What 13 highly successful people read before bed

What 13 highly successful people read before bed

Alison Griswold, Business Insider | February 10, 2014 12:09 PM ET
The evening can provide a rare retreat from a jam-packed day for highly successful people.

For many CEOs, execs, and other high achievers, the day begins extremely early and iscrammed with emails, meetings, and events. But the evenings can be a time to unwind. And for those who love to read, there’s no better time to pick up a book or magazine.

We combed through interviews to find the favourite nightly reading routines of extremely accomplished people.

Evening reading serves many different purposes. For some, it’s a chance to dive into fiction and escape the stresses of the day. For others, it’s a chance to catch up on thelatest news. Be it old-fashioned print books or lighter fare on Twitter, here’s a look at what 13 successful people like to read before calling it a night.

Tim Armstrong tries to always read a book to his two young daughters.

The AOL CEO tells the Guardian that he generally gets home around 8 p.m., and then sits down to read a book to his daughters. “They usually win and get two or three books,” he admits. He tries to go to bed by 11 p.m. to get six hours of sleep.

John Carney mulls great thinkers as he falls asleep.

“I’m somewhat obsessed with ancient philosophy, mostly Plato, Socrates, and Xenophon,” the “Heard on the Street” writer and former CNBC editor told The Wire. He does most of this type of reading before going to bed. “Unless it’s Sunday night,” he adds, “in which case I’m watching The Walking Dead or Homeland.”

Rob Delaney looks for humour on his Twitter feed.

Comedian and writer Delaney has more than 1 million followers on Twitter and tells The Wire it still blows his mind “that people pay attention to what I say.” His feeds are the last thing that he scrolls through before going to bed, though he admits he’s mostly looking for entertainment at that point. “I’m more interested in diversion before bed, so hopefully I’m reading fart jokes,” he says.

Ann Friedman mixes short articles with longform stories and fiction.

The freelance writer and NYmag.com columnist tells The Wire that she uses the evenings to read articles she hasn’t gotten to during the day. That’s usually five or six shorter pieces and one or two longform articles. She also will sometimes read a book for work, and tries to break all of it up with fiction when possible.

Jane Friedman’s biggest evening reading commitment is her email.

Friedman, the co-founder and CEO of Open Road Integrated Media and former CEO of publishing giant HarperCollins is fastidious about her email. “No matter when I get home at night — and it’s usually late — I do at least an hour or two of email,” Friedmantold Fortune in 2006. “I have this thing about reading all my emails.”

Bill Gates has said he reads for an hour every night, even when he gets home late.

Microsoft’s co-founder told the Seattle Times that he considers reading at night to be “part of falling asleep.” He loves good books (this summer he published his reading list on his blog) and his reading topics range from public health to the history of shipping containers. Gates considers himself a very fast reader, despite never taking a speed-reading course.

David Heinemeier Hansson skims a variety of tech blogs.

The Danish programmer and creator of the programming language Ruby on Rails consumes the same tech-filled fare in the evenings as he does each morning. He tells Business Insider that his daily round consists of Reddit, Hacker News, Engadget, the Economist, Boing Boing, and Twitter.

Arianna Huffington unwinds with only “real” books before going to sleep.

Huffington is well known for taking sleep seriously. And she doesn’t mess around when it comes to her evening reading routine. The Huffington Post founder recommends banning electronic devices like iPads, Kindles, and laptops from the bedroom and says she only reads the old-fashioned way, with print books.

Alex Karpovsky reads magazine pieces on his iPad.

Writer, director, and actor Karpovsky — best known as the character Ray on HBO’s “Girls” — tells The Wire that he saves magazine pieces for the end of his day and tries to avoid reading more of the news. “I find it easier to get something that’s pseudo-narrative,” he said. “There was that great article a week or two ago about a guy who was lost at sea, which put me asleep one or two nights.”

Barack Obama watches “The Daily Show” and reads up on reports.

If he’s home late at night, the President of the United States says he’ll try to catch bits of “The Daily Show.” “I think Jon Stewart’s brilliant,” Obama told Rolling Stone. Other than that, he says he spends a lot of time reading reports, briefing books, studies, and intelligence assessments.

Shepard Smith makes sure “nothing blew up” before going to sleep.

Before calling it a night, Fox News host Smith says he does “another lap” through his regular news sites. Those include The New York Times, New York Post, The Daily Beast, and sometimes BuzzFeed. “I make sure nothing blew up that I need to stay up for,” he tells AdWeek. “I sleep with my Samsung Galaxy in the bed.”

Vera Wang pores over material that staffers send her.

“My bedroom is my sanctuary,” the American fashion designer told Fortune in 2006. “It’s like a refuge, and it’s where I do a fair amount of designing — at least conceptually if not literally.” Part of that work means using her evenings (“the only time where seven people aren’t coming to me at once,” she says) to read over whatever her staff sends.

Gary Whitehill reads from 9 to 10:30 p.m., with two cups of peppermint tea.

Whitehill, the founder of Entrepreneur Week, tells Business Insider that he spends his nights reading 40 pages in whatever his current book is and scrolling through articles on politics, business, and culture on his Flipboard. He also scans the business and tech sections of the New York Times and the national and sports verticals of USA Today.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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