The Importance of Reading and Building a Successful Business


Hatched by Glasp

Jul 27, 2023

5 min read


The Importance of Reading and Building a Successful Business


Reading is a powerful tool that allows us to gain knowledge and learn from the experiences and insights of others. As Charlie Munger once said, "In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time – none, zero." The ability to read and absorb information from books, articles, and essays is crucial in the pursuit of success and personal growth. In this article, we will explore the benefits of reading, the different levels of reading, and the value it brings to both individuals and businesses.

Mastering the Best of What Others Have Figured out:

One of the greatest advantages of reading is the opportunity to master the best of what others have already figured out. By immersing ourselves in great books, articles, and essays, we can tap into the collective wisdom of brilliant minds and learn from their successes and failures. As Farnam Street suggests, reading great books and re-reading them multiple times can lead to a deeper understanding and application of the knowledge within.

However, it's important to note that the number of books we read doesn't necessarily determine our level of wisdom or intelligence. It's the quality of the books and our ability to absorb and apply the knowledge that truly matters. Skimming through numerous books can be beneficial, but it's the select few that deserve our complete attention and multiple readings.

The Levels of Reading:

To better understand the different approaches to reading, we can refer to the Levels of Reading. These levels range from reading for entertainment to reading for mastery. Most of our time will likely be spent between levels two and three, reading to inform and understand. Each level requires a different level of effort and engagement, depending on our goals and the subject matter at hand.

Reading Speed vs. Absorption:

Speed reading is often seen as an impressive skill, but in reality, what truly matters is what we absorb from our reading. It's not about how fast we can flip through the pages or how many books we can finish in a year. The true value lies in our ability to comprehend, internalize, and apply the knowledge we gain from reading. Rather than focusing on speed, we should prioritize the depth of our understanding and the impact it has on our personal and professional growth.

The Power of Writing and Reflection:

Reading is not a one-way street. It's not just about consuming information; it's also about reflecting on what we've learned and sharing our insights with others. Writing about what we read allows us to solidify our understanding and identify any gaps in our knowledge. It is through writing that we often discover that we don't know as much as we thought we did. Writing serves as a tool for connecting new knowledge to old knowledge and fostering a deeper understanding of the subject matter.

Applying Reading to Business:

Reading is not only beneficial for personal growth but also for business success. In an interview with Ivan Zhao, co-founder of Notion, he emphasizes the importance of understanding culture, networks, and ecosystems when building a business. In the SaaS and software market, Japan is the second-largest market in the world after the United States. To establish a successful business, it is crucial to have people who can navigate the local landscape and understand the specific needs and preferences of the market.

Notion, a versatile productivity tool, places great emphasis on craftsmanship and quality. They strive to balance rapid progress with maintaining high standards. Hiring the right talent and ensuring their dedication to the product and its quality is essential. The notion of "feedback is a gift" is deeply ingrained in their culture, allowing for continuous learning and improvement. By focusing on craftsmanship, hospitality, and dedication, Notion aims to create a tool that enables more people to participate in the creative process.


Reading is a powerful tool that allows us to gain knowledge, learn from others, and expand our perspectives. By reading great books and articles, we can master the best of what others have already figured out. It's important to prioritize quality over quantity and to re-read the best books multiple times to deepen our understanding. Writing about what we read helps solidify our knowledge and identify gaps in our understanding.

In the business world, reading and continuous learning are essential for success. Understanding culture, networks, and ecosystems is crucial when entering new markets. Notion, a successful productivity tool, values craftsmanship, quality, and dedication. They strive to balance rapid progress with maintaining high standards, all while fostering a culture of feedback and continuous improvement.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Prioritize quality over quantity when it comes to reading. Focus on reading great books and articles multiple times to deepen your understanding.
  • 2. Incorporate writing into your reading routine. By reflecting on what you've learned and sharing your insights, you solidify your understanding and identify any gaps in your knowledge.
  • 3. Embrace a culture of continuous learning in your business. Encourage feedback, prioritize craftsmanship, and ensure your team is dedicated to delivering high-quality products and services.

In conclusion, reading is a lifelong journey that allows us to learn from the mistakes and successes of others. By reading great books and articles, we can tap into the collective wisdom of brilliant minds and expand our knowledge and understanding. Whether for personal growth or business success, reading is a valuable tool that should be embraced and prioritized. So, pick up a book, start reading, and never stop learning.

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