Books you should see as hidden treasure. Think about it, if I told you – because as I said, mentors are great in person, but some of the great mentors are no longer alive – Shakespeare, Darwin, Freud, Mahatma Gandhi. But if I told you all those people were in my house and they’re going to be there this Saturday answering questions, – magically I can make that happen – would you show up at my house? Of course everybody would buy a plane ticket and end up in California. They are there in my house. They’re on my library. They can be in your library, too.
Talking about Sam Walton. This is a man who made $160 billion for himself, more than all the other billionaires, basically, combined. He wrote a book on his death bed. How many people have read it? It’s a tragedy that not every businessperson’s read a $5 book by a man who built an empire. But it’s because the modern education system has turned people off from books. You’ve got to rewire your brain. Let me show you a few quick tricks.
First thing: stop seeing a book like a one-time event. See a book like a friend. You read it over and over. You come back. And just like friends, you pick a handful of them. I recommend you find 150 books. There’s 130 million. You can’t read that many. But 150 you can read over and over for the rest of your life. There’s no rule, either, at how fast you have to read them, at what pace. I set my own pace. People say, “How do you read a book a day?” Sometimes I take a week. But sometimes, books only have one or two things that are worth reading. In fact, most books only have that.
So I’ll flip through the pages. One time I like to go through it three times. First time, I read the table of contents at the back. The second time, I go a little faster. The third time, I just focus on one chapter. See yourself like a gold miner just looking for that one nugget. Then put it back on the shelf.
The average American buys 17 books a year. Maybe reads one a month. You should read at least one book a week, because remember, everybody wants the good life, but not everybody’s willing to read to get it. You must read more.
And lastly, stoic versus epicurean.
One of the first books that I read, this 11-set volume that I got from my grandfather, there was a quote that I wrote down. “A nation is born stoic and dies epicurean.” Stoics were people willing to sacrifice present pleasure for something better later. You could say they were investors. Epicureans live for now. They were consumers. They said, “You only live once.”
There’s a saying, “If you’re in a room and you don’t know who the sucker is, you’re the sucker.” You never want to be the sucker. Guess what the media wants to do. I can tell you, I’m from Hollywood. They bombard you. We see on average 2,000 ads a day. They’re trying to sell you something.
Luxury comes at the cost of killing your hopes, your dreams, your ambitions. So toughen up a little bit. Be a stoic. When was the last time you went a week without eating sugar? Or walked instead of taken a car to get groceries? Or did 100 push-ups? Or turned the air conditioning off? Toughen yourself up. Take a cold shower.
You see everybody wants, but not everybody is willing to toughen up to get the good life.
You must toughen up.
So in closing, I’ll share with you my favorite poem, Chief Tecumseh. He says, “Love your life. Perfect your life. Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long, and its purpose in the service of your people.” Mentors will help you do that. They are the shortcut that you want. You don’t want to do it the hard way.
Find a mentor, no matter if you’re just starting out or if you’re already experienced. There’s always someone to learn from. You must follow those rules.
Be humble. Persevere. Read more. Toughen up.
Remember, it’s going to be a little bit hard. It’s like Tom Hanks says in that one movie, “It’s supposed to be hard. The hard is what makes it great.”
If you do these things, you will find the good life.