To the billionaire entrepreneurs and executives of the world, reading provides a sort of education one might ordinarily not have access to in this life. It also provides a form of mentorship one might ordinarily not be privy to. For example, I might never have the opportunity to ask Megyn Kelly for career advice, but I can read her book about it, and I might never go to school for journalism, but I can read books about how to write.
If you want to become an expert on something, read five books about it.
I don’t remember where I heard it, but there’s an old quote from Jack Canfield that says if you want to become an expert on something, read five books about it. And because reading is cheaper (and less time consuming) than getting a masters degree, and more accessible than having Tony Robbins or Tim Ferriss as your personal friend or mentor, billionaires prioritize reading and devote several hours per day to the task.
One of my favorite entrepreneurs, Tai Lopez, famously reads one book per day (he even has a Ted Talk about it). Books have taught him everything he needs to know about what he calls “living the good life”—a combination of health, wealth, love, and happiness. And they’ve helped him to build several successful businesses in the process. After participating in his 67 Steps program, I decided I would rededicate myself to reading.
But when I sat down to analyze my current reading routine, I realized that I actually read more than 15 hours per week and complete eight books, eight newspapers, four magazines, and hundreds of articles each month. I figure that’s more than enough. So instead of trying to read more, I decided I would simply continue to make a list of things I wanted to learn about, and tackle those subjects one book at a time.
Here’s how I read more than 15 hours a week
Before work (15 minutes/day)
Every morning, I wake up, make myself a matcha latte and some avocado toast, and then sit down to read theSkimm while I eat. theSkimm is my replacement for a newspaper on the weekdays. It’s one email, sent every day, that gives a brief overview of the news—but written as if it were texted to you by a Yale student interning at the White House. It’s smart, concise, and very informative on everything that’s going on in the world. Like this.
On my way to/from work (60 minutes/day)
No matter if I’m walking or driving, I seem to always have a 30-minute commute to and from work. That’s one hour every day that I spend listening to a non-fiction book via Audible. I pick which books I want to read depending on what subjects I want to learn that week.
Sometimes I’ll read an autobiography (like Megyn Kelly’s Settle For More or Misty Copeland’s Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina), or history (Like Alexander Hamilton), or self-development (like Tony Robbins’ Money: Master The Game, or Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans) or religion (like anything by Rob Bell). Really anything I’m currently interested in—but you can keep track of my on-going list of “to-read” non-fiction books on my Pinterest board if you’re interested.
At work (15 minutes)
Once I get to work, the first thing I do is pull up my Feedly account—which is how I follow all of my blogs and read them as if they were a magazine. I skim through all of the headlines, and read those articles that pique my interest. Sometimes it’s a vegan recipe I’ll need to make later that evening, other times it’s a glimpse into the glamorous life of Garance Doré. Whatever catches my fancy. Once I’m all caught up, it’s time to begin my workday.
At night (60 minutes)
Every night I get into bed around 10pm so that I have an hour to read before I turn out the lights and go to sleep. By this point I’m ready to relax and unwind—I don’t want to read news, non-fiction, or anything that will require me to learn something. Instead, I peruse a plethora of fiction novels.
Preferably historical fiction (like Outlander or The Historian), fantasy (like The Kingkiller Chronicles or The Riyria Revelations), or young adult trilogies (like The Mortal Instruments series, the Graceling series, or the Red Queen series). But you can follow my on-going list of “to read” fiction books on my Pinterest board.
On the weekends (120 minutes)
I subscribe to The New York Times on Saturdays and Sundays and make it part of my weekend ritual to read through the entire thing over a cup of matcha and some avocado toast. I love how it includes news, but also style, travel, and everything relevant to my world and my life. Plus it makes me feel fancy to read it—like I’m staying at the Waldorf-Astoria and I’m reading The Times in my silk robe and slippers while lounging amidst white down comforters. True luxury.
I also usually read a magazine or two on the weekends. I used to be a huge magazine buff and would subscribe to more than twenty magazine each year, but over the years I realized that most of them don’t really contain anything of substance. Now I have my magazine subscriptions narrowed down to my three favorites.
I subscribe to The Harvard Business Review (the ONLY business magazine worth subscribing to—everything else is pure fluff), Porter Magazine (the articles feature incredibly rich portraits of inspiring women from historians and scientists, to designers and actresses—and the photography is any fashion lovers dream), and Town & Country (for obvious reasons to anyone who enjoys the life of leisure).
That’s how I read more than 15 hours a week fitting in everything from non-fiction and the news to fiction and my favorite blogs. By doing this, I continue to develop myself and my understanding of the world. Not to mention, it suits my fancy on this never-ending quest of lifestyle design.
Any books you’d recommend I read next? I’d love to know your favorites!