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The "Brainwashing" behind the Self-Help Books

I recently stumbled upon some videos on YouTube titled, “I read 300 self-improvement books to learn these 3 lessons,” “I read 100 self-help books. Here’s what I learned…” and “3 Life-Changing Lessons From Reading 300 Self-Improvement Books.” Curiously, I went on Google to check some articles with the same titles, and some claim to have read up to 500 books on personal development and growth.

This discovery motivated me to provide a shortcut to save you time. Truth be told, I haven’t even read a hundred self-help books, but my goal is to share some profound reflections with you.

Reflect on the last time you chose a book to read. Whenever I explore self-help sections, my expectations soar. I meticulously analyze reviews and gather information about the author, hoping to discover transformative revelations and, perhaps, even answers to the enigmas of happiness and success. However, even after reading a promising book, the result often isn't transformative. While it can be inspiring, it rarely leaves a lasting impact. I've deduced that genuine transformation is not in the books. Words alone rarely change lives, but they can be a catalyst. Therefore, I've released my unrealistic expectations of experiencing profound change solely through books.


Beyond the Pages of a Book:

True transformation can only be achieved through firsthand experience. It has a profound impact that surpasses the knowledge gained from reading a book or attending a training. While books and trainings provide valuable information and insights, they often remain on an intellectual level, lacking the depth of transformation that comes from personal experience.

When we actively engage in an experience, we immerse ourselves in the process. We navigate the challenges, emotions, and uncertainties, allowing us to truly integrate the lessons and expand our understanding. The integration of knowledge through experience creates a transformative change within us.


​Through experience we develop a deeper connection to the subject matter we are working on, then a holistic integration takes place that enhances our personal growth and shapes our perspectives and actions in a more profound way.

Over time, I've become more selective, preferring books that either aid in contextualizing my past experiences or prepare me for forthcoming ones. My guiding principle? Be discerning about what I allow into my mind. My reading either prepares me for new experiences or helps me make sense of past ones.

A contemplation arises: What influences my book choices? While it's tempting to gravitate towards bestsellers, I've recognized that authors share their unique truths and lessons, which may not always resonate with my personal journey. As we accumulate knowledge, we craft a map of wisdom, enabling us to discern superficial insights from profound wisdom.

If life is considered a series of lessons, some books might offer basic insights into life's early lessons, while others delve into more advanced topics. But their ultimate goal is to lead us to wisdom's door.

Interestingly, books often reshape my thinking. Not by introducing new thoughts, but by helping me shed outdated ones, unlearn and make space for my own experiences and teachings. These unburdening shapes my psyche, making it more flexible, and empowers me to feel capable of bending my reality.


Consider being introduced to ideas like meditation, mindfulness, tantra, or the law of attraction. It seems reasonable to first understand these concepts before immersing oneself in their practice. Yet, I've discerned that some renowned books tend to oversimplify or skew the truth. This insight wasn't just from reading, but from actively seeking out authentic experiences. Sometimes, some books felt more like light entertainment than truly enlightening material.

Take "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle, for instance. A masterpiece rooted in personal experiences, it's invaluable for those gearing up for a meditation or mindfulness journey. These books are not just passive reads; they either precede or follow genuine experiences, serving as either catalysts or stabilizers. On the flip side, books like "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey might attract readers due to their reputation. While some deeply resonate, others appear crafted solely for commercial appeal. I remember a company-sponsored training based on this book. Four days talking about these habits, and well, let’s just say our team wasn’t exactly buzzing with inspiration.

Exceptionally written literature can mesmerize readers, leaving an indelible mark on their subconscious. These unnoticed imprints can influence our beliefs. A compelling narrative can transform our perspectives, and the delivery of concepts can subtly steer our thought processes, emphasizing the crucial role literature plays in molding our mental construct.


The Hypnotherapeutic Effect and Subconscious Programming Venture into the literary realm, and its transformative power becomes palpable. Masterful writing is more than just conveying information; it's about resonating deeply with readers.

Delving into the underlying influence of well-crafted content:

1. Engagement of the Subconscious Mind: Our subconscious, operating outside our direct awareness, significantly influences our habits and beliefs. An absorbing read extends its impact beyond the last page, embedding itself in our subconscious, shaping our perspective in subtle ways.


2. The Power of Narratives: Captivating stories have long been humanity's method of choice for internalizing ideas. Our forebears relayed crucial morals and knowledge through tales, knowing it was the most effective way to etch their message into memory. Today, a compelling storyline can render complex ideas more tangible, allowing us to witness them in action.


3. Artful Presentation & Priming: The arrangement and framing of ideas can have a "priming" effect. For instance, a narrative starting with a touching tale of perseverance that segues into the importance of resilience can make readers more receptive to the value of persistence in their lives.


4. Emotional Resonance: Emotions fortify memory. Exceptional literature doesn't merely educate; it evokes emotions, ranging from the exhilaration of adventure to the sorrow of a tragic love story. Such emotional reactions deeply embed the material in our minds, increasing its recall and influence on future actions.

Conscious Self-Programming

While the term 'brainwashing' often carries negative connotations, it's essential to remember that, when channeled positively, it can be a potent tool for self-betterment. Consider those moments when we find ourselves resisting pivotal changes in our lives. Instead of succumbing to fear or hesitation, we can proactively engage with literature that showcases the myriad benefits of embracing change. Reading stories that resonate with our situation, or immersing ourselves in books that celebrate the positive outcomes of transformation, can serve as a therapeutic hypnosis session. This isn't about being passively influenced; it's a conscious act of self-programming.


By selectively feeding our minds with the right kind of literature, we're not just reading; we're actively directing our mindset, reshaping our beliefs, and aligning our subconscious to a desired narrative. This positive spin on 'brainwashing' exemplifies how, when intentional and discerning, we can use literature as a powerful ally in our journey of personal evolution.

Conclusion: In our relentless pursuit of growth and self-betterment, it's all too easy to find ourselves buried beneath a mountain of self-help literature. But, as with many things in life, moderation and balance are key. It's crucial to remember that while books can offer valuable insights, true transformation often springs from lived experiences and active introspection.


Overindulging in self-help literature, no matter how well-intentioned, might inadvertently trap us in a cyclical whirlpool of repetitive information. This not only saturates our minds with redundant knowledge but can also subtly influence or "brainwash" us into specific patterns of thinking, preventing genuine growth.

There's an inherent danger in investing decades immersed in reading, hunting for that elusive magic formula for change, without pausing to apply and test these theories in the real world. Time, after all, is a non-renewable resource. Our lives are shaped not just by the knowledge we consume but, more importantly, by the experiences we undergo and the reflections we draw from them. It's essential to strike a harmonious balance between the written word and tangible experience, ensuring that our quest for knowledge doesn't overshadow the invaluable teacher that is life itself. After all, books can provide the map, but it's up to us to embark on the journey. By Ritshi Zenati, Coach & Founder at Holistika Center.


Holistika Center organizes spiritual and transformative retreats. We base our work on expanded states of consciousness and sacred plants.





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