the success that he has attained. Those principles cover diverse topics like implementing systems, decision-making, and seeking truth. The author takes readers on a deep dive into the specific management practices and principles upon which Bridgewater is based, and those insights are valuable for anyone who aspires to build and grow a business that will stand the test of time.
Charles Munger, Poor Charlie’s Almanac
For those who may not know, Charles Munger has variously been described as the right hand of legendary investor Warren Buffett.
In this book, Munger shares what he calls mental models that have been the cornerstone of his investing life. The philosophies upon which he has built his success include being as educated as one can possibly be (through reading!), picking lessons from everything that happens, always being objective and thinking through the arguments presented by those who don’t agree with you, always being reliable, and so on.
One notable way of thinking recommended by Munger is that you should never discount an argument different from your own until you have understood it so thoroughly that you can be a much better advocate for that position than those who are currently presenting it. That is one huge way of ensuring you are objective!
Andrew Grove, Only the Paranoid Survive
Peter Drucker (legendary management consultant) says this book is very dangerous because it will make people think. The book has a huge following among billionaires because it takes readers through how they can navigate and exploit the different crises which all companies inevitably go through at one point or the other. The aim is to equip readers with the ability to come out stronger when an “inflection point” (crisis) is reached at their company or business. Can you, with all certainty, claim that your business will never face a crisis that threatens its very existence? I guess not, so grab a copy of this book and be prepared for when the manure hits the fan!
Chris Yeh & Reid Hoffman, Blitzscaling
First movers enjoy enormous advantages, and first movers who quickly scale their operations to a global scale enjoy unbelievable advantages. This book discusses how business owners can rapidly scale their businesses (hence the term blitzscaling). There is plenty of science and art involved in growing at lightning speed, and the authors spell out the mechanisms, principles and tools one can use to achieve this massive growth at such a dizzying rate without stumbling along the way. Why play small when this book can guide you to become a successful global behemoth so quickly?
Clayton Christensen, The Innovator’s Dilemma
Have you ever wondered why an entity will emerge with a disruptive innovation that has potential to sweep across the globe but the company quickly fades into oblivion? Have you wondered why firms which are apparently at the top of their industries suddenly crumble and fall by the wayside?
This book explores how powerful disruption can be, why companies that lead in their different industries or markets are sitting on a time-bomb headed for failure as technologies emerge and evolve, and what exactly those currently at the top can do to maintain and consolidate their positions for years and decades into the future. One strong warning the book conveys is that the very good practices which bring a company to the top can be the very factors that take it down in a short while. Read the book and learn the antidote to this dilemma!
We can go on and on about the books that various billionaires recommend, but the key takeaway is that you need to make reading an integral part of you, and most importantly, put into practice the things that you learn whenever you read. Your success will largely be a reflection of how much you grow (as a result of the correct things you learn and implement from books and elsewhere). The recommended books above are a great place to start. Have fun taking it from there!
To Your Success,