Broaden your reading to become a better professional

Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Tony Robbins and many other mega-successful leaders broaden their expertise by reading books and articles well outside of their chosen fields.

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WASHINGTON, June 15, 2017 – There is no one prescription for success. The uniqueness of each human being adds complications to the path to success. However, examining and understanding the lives and career patterns of successful people, business executives and other role models can help us navigate success.

It might seem strange, but reading is one of the most frequently suggested tools offered by world’s leaders, entrepreneurs, and success figures. Most would imagine that the suggestion of “reading” means individuals should obtain as much knowledge as possible about their chosen field by reading and absorbing the best books on the subject.

But these successful leaders simply advise us just to “read.” Read anything. In other words, broaden your horizons by making yourself familiar with many topics, professions and ideas.

It is easy to reach out for an interesting book, magazine or article that pertains to our area of interest. As a result, we mostly read about what we like, enhancing one or two areas of our our personal knowledge base. However, this style of reading is not what truly successful people actually suggest or do.


Take Bill Gates, for example, currently one of the wealthiest persons on the planet (these positions often change). Microsoft’s co-founder currently boasts an approximately $83.9 billion net worth. Amazingly, his “Gates Notes,” and reading lists are not limited to his career. He regularly consumes articles on education, energy, foreign aid, vaccination, history, philosophy, even toilets, and sanitation.

Tony Robbins, the popular motivational life coach whose currently estimated net worth is approximately $45 million, says reading 30 minutes a day is one of his keys to success.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and co-founder of Facebook and the fifth richest person in the world (estimated net worth: $58.6 billion), also identifies reading as the key to success.

Elon Musk, founder, CEO, and CTO of SpaceX; co-founder, CEO, and product architect of Tesla Inc.; co-founder and chairman of SolarCity (now part of Tesla); co-chairman of OpenAI; co-founder of Zip2; and founder of X.com, whose estimated net worth is $13.2 billion, is a strong advocate of reading as well. In fact, when asked how he learned to build rockets, he said, “I read books.”

Numerous self-made millionaires claim that reading is the key to success in virtually any endeavor. However, their reading lists not only involve getting more educated and up to date on their professions. What makes them different is that the books and articles they read expand beyond their business interests and encompass as many different topics as possible.

Reading that involves a variety of topics, not just one or two, helps the brain see other possibilities in business and in life. It helps create and encourage an adaptive style to problem solving, integrates different areas of expertise, increases creativity, and, in general, it makes us all smarter and more aware of our surroundings.

Such broad-based knowledge-gathering – the kind of learning that can encompass widely differing areas beyond our immediate expertise – enables us to connect and communicate with people from many backgrounds and professions. In other words, it helps expand our network, which is a major key to continued success.

If you get a single message from this article, it should be this: Keep an open mind on knowledge and on life, and open up to possibilities beyond your immediate expertise. Practically speaking, that means that each time you see a book, magazine or article on the social network or on a library shelf, make sure to take a look at it. Especially if it is not within your area of interest or expertise.

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