Personal Finance

One Simple Habit the Vast Majority of Wealthy People Practice Every Single Day

Expertise: Personal Development, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Investing Basics, Business Management
42 Articles Written

“The only thing worse than not reading a book in the last ninety days is not reading a book in the last ninety days and thinking that it doesn’t matter” —Jim Rohn

To be successful in real estate investing, you have to take the right actions. A wrong turn could put you back years and cost you a lot of money. There are two ways of learning what works and what doesn’t. You can learn from some one else’s mistakes, or you can make them yourself.

If you want to do anything great, chances are someone has already done it. They’ve also made a lot of the same mistakes you’re likely to make. There’s this funny thing about successful people. They love talking about how they did it: writing books, blogging and giving speeches.

Think about this for a minute. If you read a book of distilled lessons from an investor with 30 years’ experience, have you not gained 30 years of knowledge? How long would it take you to gain that knowledge yourself?


Related: Income Inequality: Are the Wealthy Superior People or is the System Unfair?

“If you listen to instructional CDs as you drive each year, it would be the equivalent of two semesters of an advanced degree in college.” —Brian Tracy

What would happen if you read two investing or business books a month starting now? In a year you would have read 24 books. If each book distilled just 10 years of the author’s investing experience, you would now have 240 years’ of knowledge. In just four years, you would have gained over 1,000 years. How much time and money do you think that will save you? A book costs $15. BiggerPockets is free. What is the cost of making a real estate mistake?

“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” — Warren Buffett

Let’s Look at a Few Statistics

*Where “wealthy” = $160,000 or more annual income and greater than $3.2 million in net worth and “poor” = $35,000 or less in annual income and $5,000 or less net worth.

How to Find Time to Read More (& Make It Count)

Bathroom Reading

I always have a short chaptered book in the bathroom. The One Thing, The Book on Investing in Real Estate with No (and Low) Money Down and Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff are my favorites. You can read and re-read these books.

Car Reading

Audible has a huge selection of affordable business audiobooks available. Most books are 8-15 hours long and easily finished during your work commute.

Making Time Before Work

Most people learn better if they read in the morning. I like to start my mornings reading something educational. If I read in the morning, I can spend the rest of the day reflecting on and trying to implement what I learned.

Related: A Case Against Frugality: Why Pinching Pennies is NOT the Best Path to Wealth


“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” —Jim Rohn

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Every day you choose what you do and you choose what you don’t do. The more you learn from other people, the more successful you’ll be. Warren Buffett, one of the richest people to ever live, spends about 80% of his work day reading. He started this habit when he started investing.

Book Recommendations by BiggerPockets Authors:

[Editor’s Note: We are republishing this article to help out members newer to BiggerPockets.]

What are the top 5 books that YOU would recommend as must-reads? What’s on your reading list?

Let’s help each other out with suggestions in the comments section!

Brett Lee is a licensed Real Estate Broker in Portland Oregon where he helps people achieve a better future so they can do the things that truly make them happy. Brett is also a buy-and-hold invest...
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    Ryan Scott Isacksen Property Manager from Castro Valley, CA
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Get a library card for your local library and the app Overdrive. You can ‘check out’ e-books and audio books from the library. Not all titles are in the library digital collection, but there are some interesting things that you may get a chance to listen to that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
    John Daley Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, MO
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Consistent reading won’t make you wealthy…it’s not a formula…but it is a strong indicator that wealthy individuals are those who are constantly seeking knowledge and insight to apply to their daily lives. But application of that knowledge could also be called the ‘simple habit’ that the wealthy do. Good encouragement, Brett, and right on.
    Tim Puffer from Lansing, Michigan
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Spot on! Most people that I went to school with don’t read anymore. They say, “I’m not taking any classes so I don’t need to read.” IT’s sad that this is the thinking of a lot of people. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss is a great book for short chapters as well.
    Lewis Christman Financial Advisor from Macungie, PA
    Replied over 2 years ago
    While I agree and don’t do enough reading myself one quote I like is “knowledge is not power – action is”. Not sure who said this but I greatly agree with this. Read and put it into action, don’t read and create action (you will learn by doing) but just reading and no action is not the path in my opinion. If you ever see the Trade Like Chuck info commercial read the fine print (if you can read quickly and have good eyes). They admit most wont finish the book or do anything.
    Costin I. Rental Property Investor from Round Rock, TX
    Replied almost 2 years ago
    Check out
    Christopher Smith Real Estate Agent from Gulfport, MS
    Replied over 1 year ago
    I thought I was the only one that loved reading?! Well these days with long hours at work and my commute. Id read as much as I use too, but audiobooks save the day! I use to use Audible but Scribd is so much cheaper.
    Roderick Mills Jr. from Cincinnati, OH
    Replied over 1 year ago
    Reading is great and let’s you get to higher ground! Reading is potential knowledge and you should read and apply what you’re learning about not read just to say you read and to sound deep.