Six Steps to Get the Most Out of Self Help Books

self-help books So often people spend time reading a book, listening to an audio tape or going to a seminar and then never do anything with the information. If reading a diet book made you skinny or reading a business book made you rich self-help books would be not only more popular but also much more effective.

I am a big fan of personal development books and usually read at least one a week and also listen to audio cds in my car. Instead of just reading them and forgetting all the valuable wisdom I make sure to internalize and act on the advice. I’ve written down my top 6 tips for getting the most out of your self help books.

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Six Steps to Get the Most Out of Self Help Books

1. Pick Wisely

  • Find books that are most suited to an area of interest for you personally or an area you really want to improve in. It might be parenting, public speaking or health and wellness
  • Look on line for the best resources in that particular area and buy the top 1-2 books in that area

2. Interact with your book

  • Consume it, highlight key points or write them down if you’ve borrowed it
  • Pick the 3 best ideas from the book.
  • I will often write in the margin of the book and summarize these 3 actionable items on the inside of the back cover
  • I keep a running list of the books I have read and summarize them briefly in my journal. This becomes a knowledge bank for all I have read.

3. Give yourself action steps

  • When you see a particularly powerful piece of advice figure out how you can apply it to your life and start implementing it that day
  • Pick one idea and practice it for 1-3 weeks, then pick another and another.

4. Follow the author on Facebook or Twitter.

  • Every time you see an update from them you’ll be reminded of their book and advice

5. Discuss the book

  • You can discuss it with your significant other, co-workers or form a book club. You can join discussion groups online etc

6. Re-read the book

  • If you remember that a particular book is useful for an upcoming event, re-read the book to understand the concepts fully.
  • Because I have highlighted and summarized the key points rereading even a long book can be done in less than 30 minutes.

All the best information will have no impact if you can’t remember it and you don’t take action on it. Try the next time you pick up a personal development or other non-fiction book to read it actively. And then summarize it and implement at least one key point that you feel will impact your life.

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