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TB#3: Put Down the Self Help Books and do this Instead


Today I have a confession to make.

Long ago, I started to read self-help books for three reasons.

First, I was just curious and wanted to explore another genre. Second, I wanted to get better at my work. And finally, for “the secret.”

It’s always about the secret.

But after a while, and without me fully realizing it, it all turned into a dopamine festival with no real purpose…which went on for far longer than I care to admit.

Like with so many others, it all started with The 4-Hour Workweek, and from there…well to pretty much any best-seller out there.

Hundreds of millions of other people are still in this loop that leads nowhere.

But the books are not to blame!

They have their place in the world, and I still think that paying $20 for even one good idea is a steal.

But just reading doesn’t work. And that’s what most people do.

If it worked, we’d all be fit, wealthy and successful in all areas of life already, no?

Any sane person knows that, but refuses to believe it.

Because…what if the next book contains the secret?

It won’t.

Here is what to do instead.

Ask Yourself What You Really Need

Self-help books sell because they promise everything.

But everything means nothing in particular.


  • Ask yourself what is the one exact skill you want to build. Or what is the one exact issue you want help with.
  • Find a highly-rated course online that targets your answer (and nothing else)
  • Commit to finishing the course at all costs – even if it takes long.

Let’s face it. Books are easy to buy and difficult to act on. The publishers even impose a minimum page limit, so for a simple thing there has to be a lot of fluff.

Good courses are the opposite.

Good courses take anywhere between 2-4 hours to finish, contain only actionable material to take you from A to B, and they target one specific thing (which you identified already).

Then you do what all the books tell you to do anyway. Work on it. Don’t buy another course.

Go long term. That’s the *real* self-help formula:​

But that’s not easy either, I know!

Leverage Accountability

Whatever it is you want to learn, avoid going at it alone.

Change requires discipline.

Building requires discipline.

Learning requires discipline.

And accountability teaches you discipline.

  1. Find a person or a community where you can report your progress daily.
  2. Make friends with people who share similar goals.
  3. Help them stay consistent!

They’ll return the favour.

I report my focused work sessions daily in my own Discord.

To a bloody bot!

But it helps me stay on track.

So why would I not?

Pass it Forward

This is a big one.

Teaching is the best way to learn.

So whatever you learn, pass it forward.

You can create a quick side business of whatever you’re learning.

Or share it on social media.

Both build your credibility as an expert on the topic.

Nothing but winning in this plan.

That’s it!

OK, now that you can put aside the self-help books for the next few months… here’s a movie recommendation!

1000 Self-Help Books in 2:08

Now Here’s a well-known secret.

95% of the modern self-help books are based on Unleash the Power Within by Tony Robbins.

So if you MUST read something, read that one.

But even that is largely based on As a Man Thinketh by James Allen anyway.

But then there’s Kung Fu Panda (2008).

Yes, the children’s movie.

It contains all the lessons about self-growth, truths about friendships as well as hardships, and timeless secrets of success that most of the books just regurgitate in their own words.

Plus it’s a whole lot of fun!

See you next Saturday!

Wishing you all the best in the world,


About the author 

Simo Hosio  -  Simo is an award-winning scientist, Academy Research Fellow, research group leader, professor, and digital builder. This site exists to empower people to build passion projects that support professional growth and make money.

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