The Power Of Reading


  • “If I think of a habit that has changed my life more significantly than any tangible thing that we can all do, it’s reading books. And specifically, though, it is reading books of inspiring people, teams, businesses, and cultures.”
  • You are the result of what you read! So, immerse yourself in topics that help you grow and learn. In this episode, learn how to gain insight and perspective into different cultures, experiences, and history.
  • I would love to ask you to read other books with that passion again. Often, people’s favorite books, were in a moment in time where that book really mattered and they really got into it. Get into books again.”
  • Want to read every book with passion? Then this episode is for you! Make it a habit in your life and let it bring you joy again.
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[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Brendon Show. Please note that this episode, like all TBS episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, The Brendon Show has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of YouTube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in the Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)

1. Read About Topics That Interest You


If I think of a habit that has changed my life more significantly than any tangible thing that we can all do, it’s reading books. And specifically, though, it is reading books about inspiring people, teams, businesses, and cultures.

Looking for – it’s reading about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that changed my life forever. Reading about Winston Churchill. A Mother Teresa. Reading about, you know, Saint Francis of Assisi. Reading about history and its great leaders in war and peacetime. Getting that perspective from other people and reading inspirational texts like self-help, psychology, and philosophy has changed my life. 

If I have a question about why are people like this? I go read it. Why do people feel shame? That’s weird. Go read a book on shame. How do people deal with grief? I don’t know. I’ll read that. I read a – I was reading books on grief when I was in my teenage years. And I don’t have anything to grieve about yet other than my acne. Do you know what I’m saying? Come on, let’s go. I thought that was funny. You know, what are you going to – what are you going to figure out? I was – I was always curious about the human condition and inspiring people. I loved reading about, you know, Dale Carnegie’s books on how to win friends and influence people. I mean, it is just like, I am a result of the personal development, self-help, psychology book industries. 

2. Immerse Yourself in a Subject

I mean, I would go to bookstores and I would stand in that self-improvement or that psychology or philosophy aisle for hours reading those books and getting those books. I would go to libraries for hours. I spent so much time in my teens, twenties, and thirties reading.

It led to the ability to have the perspective to coaching people the way that I’m able to coach people. People from all walks of life, different cultures, and different backgrounds I can understand, or at least in some way empathize with their history and their experiences. Even if I haven’t had their lived experiences, I’ve read enough about history or culture to understand the people that I’m trying to serve, and most importantly, human nature.

Not just that culture, that background, that ethnicity, but rather human nature. And it’s given me the ability – you can give me any topic in human nature and say, Brendon, I want you to do a five-hour class on this. And like when do you want to start? In like 20 minutes? But I’m going to go. And like some of you have seen it on stage before. I’ll go 9 hours without any notes at all because I’ve made this my life study.

3. Practice Speed Reading

I have found the things that interest me and I decided to read, and I still do that. I read a book a week since I was 19 or 20 years old, and I taught myself speed reading. I read like 20 books on speed reading and I read them slower than any person that has ever read a speeding reading book. I was so – speed reading was a big accomplishment for me. That was really hard. I know some people can learn it faster. You know, they’ll read a book on speed reading. And by the end of the book, they’ve mastered that skill set of blocking words and seeing blocks of words versus single words and letting the brain take it in. That took me forever. It took me three years of conscientious, judicious, hard study. I listened to audio courses on it. I watched training on it. I read books. This is hard for me, but that was a big change. So to this day, everyone was like, well, why don’t you just listen to an audiobook? I’m like, oh my God, I can read a book, you know, infinitely faster.

I can read – on vacation, I read a book a day. And so, you know, I think it’s, you know, that’s my vacation, by the way. It’s not that sexy. It’s like pool, pina colada, book. Good to go. That’s the whole day right there. Need nothing else. Maybe if they have, like, those little, you know, sushi rolls on – the sushi roll, too. That’d be a pretty good vacation day. Do you know? But usually, the pina colada has enough calories to get me through the day for me. One big old pina colada. Puerto Rican style. And I’m good to go. That’s it. Give me a book. Whole book.

4. Read Every Book With Passion

Reading is still a joy and it’s a habit of mine.

And I know many of you, right? Would you all type in your favorite book on personal development or psychology or philosophy, like your favorite ever? Whatever book you just wrote down, I would love to ask you to read other books with that passion again. Often people’s favorite books were in a moment in time where that book really mattered and they really got into it. Get into books again. I think I don’t need to belabor this point, but I just want to make sure I give a shout-out because that is a fundamental, life-changing, and most important habit in my life. And I also bring in that second point I talked about: the solution mindset and the do-it-yourself mindset. If I want to figure out how to fundraise for a startup, I go read books on it. Right? No one’s going to teach me to do it right and perfectly. I’m going to go read guys’ books and gals’ books who wrote about their fundraising process and I’m going to learn that. I’m – my first move is to go read multiple books on any problem: how to build a business, how to be a good CEO, how to do marketing. Doesn’t matter. I’m the how-to, do-it-yourself guy and I start with books.