The Book Plus Course Combo

Published on Jul 30, 2020

I recently finished Benjamin Hardy’s new book Personality Isn’t Permanent. I found the book very powerful and inspiring. But as usual with self-improvement books, the big question is whether the reader will follow through and internalize the book’s ideas.

Hardy’s book has an especially good chance of changing lives. First, the book itself is great. It’s concise and well-organized. The reader starts by learning that they should reconsider the permanence of personality. Then they learn what really drives personality and how to intentionally shape their personality. The book isn’t very long, but it makes a thoroughly convincing case for being more focused on creating a better future.

There are prompts throughout the book encouraging the reader to consider how ideas apply to their lives. One example I liked was “What are one to three accomplishments or signs of progress you’ve had in the last ninety days?” I’ve seen this kind of prompting done before in self-improvement books. I suppose some people take advantage of these prompts and really pause and respond to them fully, but I usually don’t respond to them thoroughly. And I suspect that most people don’t. It’s difficult to change modes from reading to putting the book down and reflecting or even writing.

But Hardy has done something special and set up a thirty-day course to put the book’s ideas into action. I am doing the exercises to start every morning. It’s a great way to keep the ideas from the book in my life.

Thirty days is a good length of time. It’s short enough that people won’t feel intimidated. It’s not a huge commitment, it’s just thirty days. But thirty days is enough to make substantial progress. And having the course last for a limited length of time means people will take it seriously. It creates a sense of urgency. There are only thirty days in the program, so you better make them count.

And it’s easy to make them count. It’s easy to build the program into, for example, a morning routine and make it stick. The exercises are short. You can watch each day’s video and complete each day’s writing prompt in about half an hour. So you can quickly build up a streak of completing the exercises and then you will associate the program with success, with accomplishment. And you won’t want the streak to end.

The content itself is good. Each exercise reinforces and builds on something from the book. The purpose of each exercise is clearly explained. And they build on each other in a way that makes sense. You feel that you are on a meaningful journey in the thirty days, progressing every day.

There is also a Facebook group for people going through the course. It’s helpful in making the course feel more like, well, a course. A real program that you’re going through with other people. Seeing messages from other people in the course every day keeps the course top of mind.

This is an interesting hybrid of a more traditional self-improvement format (a book) and a newer, more interactive format (an online course). It works well. The book format gives the author freedom to tell stories and convince the reader of the main points. Then the course guides the reader through weaving those big ideas into their lives, one day at a time.