How Much Can You Really Learn?

My wife is reading a success book (review will appear here later on) and she remarked that much of what she read she already knew. She is correct of course, much of what you read in any book on success, or most other books for that matter, are not news to you. 

So the question arises is there a diminishing return on reading more and more books in a particular field or area? Are you wasting your time reading the same material over and over? Does a book have to be mostly “new material” to be useful or worthy of the time you spend reading it?

I confess I’ve wondered this a time or two. Once you have read hundreds of books in the over all success area as I have this question is valid. My conclusion is that the answer is no.

There are three very good reasons why it is valuable and justifiable to continue reading more books in any area including success literature. 

1. Although you may have heard or read much of the material before you still gain something out of reading it again. Repetition remains the greatest teacher. Abraham Lincoln was famous for reading the same books over and over again until he had committed much of them to memory. The result was that he came to understand their content far more deeply than those who read them once. 

Also, when you read the same basic ideas in the new words of a different author the reinforcement of the ideas is stronger in your mind. 

2. Every book contains gems, some more than others, that truly are new. They may not be a completely novel idea or concept, but they are often a new application of old ideas in an ever changing world.

As the world changes ever faster there is a stronger argument for learning the new applications and variables that people identify for those classic ideas. The classic books are great and you will learn from them, but the newer versions are also important – they refine and build upon the classic ideas. 

3. Every author approaches material, including old well established ideas, with a different perspective. There is often much to be gained from that unique perspective. We all filter our world through our own biases and experiences. A thousand good authors will write on the same subject and discuss the same fundamental principles in a different way. 

Some of those approaches will resonate with you and some will not. To truly master the subject however there is no good alternative other than to sift through the many writings to find what does resonate most with you and thereby gain the most from it. 

For all these reasons I continue reading new books on subjects that I have read deeply on before. I also re-read books – I find I learn at least a few new things each time I re-read a book. 

If success is important to you – no matter how you define it, the more you learn about it and the more you read about it and more deeply you will come to understand the ideas in those books and how they can be applied in your life and in a changing world.

There is no substitute for continuing to read and re-read success material. Keep reading, keep learning and keep thinking – it will only help you to accomplish more and expand your potential for success.

Wishing you success and prosperity,

Daniel R. Murphy
Helping People Learn to Build Wealth

Wishing you Success and Prosperity,

Daniel R. Murphy

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.