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Are business/self-help books a waste of time?

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LiveEntrepreneur

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So today I was looking at my bookshelf with over 80+ books on it, and was thinking to what I've learnt from it and I look at it and think I haven't really accomplished anything from all this reading. Sometimes I think because these books are not tailored to your situation they won't help you, thus pointless reading them. What was your guys opinion on it?
 

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So today I was looking at my bookshelf with over 80+ books on it, and was thinking to what I've learnt from it and I look at it and think I haven't really accomplished anything from all this reading. Sometimes I think because these books are not tailored to your situation they won't help you, thus pointless reading them. What was your guys opinion on it?
They're a waste of time if you don't apply what you learn. If you do, then they're one of your biggest assets.
 

broswoodwork

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Millionaire Fastlane to get started with your unique basic framework. E-Myth Revisited once you're off and running to start systemizing all the awesome, but not necessarily organized/ structured, action you took up front; then, some books, or better yet, threads here to refine the skills you've started learning through trial and error from above (copy writing, etc).

Reading is consuming; action is producing. You can't really consume your way to where you want to be in life.
 

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“Reading is consuming; action is producing.”

When you see an overweight person gorging themselves on Diet Pepsi and Twizzlers, with a bowl of nachos in their lap, at the movie theater you are seeing gluttony at work, destroying that person’s potential chip by dripping chip.

Your mind consumes ideas though. It eats and gains energy on stories. You need brain food to have mental energy to think deeply and make connections with firm foundations.

We all need to be as careful with the books, media, and conversations we “consume” as we are with our actual diet. Gluttony is not attractive.
 

MaxKhalus

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Of course, books have no application. They show you the direction to take, but never move you to the actual destination. As long as you have a clear plan, you can spend little time with books.

I read TMF, Unscripted, and other business-finance books from time to time. But only because I have fun reading them. I don't spend more than 15 minutes a day reading.

It's like buying a business info-product, thinking you will be rich in a few months.
 

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broswoodwork

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Your mind consumes ideas though. It eats and gains energy on stories. You need brain food to have mental energy to think deeply and make connections with firm foundations.
Sure, but how much is too much.

I humbly suggest, 80 books is too much, although if you took one suggestion from each book, and incorporated into the daily plan, you'd be an unstoppable killing machine.
4786262-5916109105-98d2d1.jpeg
 

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I'd say after a while self-help books are a waste. I love a good book to get me motivated which is why I like Grant Cardone, the guy's energy is amazing- but after a while if you're looking to these books for motivation exclusively then you need to rethink your strategy.

A good example: UNFU*K YOURSELF. Everyone was telling me I needed to read this book so I listened to the audiobook on a 5 hour drive to a conference. It was honestly just hours of shit I already knew "stop blaming others, positive self talk is good, etc". I feel like scripted people LOVE LOVE LOVE these books for some reason.
29945

Motivational books can be good but I don't go out of my way to read them. Again, I like Grant Cardones stuff in audio books even though I'm not learning anything new I like his energy.

As far as "technical" books. These are never a waste of time as long as you're reading the right stuff. Reading is great for your brain - get in an hour or so a day, so you may as well learn a new skill while you do it. I've found the best ones I've read are about habit building, scheduling, finance.
 

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Some books help in certain situations when you remember a quote or experience someone went through. In that moment, you will realize the value of having read it.

Other books shift your mindset ever closer to a new line of thought. Some have a stronger impact, but they all compound on each other.

80 books could be good or bad, depending on what titles you've been consuming. After reading 600+ books, I can say only around 30 of them are amazing (in my opinion). But you'll need to read a lot of 'crap' to get to the gold. Just like digging through dirt.
 

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A book is a waste of time if you don't need what it offers and/or do not gain value from it.

Books are invaluable if they help you gain skills and experience in an area that you need to grow in.
 

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A book is a waste of time if you don't need what it offers and/or do not gain value from it.

Books are invaluable if they help you gain skills and experience in an area that you need to grow in.
So an excellent novel that stretches your imagination and grows your perspective on the world.. is valuable.
 

