What does it take to become a Hollywood A-lister? How can you use the strategies of mega-successful actors to be successful in your own life? According to Will Smith, the “keys to life” are running and reading. At the 2005 Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards, Will Smith said, “The reason that reading is so important, there have been millions and billions and billions and gazillions of people that have lived before all of us, there’s no new problem you can have, with your parents, with school, with a bully, with anything. There’s no problem you can have that someone hasn’t already solved and wrote about it in a book.”
If reading is one of the keys to success, Will Smith must read a lot. What are Will Smith’s book recommendations, the books that have contributed most to his success? Check out Will Smith’s 3 favorite books here.
Don’t have as much time as Will Smith to read? That’s where Shortform comes in. With Shortform, you can get the key lessons from the best nonfiction books in minutes, not in hours. Our experts condense the key lessons from recommended books like these into an efficient summary. Check out our high-quality summaries of these 3 books to see if you can learn more quickly.
Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell
AUTHOR: Malcolm Gladwell
No one starts with nothing. Rags-to-riches stories fool us because although they may be factually true—you may start your life poor and finish it rich—they leave out all the advantages of circumstances that contribute to success. Further, they make us believe that success is an individual achievement. But no one succeeds alone. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell shows us that where you’re from and the opportunities you’re given matter as much as personal advantages such as talent and intelligence.
On USA Today, Will Smith mentioned he was reading Gladwell’s Outliers, explaining, “he talks about the concept of 10,000 hours. That you don’t really settle into any level of mastery until 10,000 hours, and I feel like I’ve just completed my 10,000 hours of story structure and filmmaking.” Clearly, the idea of 10,000 hours of focused practice spoke to him, making this one of the best of Will Smith’s book recommendations.
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
In this fable about following your heart and self-discovery, a shepherd boy named Santiago sets out on a quest for hidden treasure. The treasure he ultimately finds is not the treasure he was looking for–and it’s a far better treasure than he ever could have hoped for.
On the Tavis Smiley Show, Will Smith shared what he learned from The Alchemist: “I believe that I can create whatever I want to create.…I feel very strongly that we are who we choose to be.” The Alchemist is one of the most cited Will Smith book recommendations.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad, by Robert T. Kiyosaki
TITLE: Rich Dad Poor Dad
AUTHOR: Robert T. Kiyosaki
Rich Dad, Poor Dad is one of the best-selling financial books in history, selling over 35 million copies. The premise: when growing up, author Robert Kiyosaki had two dads advising him: 1) a Stanford-educated PhD who followed traditional career thinking and was financially illiterate (the Poor Dad, his biological father); 2) a high school dropout who built a business empire employing thousands (the Rich Dad, his best friend’s father).
The two dads are a parable for two different approaches to wealth: Poor Dad recommends getting a secure job with good benefits and retiring with a pension. Rich Dad recommends amassing assets that make money for you, becoming financially literate, and practicing independent thinking.
In this book, learn how to achieve financial independence, why it’s a terrible idea to see your home as your biggest investment, and how to overcome the biggest mental blocks to becoming wealthy.
In an interview with Oprah, Will Smith said he asked his kids to read Rich Dad, Poor Dad: “I want them to be able to have a financial comprehension to not be slaves to working and money…the way that my mind has been for a really long time.” He said, “No matter how successful you get, it’s really difficult to shake your mindset, and I still have a ‘poor person’ mentality, I can’t shake it, and it gets really detrimental….When I go to sleep, right now, I’m as financially nervous as I was 20 years ago.” Because his children are growing up in a different financial book than he is, Will Smith recommended this book to help them understand other financial realities.