I Vote For Overconsumption

by John Spence on · 12 comments


My post this month will likely be different than the other authors here at Jungle of Life, because I am going to be a champion for massive overconsumption!! That's right, I am going to encourage you to be a glutton, a pig, an absolute and total overconsumption freak for… learning.

If you were to look at learning as "food" for the brain, the majority of people in business today would be dying of starvation. I recently saw statistic that said the average business person reads 1.5 business-related books per year!!  Here is a startling fact: if you were to read just one business book every two months – six business books a year – you would be in the top one percent of self-learners and America. If you were to read one business book every month – 12 books a year – you would be in the top one percent of self-learners on the face of the earth.

So here's my recommendation to you: become an obscene over-consumer of quality learning. Dedicate yourself to reading at least one business book every month, go and watch the videos on Ted.com and Big Think, listen to audio books, get all the free podcasts and audio downloads from iTunes, read a few industry magazines and check out a few blogs every month – month after month – without fail. If you will do this, I will absolutely guarantee that in five years you will built a base of knowledge, ideas and information that will dramatically increase your value in the marketplace.

How can I state with this with such certainty? Well, I have read a minimum of 100 to 120 business books a year, every year since 1989 and listened to an additional 30 to 50 each year as well. I also read nearly a dozen business related magazines every month and spend at least one hour a day reading blogs or watching videos from the top business websites on the web.

How did this work out for me?

In early 2011 I was recognized as one of the top 100 business thought leaders in America. Now I tell you this not to impress you, but to impress upon you this: I'm not really very smart, I'm just very, very focused. I understood a long time ago that employers/clients pay for ideas, strategies, and information that will help them grow their business and generate more profits. The more high-quality ideas and information you have – the more valuable you are in the marketplace – it is just that simple. 

So pick up a book, listen to an audio book, peruse a few dozen websites and begin a steady diet of massive over-consumption of the best information you can put in your brain.

by John Spence

John Spence is the author of "Awesomely Simple - Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas into Action." He is an award-winning professional speaker and corporate trainer, and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Business Thought Leaders in America.
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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Jean November 7, 2011 at 9:13 am

I love your book Awesomely Simple, try to incorporate it into our businesses. Thanks to you and Robin Harpe. Jean Rogers


Paula @ Afford Anything November 7, 2011 at 1:17 pm

“I’m not really very smart, I’m just very, very focused.” — I love that line. Too many people assume that because they’re not a child prodigy (Albert Einstein mixed with Doogie Howser) they’re not going to ever shine. But the truth is that you don’t need to be a natural genius. You need to be adequate/average, and then you need to be focused.


David Stevens November 7, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Be a life long learner, John. Make that decision and you can pace yourself with your learning curve & cut out cramming. Great thoughts, thank you.
be good to yourself


Audra Krell November 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Really like this post. I’ve started reading books on speaking and will get to try out my education twice at the end of this week. Thank you for your inspiration, I will continue learning longing after this week is over.


suzen November 8, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Fabulous! I’m with you! There is so much to learn about I just cannot see how people “just live” but don’t continue to learn new things! I’ve been in school off and on for the last 10 years and I’m a senior citizen! Keeps ya young, exercising that brain! 🙂


rob white November 9, 2011 at 8:14 am

I love this John. I am an enthusiastic “overconsumer.” When folks ask me what I read and I tell them, for instance; Osho, Emerson etc. they often respond “oh, I’ve read that..” I then proceed to tell them that I don’t consider I’ve read anything until have read it 5 or 6 times. There are certain books I’ve read no fewer that 50 or 60 times! I take great pride in owning a tattered paperback that is filled with my own notes in red, blue, black (and back again) ink. Thanks for sharing this, your energy and knowledge is palpable!


Jen November 9, 2011 at 12:02 pm

A great take on the theme CONSUMPTION! I couldn’t agree with you more.

I am a huge reader, and when I didn’t find time to read when my kids were little I would often find myself stressed. I have found that it is one of my best ways to “escape” but also to learn, grow, and explore new ideas.

Huge fan of TED too. Thanks for including video on here. I would much rather pick myself what to watch on my computer than click through the channels full of mindless TV–although a few favorites are Ntl. Geographic, and PBS…..

Thanks for an interesting and informative post!


Galen Pearl November 9, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Almost two years ago, I started a blog and began to prepare for leading a retreat on the topic of bringing more joy into our lives by developing habits of joy in our thoughts, words, and actions. I began reading books on the topic in many areas — self-help, Buddhism, Christianity, spirituality, business, psychology, gardening, etc. The blog grew and my network of new relationships grew. I got a couple of things published. People wanted to come to my monthly discussion group. I have a whole bookcase now filled with books on this topic. I always have two or three books by my bedside. All this because I opened a book…and then another…and then joined in conversation.

Thank you for giving me “permission” to embrace my overconsumption of learning!


pea November 10, 2011 at 6:26 am

I couldn’t agree more. For me there is not enough hours in the day or disc space in my head to cram in the information I would like to gluttonously cram in. How I would love to get to read books 5 or 6 times like Rob above, but for time constraints I have to reserve that only for the beyond impressive authors I have come across…and there are quite a few…(sigh).


Noel November 12, 2011 at 8:25 am

Interesting post, John. Nowadays people seldom read or learn, but rather spend more time on social media chatting etc. I bet we’ll be ‘malnutrition’ if we keep ignoring the importance of learning.


Gwen Chambers November 22, 2011 at 10:19 pm

It is absolutely amazing how much information is out there ready to be consumed. I have always been a life long learner….can’t claim that I’ve been super focused but now that I’m in the flow, it’s been easier. I didn’t connect the dots until after reading John’s article that employers (clients) pay for ideas, strategies, etc….the MORE I KNOW, the MORE I can help my clients…..what a no brainer.

Thanks for the references to Ted and Big Think.


Self Help Books December 5, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Very interesting site and articles. Really thankful for sharing.Will surely recommend this site to some friends! Regards,


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