How to Use This Book

Chapter 2 of Adam Khan's book Self-Help Stuff That Works

MOST OF THESE CHAPTERS are short, but highly condensed. Think of this book as an all-you-can-eat buffet where you pick and choose what you want for now. You can come back again for more at some other time. It is impossible for you to digest the contents of this book in one reading there is too much here. Please reread and remember that sentence. It is important.

Since the chapters are in no particular order, you can browse around the book until you find something that sparks your interest and read that, leaving the rest until later. Even if you read straight through the book, some chapters will strike you as especially relevant they'll answer a current need or situation in your life. When that happens, copy the principle (stated at the end of each chapter) onto a card and carry the card with you for a few days or weeks or even months, concentrating on putting that principle into practice.

Then come back to the book and find another principle or two to practice for a while. Don't try to practice too many at a time one or two, maybe three at the most.

Or browse the book before you go to bed each night to find a principle you want to practice the next day. Write the principle on a card, and start practicing it first thing in the morning.

Another good use for the book is to refer to it when you're down. When you feel stressed or frustrated or worried or any negative emotion, leaf through the book looking for a chapter that can help you with that.

As you read, keep a highlighter handy and mark passages that have special meaning for you.

Reading this book once wouldn't come close to maximizing its value. If you read this book start to finish this week, a year from now you will have forgotten almost all of it. At that time you may be dealing with a troublemaker at work, and even though pages 179-181 give you a good way to handle it, a year from now those ideas are likely to have been buried in a year's worth of new information and memories, stashed somewhere in the back of your mind, unavailable to you.


The things we learn are not etched in stone. They are stored in a gooey organ. And you use that organ -your brain- every day. New ideas and experiences pass through your brain all the time, so what you know fades and is less available to your working memory except the stuff you use repeatedly. That's why I recommend referring to this book when you're down. It makes a difference. I do it myself and I wrote the book! Insights can fade from our awareness. They get crowded out by the urgencies of the day.

Use a principle enough times, and it will become a permanent part of your character. But in the meantime, refer to the book when you need it. And consult it when you want to help your friends. This book was made to be used. So let's get to it.

What's the difference, scientifically speaking, between an optimist and a pessimist? Is it possible to become optimistic if you are already pessimistic? Why would you even want to? Find out all about it:

Does your attitude impact your health? Yes, but in ways you may not have imagined. Learn about it here:
Optimism is Healthy

Here's a new perspective on developing self-esteem and self-worth, not only in yourself but in your children. This perspective may be at odds with contemporary thinking, but it shares a remarkable agreement with common sense:
Your Inner Guide to Self-Esteem

If you suffer from any form of insecurity, check out our Insecurity page. It gives you four chapters to choose from, depending on what kind of security you're looking for:

George Washington never chopped down a cherry tree, but he did a great thing. Read about it here:
Are You The One?

Goodness and decency will always be honored, valued, admired. You are probably a good person who wishes to be even better. Here's how:
Forging Mettle

next: Optimism

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, November 9). How to Use This Book, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 18 from

Last Updated: March 30, 2016

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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