A nice post and reminder that no matter ones position in life we can push forward with the collective knowledge of those that came before us learning from their mistakes, success and failure. Reading is so 1999 these days for most however the value it can offer a person is immeasurable in my opinion.
The first book I read was The Hobbit. I was 9. Within 12 months I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy and followed up with Roots by Alex Haley. It pretty much got out of control from there and I read anything I could. Sure, at that young age I probably didn't understand everything I read, but it instilled in me a passion for reading and the knowledge I found in books.
Reading is important, taking the lessons learned on board, determining how they relate to us, what they mean is also. I class myself as a successful person, and for someone who never finished high school I can say that my success is partly due to the reading I have done.