What Rich People Have Next To Their Beds


You know what you'll probably find on a successful (read: rich) person's nightstand?



But not just any books, according to Tom Corley, the author of "Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals." His research finds that rich and poor people alike are cracking their fair share of spines, but the key difference is that less financially successful people read for entertainment, while rich people read for self-improvement.

Note that Corley defines "rich people" as having an annual income of $160,000 or more and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million-plus, and "poor people" as those having an annual income of $35,000 or less and a liquid net worth of $5,000 or less.

Here's how the numbers break down:


  • 11% of rich people read for entertainment, compared to 79% of poor
  • 85% of rich people read two or more education, career-related, or self-improvement books per month, compared to 15% of poor
  • 94% of rich people read news publications including newspapers and blogs, compared to 11% of poor people

"The overall conclusion that I reached in my research is that your daily habits will dictate your financial success in life, and there are four or five key ones," says Corley. One of those keys, he explains, is self-education. "The rich are voracious readers on how to improve themselves. They're reading self-improvement books, biographies, books about successful people, things like that."

In fact, Corley found that educational reading overlapped with another factor of success: mentorship. After being asked in an interview about his finding that only 24% of the wealthy people he studied had mentors, he went back over the research and found that 93% of those with mentors agreed with the statement, "My mentor was responsible for my wealth."

"The reason why the wealthy people without mentors said they didn't have one was that they got their education through reading books, and through the school of hard knocks," Corley says. Over half of those people were business owners who effectually mentored themselves, through books and experience.

To that end, Corley has included books as one of his five kinds of mentors, which also include parents, teachers, work colleagues, and the "school of hard knocks."

Keeping Corley's finding in mind, those looking to bulk up their own reading lists this summer may want to take a look at:


(And for a summer's worth of knowledge in just a few minutes, make sure to check out these 25 famous business books summarized in one sentence each.)