This Habit Will Put You in the Top 1% of Experts and Money-Makers

What if you could become an international expert and top earner with ONE habit for only ONE hour per day?

This one strategy changed everything for me.

I used to be a huge TV junkie. I still have a few favorites on Netflix that I turn to when I need a distraction.

But once I learned that doing this instead could make me more successful and open up tons of opportunities, I made the switch.

Before I get to that, check out these statistics:

  • 25% of people have not read a book in the last year
  • 46% of adults score in the lowest two levels of literacy
  • Reading frequency declines after age eight

What’s the message?

That most people don’t read. Half of adults are basically illiterate, and 1 out of 4 adults haven’t read a book in the last year. Here’s one more: “Reading one hour per day in your chosen field will make you an international expert in 7 years.”

In other words, reading leads to expertise. And expertise leads to success.

See where I’m going? The magic formula is to be among the very few adults who actually read. It’s no secret that if you read, you will learn.

But you can do even better. What if you commit to reading at least 1 hour every day? How about 1 book per week?

According to Brian Tracy:

“If you read only one book per month, that will put you into the top 1% of income earners in our society. But if you read one book per week, 50 books per year, that will make you one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field. Regular reading will transform your life completely.”

What have we learned so far?

  • Most people don’t read
  • If you read 1 hour per day, you can quickly become an expert
  • If you read 1 book per month, you can be in the top 1% of income earners
  • If you read 1 book per week, you can be one of the most successful people in the world

Simple, right?

You: “Great idea. But…I have no time to read one book every week!”

Ah, there’s that problem. The whole “not enough time” thing. I’ve found that if I know why I want to do X instead of Y, it makes X more important, which motivates me to do it.

Try this. Write down a list of 10 things you do every day that take up at least 30 minutes. For example:

  • Watching TV — 3 hours
  • Browsing the web — 1 hour
  • Using social media – 1 hour
  • Playing video games (or game apps) — 2 hours
  • Driving to get lunch or coffee (instead of making your own) — 1 hour

You’ll be surprised to discover that you probably have 3-6 hours of things you could easily do less of.

Then, imagine yourself 6 months from now as an expert in your field. Idle conversation won’t get you there. Watching TV won’t get you there.

But reading will get you there.

Successful German film director Werner Herzog said, “Those who read own the world, and those who watch television lose it.”

Now that you know that reading (X) is more valuable to you than your chosen time-waster (Y), take these steps TODAY to start reading more:

  1. Identify 1 hour every day where you can eliminate or reduce one of your time-wasting activities
  2. Create a daily “Read for 1 hour” calendar reminder that blocks off that hour
  3. Go to your bookshelf and find 4 books to start reading (or buy physical or ebooks online)
  4. Stack the books next to your favorite reading spot to make it really hard to ignore
  5. Move all of your digital devices AWAY from your reading spot
  6. Read every day for an hour
  7. BONUS STEP: Put a pen and notebook (waiter’s pad or Moleskine) on the stack of books so you can write down the hundreds of ideas you’ll get from reading

You: “OK, but what should I read?”

In his book The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth, James Altucher (one of the most successful people out there) shares his daily reading formula. It’s a great place to start. Every day, read:

  • 10% of a nonfiction book to get ideas
  • 10% of an inspirational book
  • 10% of a high-quality fiction book
  • BONUS: Read a game-related book (or play a mental game like chess)

This should take you about an hour (or two if you’re feeling ambitious). If you do the math, that’s 30% of a book every day, or 1-2 books per week.

As for the specific books, here are some ideas:

  • Google the “favorite books” of your favorite successful people
  • Ask people you admire what they read
  • Follow your interests
  • I put together a list of resources if you want some more ideas

As Thomas Corley puts it in Rich Habits: “Successful people are slaves to their good daily habits.”

Become a slave to your new reading habit. Then you’ll be smarter. That will make you an expert. Which leads to success.

To learn more, check out


Philip Pape is an author, software engineer, public speaker, and life-hacker who helps smart people demolish their fears and become totally confident at He specializes in effective, counter-intuitive strategies to attain success. Check out his approach and get free stuff by clicking here. Follow Philip on Twitter @philip_pape.

24 Responses to This Habit Will Put You in the Top 1% of Experts and Money-Makers

  1. Philip Pape says:

    Hey there, this is Philip Pape. Let me and the community know your thoughts on the article. Have you developed a reading habit? If so, what’s your daily practice? If not, what’s holding you back? Specifics, please!

  2. harrietfordypa says:





  3. John Smith says:

    If Reading Makes you get on top, it means meritocracy is not a systemic lie.

  4. Noel N says:

    Great post. Smart people read! Period.

  5. Philip Pape says:

    And they read smartly :)

  6. Corey Graham says:


  7. Vinton Samms says:

    Hey Phillip, thanks for this post. Reading for me will be a chore. As soon as I take up a book no sooner I fall asleep. I do agree with you however, that reading makes us into what we are and some of us into what we would want to become. Thanks. Vinton

  8. Philip Pape says:

    Hi Vinton, thanks for sharing. I know if it’s right before bed I can’t stay awake either. Try testing different ways to read. For example, could you block 30 minutes first thing in the morning? Could you keep a pen in your hand to underline and take notes, keeping you mentally engaged? What about reading outside or at a bookstore with a cup of coffee?

  9. Philip Pape says:

    Hi ETS, that’s probably true for some people. I’m guessing you’re referring to people who read lots of fiction. That’s why I included the suggested breakdown of books by type into non-fiction, inspirational (likely non-fiction), fiction, and something game/brain-related.

