Mark Cuban Credits Much of His Success to One Simple Habit

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Mark Cuban is a billionaire entrepreneur who owns the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and regularly features on the ABC show "Shark Tank." But despite his success, he didn't get a fancy Ivy League degree or even specialized training in his industry. Instead, Mark Cuban credits a good deal of his success to something that's accessible to virtually everyone: reading.

Take a Look, It's in a Book

After paying his own way through a business degree at Indiana University, Mark Cuban took a job with Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh. Lucky for him, it was the early 1980s and the company was just about to switch over to using computers. Cuban took that as an opportunity to read all he could about the machines. He became so informed that he easily got a job selling software in Dallas a year later, and soon, the self-educated computer expert formed his own consulting business called MicroSolutions. Less than a decade after that, Cuban sold MicroSolutions to industry giant CompuServe for a cool $6 million.

A few years later, he joined forces with another Indiana alumnus to build an audio broadcasting company called Broadcast.com. That went public in 1998 and the duo sold their company to Yahoo! in 1999 for $6 billion.

How did he do it? He read voraciously. "I would continuously search for new ideas," he wrote on Blog Maverick, his personal blog. "I read every book and magazine I could ... Everything I read was public. Anyone could buy the same books and magazines. The same information was available to anyone who wanted it. Turns out most people didn't want it."

Reading — often as much as three hours a day — was a habit he's stuck with for life. "To this day, I feel like if I put in enough time consuming all the information available, particularly with the net making it so readily available, I can get an advantage in any technology business," he writes. "Of course my wife hates that I read more than three hours almost every day, but it gives me a level of comfort and confidence in my businesses. At MicroSolutions it gave me a huge advantage. A guy with little computer background could compete with far more experienced guys just because I put in the time to learn all I could."

Cuban's Picks

Most of us simply don't have the time to start a three-hour-a-day reading habit, but that's why there's Blinkist. It's an app that condenses books into easy-to-digest, 15-minute "blinks" that give you all the most essential ideas in more than 2,500 bestselling nonfiction books, with new titles added every day. There are even audio versions if you'd rather take it all in on your commute or while running errands. For a head-start, here are the books that Mark Cuban says shaped his career, all available on Blinkist:

  1. "ReWork" by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson: Written by two successful entrepreneurs, this book abandons the traditional "rules" of running a business and instead shares the unorthodox advice the authors have learned in the trenches.
  2. "The Lean Startup" by Eric Ries: This book is all about helping new startups and tech companies develop sustainable business models with a system backed by recent case studies.
  3. "The Only Game in Town" by Mohamed A. El-Erian: Everyone knows how devastating the 2008 financial crisis was, but now central banks play a new role in the economy. Still, that just means a new set of risks and problems. This book delves into just what those risks are and explains how we can begin to overcome them.
  4. "How to Win at the Sport of Business" by Mark Cuban: No Mark Cuban book list would be complete without Cuban's own musings. This book is made up of a collection of posts from the blog quoted above and is chock-full of unorthodox advice on how to work your way up the business ladder. The subtitle tells you everything you need to know: "If I Can Do It, You Can Do It."

If you'd like to start learning with Blinkist, click through to the special Curiosity landing page and get a free 7-day trial plus 20% off an annual membership! Give Blinkist a try here.

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Written by Ashley Hamer August 15, 2018
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