Have you ever gone into someone’s home or office and looked upon their library to see what kind of books are on the shelf? You can tell much about a person by what books they read. You can also tell a lot about a person by how they dress, how they eat, who they associate with, what they do for a living, etc. Without deliberately trying to find out information, we learn more about people just by observing. In essence, that is how we get to know someone, or get to know someone better. That is also how people are drawn to one another as friends, business associates, etc. When you discover what books they read, that is when you find out what they are thinking.
When I look upon someone’s book collection, I can tell if they like to read the same kind of books I read. Maybe they have read the same book. I think, more than anything else, that I can tell more about a person just by seeing what books they read. If there is someone I want to learn from, I will try to find out what books they are reading. I would love to have seen the library of Thomas Edison, Napoleon Hill, and Donald Trump, just to name a few. Sometimes, the best books we read were books that were recommended by someone. I would love to find out what books everyone on the Forbes 400 has read in the past year. Or I would like to know what books others in my industry are reading.
If you want to be successful at something, look at others who are successful, and do what they are doing. It sounds simple, but here is another way to look at it. Find out what books they are reading, and you will learn what is in their head, what they are thinking about. If you want to learn how to invest, find out what the Wall Street pros are reading. If you want to learn how to invest in real estate, find out what real estate investors are reading. If you want to be inspired to start a business, find out what other business people read. You can even read biographies of people in similar businesses or industries. You will find that successful people in any calling are usually reading biographies, self-help books, and anything else that would inspire motivate and educate.
If someone is looking to lose weight or just get in shape, they would ask people at the gym what books they would recommend. My personal favorite is Live Young Forever by Jack LaLanne. I think a great conversation would be among sports fans discussing some of the best books they have read. I would love to be in that conversation with my pen and pad ready. How great would it be to have Magic Johnson’s top ten recommended books? You would get a double bonus there, since he was an all-star basketball player, as well as a great businessman. With all of this in mind, here is a new conversation starter? “Read any good books lately.”