The Money is in the Pages

Who learns more in a class: the beginner or the expert?

Counter-intuitively, it’s the expert.

The expert can already build on what they know from previous knowledge. In education, we call it scaffolding: you learn from expanding on what you already know. The expert has more places on which to hook knowledge than the beginner.

Let’s take Warren Buffett as an example. Warren Buffett has been, at various times, the richest person in America (overtaken recently by Bill Gates of Microsoft and Jeff Bezos of Amazon). You can see how it’s happened here:


Warren Buffett spends 80% of his day reading. When asked what was the key to his success, he said, "Read(ing) 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." His buddy and bridge partner Bill Gates reads 50 books a year.

How many pages do you read each day (not emails, not Tweets, not even Internet articles)? How many books do you read each year?

Here’s the thing: knowledge builds up like compound interest. Knowledge gives you an exponential return. Just like a financial investment, the more you invest in your own knowledge, the more you'll get in return. As Buffett himself says,

There’s one investment that supersedes all others: Invest in yourself. Nobody can take away what you've got in yourself, and everybody has potential they haven't yet used.

If you’re running a business and not reading, you are missing a major investment in you and your business’ success.

So what book is in your hands today?