Select the Right Kinds of Books

Most people categorize books into two sections -- fiction and non-fiction.  They may even go so far as to categorize them based on the subject, like “health books”. I believe that there are three types of books that you need to read and keep reading in order to fully integrate them into your life -- as the Dalai Lama says, become so familiar with their principles that they are instinctual.

The Classics

These are books that are at least 50 years old, but their advice is timeless. Classics can even be books that have lasted hundreds or thousands of years. The Bible, the Quran, the works of Aristotle and Plato, and even more modern books such as those by Dale Carnegie or Peter Drucker.  You should even read books by authors you disagree with -- Karl Marx is one example.
And just as I’ve discussed before, you should divide these books into the main categories -- health, wealth, love and happiness. And you can absolutely find classics that fall under these categories. Look at books by Benjamin Graham on wealth, or Seneca the Younger on finding happiness. These are books that are classics not purely because of their age, but because of the value that people have gotten from them decade after decade -- or even century after century.


These are straightforward, step by step books that walk you through a certain process or strategy. They can be modern or classics. The goal of a how-to book is to walk away with a certain skill. The classics from step one above will give you a big, broad picture, whereas how-to books will give you tangible points and perspectives that you can come away with and integrate into your own life in a specific way.
A how-to book can also be a book on learning a specific skill, such as learning a foreign language or learning how to play chess. It is perfectly acceptable to choose a “For Dummies” book as a how-to book too.


Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think humans all have different modes of learning, like kinesthetic, auditory or visual.  I believe we learn by osmosis. Now, whether we prefer to take that information in by hearing, seeing or doing, that’s our preference. But humans truly learn by being around other humans that have done or experienced these things.
Obviously, we can’t always be around all of these people some of them have been dead for thousands of years.  But the information they have to teach us is passed on through their writing and the writings of those who lived back then.


It’s not as scary to fail when you know that others have failed before you. Knowing that they survived and came away from the experience even stronger can help inspire you and give you the boost of courage you need to move forward.