  10. Philip Pape says:

    Hi Joe. You might want to try “The Well-Educated Mind” by Susan Wise Bauer. She takes you step-by-step through the process of learning to read different types of books by using a personal notebook. This has definitely helped me synthesize and recall information.

  11. zeev kirsh says:

    nonsense. reading is over-rated.

    i am hyper literate. consider mankind was entirely illiterate for literrally at least 100,000 years after the point at which the modern brain evolved.

    levels of intelligence were sufficient for some men to create methods of writing and recording.

    BUT , in the end all is relativie. becuase NOW everyone in richer countries and poorer countries———–who has access to the upper competition of ‘society’ is required to read, it is now considered ‘the’ benchmark for successful living.

    this simply is a completely civilization centered way of thinking. homo-sapiens accomplished many feats without reading and you cna be a happy, disciplined and well adjusted person able to achieve many acts of self discipline without being a regular reader.

    it is not only UNNECESSARY , but reading is simply insufficient. how many people read regularly that also have all sorts of horrible problems due to their OWN personality, displine issues, and self control.


    worse, in the current days of the internet, people consider reading very very short articles a form of ‘reading’.

    ‘reading’ isn’t really black or white in the end. reading is about applying one’s attention span in a persistent and focussed manner. it is a process, a continuous activity, defined not by black and white lines but by the extent nature purpose and intent to which the individual brings towards their reading actions.

    in this regard, we can use various qualitites as proxies for more intense reading and less intense. consider that reading a longer ‘novel’ beginning to end, is very different than reading a 500 word internet article. however, the quality of length in this case is not where the comparisons end, it is only the very beginning . to leave it as such is a gross oversimplification and in many ways an ordinarliy deliberately misleading one put forth by people who want to shout out loud that ‘reading long books makes you smart’.

    it does not. it is insufficient. and ‘smart’ itself is a very loaded term. the article above is talking about engaging in an activity for the purpose of self betterment self control self discipline and self improvement. even those achievements are themselves relative and hard to define at times . we do , however , knwo them when we see them. and we know that different types of reading result in different feelings within us, and different outcomes outside of us.

    however, far from me to suggest this is all some sort of academic exercise is subtle distinctions and discriminations. yes, reading , admittedly, is generally better than watching television or some other such passive eye inhallattion. however, let us not forget that the human mind can make the art of reading and interpreting five haiku lines of poetry and intense intellctual and emotional activity of through provoking and testing quality, or it can take a long book and speed read it to the end for no other purpose than to memorize it for 2 days , regurgitate and forget it.

    reading can be a very tricky behavior fromt he perspective of self improvement. dont’ worship reading. we aren’t in kindergarten needing motivation anymore. we are adults needing to think about our actions and their consequences. adn reading a book does not simply bring about some predetermined consequence!.

  12. Kimberly Absher says:

    Reading is one of my greatest joys, and without a doubt not only contributes to my professional success, but also makes me more interesting. I can talk about a wide variety of topics that suit others I meet because of reading. Reading before bed (especially when I need to wind down) is really helpful. Also, since I’m on the computer all day, I’ll take little breaks to read from an actual book. It makes me feel human again. Thanks for the post!

  13. Philip Pape says:

    Ah, to “feel human again”. If nothing else, that right there—disconnecting from the “modern” world—is a refreshing benefit of reading :)

  14. I love to read before bed. It helps me unwind, and research shows that the light from our technology can interfere with sleep. A good place to find and keep track of your books is at Goodreads.

  15. Philip Pape says:

    Hi Deja, with such an impressive library, is there something you’ve found you know just a little bit more about than someone else you can use to help others with? That’s how new businesses are started. Solving deep, burning problems that others have. You don’t need to be an expert.

  16. Philip Pape says:

    Great advice, both on sleep (circadian rhythm) and using Goodreads. Regarding the light, a book or e-ink ebook is fine, but if anyone reading HAS to use a tablet, you can download an app that eliminates blue light (usually automatically based on sunset in your location). Or, you can wear blue-blocking lenses. Sleep is definitely important (especially quality).

  17. Philip Pape says:

    Thank you for reading! I hope you find some new ideas in areas you never considered before. You might find that the best people in your field are also experts in other, tangential areas. Happy discovery!

  18. Sana Khan says:

    Hi Philip pape , your artical inspired me alot , its guide me how to read ,what to read , now a days I’m reading , and I feel some thing different when I read , mean mently relax and valuable ..,
    This is my email address.. Guide me more or suggest me books..,
    Thanks .

  19. Philip Pape says:

    That’s so great to hear, Sana. I will definitely get in touch.

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  21. Kimzy Jade says:

    Thanks so much for recommending reading again! Internet articles like yours are great but there is something fufilling about reading an actual book book. :) Where can I follow you? Thanks Philip!!!


  22. I want to try this with my field: Japanese language. I don’t just have a spare hour I could use. I am really good at wasting time. But I will keep it as just an hour a day. I’ll see if I can start tomorrow morning. It’s almost bedtime here.

  23. Roger Frost says:

    It would be wonderful if you could shed some light on how much is too much when it comes to reading.

    Like, can we over do reading?

    My reading often get limited by the thought that i might be over-consuming text.

    so slow down and stop to ponder upon what i read,
    and i try to implement a what John Locke quoted once,

    ‘Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.’

    Right on mark.

    And Philip, the above article tackled the subject quite nicely.

    The ‘not enough time’ point is what most people need,
    the wanna-bes who want to become the best, but aren’t willing to give up their distractions.

    What you need to elaborate a little more is ‘note taking’ and pondering.

    Apart from that, good job.

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