The Shocking and Most Important Skill You Need To be Successful

skills needed to be successful

After about a few minutes that i wrote on my facebook wall, “if you want others to read your contents…Stop reading other people’s contents”, i saw a rather shocking post that got me really curious.

It was from one of my mentors on Facebook, the renown London-based Zimbabwean businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Strive Masiyiwa.

Strive Masiyiwa (

It reads, “What is the most important skill you need?”

Was this a coincidence? I wouldn’t know.

It was like a harsh rebuke from a loving father. A few minutes ago i was complaining about reading too much and here i was, given a contrary opinion.

“Excel, keeping reading even more, if you must be successful in life”

After reading the headline, i was expecting him to say, ” ability to sell is the most important skill any entrepreneur or business owner could possess”.

But i was wrong. He wasn’t saying anything close to sales.

Here’s the shocker:

“If you want to be successful, you’ll need many specialised business skills, but probably the most important one will surprise you: it’s the capacity to READ! Yes, READ!”

Go back and read that again.

He went ahead to say that You must develop the capacity to read, and to read FAST. and by this he was not talking about basic literacy. This was why he used “capacity.”

Remember, “leaders are readers”. I thought this was a mere cliche’ until i read that post.

He also said that You must have the capacity to read a lot, if you want to be successful. Reading of books, journals and articles was common with all great leaders.

“You must BUY and own books. It must be a constant investment. You’re not a reader if you prefer only to borrow books. It means you’re not committed. If you have children, take them to bookshops. Buy or build them bookshelves. Encourage them to own and treasure books. Take them to libraries, galleries and museums.

For the African continent to grow and prosper, we must build a greater culture of reading in our young generations! There’s not a moment to waste.”

There’s a saying that Africans don’t read. In order to hide something from an African, you need to put it in a book. I don’t know how true that is but i personally read at least 40 blog posts ( mostly 1000 words article) everyday. From 6.00am to 12.00am (in the midnight), i am reading one thing or the other.


So that “African don’t read” propaganda does not apply to me. I hope that is true of you too?

He also shared how he starts his day:

I start my day by reading the bible for at least an hour. I read it cover to cover at least once a year.

Before I go to work or start my day, I delve through at least 5 newspapers that I subscribe to.

Then I read reports, mostly about what’s going on in our various businesses. I also read the latest developments in our industries.

I read emails (I don’t allow an email to go unanswered for more than 24 hours). Generally, I read every email that gets into my inbox. This is why I don’t like all sorts of emails to clutter my box. I manage emails very strictly because if I don’t, I’ll lose control of my agenda.

Throughout the day, I’m reading reports and responding to them. I can read very fast.

Now, this does not have to be a ritual, it’s more about understanding (or being aware of) what is happening around you which affects you directly or indirectly.

You may say you don’t have all the money in the world to buy physical books. Strive, suggests that you can go with the trend and read with your smartphone or tablet (which i do pretty much of the time).

He concluded with these recommendations:

♦ Whether you’re reading physical books or in electronic formats (ebooks), just make sure you;re reading.

♦ Don’t worry about money to use and buy books. Develop an interest FIRST.

♦ Read to sharpen your curiosity. A person who is not intellectually curious about issues will develop a closed mind and will eventually end up being manipulated by others.

♦ As a blogger or content marketer, don’t mind the people who are complaining that your articles are “too long”. The right people will definitely stick around to read (despite how long).

It matters what you read, if you want to be taken seriously. Don’t become addicted to following the lives of so-called celebrities. If you only want to read the 148 characters of Twitter, you’re playing with fire. Get down to reading serious stuff… If you don’t like it, you’ll never be able to lead effectively!

The next question that comes to mind now would be, “what kind of books do you recommend for entrepreneurs to read?”

That will be in my next post. If you want to be the first to be notified of the books i recommend for entrepreneurs to read then you have to subscribe to my email list.

(Updatethe link to the post is below)

In conclusion….

Be smart, be wise; buy and read books. If you’re planning to get to the top, one book a week should be your minimum target.

If you like this post, share it with your friends to inspire them to read books more.

What are your thoughts about the importance of reading books to be successful? Share with us in the comment box below.

This post is culled from Strive Masiyiwa’s Facebook wall

Read also>> 30 Exceptional Books Every Young Entrepreneur Must Read Before 30


4 thoughts on “The Shocking and Most Important Skill You Need To be Successful”

  1. Mr Darlington

    The Adage “If you want to hide something from an African, put it in a book” is true in general sense…. That is what Mandela realised and exclaimed “Education is the key!”

    Sincerely, our reading culture need to be looked into….

    But i cann stand firm and boast of having read not less than 5 thousand books in my life. Starting from my primiary one i developed interest in reading any thing called book… In our house alone we have an estimate of 5 hundred books – novels, text-books, old newspapers, journals, magazines, music books, religious books and the rest.

    Have read the complete works of Shakespeare and Chauffer, among others like Chinue Achebe, Anyi Ekwei, ‘No Esay Task’ author, ‘Mine Boy’ author, Alladin and the magic lamb, Nelson Horance, oh ma God! If i continue i will never stop listing till the cow comes home.

    But i found something else…..

    What’s that?

    Ok here is it…. You got to have the ability to seperate the corn from the hay. The power to decern what is suitable and apply it strategically in your day to day life for that which you read to take positive effect.

    So at the end it all boils down to taking positive actions.

    1. Wow! Mr Darlington, I’m blown away by the number of books you’ve read. Africa would be a better place if we develop such love for reading.

      Talking about having a library with over 500k books sounds like a university in your house. Don’t you think you should start a book club for young people who like to read?

      And again you said that it’s not just about reading soooo many books but to discern the corn from the hay and take what’s important to your life and act promptly on it.


      Thanks for taking the time to share your thought with us…

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