Rich People Read. Books.

Many a friend have sent me this popular NYT article about CEO’s reading habits and how they oftentimes include non-business books.

Arnold Kling adds:

Back when I had my relocation web site, we got hold of some zip-code level marketing data. When I looked for purchases that correlated with affluence, hardback books was one of the strongest.

Rich people read.  Books. 

I have actually increased my reading of books in recent years. I’ve cut back on the time I spend with the newspaper (typically less than 5 minutes now, when it used to be at least half an hour). My magazine reading has shifted. I used to get tech/business porn like Wired and Fast Company.  Now, I get Claremont Review, The New Atlantis, The Atlantic, and MIT Technology Review.   TV is pretty much limited to the Super Bowl and the World Series.

I’m doing less newspaper now, too. My magazines are The Economist, The Atlantic, Harpers, the Claremont Review of Books, the New Yorker, Wired, and a variety of pubs only online like Slate, NY Review of Books, BusinessWeek, and others.

I see less and less value keeping up day-to-day.

10 Responses to Rich People Read. Books.

  1. Brad says:

    Now the interesting thing to examine would be whether reading contributes indirectly to wealth or whether wealth allows people to purchase extra books.

    I’m of the opinion that correlation falls more along the lines of disposable income allowing more book purchases and thus more reading. Perhaps it also goes to an interesting correlation between wealth and leisure time.

  2. Dan Sage says:

    If I understood correctly, the correlation was between purchase of books and zip codes. From personal experience, I’ve seen many that live in affluent zip codes that purchase books which they hope to one day read. Reading and purchasing are two different things. It’s almost like the wealthy have to have their own personal library or study. I also agree with Brad on the correlation/causation issue.

  3. FWIW, the NY Review of Books is not online only. I enjoy flipping through the print edition; the full-page ads from university presses alone are worthwhile.

  4. Shefaly says:

    The Economist calls itself a newspaper :-)

    PS: Should that not be ‘many a friend has’ instead of ‘many a friend have’? :-/

  5. Steve says:

    Rich People Buy. Books.

    Perhaps residents of less affluent zip codes prefer to borrow books from the library.

  6. Krishna says:

    Quick judges of an opportunity, even a book by its cover :-)

  7. Anonymous says:

    Though newspapers are largely trash, the risk of missing out on the gems that arise every once a while (link to online.wsj.com), is far too great to cut out subscriptions altogether.

  8. Ben – again, you are missing the concept of statistical significance. You can’t go out and say “Rich People Read Books” without understanding that the article profiles a few who do. What about Bill Gates? What about Carlos Helu Slim? What about Warren Buffet?

    I’m sure you could also go write “Rich People Play Golf” – it would be a totally meaningless statement.

    Don’t “lead your life” because you read some article in some over-hyped news publication that has awful coverage of anything outside of New York.

  9. Ben Casnocha says:

    Jay – The Rich People Read Books statement came from Arnold Kling’s post, not from the NYT article. The NYT article was simply commenting on CEO reading habits including many non-business books.

  10. I read a funny on the way to the grocery store. A recent poll revealed that ‘People Magazine’ was rated the highest purchased magazine by those of wealth.

    How disappointing is that?

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