You can’t experience everything yourself. It’s a simple fact. You just won’t live long enough to accomplish it all. So you need to read and educate yourself about some things without actually experiencing them.

Learn sales techniques from a successful salesman. Learn bookkeeping from a CPA. Don’t waste time trying to reinvent the wheel. Benefit from someone else’s years of experience.

Go to a bookstore or library. Pick up any damn book you can find and study.

The simple effort of reading will put you ahead of those who don’t read. For one thing, it allows you to learn from the mistakes of others before you make them yourself.

When I was young, there was a saying among the inner-city kids: “Stay in school and get a million bucks free.” Even those little kids knew that what they could learn by reading and studying would get them further in life than kids who never cracked a book.

[Ed. Note: Author and businessman John L. Herman Jr. (“Herman”), who has owned more than 20 companies, has become an expert on why businesses fail. The above article was excerpted with permission from Hermanisms: Axioms for Business and Life. For more information about Herman and his business writing, please visit]