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10 Books That Bill Gates Wants You to Read to Become as Successful as Him

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10 Books That Bill Gates Wants You to Read to Become as Successful as Him

Ever heard the quote “learners are earners”? Bill Gates certainly has. He strives to read a book a week. No one is questioning his ability to earn! Luckily, you can follow his lead by following his blog, Gates Notes. He posts his thoughts on the books he reads so anyone can get into his mind and understand his views on success. Read on. Lead on.

1. Business Adventures by John Brooks

Business Adventures

    To have great success, it is important to understand why businesses are successful and why they fail. This book dives into the deep inner workings of why on both sides.

    What the publisher says about it: “From Wall Street to Main Street, John Brooks, longtime contributor to the New Yorker, brings to life in vivid fashion twelve classic and timeless tales of corporate and financial life in America.”

    What Bill Gates wrote about it:

    “Today, more than two decades after Warren lent it to me–and more than four decades after it was first published–Business Adventures remains the best business book I’ve ever read. John Brooks is still my favorite business writer.”

    Actually, this book was so important to Bill Gates that he made a short video about it. In it, he interviews Warren Buffet and other high-profile business leaders. Read Gates’ review and watch the video here.

    Buy the best business book Bill Gates has ever read.

    2. Tap Dancing to Work by Carol Loomis

    tap dancing to work

      It’s no secret that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have a strong relationship. This book is a compilation of Buffett’s articles interwoven by his colleague and close friend, Carol Loomis. If you want to learn about the unfolding of great success, this one is for you.

      What the publisher says about it: “Warren Buffett built Berkshire Hathaway into something remarkable–and Fortune journalist Carol Loomis had a front-row seat for it all.”

      What Bill Gates wrote about it:

      “I think anyone who reads it cover to cover will come away with two reactions: First, how Warren’s been incredibly consistent in applying his vision and investment principles over the duration of his career; and, secondly, that his analysis and understanding of business and markets remains unparalleled.”

      Buy the book that gets inside the mind of Bill Gates’ mentor.

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      3. Life is What You Make It by Peter Buffett

      life is what you make it

        Peter Buffett has been successful in his life too, although not completely because of his wealthy, successful father. This book tells the story of a hard-working wealthy child, and what his father instilled in him to become successful in music and philanthropy. Bill Gates said he will be reading it with his older children. You don’t have to be the child of a wealthy man to get this wisdom and enjoy your path.

        What the publisher says about it: “From composer, musician, and philanthropist Peter Buffett comes a warm, wise, and inspirational book that asks, Which will you choose: the path of least resistance or the path of potentially greatest satisfaction?”

        What Bill Gates says about it:

        “Contrary to what many people might assume, Peter won’t inherit great wealth from his father. Instead, he was encouraged by his parents to find his own path. The book is a chronicle of that journey–and the wisdom and perceptions he has developed along the way.”

        Get the book that Bill Gates wants for his children.

        4. Awakening Joy by James Baraz

        https://www.amazon.com/dp/1937006220?tag=s7621-20

          Why do you want to be successful? Joy may be a reason. This book teaches you how to have joy while you are becoming successful.

          What the publisher says about it: “Awakening Joy is more than just another book about happiness. More than simply offering suggested strategies to change our behavior, it uses time-tested practices to train the mind to learn new ways of thinking.

          The principles of the course are universal, although much of the material includes Buddhist philosophy drawn from the author’s thirty years as a Buddhist meditation teacher and spiritual counselor.”

          What Bill Gates says about it:

          “Joy is not for just the lucky few–it’s a choice anyone can make. In this groundbreaking book, based on his popular course, James Baraz helps you discover a path to the happiness that’s right in front of you, offering a step-by-step program that will reorient your mind away from dissatisfaction and distraction and toward the contentment and delight that is abundantly available in our everyday lives.”

          Get the book so you can successfully have what Bill Gates has: joy.

          5. Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson

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          Where good ideas come from

            Being successful requires a certain amount of innovation. This buzzword does not spark a strong visual for many people. Where Good Ideas Come From defines what makes fertile ground for successful innovation.

            What the publisher says about the book: “The printing press, the pencil, the flush toilet, the battery–these are all great ideas. But where do they come from? What kind of environment breeds them? What sparks the flash of brilliance? How do we generate the breakthrough technologies that push forward our lives, our society, our culture? Steven Johnson’s answers are revelatory as he identifies the seven key patterns behind genuine innovation, and traces them across time and disciplines.”

            What Bill Gates wrote about it:

            “Especially for people in business or education, it’s a worthwhile book. It talks about the institutional structures that facilitate good ideas–how you get lots of people thinking about cutting edge problems, how you put people together in a space where different skill sets and influences can come together, how you make the right kinds of materials available but don’t force a conclusion.”

            Get the book that Bill Gates says successful educators and businesspeople need for great innovation.

            6. Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

            Moonwalking with einstein

              You can’t be successful if you are known as forgetful. This book can teach you how to memorize obscure facts and useful ones. Great for those of us who are bad with names.

              What the publisher says about it: “Moonwalking with Einstein recounts Joshua Foer’s yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of top ‘mental athletes.’ He draws on cutting-edge research, a surprising cultural history of remembering, and venerable tricks of the mentalist’s trade to transform our understanding of human memory.”

