Educate yourself
Educate yourself

The main benefit of self-education is that the more information you have, the more likely you are to make the best decision. Self-education methods ranging from books to smart people.

On average, people spend about 100 hours a year reading. However, they spend a whopping 2,000 hours watching TV. To spend forty hours a week in front of a screen and only two hours a week looking at a book - how is that possible?

Here are the figures from the American Bookseller Association.

• 80% of Americans have not bought a single book this year.

• Over the past five years, 70% of Americans have not visited a bookstore.

• 58% of American adults have not read a single book after leaving school.

• 42% of university graduates have never read fiction.

Another study reports that only fourteen percent of all our citizens will go to a bookstore or library and come out with a book. And only ten percent of these people will read beyond the first chapter.

There is one of those huge bookstores on almost every corner where you can drink coffee and listen to music to boot. So why isn't anyone reading then? In fact, bookstore sales are quite high. People are buying books today more than ever. Only they don't read them. I think people only go to bookstores for coffee.

Personal space of a person
Personal space of a person

People don't read

Several years ago, my book A Simple Path to Success came out with a circulation of 10,000. With over 9,000 copies sold, a man called me and said he figured out my trick. I honestly had no idea of any tricks. He said that pages 158, 159 and 190 were blank. I didn't believe him. I checked, and indeed - it turned out that all copies of these pages were blank. It sold 9,000 copies, but not a single person read to page 158. This discovery hurt my ego.

Read books. It's good to have them, of course. I love that I have so many books. But they will be of little use until I read them.

Statistically 43, 6% of all American adults read less than seventh grade students. Did you know that more than half of all school graduates cannot read what is written in their graduation diplomas, or even fill out a questionnaire issued by employers? Sadly.

Want to laugh a little? Ask people you know to name the last five books they read. If they name just one, it's already incredible. While it's cruel, you can have a lot of fun. Then ask them which book they are currently reading. I'd bet that nine out of ten people surveyed don't read anything. By the way, here's another tip for you: talk less with people who don't read.

How to read a book

1. If you can, buy a book. Undoubtedly, libraries are a good resource when you need to list the references or read something "for show". But those books that contain really worthwhile information (which you will want to reread over and over again) are better to buy. If you cannot afford to buy a book, then of course go to the library and find it. But on the way to the library, give yourself a mental slap on the head for being such a loser who can't even afford to buy a book! There are tons of stores that sell books at huge discounts. In one of these stores I saw my book for a quarter of its actual price! Blimey!

I cannot do it: there is nothing left to lose
I cannot do it: there is nothing left to lose

2. If the book is yours, sign it. Write your name on it. Take a marker and highlight those places that seem to you the most significant. Make footnotes in the margins. When you have finished reading, write down on the last page the date and conclusions you made. By the way, you can start doing this after you finish reading my book!

3. Tell everyone what an interesting book you are reading. This will reinforce what you are learning. It is also a very good way to satisfy your ego, because the people you are talking to have hardly read a single book lately, and you can be proud of yourself that you are not like that. In addition, your message or interesting retelling can spur them to buy the book and read it.

4. Don't let anyone read your books. "But this is selfish!" Right. In fact, you are doing a great service to others. If you give someone a book, then this person will be deprived of the opportunity to mark in it what is important to him, thereby reducing the effect that the book can have. In addition, your book is unlikely to be returned to you. And if the book really made an impact on your life, then you will want to be returned to you. Better buy another one for this person. This will be a testament to your generosity and a demonstration of your giving nature. And by the way, if you donate a book, then the person is likely to read it out of gratitude.

Don't know what i'm doing here
Don't know what i'm doing here

5. Buy a lot of books. Go to the bookstore, look around, and if the title of the book tells you something, buy it, even if you don't have time to read at the moment. Get yourself a shelf of "must-read" books. May there always be a few books waiting in line.

6. Read several books at the same time. I have books that I read on the plane when I know that no one will bother me. In addition, I have books that are next to the bed - they help me sleep. I have books full of quotes and very short chapters that I read when I’m short on time. There are those who provide answers to difficult questions; I read them when my mind is awake and can concentrate quickly. There are also books that are easy to understand and do not require a high level of concentration. Have many books that you can read at different times, at home or while on vacation, when you are having fun or sad.

