I just read this quick take on what Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Charlie Munger are reading right now: Here Are The Books That Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, And Charlie Munger Just Read. They were asked this question (according to the article):
“The host, Becky Quick, asked each what they’ve been reading lately.”
Here’s the first observation. They had an answer to that question. In other words, it is assumed that a person of that stature is reading books — and it turns out, they are.
And the second observation – the question was assumed to be “What book(s) have you been reading lately?’” Not, what essay, what article – but what books!
I remember other times I’ve read such articles. Bill Clinton always has a book, or three, going. I remember reading that George W. Bush and Karl Rove had an on-going competition on who could read the most books in a given time.
And, when Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Charlie Munger were asked, they had an answer.
By the way, I’ve just read Flash Boys by Michael Lewis; The Public School Advantage by Christopher Lubienski and Sarah Theule Lubienski. And I’m about to start reading The Confidence Code by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay. And my reading stack seems always too large, and perpetually growing. Thanks for asking.
I don’t know about the circles you run in, but I think you need to surround yourself with people who have an answer to the question “What are you reading now?”
But — and I do realize this — there are people who are so busy doing their jobs that they do not have time to read books. They think…
But I think that is a mistake – to not be reading a book right now. Not reading books is a very real deficiency. A book is deeper than an article or essay, by far. And as good as the Ted TALKs are (and, many of them are great!), a Ted TALK is a supplement to, not a replacement for, books.
A well-written book helps you understand, and think about, the deeper implications of an issue. And, even if the book “could have said what it had to say in an essay,” — (yes, I’ve read some of those books) – the fact that it was put in book form reveals that the author is saying “This is too important to say in essay form. It deserves deeper consideration.”
I present many book synopses in leadership development sessions for leadership teams. These help people know what is in the books, and help them know what to add to their own reading list. Those sessions are always more “fun” when there are book readers in the group.
So, here’s a simple test of your current “currentness.” Do you have an answer ready when you are asked “what have you been reading lately?” If you don’t have an answer to that question, that says a lot about you!
So, if you don’t have an answer now, well… get with it!
And if you do have an answer, share it far and wide. Someone else might be helped by that same book.
By the way, here are the answers given by Bill Gates, Warren Buffete,, and Charlie Munger, from the article:
Reinventing American Health Care: How the Affordable Care Act will Improve our Terribly Complex, Blatantly Unjust, Outrageously Expensive, Grossly Inefficient, Error Prone System.
Gates has a big interest in healthcare (especially internationally), and this book is about exorbitant healthcare costs in the U.S and what can be done about them.
Faraday, Maxwell, and the Electromagnetic Field: How Two Men Revolutionized Physics.
This book is about science, and Munger called it a great achievement.
Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises.
This is Tim Geithner’s forthcoming book. It’s about the crisis, and Buffett says it’s a must-read for anyone in management.