Why successful people read self-help books

I read somewhere recently that the world’s most successful entrepreneurs read, on average, one self improvement book per month.

It is said that Bill Gates reads 1 a week; Mark Zuckerberg read a book every 2 weeks in 2015; and when Elon Musk was asked how he learned to build rockets he said ‘I read books’.

Proof positive, they must work, right?

Reading for self improvement is big business, with self-help style books springing up on selves all around us.

I myself have a worrying addicting to buying such books, I photograph them for Instagram, and then put them on a shelf never to be read.

I somehow think that all the positivity and motivation will enter my being via a process of wisdom osmosis, and that by merely purchasing them I’m making myself a better person / business woman / friend / mentor etc.

Clearly my theory isn’t working!

I’m putting a lot of genres into the category of ‘self help’ – including the traditional self-help books along with educational, autobiographies and biographies and inspirational lifestyle books.

So self-help books must help right? Well, in short yes they most certainly do. But why? Here are my top 6 reasons for reading for self-improvement:


You don’t know everything and you haven’t done everything. Reading about other people’s successes and failures, and what they have learnt from them, is an excellent short cut, meaning you don’t have to fail and get back up again quite so often yourself!


Reading about what others have done may trigger a bright new business idea inside you, or give you the inspiration or motivation to take a risk, start a new business, do something completely different…who knows where it may lead!


Your mind may be opened to a new way of thinking, new possibilities that never occurred to you before, which could alter the course of your life completely.


One of the main benefits of reading these books is that you learn – loads! All that knowledge builds up and incorporates itself into your daily life and business practices, meaning that, ultimately, you work smarter.


Reading exercises the brain, keeps you stimulated and makes you feel better. This I know for sure.


Reading, and learning from, the stories and experiences of others is like having a host of super successful people be your personal mentor, what an incredible luxury.

So, what am I going to do about it? Well, I’ve decided to actually read the books I’ve bought. Shocking I know!

I’m undertaking to read 6 self help books in 6 months to see what happens.

I expect to feel more motivated and inspired, but who knows what other benefits it may have!

I’ll write a book review of each book and then, after the 6 months, write about my experience and what it has taught me.

Basically – is it worth reading all these books?

As you’ll see from the cover photo, I have a lot of books to choose from – let me know which of the below you are particularly interested in and I’ll include them in my Top 6 Reading List:

Oprah Winfrey, What I Know For Sure

Matt Haig, How To Stop Time

Romi Neustadt, Get Over Your Damn Self

Arianna Huffington, Thrive

Carrie Green, She Means Business

Niyc Pidgeon, Now Is Your Chance

Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In

Sarah Knight, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k

Elaine Pofeldt, The Million- Dollar One-Person Business

Maria Hatzistefanis, How To Be An Overnight Success

Richard Reed, If I Could Tell You Just One Thing


I'm Sally Oddy

I'm a girl who fell into marketing 20 years ago and never looked back! I love popcorn, reading and working from home with my cats on my keyboard! (if you know, you know!) My mission? To help others express themselves in their businesses enjoying the impact and income they truly desire! 

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Sally works with soulpreneurs, pouring over 20 years experience into their hearts, minds and businesses.

Passionate about living life on purpose, Sally is all about honouring and accepting the fullness of self.

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