7. Don't be afraid to leave a bad book unfinished, even if you’ve already half finished. You can read about 20 pages and realize that you won't be able to glean a lot of useful information from it. Leave this book and take another. (Don't start practicing this with my book, though; wait until you buy the next one. Start with it.)

A guide for those who want to change everything, rather than sit and wait
A guide for those who want to change everything, rather than sit and wait

8. Read for different purposes. Read to learn. Read to cheer yourself up. Read just for fun. Any book is the best alternative to TV.

What is worth reading?

Here's the key: Don't read what poor people read. Do you know why? Because you don't want to be like them. Read what the rich read. Why? You want to become like them. Is that clear enough?

However, be careful. Stores and libraries are full of self-help books written by their authors solely for the purpose of enriching themselves and not helping others. Some of these best-selling books are garbage. The "bestseller" mark on a book is not a guarantee that you are holding something worthwhile in your hands.

Don't be limited to just one genre. If you only read self-help books, then soon you will develop a kind of immunity, and you will stop taking in the good that they can give you. So read books on philosophy, spiritual literature and, of course, biographies of great people. And such junk as detectives, horror, humorous books will help you to have fun and cheer you up.

If people knew better, they would do better. Jim Rohn

Not only books are needed

Although books are, in my opinion, the easiest way to self-study, do not limit yourself to them. There are other ways for self-education.

I'm bored of living: what to do if life is boring
I'm bored of living: what to do if life is boring

Audio training. I have spent over 5,000 hours listening to audio recordings and CDs. These were the recordings of leading speakers and authors. If you travel a lot, the time you spend on the road is another opportunity for self-education. Almost all books now are on audio cassettes and CDs. Almost all great speakers, lecturers and trainers offer their material on audio cassettes and discs. Alternatively, you can download audio material from various Web sites and then listen to it on your computer. You can even burn these files on an MP3 player. This way you can listen and learn on the go.

Video training. Another way to learn from great speakers is to watch their performances on video. This is one of my favorite ways to learn because I love looking at people when they talk to me.

Seminars. There are probably tons of opportunities in your city to go and hear great speakers, trainers, and lecturers delivering high quality workshops on any topic. The only thing you need to do is attend the workshop. Pay for your ticket and take this opportunity.

Chat with smart people. Finally, my favorite form of self-education: ask knowledgeable people what you want to know, let them share their secrets with you. Most likely, they will readily do so. Ask a rich person what he did to become rich. Chances are good that he will give you a couple of minutes. Don't be boring and don't take too much of the person's time. Just ask, thank, and move on. He will be pleased that you have shown interest, and you, in turn, will receive some practical advice. But here's my advice: don't argue with your interlocutor. When he tells you what he did to get rich, you don't have to argue, "This is not for me." It's funny when losers get into an argument with successful people. Such "listeners" simply do not know what they are talking about, otherwise they themselves would have become successful long ago. They'd better shut up and listen to learn something meaningful. A rich person doesn't need to defend his position because his methods work, since he has become rich and successful. Unfortunately, it is for this reason that the rich and the lucky ones shield themselves from socializing with the losers. They are just tired of defending their position. So if you are lucky enough to communicate with such a person and ask about the secrets of his success, listen to what he has to say to you with respect, interest and gratitude. It is possible that you will have the opportunity to turn to him for advice more than once.

How funny is it to respond to an insult?
How funny is it to respond to an insult?

If you are shy about asking smart people questions, then just stick close to them and gather information. I don't mean eavesdropping at all; I mean watching what they do. Hope you can learn something this way. Smart people usually talk about business, not other people. This is how you recognize an intelligent person: he talks about what to do.

So, the main benefit of self-education is this: the more information you have, the more likely you are to make the right decision. Faced with a difficult situation, you will revise all your knowledge and make the most optimal decision. You are no longer a "hedgehog in the fog".

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