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No way you can remember 80 books worth of content in your mind.

So even if they were good or bad if you weren’t talk notes and taking action it’s totally pointless.

80 meals don’t make an athlete but an athlete needs to eat. Books are only as good as what you apply them to.
 

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So an excellent novel that stretches your imagination and grows your perspective on the world.. is valuable.
Absolutely. I find that a lot of our current situation is people not having read enough novels. Novels, especially the classics and great ones, expand the realm of possibility and teach how the world is without making one memorize theoretical/philosophical gobblygook.

No way you can remember 80 books worth of content in your mind.

So even if they were good or bad if you weren’t talk notes and taking action it’s totally pointless.

80 meals don’t make an athlete but an athlete needs to eat. Books are only as good as what you apply them to.
Perhaps one won't remember ALL of the 80 books. But we tend to remember key points, or overarching themes and stories.

I don't know what the limit to how much a human can remember is. I doubt there is one.
 

Vadim26

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I've read maybe 5-10 of them and it surely set me on a good path..
but I am probably not going to read them in a while for now.

With this type of books, every new one that comes out is just a rehashed information of what's already out there.

Remember, that self-help is huge billion dollar industry, and it's relatively easy to write about motivation.

Whoever can create a cool cover with a word "F*CK" and promise the dream - will gain a good chunk of that $$$.

Another point is that it's addicting. You read the book about becoming millionaire, you get high, you feel good. The feeling goes away. Now you are looking for another book to get high again. You get the point.

So to answer your question.

Self-help books are not a waste of time if you just started reading them, but ROI you get quickly diminishes after you've read a few.
 
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Perhaps one won't remember ALL of the 80 books. But we tend to remember key points, or overarching themes and stories.
I agree to a point but I stopped reading books without taking notes and writing out extra thoughts. I found I get about 10 times more out of anyone book.

But ya I do think the mind retains everything - but without putting content into action it can quickly jam up your decision-making skills with way too much theory and no practical experience.
 

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I agree to a point but I stopped reading books without taking notes and writing out extra thoughts. I found I get about 10 times more out of anyone book.

But ya I do think the mind retains everything - but without putting content into action it can quickly jam up your decision-making skills with way too much theory and no practical experience.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if you get 10x more by taking notes and thinking more about it.

Probably is especially good to do for books one finds more important or valuable.

I listen to a lot of books, usually when I'm doing things like driving or cleaning. Makes it difficult to take notes ha! I deal with this by repeating books that I especially gained from.
 

Black_Dragon43

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So today I was looking at my bookshelf with over 80+ books on it, and was thinking to what I've learnt from it and I look at it and think I haven't really accomplished anything from all this reading. Sometimes I think because these books are not tailored to your situation they won't help you, thus pointless reading them. What was your guys opinion on it?
Well, our brain naturally will prioritize knowledge that we still have yet to gain, not knowledge that has already been gained. You may just as well think about the countless hours you spent doing math as you were growing up in school, and say that you haven't really accomplished much - it's just math. When you look back on things that you have learned, it always looks like nothing because of the innate cognitive bias we have towards novelty and new knowledge.

Once you see beyond this bias, you realize that the basics of math are necessary to run any business and to understand where you are and what you can do to do better next. So just because that seems "easy" to you now, doesn't mean that it's not important or it is worthless. Something may be very valuable, and very easy at the same time.

In addition, if you expect that reading a stack of books will put a stack of cash on your desk... well, that ain't gonna happen my friend, but that's not the fault of the books, that's your fault. If you want to lose weight, reading books about weight loss, exercising and such can be helpful - but if you don't do any of the actual activities that will help you lose weight that you're reading about - such as dieting, exercising, etc. - then guess what, you ain't going to lose any weight!

People who end up making money as entrepreneurs keep trying stuff. Not everything will succeed, but if you keep trying, you will eventually find something that will.

I don't know what the limit to how much a human can remember is. I doubt there is one.
Probably there isn't. Also, we have to remember the way human memory works - you "remember" stuff only when you need it, but you store a ton of knowledge there that could, at some point, be useful.

