Several years ago, while on tour to promote one of my books, I was asked a question by a television talk show host that I hadn't heard before. After he had introduced me and I had taken my seat he held up a copy of my latest book and asked, "Og, what will this book do for me?"
I pondered for several moments and then replied, "It might not do anything for you. It's just a book... composed of a little ink, some wood pulp, and glue. If you take that book home tonight and read it expecting that your world will change for the better as soon as you finish, then you might as well have taken the money you spent on the book and thrown it away instead."
Unlike an aspirin, that one can take and then wait passively for the headache to disappear, a good book will do nothing for you if it is read with your eyes open but your mind and heart closed. Especially does this apply to books in the self-help and inspirational field. You are wasting your time and your money exploring this great area of literature unless you apply yourself differently when reading these classics than you would some light piece of adventure or romance or even the comic strips.
Let's say you have a problem and you recognize that you do. For example, you know that you just don't have a very high opinion of yourself and this gnawing self-doubt about your abilities is holding you back in both your personal and business life. Someone, a friend perhaps, also recognizing your problem, has suggested that you get yourself a copy of Maxwell Maltz's Psycho-Cybernetics. Now you are in your living room, sitting comfortably in your favorite chair, holding that great classic. Before you begin, you must convince yourself of one important fact... that Dr. Maltz knows a great deal more about rebuilding your self-image than you do. And, since your present way of life has not enjoyed much success, you are going to take the advice of this acknowledged expert and begin applying it to your life.
Now begin reading... with an open mind and a pen or pencil in your hand. Whenever you come upon a suggestion or an idea that you think might be beneficial to you, underline it. Read the entire book in this manner... and don't hurry. Speed reading may be great if you're trying to hurry through some report for a meeting in an hour but it won't do anything for you if you are trying to soak in advice that will make a permanent change in your life...
From the Foreword by Og Mandino
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