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A Simple Rule That Could Change Your Life (and How You Buy Books) Evidence that finding even one solid idea in a book makes the purchase price completely worth it.

By Robert Allen Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


One of the most powerful lessons I ever learned came from my mentor and boss, Ramit Sethi.

He said this:

"If you're thinking about buying a book, just buy it. Don't waste five seconds debating it. Even one idea makes it more than worth the price."

I think about Ramit's comment a lot. Not just because I'm always debating which books to buy, but because this idea bleeds over into so many other areas of life.

What it boils down to is taking action. Doing rather than gluttonously consuming more information and overwhelming ourselves with more choices.

This "just do it" mindset changed my life in ways I never could've imagined. In fact, there are three ways that this single idea could change everything for you today.

1. You expose yourself to more opportunities.

The world is full of incredible opportunities, people and ideas. But you can't just wait for the stars to align or someone to uncover these things for you. You have to be willing to put yourself out there and expose yourself to new circumstances.

I think a lot of us are limited because we only know what we know. We only do what we see in our day-to-day lives. But by taking a chance on a new book, trying that new restaurant, or a traveling to a new city, we give ourselves the chance to see things from an entirely new perspective.

Sometimes the book, restaurant or city will turn out to be "just okay." But other times, we'll come across an idea or person that changes the game entirely. Notice that this is total reframe. Instead of thinking about all the things that could go wrong if you do something, think about not doing it and missing out on something profound.

It's a subtle shift, but it can make all the difference in your life. Think about places you've been where you've met some of the best friends of your life. You never would have known these people existed, if you'd only thought about what you could lose and not what you stood to gain.

Related: The 3 Best Books For Entrepreneurs to Return To, Again and Again

2. You invest in yourself.

Do you think Warren Buffett or Bill Gates would quiver and deliberate over spending a few dollar for a new book? Of course not.

I get that they're billionaires now, so a few dollars means nothing to them. But I bet if you traveled back in time and asked them the same question before they had plenty of money, their answers would be the same. Buffett would have done anything to get his hand on Graham's advice. And Gates would've swum across the Pacific Ocean to read an about Altair computers.

Why is that? Because the most successful people in the world know that all it takes is one idea to change the entire trajectory of their life.

Sure, you could take the money you'd spend on yourself and put it in penny stocks or real estate. But if you invest in yourself and your own ideas, the money will come back to you tenfold. You are the highest returning asset you'll ever own. Treat yourself as such.

Related: How Reading Books Reduces Stress and Makes You Smarter at the Same Time

3. You realize it's okay to make mistakes.

Failure is bad. We've been taught that ever since we were kids. You get a bad grade on your test, and you get punished. You get straight As, and people are amazed.

But outside of school and in the real world, failure is a GOOD thing in many cases. Failure is one of the best sources of feedback and an excellent way to test your ideas.

Okay, so you bought a book and it sucked. That's not a mistake. You gave yourself an awesome chance to learn something new. You capped your downside risks. At most, you're out a few dollars.

But a single idea from a book, a class or an event could be worth millions over the course of your life.

Related: 10 Little-Known Books to Add to Your Entrepreneur Bookshelf

A few years ago, I decided to spend a few dollars on a book by James Altucher. I read it during one of the worst times in my life. I was depressed and stuck working at a horrible bank job. But there were two ideas in that book - the idea of improving one percent per day and his daily practice - that changed everything for me. It took two hours to read, 30 minutes to implement, and the results have transformed my life forever. Of course, I've read a lot of books that weren't so great. I guess I had to go through all those bad books to find the one that would resonate with me and change my life.

So the next time you find yourself debating a tiny decision like this, remember Ramit's simple book buying rule. At the very least, you'll buy the book and learn something new. At best, it could change your life.

What book on your reading list are you going to buy today?

Robert Allen


Rob Allen is the founder of Swipe Tribe, where he shows people how to make a living as a writer even if you flunked english or think writing feels like pulling teeth (yes, you really can). 

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