You Are What You Read

A few blogs ago I mentioned I recently finished Tom Corley’s book, “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.” One of the rich habits Corley highlights is the daily reading of books and material pertaining to one’s profession. Turns out 88% of the wealthy people Corley interviewed read at least 30 minutes of professional or personal growth material every day, whereas only 2% of the poor folks he interviewed read that much.

When I first started in the financial industry over two decades ago, mutual fund and insurance salespeople used to call on me to sell their particular products. Many times they would show up with a sleeve of golf balls or a T-shirt as a way to turn their cold call into a warm call.  Not being a golfer and not really needing another T-shirt, I would tell them to stow the promo items, but if they wanted to give me something I could use, bring books about finance.  Some of them obliged, and I read several excellent professional books that way.

IImage found many of my first prospects and clients knew more about investing than I did. To remedy my relative lack of experience, I set a goal to read at least one book per month about my profession my first two years in the business. I read books about stocks, economics, personal finance, insurance, estate planning, mutual funds, real estate, and how to run a small business.  In addition to learning things I didn’t know, I was also gaining professional confidence. While many of the people I talked with had more years of investing under their belt, I don’t think anyone had read 25 finance books in the past two years like I had.  What really surprised me however, was how many financial professionals, with several more years in the industry, hadn’t read 25 professional books in their entire careers!

There are two ways to get smart: 1) by making mistakes; or 2) by reading books by people who already made the mistakes. The latter is much less expensive.

If you aren’t satisfied with where you are professionally, then make a plan to improve your situation, and one of the easiest ways to begin improving is to read at least one professional development book a month.

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