Novels, especially the classics and great ones, expand the realm of possibility and teach how the world is without making one memorize theoretical/philosophical gobblygook.
Agreed - reading the great novels is one of the most important things you can do to live a good life. There is another thing that novels do that you can't get from philosophy/theoretical books - which is an intuitive understanding of the complexity of life. Philosophy and theoretical books put things in black and white, neat categories that make it easy to build a system, so that it makes sense. But these "systems" all end up squeezing the complexity of the world, and painting with a broad brush - so if you end up following them, you end up being an ideologue who simply rejects whatever aspects of life don't fit into your neat system. As Hamlet says, "There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy"
 

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If I gave 10 people a detailed map to a hidden treasure, ONLY ONE would go use it, follow it, and start digging. The other 9 would let the map sit on their desk, only later to ask, "was reading this map a waste of time?" Hence why most of the world will never start a business, never quit their job, never succeed, never lose weight, never accomplish a dream, never do x, and never do y.

Human nature is to do nothing and to seek the comforting path of least resistance.
 

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I'm the other extreme. I'm up over 1,200.

I whole-heartedly believe the knowledge I gained help put me where I am today -- and the knowledge I gain next will help put me where I want to be tomorrow.

Reading books compresses decades into days.

If someone spent their whole life trying to figure out how to do something (build a business, write copy, get in shape, etc.) and they can explain that entire experience in a book? It's cutting years off my learning curve.

But I also read for enjoyment, too -- even if it is a business book. I love to learn.
 

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Absolutely. I find that a lot of our current situation is people not having read enough novels. Novels, especially the classics and great ones, expand the realm of possibility and teach how the world is without making one memorize theoretical/philosophical gobblygook.
Yes! Fiction can teach a lot. For instance, I know a lot of ways to kill someone because I read a lot of suspense. :rofl: Kidding. But, the value of fiction is far beyond what most people think and people definitely need to read more novels and less Instagram.
 

broswoodwork

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We have a to book or not to book thread once every three weeks on a forum that most of us found through a book. Life is stranger than fiction. :rofl:
 

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daniel_m

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Strongly disagree with the notion that education is a waste of time. Unless you are "speed-reading" or just skimming through pages, there's no way that you can tell me that you were a smarter individual before reading those 80+ books. And at the end of the day; books don't promise to make you rich or change your life. The sole purpose of books is to make you a smarter, more complete individual and that in turn puts you in a better position to succeed in life.

Yes, I will agree that you can reach a point of diminishing returns. After you've read the think and grow rich's, fastlane millionaire's, how to win friends & influence people's along with the other staples that everyone recommends - you pretty much learn everything you need to know.
 

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If I gave 10 people a detailed map to a hidden treasure, ONLY ONE would go use it, follow it, and start digging. The other 9 would let the map sit on their desk, only later to ask, "was reading this map a waste of time?" Hence why most of the world will never start a business, never quit their job, never succeed, never lose weight, never accomplish a dream, never do x, and never do y.

Human nature is to do nothing and to seek the comforting path of least resistance.
I thought you already did this. I've seen it. It was titled "The millionaire fastlane "
 

Process

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I strongly recommend audio books about whatever You're struggling with in the back of your mind. (Your highest priority issue, ex. lack of marketing, systems, employees, etc.)

Listen to the books while you do your paperwork that you keep putting off so the back of your mind hears it and comes up with new insights.

For example, when I sell a solution, there’s work that goes into telling my team what to do. I listen to a book about something that is right in front me and holding me back.
 
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Sure, but how much is too much.

I humbly suggest, 80 books is too much, although if you took one suggestion from each book, and incorporated into the daily plan, you'd be an unstoppable killing machine.
View attachment 29944
Here's my thing , I don't even why why I want to read them. When I first started, I was looking for business books and accidently discovered the 7 habits of highly effective people and liked the genre and told my self "I'm doing it to improve myself" but with time I got over it and like alot of things I didn't see the point in it anymore.

