How to Read a Self Help Book

Ever read a self-help book you loved? Ever read a self-help book that didn’t change you as you had hoped? Ever want to know how to effectively read a self-help book?

I’ve read countless self-help books…some proved some meaningful value I instantly applied. Then there were others I didn’t apply anything I learned but LOVED what the book was about.

Reading a self-help book is different than a novel. With a novel you can find yourself quickly getting from the front to back cover without having to think about what you should do with what you just read. Where as, with a self-help book there are success stories and lessons we can learn from that which make us THINK how this can help us.

The trouble is, we hear many stories of people who just didn’t get anything from what they learned – including me. There is an art to reading a self-help book. And, what you learn from it can change your life FOREVER.

Mortimer Adler said, “….a good book can teach you about the world and about yourself. You learn more than how to read better; you also learn more about life. You become wiser. Not just more knowledgeable – books that provide nothing but information can produce that result. But wiser, in the sense that you are more deeply aware of the great and enduring truths of human life.”

Reading a self-help book should be more like savoring a delicious meal you don’t normally get. Something you don’t want to forget.

Now Mortimer Adler knew his stuff about how to read a self-help book. In fact, what you’re about to learn here will help you achieve great success because you’re going to apply what you learned – it’s why you picked up the self-help book to begin with. I must give a lot of credit to Mortimer Adler for what he has taught us is, the power isn’t in the reading but in what you applied.

So, how do you read a self-help book?

There are four ways to make the best of what you’ve learned and helping you positively change your life forever.

First off, after you’ve found the right self-help book what you want to do is read it from front to back and bookmark the pages you want to revisit. Don’t worry about how you’re going to apply what you’ve just learned. The purpose of this is to see if there is an interest level for you. If there is, then you want to do the second thing.

Secondly, get yourself a highlighter and pen or pencil and begin re-reading the book. This time highlight areas of interest, make notes within the book and do all of the exercises.

Thirdly, after you’ve read it for the second time, revisit your notes and begin to apply what you’ve learned in each of the exercises. Don’t worry about applying all of the new ideas you’ve just learned. Only focus on doing one at a time. As you apply each of them, then you must do the most important and final step.

Finally, you’ve read the book a few times, became engaged in the book and applied what you learned. Now you must use the power of consistency. That means to repeat these steps or at a minimal re-reading the book and re-applying what you’ve learned.

If you follow these four steps, you will now know how to read a self-help book and you will also begin changing your life. I don’t consider myself an expert but I do know this has worked for me, however, if you want to know what Mortimer Adler suggests, pick up his book called “How to Read a Book“?

Much success,
Jerome Ratliff

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Author: Jerome Ratliff

6 thoughts on “How to Read a Self Help Book

  1. We are a not-for-profit educational organization, founded by Mortimer Adler and we have recently made an exciting discovery–three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos–lively discussing the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.

    Three hours with Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren, lively discussing the art of reading, on one DVD. A must for libraries and classroom teaching the art of reading.

    I cannot exaggerate how instructive these programs are–we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

    Please go here to see a clip and learn more:

    ISBN: 978-1-61535-311-8

    Thank you,

    Max Weismann

    1. Hi Max,
      Mortimer Adler is someone we all can learn a great deal from. So, I’m glad you mentioned that and I can see why you’re a big supporter of his.

      Thanks for stopping by…

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  3. Just wish to say your article is astonishing. The clarity on reading a selfhelp book is just spectacular and I can assume you’re knowledgeable in this subject. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

    1. That’s why we’re here Andreas – “To help make a difference.” Glad you appreciated what we shared with you.

      Come back soon,

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