Read to Succeed

Want to be one of the greats in your field? Keep reading and learning.


Too many people think that when they are done with school they are done with learning. The reality is the most successful people in the world continue improving their brains every day, from presidents to business leaders to inventors. They know that the secret to staying at the top of their game means keeping their brains in good working order. And work alone doesn’t cut it. In fact, reading to learn is the key.

But, hey, you may say, I’ve got a life. I don’t have time for reading. You have to make time, using something nifty called the 5-hour rule. Simply put, you have to commit to spending one hour each work day on learning something. It can’t be actual day-to-day work, it has to be something that furthers your development. Think of it as gym for your mind.

Let’s break it down.

  • Reading — The chief way you should be spending your 5-hour rule time is cracking the books (and, yes, audio books work). The main thing is to read books for self-improvement. In fact, the author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals, Thomas Corley, found during his research that 88 percent of the rich and successful read for self-improvement every day.
  • Reflection — Another vital component of the 5-hour rule is taking time to process the information you gleaned from your reading time. In other words, this isn’t a race to see who can cram in the most books per week or month. Be sure to invest some of your time in thinking through what you have read and figuring out how you can use it in your life and work.

  • Experimentation — Which brings us to the third stage of the 5-hour rule, putting what you have read and thought about into action. You have to approach this scientifically by testing out ideas, even the ones that seem truly "out there". Innovation doesn’t happen without some trial and error.