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A self-made millionaire who studied 1,200 wealthy people found they all have one -- free -- pastime in common

Bill Gates Summer BooksBill Gates FoundationBill Gates is a voracious reader.

When Steve Siebold was a broke college student, his quest to become rich began with one interview — with a millionaire, he told US News & World Report.

Since then, he’s interviewed more than 1,200 of the world’s wealthiest people over the past three decades and become a self-made millionaire himself.

In his research, he noticed a pastime the rich have in common: They self-educate by reading.

“Walk into a wealthy person’s home and one of the first things you’ll see is an extensive library of books they have used to educate themselves on how to become more successful,” Siebold writes. “The middle class reads novels, tabloids, and entertainment magazines.”

Rich people would rather be educated than entertained.

Take Warren Buffett, for example, who estimates that 80% of his working day is dedicated to reading.

And according to Thomas Corley, author of “Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits Of Wealthy Individuals,” 67% of rich people watch TV for one hour or less per day, while just 23% of poor people keep their TV time under 60 minutes. Corley also found only 6% of the wealthy watch reality shows, while 78% of the poor do.

While the rich don’t necessarily put much stock in furthering wealth through formal education — many of the most successful people have little formal education — they appreciate the power of learning long after college is over, Siebold explains.

“Meanwhile, the masses are convinced that master’s degrees and doctorates are the way to wealth, mostly because they are trapped in the linear line of thought that holds them back from higher levels of consciousness,” he writes. “The wealthy aren’t interested in the means, only the end.”

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