Author Profile Picture

Michelle Wright

Read more from Michelle Wright

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

THE FIVE HOUR RULE – successful people read


Tom Corley, whose list of best-selling books includes ‘Rich Habits’, ‘Change your Habits, Change your Life; and ‘Rich Habits, Poor Habits’, spent five years studying self-made millionaires.  What he found is that success couldn’t be attributed to a good start in life, loving support from family and friends or even hard work. Of course, all that helps, but the single biggest element that connected the successful people he met was their commitment to reading.  In fact, 86% of the successful people he met said they read - books, articles, blogs, journals.  And 63% listened to audiobooks during their daily commute.  But how can people seemingly as busy as Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and Barack Obama find time to sit down and read?  Welcome to the Five Hour Rule.

The five-hour rule was first outlined by Michael Simmons, Chief Connection Officer and Co-Founder founder of Empact. What Michael suggests is that no matter how busy successful people are, they always “set aside at least an hour a day (or five hours a week) over their entire career for activities that can be classified as deliberate practice or learning.”

Simmons is motivated by Benjamin Franklin, one of the US’s founding fathers and a philosopher who still inspires innovators and entrepreneurs today.  Benjamin Franklin devoted an hour a day on every weekday to deliberate learning. 

For some successful people, the hour a day is dedicated to learning something new, seeking inspiration from others or reflective thinking with a key question asked at the end of every reading hour – ‘how can I apply this to my working life?’

At Cause4, we’re hoping implementing the five-hour rule helps us stay on top of the changing world and find new ways to help our clients.  We hope that we’ll be inspired by what we learn so that in 2019, our tenth anniversary, we’ll remain motivated and forward thinking.  We are a company that has embraced Sharism throughout our business and in our collaborative approach with our partners and clients.  By providing each member of staff with the time, space and facilities to learn each day, and to share that knowledge, we’ll be a stronger team and a stronger enterprise.

Cause4 is providing bite-sized eLearning because we understand that time is in short supply. I’d also encourage people to visit websites like Blinkist and make use of eLearning/podcasts whether at home, work or on the move.  Breaking learning down can stop it feeling overwhelming when your day job is stressful or demanding. 

I recently finished Tribes of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in The World by Timothy Ferriss.  I loved this snap shot of the lives of successful people from different backgrounds. I appreciate what I learn from autobiographies and biographies about what has worked for others and what lessons I could learn for use in my own business. 

But whatever your book of choice – the Five Hour Rule doesn’t specify that it has to be non-fiction, or business related – here’s to a happy new year of reading.  If the world’s most successful people feel it’s worth finding the time who are we to argue?

Author Profile Picture

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!