The Need to Read

By Graves, Earl G., Sr. | Black Enterprise, February 2014 | Go to article overview

The Need to Read


Graves, Earl G., Sr., Black Enterprise


"I don't read books." "The last time I picked up a book? Maybe back in undergrad." "Books? I'm too busy to read."

In a time when it is possible to carry an entire personal library on a mobile device that is thinner than most elementary school workbooks, it is mind-boggling to me that there are people who can say--even boast--that they do not read books. This is especially alarming when I hear this from young African Americans, who have as much to gain as anyone from the immense return on investment of intellectual curiosity that only books can deliver. Worse, increasingly, I am meeting far too many older adults--I'm talking college-educated professionals and business owners--who openly admit that they don't see reading books as worthy of their time and attention. They might as well hand out business cards that read, "I'm good with mediocrity. I'm done with learning. I'm too busy to excel."

BE 100s CEOs; top corporate executives; accomplished entrepreneurs; successful investors; and leaders in religion, sports, entertainment, academia, and politics--including nearly all U.S. presidents (yes, including President Obama)--have one thing in common. They recognize that reading books is an invaluable act of continual learning and personal growth, of expanding the capacity to recognize opportunity, of developing the robust imagination necessary for innovation. Self-education, an eye for opportunity, and the ability to innovate is quite simply the universal formula for lasting success and wealth.

The wealthiest, most successful, most powerful people in the world read books. They reread books. They never stop reading books. They are endlessly committed to their own continuing education, to learning what they need to know to attain and sustain their wealth, power, and influence. …

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