Even these days sometimes I get excited to start reading again, then ask myself "why?" I can never come up with an answer.
 
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I agree to a point but I stopped reading books without taking notes and writing out extra thoughts. I found I get about 10 times more out of anyone book.

But ya I do think the mind retains everything - but without putting content into action it can quickly jam up your decision-making skills with way too much theory and no practical experience.
What's the actual goal for reading these books? Cause I'm confused as hell. I mean I do get a good feeling out of reading them, and they do make you feel like you have made progress but that's about it. Then I think of my own circumstances how it applies to me, etc, so complicated.
 
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I guess bottom line is my "WHY" isn't strong enough. Just curious on what some peoples "why" is to get some ideas. Maybe make my own.
 

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I believe in reading and learning. "Self help books" is a huge container for everything that helps yourself.
I learn and read in various categories:

  • Health and vitality
  • Finances
  • Business and Marketing
  • Mindset, character building
  • "Spirituality"
  • Coaching
  • ...

It all "helps myself".

I am on both sides: reading and implementing.

Reading: Though I believe that "reading" alone - if read consciously - will effect your behaviour, thoughts, character. Its like beeing around the same persons everyday. You dont apply things consciously but you do unconsciously. After a few years you wake up and you became the "average of the 5 persons you spent most time with" in the last years. You use the same words, act similar, think and use the same skills, have the same values, and probably you also are on a similar "mission".
I believe thats how reading works for me, too.

Implementing: Then, on the other side you can get more speed, concrete, planned results when reading and pick things to apply. I do that, too.

Though sometimes I like "just reading" with a open mind.
Some things I want to learn to apply - thats different reading.

E.g.: By reading TMF I strenthened believs I had, I read found new ones and it challanged old ones. Just by reading it. At the same time it propells me to action and shifting gears in my business towards FL-oriantation and applying CENTS or the decision matrix'.

If I could choose just one thing for my life to be born with: Hunger for learning/reading.
 

bobfour

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Honestly, there aren't any books worth reading for an entrepreneur.

It's not like, when you are faced with a difficult decision, you are going to look back at some book you read and know what to do. People don't behave the way they do base on what they read in books, but based on experience. The best thing to do would be to take the time that would have been spent reading a book and instead get experience - start a business, work at a business, whatever.

Perhaps the only slight exception would be motivational books... but if you need to read a book to get motivated, you've already failed.

I know people will probably hate this reply because nobody likes to ever hear anything but positive BS about how everyone can be an entrepreneur and everyone can learn it, etc, etc. Fact is - that ain't true. Some people have it, some don't. Whether they do or not is more about their personality, character traits and life experience than anything else. You can't change who you are or what your actions and reactions are from a book.
 

daniel_m

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Honestly, there aren't any books worth reading for an entrepreneur.

It's not like, when you are faced with a difficult decision, you are going to look back at some book you read and know what to do. People don't behave the way they do base on what they read in books, but based on experience. The best thing to do would be to take the time that would have been spent reading a book and instead get experience - start a business, work at a business, whatever.

Perhaps the only slight exception would be motivational books... but if you need to read a book to get motivated, you've already failed.

I know people will probably hate this reply because nobody likes to ever hear anything but positive BS about how everyone can be an entrepreneur and everyone can learn it, etc, etc. Fact is - that ain't true. Some people have it, some don't. Whether they do or not is more about their personality, character traits and life experience than anything else. You can't change who you are or what your actions and reactions are from a book.
Man, you are wrong on so many levels. Life is more than just motivation and facing difficult decisions (even though books can help with both of those). And it has nothing to do with 'positive BS about how everyone can be an entrepreneur'. It's about education - and yes, experience is one of the best sources of education, but don't be so quick to say that books can't change who a person is or what their actions are. It's just wrong. Just because they haven't done anything for you or you have nothing to learn from books (which would be a lie), it doesn't mean that books are as meaningless as you paint them to be.

It's sad to see negative comments about books/education on a forum or community that would cease to exist without.... you guessed it - a book.
 

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