Todd Combs, an investment lieutenant at Berkshire Hathaway, got great advice the first time he encountered his current boss, Warren Buffett, in 2000, the year he started his MBA at Columbia Business School. The Oracle of Omaha was speaking to Combs and 165 other students during an investing class.
In response to a question about how to prepare for an investing career, Buffett told the students, "Read 500 pages like this every day," while reaching toward a stack of manuals and papers. "That's how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it."
Combs, now 47 and a protege of the Berkshire Hathaway CEO, took the advice to heart. As he began his investing career, he read even more, sometimes hitting up to 1,000 pages a day.
"Combs's approach was a race against the clock to consume information, says one person familiar with his strategy during that period," Bloomberg reports. "If he wasn't in a meeting with his analysts or taking a break to exercise, he was reading, three people say."
Reading voraciously appears to have helped him get ahead.