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7 tips to get the most out of any personal development book

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Realize why you can't literally put what you read from self-enrichment books into practice

The chart below will show you the process when you start reading the book till finishing it. We'll then see how it can possibly go wrong.

People want to improve



They read


on the subject


They get


during the process




to put what they’ve learned into practice




what they’ve learned


The motivation & inspiration



Reading & learning from a personal development book is quite a unique process. Unlike reading a fiction, you need to start off with total focus and conviction. If you notice from the chart above, the process (from when you pick a book to actually achieve something from it) is a pretty tough journey. There’re so many hurdles in between, which can easily distract you from reading or achieving anything.

A few possible hurdles:

1. You never read or finish the book

2. You fail to get inspired or motivated: This can happen for a few reasons. You may not agree with the point of view of the author. You may find the concept or guide described in the book too complex or too good to be true.

3. You do get motivated. You do want to do something. But then, what are the specific steps or action plans? You struggle, literally. You sit on the problem and crack on brain.

4. You determine to dive in. Then, just like any beginner, you then face some really tough situations.  You can’t conquer the challenges. You give up in the end.

There's undenial fact is that: 80% of the readers are just book readers. 20% of them can become the achiever by putting what they learn into practive and turning their vision into reality.

Realizing this fact has totally reshaped my thinking and urged me into diving in to do some research, make experiments, interview people and finally come up with some useful tips that actually works. 

If you’re reading this guide, chances are you haven’t achieved significant success from reading your book. This guide is here to help you to join the 20% top achievers who can turn whatever they want from a book to actions and to reality.


I’m sure you have books that you never finish or even start reading. We all do. The reason for that is simple. Just like many other human’s wants, we purchase books on impulse (whether it’s a book or an ebook). It can be due to the hype around the book, a friend’s recommendation, a good review from your favorite forums, a well-designed cover with intriguing title that sparks your interests… Then payment is made, and the book is yours.

Once the book is within your reach at your comfort home, all you need to do is to start reading it. But if for some reasons, you never manage to read the book after a few months, maybe the decision to buy it was wrong altogether. You don’t need the book badly enough. And if you don’t find it important before you start to read, you won’t take it seriously during the process. You won’t benefit much from it but a waste of time.

So, if you already have a few books on personal development, de-clutter them. Only keep those that you really want to read and benefit from. You can keep books that you’ve read and enjoyed but have yet achieved results. For those that you don’t want anymore, a smart decision will be donating it (if it’s a hard cover) or categorize it under “Never Bother To Read” folder (if it’s an ebook). Be harsh on yourself. Don’t try to keep everything. It’ll slow down your progress to achievement.

Remember, for those books that you have not read and decided to donate, you still learn something from them: Never buy a book if you don’t need it badly enough.



There are hundreds of thousands of books on personal development out there. I always believe that every book offers some sort of values. Having said that, there are books that work better for you. There are many factors that define whether a book is right for you. Let's start with the subject matter. I'm sure that's how we all buy books. We only aim at buying books that answer to a particular problems we want to overcome or a particular skill sets we want acquire. Whatver it is, choose the book that sparks your interest. Then, if you are particular about certain writing style, writer's origin...and so on, make sure you take these elements into consideration while buying the book. It will be much easier for you to read something that you enjoy.


Unlike fiction, again, you need full commitment. A few simple steps will definitely make a huge difference: allocate specific time in a day or a week to read the book; set specific deadline when you finish the whole book; choose a comfortable place in your house without much distraction; take notes; compare notes with the original goal that makes you buy the book (ask yourself: are those notes directly directing me towards my goal?)

If you find yourself constantly distracted or skip through pages or not digest the information, it's time to have  a serious self-reflection session. Be brutally honest with yourself why you are progressing in the book. Does the book suck? Is your reading speed too slow? Are you a victim of procrastination?

If the answer is yes, the logical thing would be to find a cure for it. Some helpful resources:

1. How to avoid procrastination at 


2. How to improve your reading speed at http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2009/07/30/speed-reading-and-accelerated-learning/


You read the book. You pick out the thing you want to learn and excel. Here comes the part that defines a book reader and a book achiever. A book reader is someone who finishes a book, gets entirely motivated during the process and wants to do something. However, a book reader has no specific plan on how to realize what he wants to do. After a few days or weeks, the motivation dies out, he moves on with his life. A book achiever, on the other hand, sets out specific goals and follows through.

Everyone can read, but only a minority can achieve. How can you turn yourself from a reader to an achiever?

Over and over again, you hear people say that you need to put what you learn from the book into practice. The question is HOW? Where do you start? How to keep track of the progress? How do you know if you achieve the end result? (The last question is particular true when you’re supposed to adopt a new mindset. How can you possibly know if you have a new mindset?)

The answer is follow through. The majority of self-improvement books nowadays have the exercises or tasks associated with it. Focus on the exercise. Read the extended resources recommended in the book. You may seem that the more you read, the less you seem to know. However, if you determine to push through with an open mind, you'll overcome that stage. Clarity will come to you as a result of well-planned learning. You see notice your shift in mindset or behavior.


Once you have the clarity on the subject matter, it's important to make experiments and test your learnings. Put what you have acquired and put into practical use. See how much that certain skill or mindset can affect your life. Remember: no matter how good a book is, it only teaches you with principles. What matters more is to test these principles, make certain tweaks and define a scheme that works best for you.



Just like any skills or mindset, practice makes perfect. Keep your spirit high. Continuously apply what you learn. The best way not to forego what you have acquired is to surround yourself with like-minded people - the achievers. Spend your time wisely. Subscribe to their blogs, read their articles. Be constantly inspired. Enjoy the ride.



 Just as great as learning from people, sharing your experiences is incredible. Sharing is a way to learn. You have a chance to re-look what truly helps you. You can learn from others. Not to mention that you actually help others, there's nothing comparable to the fantastic feelings it brings.

I hope the guide helps you as much as I enjoy writing it. Please do comment to let me know what you think.





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