There is a Buffett & Munger interview from 2013 that we reflect on frequently. They discuss how they’ve leaped ahead of their peers and competitors time and time again:
Munger: We’ve learned how to outsmart people who are clearly smarter [than we are].
Buffett: Temperament is more important than IQ. You need reasonable intelligence, but you absolutely have to have the right temperament. Otherwise, something will snap you.
Munger: The other big secret is that we’re good at lifelong learning. Warren is better in his 70s and 80s, in many ways, than he was when he was younger. If you keep learning all the time, you have a wonderful advantage.
When you couple this with the fact that Buffett & Munger estimate that they spend 80% of their day reading or thinking about what they’ve read, a philosophy is born:
The way to get better results in life is to learn constantly.
And the best way to learn is to read effectively, and read a lot.
The truth is, most styles of reading won’t deliver big results. In fact, most reading delivers few practical advantages; shallow reading is really another form of entertainment. That's totally fine, but much more is available to the dedicated few.
In a literal sense, we all know how to read. We learned in elementary school. But few of us take the time to improve our skills from the elementary, passive, cover-to-cover reading into a skill set that affords us real and lasting advantages.
Those advantages don't come from the type of reading that most of us employ most of the time. Real learning stems from a deliberate reading process and a set of principles that are simple, yet challenging.
Simple principles like: Some books demand to be read in their entirety. Most don’t. It’s your job to decide.
Deep, thorough reading doesn’t come naturally or easily to most people. It isn’t achieved by passively absorbing content while reading at max speed. But wisdom and deep understanding can be teased out when you know how to do it.
We can teach you the best of what we’ve learned about reading and how to mold that into an uncommon, sustaining advantage. And with that, we introduce our new course:
Farnam Street's Guide to How to Read a Book
How to Read a Book is a comprehensive online course that offers observations and strategies on everything from how to build strong reading habits to how to achieve novel insight on topics that already seem mastered by others. We believe this course has the ability to seriously impact any wisdom seeker’s life by enhancing your ability to learn.
Find out more information here:
For those of you not interested, no problem. Thank you for listening. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming later this week.