              What Bill Gates says about it:

              “Like most people, I’m fascinated by how the mind works, and memory is a big element of that. Part of the beauty of this book is that it makes clear how memory and understanding are not two different things. Building up the ability to reason and the ability to retain information go hand in hand.”

              Get the book that makes Bill Gates’ mind work out hard.

              7. Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa

              Academically adrift

                This book outright says what we have all suspected: our college education may not have emphasized learning as much as we believed. This book can make you successful for two reasons:

                1. You can put your college education in a mental box and give yourself permission to learn in the real world.

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                2. If you are an educator, there is a real need for successful innovation.

                What the publisher says about this book: “In spite of soaring tuition costs, more and more students go to college every year. A bachelor’s degree is now required for entry into a growing number of professions. And some parents begin planning for the expense of sending their kids to college when they’re born.”

                What Bill Gates says about it:

                “The dismal results presented in Academically Adrift are based on the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a standardized test in which students are asked to make a practical decision–such as, what kind of airplane a company should buy–and explain their choice based on a set of goals and facts about different options. I’m optimistic about the potential of innovation to help solve many of the problems with our post-secondary system. But we need more and better information.”

                Bill Gates is lobbing this innovation softball at you. Will you take it and become successful?

                8. That Used to be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas L. Freidman and Michael Mandelbaum

                That used to be us

                  Thinking that the US is going to hell in a handbasket creates a dismal picture of the world. Dismal pictures dampen a person’s ability to be successful. Some aspects are true: America is not growing as fast as other countries; we are falling behind in math and science and sometimes even business. It’s not actually horrifying; we have just been really amazing at inspiring other countries to be like us. And now it’s time for the US to take the next step and lead the world.

                  What the publisher says about the book: “In That Used to Be Us, Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum analyze the four major challenges we face as a country–globalization, the revolution in information technology, chronic deficits, and our pattern of energy consumption–and spell out what we need to do now to preserve American power in the world.”

                  What Bill Gates wrote about the book:

                  “That Used to Be Us is a fantastic book, and I really encourage people to read it.

                  The basic message is that other countries, the ones that are now competing with us and kind of scaring us, are not doing anything different from what we did in our past. We have a difficult time responding to them, however, because they’re copying the way we used to be, and meanwhile, we’ve changed. As our society has gotten richer, we’ve become more careful about protecting people’s rights and not harming the environment, for example.”

                  Get the book that can position you to change the world.

                  9. Deng Xiaoping by Ezra F Vogel

                  Deng Xioping

                    Being successful requires taking a tough situation and transforming it into a beautiful piece of art. That’s what Deng Xiaoping did with the most populous country in the world. Before he came into power, China was in poverty and was unable to pull itself out. Deng transformed China’s business practices and and improved the country’s economy.

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                    What the publisher says about it: “No one in the twentieth century had a greater impact on world history than Deng Xiaoping. And no scholar is better qualified than Ezra Vogel to disentangle the contradictions embodied in the life and legacy of China’s boldest strategist–the pragmatic, disciplined force behind China’s radical economic, technological, and social transformation.”

                    What Bill Gates wrote about it:

                    “China in 1979 was one of the poorest countries in the world, far poorer than India. They were barely scratching out a living and their population density made it difficult for them to feed their population. There was very little to build on other than the fact that the party had incredible authority.

                    With this authority, Deng set in motion a series of critical changes early on in his leadership to achieve cultural stability and significant economic growth. To have done this essentially in one generation is an unbelievable accomplishment and is unique in the history of the world.”

                    Get the fascinating book about one man who inspired a whole country to become successful.

                    10. The Most Powerful Idea in the World by William Rosen

                    the-most-powerful-idea-in-the-world_books_2014_471px_v1

                      At first glance, it looks like this book is about railroads and engines. That’s plenty cool if you’re into that kind of stuff. The real meaning is about why these machines were so successful. What was the idea that made railroads so capable of changing the world?

                      Here’s what the publisher said about it: “Hardly a week passes without some high-profile court case that features intellectual property at its center. But how did the belief that one could own an idea come about? And how did that belief change the way humankind lives and works?”

                      What Bill Gates wrote about the book:

                      “The book’s premise is that the Anglophone world–England, Scotland, Wales and America–was the epicenter of the Industrial Revolution because it ‘democratized the nature of invention.’ Rosen makes a compelling argument that the steam engine is the quintessential example of that democratization at work.

                      Rosen’s view fits my own view of the power of measurement to advance the work of our foundation. (I focused my 2013 Annual Letter from the foundation on measurement and the amazing things you can accomplish in global health, education and other areas if you set clear goals and can measure your progress toward them.)”

                      Get the book that can change the way you invent new ides so you can become successful.

                      Featured photo credit: Thomas Hawk via compfight.com

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                      Last Updated on October 21, 2021

                      How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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                      How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

                      Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

                      Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

                      The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

                      Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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                      Program Your Own Algorithms

                      Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

                      Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

                      By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

                      How to Form a Ritual

                      I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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                      Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

                      1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
                      2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
                      3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
                      4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

                      Ways to Use a Ritual

                      Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

                      1. Waking Up

                      Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

                      2. Web Usage

                      How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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                      3. Reading

                      How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

                      4. Friendliness

                      Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

                      5. Working

                      One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

                      6. Going to the gym

                      If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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                      7. Exercise

                      Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

                      8. Sleeping

                      Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

                      8. Weekly Reviews

                      The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

                      Final Thoughts

                      We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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                      More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

                       

                      Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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