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How to get the most out of a Self Help book.

See that picture over there, the one with the stack of books. Yeah that's my stack of self help books, my healing guides, my mentors.

However you chose to label them, they are all mine and no, I haven't read them all yet!

I have part read some, fully read others, even re read some. I just don't seem to have reached the end. And I probably won't because I know I will buy some more, borrow a lot and pass on some to others as well.

As I took delivery of two more this week, I started to think about what I was getting out of them. Was I really benefiting from them at all, or are the PR people just reaping the rewards of mine, and countless others, obsession with wanting to better ourselves?

It struck me as I worked through Week 3 of Julia Cameron's THE ARTIST WAY that its not always about the whole book and needing to live by the rules of that one book.

There are chapters upon chapters in these books that will be read and forgotten as I turn the page, not because they are dull or badly written, but simply because I don't need to learn that part yet - or ever.

Its like opening a packet of biscuits, you know you'll get to the end and think, did I need all that?

The answer quite often is NO. But just a couple of those biscuits really hit the right spot and so we carry on! Its the same with these books, these guides to help us see more clearly, learn to love ourselves, look lovingly in a mirror and reflect back on our past enemies with gratitude and wisdom. Some of what we read really does hit the spot.

Am I wasting my time reading this stuff if its not going to work? NO. Absolutely NO. Because these books are meant to help us think, and adapt, move on, move out, move up... think of any description that fits for you as you read.

Little bits of knowledge seep out into our everyday lives and help nurture us when we need it.

They help us find a path through some of the toughest trails. They give us comfort when we think all hope is lost and life is just shit.

They can also be full of overblown nonsense. I have read some books and thought, REALLY? That is not going to work! But then I may have read it again later in life and I thought... YES that will work for me. Sometimes its just about timing, not about the latest publishing.

So, how on earth do you get the best out of the plethora of books out there? Well firstly start from where you are now, pick the book, the title, the author that sings to you, that makes you feel good.

Then just read. Its that simple, read quickly, read slowly. Make notes in the margins, highlight pages, fold pages, bookmark chapters.

Take whatever works for you at the time from those pages. Use what works for you right then as you read. When you are done, pop it back on the bookshelf, or pass it on to the person you thought of as soon as you read it.

These books are not designed to be rule books, they won't change your life overnight, they won't make you rich, they won't transform your body in seconds. But they will make you laugh, and cry, and get angry. They will have you telling everyone you know that they must read this great book you have just found, or you will pass it to the charity shop and never give it another thought.

Out of the many books I still have to read, I know I will learn something new. I will change one small thing at a time and I will keep buying the books and passing them on in the hope someone else will get what I get!

I am grateful to those authors that chose to write what they do because it gives me something to think about, and learn from and grow.

What one book have you read that you had to pass on to a friend as soon as you finished? Did they love it as much as you?

My Favorites:

Brene Brown - The gifts of Imperfection

Gretchen Rubin - Better than Before

Julia Cameron - The Artist Way

Gay Hendricks - The Big Leap


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Located in Radcliffe, near Bury, Healthful Hands is ideally located to provide personal health and nutritional coaching and support in the following areas: Ainsworth, Bolton, Blackburn, Bury, Chorley, Farnworth, Haslingden, Heywood, Little Lever, Manchester, Prestwich, Radcliffe, Salford, Swinton, Westhoughton, Whitefield, and throughout Greater Manchester, Lancashire and the North West of England.