Are self-help books helping you?

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Are self-help books helping you?



I was at the Bangalore Airport waiting in line for checkin, when I heard shouting from one of the counters. A customer was shouting as some need of his was not getting met by the airline. The same customer was on my flight and while waiting for the gate to open, I was amused to see him reading “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman!!. The only thing that book talks about is; how to be aware of your emotions and knowing your emotions -> how do you manage them :).ID-10092398

Hence my question: are self help books really helping you? Or is it just the concept of reading a book and gathering more knowledge for disseminating it when you think others need it!. Many of my clients have spoken to me about reading loads of self help books and that it really has never helped them. I don’t want to be a preacher, so I don’t want to say “why do you read the book if you don’t implement what is written there”. This is for those people who want to make a change and read such books to help them make a change. If you are not changing after reading these books, then you need to rethink your strategy.

Here is what I follow when I read a book:

  • The most important part of reading a book is to understand & decide what is your agenda with this book. You might find different messages in the same book if you have a different agenda.
  • Once you have read something which you like and think that is going to help you change, then open an excel sheet and write that change down. If the change is “to start working on a diet”, then write that down.
  • Then every day at the end of the day, give yourself a rating (1-10, 10 being highest). A 1 would mean you did not spend a second on that activity. 10 would mean that you spent decent amount of time (your definition of decent!). Remember nobody else is looking at this. So giving this rating is for yourself and not just to feel good.
  • Do this for at least 30 days. You can do this as long as you like 🙂

Sounds simple!!. I am very sure you will see a visible change in you within a fortnight. The measurements help you give a sense of achievement when it is not coming from elsewhere. The problem lies with us not following our own commitments. This structure helps you to raise your commitment level and accountability to yourself.

The books are there to give awareness, not to actually change you. So just reading it is not enough.

Go change yourself!!


Image courtesy of pixtawan at

I would love to hear your comments/Feedback on the blog and have a creative discussion around it!!