blog-book-coverDo you really need all those self-help books? Do you have some self help books that you only read once and now gather dust on the shelf? There are a gazillion diet books with NEW ways to lose weight.

I love what Dr. Suess said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

I’d be the first to encourage you to embark on a life long quest to learn and grow. When you add new knowledge upon that which you already have you’ll continuously be able to connect the dots and have those valuable “Aha” moments.

I’ve learned and have a big belief in studying great material. Currently I have about 10 books that I’ve not even opened yet. I’ve purchased these at the recommendation of mentors and others that I admire.

I usually purchase the book online for my Kindle and after I read it there, if I really found it to valuable, I’ll purchase a hard and audio copy if it’s available. Then I’ll read the hard copy and listen to the audio multiple times to really gleam as much of the material from the author as I can.

Here is my take on how to choose the type of material that would be best for you.

1. Consider the author

I believe this is the most important aspect of reading or listening to quality material. Who is the author? Do they have a great history of content? Do they connect with you because of their own personal story? Have they written material in the past that you really enjoyed?

Take one of my favorite authors, Brene’ Brown, PhD. I first discovered her by listening to one of the top 20 all-time most watched TED Talks on YouTube. She was #6 at the time. Without knowing anything about her I felt the investment in 20 minutes would at least allow me to know if her material was suitable to me to purcahse. That 20 minutes has returned the most important knowledge I’ve ever learned. From her 20 minute talk I felt confident that any book or audio material I would purchase from her would be good and it has been!

Avoid authors who pat themselves on the back. What do I mean by that? It’s my observation that many authors who might have had a little success or even were great students of knowledge but never really applied it and haven’t really achieved much become authors. You can tell because they seem to title their material, “The 6 Steps to Wealth” or, “My 9-Step Proven Success Formula.” I once purchased a book (without following my own advice) on the subject of my profession. When I was about half way through the first chapter knew it wasn’t going to be very good. I stopped reading it. A few months later I discovered that this author had never even achieved the level I was currently at in the profession so he decided to write a book that was basically “do as I say, not as I do.” It was one of those, “My 15 Steps to Knock it Out of the Park!” book. It was a complete strike out.

2. Ask for a recommendation from somebody you trust

A good rule of success creation that I’ve followed is to find out who has what I want and then do what they do until I have what I want. I have several people in my life who meet that criterion. What I’ve discovered is that successful people are very willing to share with you authors who have greatly influenced them. Some of the best books I’ve ever read were from a recommendation from a valued mentor.

3. Explore material written many years ago and that are no longer in print

I stumbled upon this little known fact last year. There are some great authors whose material is timeless. I’ve found some of these books at bargain book sales. This is how I found Napoleon Hill’s timeless masterpiece Think and Grow Rich. I still have the copy.

4. It takes multiple readings to really soak in all the material

The first time you read a book I recommend you read it quickly and not dwell too much on the material. During the first reading I’ll highlight certain passages that stick out to me in different colors in my Kindle. Then the second time I read it will spend more time digging deeper and really studying the material. I’m not as smart as most people and I have to read material many times to soak it all in. I’ve read some books and listened to its audio version as many as 15 times. What’s amazing to me is that even on the 15th time I learn something that didn’t stick the first 14 times.

I believe in what Albert Einstein said,

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.” 


My quest always is to understand the material. Fools who only know write the 7-Step Self Help books.

Become a lifetime learner. The more you grow as a person, the more abundance you’ll attract and earn in your life. Work to understand the knowledge so that it can turn into wisdom.

About the Author Michael Lantz (Big Papa)

The Wellness Warrior™; Health & Leadership/Business Coach, Speaker, Blogger, Author, Ironman Triathlete Helping others live with more health and joy, paying for their dreams and make a difference in the world! Learn more: