Dr. Robert C. Worstell with “The Midwest Journal”Midwest Journal: Hello and welcome to our program.
- Ever notice that all the books and tapes on self-help and self-improvement seem to be saying the same thing over and over?
- Did you wonder how people can buy these books and tapes and make their authors bestsellers?
- Have you thought you could write your own bestseller?
Our next guest has been that route and has written and published over a dozen books in just a few months. He says that all the bestselling self-help authors are really writing the same book, describing the same self-help system that you can learn and use.
More from our guest after this…
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Midwest Journal: Thanks for tuning in. Today we are talking to Dr. Robert C. Worstell, author of “Go Thunk Yourself” and a dozen other books. Dr. Worstell, is it correct that you say that all these self-help authors are basically writing the same story?
Worstell: That’s right. I did a study over several years and compared all the great writers in history – Napoleon Hill, Norman Vincent Peale, Wallace Wattles, and even Stephen Covey (among other great writers) and found that there was a common thread that ran through their books. That for more or less, they all told the same self-help system.
MJ: And you write about this in your books.
Worstell: Yes, I first wrote “Go Thunk Yourself” as part of that study, just to show how it could be done, how anyone who knew the system could write a book about it. Once I had proved the same system existed and worked, then I was bit by the writing bug – it helped that I had to write tons of papers in college.
MJ: You went back to college late in life…
Worstell: That was a choice I made. I never liked school, always thought it was set up to just keep people in lockstep and prepare them for factory and cubicle work. I was always a bit of a rebel, never really fit in to all that school work. So I left Missouri and twenty years later I came back and found that the “good” jobs needed sheepskins. I got back into college at a community college and then took some online classes to fill it out. Along the way, I started this study in order to sort out my own life and get closure from the many things in my past which had been bothering me. The result was this book and then some more books and more degrees.
MJ: Now you say these bestselling authors just wrote the same principles in different formats, how come they don’t just come out the same?
Worstell: People come from different backgrounds, different lifestyles. I grew up on a farm. You may have grown up in a city…
MJ: Actually, a suburb.
Worstell: …so we would have different approaches to the same world. If we met in a coffee shop or on the street, we’d have different reactions to the same situation. A bus passes by and we both nearly get splashed. A person can get angry at the bus driver or a person can smile at the good fortune of not getting splashed, then get the lesson of not standing so close. People have developed different approaches to how they live life. Writers write from what they know. Wattles wrote his “Science of Getting Rich” for local coal miners. Napoleon Hill wrote his “Think and Grow Rich” to help people out of the Depression. Norman Vincent Peale wrote from his religious background – and very nearly didn’t ever publish his “Power of Positive Thinking”. Earl Nightingale was a successful radio announcer before he recorded “The Strangest Secret”. But all these authors talk about the same basic principles, they’ve all discovered the same basic system the Universe operates from.
MJ: You say the Universe operates on some basic secrets?
Worstell: Actually they aren’t so secret. Most people know a few or all of these principles. They just haven’t taken the time to study them and work it out for themselves. But along the line, they’ve also picked up some other bad habits along with these good ones. These are what trip them up. All I did was to take all these bestselling authors and put what they wrote on a chart. That’s how I found out they are saying the same thing. Of course I was looking to prove if there was a basic system, so I found it. You could also “prove” that this stuff doesn’t work. And as Henry Ford said, either way you would be right. If you’re looking for secrets, then get “The Secret” DVD. That’s a really good summation of how this universe works. Great stuff.
MJ: So if people already know these principles, why They just haven’t should they read your book or anybody else’s?
Worstell: All books like mine do is provide a structure people can use. Like your parents provided you the best structure they could for your life. This is why some people can take online classes and others need to go to regular classrooms with teachers in front of them. I tell people through my books to get other authors and read them. Wattles, Haanel, Napoleon Hill – all these authors wrote probably the most complete systems of thought and self-improvement. You can download all of their books. I’ve made them available though Lulu.com so anyone can get them.
MJ: How do you expect to make your book a bestseller if you are telling people to read other books?
Worstell: I tell them to BUY and READ the other books, as well as mine. It’s really more important that people understand the world the themselves.
My style of writing isn’t perhaps the best way for someone to find what they are looking for. Some people like recordings – get Nightingale’s “Strangest Secret”. If you like to watch movies, get “The Secret” DVD. If you are religious, get Norman Vincent Peale’s book. Stephen Covey has a different approach – as well as seminars and tapes. The thing is to tell people to go ahead and improve their lives they way that makes the best sense to them, the way that appeals to them the most. That’s what they will get the most out of.
MJ: Should they have to start with your book, then?
Worstell: It’s a good idea. On Lulu, I’ve got a short version of it that they can download and print out for themselves to get them started – it’s only 20 pages, condensed. The trade paperback or the hard back versions are more readable. I’m working on some downloadable MP3′s of the book as well.
MJ: But what makes your book so special? Why should people buy it?
Worstell: Because it speeds up the process – makes it faster for people to improve themselves. There’s no need for anyone to have to take the six years I did to compare self-help books and find the best ones. In my book, “Go Thunk Yourself”, I give what the key points a person should be looking for in any self-help book. I also reference the seven or eight really useful books. Now you have to know that I only studied dead authors, outside of Stephen Covey (who is very much alive). So a lot of newer authors, like Wayne Dyer, aren’t included. But they can compare any newer author against these 14 points and see how that author stacks up.
MJ: Why only dead authors?
Worstell: I wanted to study only really successful books. Too often, you can have an author who has unusual charisma and marketing skill, who can make his own book go and stay at the top of bestseller lists. Once that author dies, no one takes over and the book drops out of sight.
In the cases I’ve studied, these authors are flukes. They don’t really have a grasp of what makes people get better. They just know they can sell anyone on anything. Now you take someone like Napoleon Hill. Did you know he interviewed and studied over 500 successful businessmen and millionaires to distill his system? His book is still selling today and still popular. Wallace Wattles died in the early 1900′s and probably has more books in circulation today than he sold during his entire life. These bestselling authors are successful not because of how they act or how they look, but because of what they studied and wrote about.
MJ: How did you come up with 14 points? Why not 6 or 30?
Worstell: Those 14 points were found by pure comparison. There are probably between six and ten really key points. Charles Haanel wrote a twenty-four week course, one lesson per week, each lesson covering a different point and building on the earlier ones. Napoleon Hill had really only 12 or 13 points in his “Think and Grow Rich”. Wallace Wattles boiled down all success to just 16 short chapters in his book. I picked 14 so that people could do a study of all the self-help basics in just two or three weeks. I included daily drills so that people could apply what they learned as they went along and so get more out of what they were studying.
MJ: Did you find that religion or belief in God played any part of this?
Worstell: Most people believe in some sort of Supreme Being or Higher Power. The rest mostly don’t know or don’t have any proof one way or another – agnostic. Even atheists will admit something seems to have planned all this out. But this was found by research to be one of the 14 points in this book. I’d like to say here that I tell people to test these out for themselves all through this book. Just because I say so or some long-dead author wrote it before they were born doesn’t mean it is gospel truth. Truth, as the Polynesians say, is only as useful as it is effective. “Effectiveness is the measure of truth.” You have to try these things out for yourself and see if they help you or not.
In the follow-up book in the “Go Thunk Yourself” series, I go into this area in more detail. But for now, people should just buy the book, read it, and see if it helps them in their life.
MJ: But isn’t that what self-help is all about?
Worstell: Certainly. You hit it right on the head. A person doesn’t get better because he drives a certain car or eats a certain breakfast cereal or because she buys and wears certain clothes.
Yes, this is what the advertisers would have you believe. But the people who believe those datums aren’t really working to improve their lives and are the ones who are satisfied with their cubicle or factory job. They are already happy in general with their lives and really don’t want to change much. But for the rest of us, there is always something in the back of the mind – some itch that needs scratching. Somehow things don’t add up and there is always some idea that things could be better. That is who I wrote this book for. My itch was working twenty years in counseling people and kept running up against some common ideas and ways that people actually ran their lives. I started seeing the same situations occur over and over. People didn’t know they had the same problems as other people around them. They thought their problems were unique.
So the first chance I got, I started studying authors who made a living helping people improve their lives. Figuring that there might be common denominators to what they were writing about gave me the reason to read their works and find that system. Stephen Covey did this same process in his own way when he read over 200 years of self-help literature before he wrote his bestselling “7 Habits”. It’s no wonder that he had most of these 14 points in his book.
MJ: You’re saying that there is one system underlying all this, that all you have to do is find that system and you can improve anything in your life?
Worstell: Basically, that’s right. I go into that in more detail in later books. But in “Go Thunk Yourself”, I lay out a 14 day program that contains the basics of that system. You can try this out and see if it helps you in your own life. Pick out something you want to improve and then apply these 14 steps to it – see if you aren’t able to improve it.
Any self-improvement program has this caveat: You only get out what you put in. So if you just try it for a little bit, you will only get a little bit out. It only works to the same degree you invest yourself into it. That’s true of any system of thought, any religion, any philosophy. It’s also true of where you work – if you want better pay, you have to do better work.
MJ: You also blog considerably.
Worstell: I have blogs for every book in the series. Just type in the name on Blogger and you’ll get there. I wrote the blogs so that people could find out about the books and help write them – add in their own stories or correct anything they feel is in error. These blogs are a great way to read the book before buying a copy. They are also downloadable from Lulu.
MJ: Lulu is a self-publishing company…
Worstell: It’s actually quite more than that. It’s actually Print on Demand, which makes editing books very simple. They also enable artwork and MP3′s to be distributed through the Internet. They even have calendars and comic books. Yes, the author is responsible for their own marketing. But Lulu does all they can to make the process seamless and simple. You do the writing, they publish it for you. There are even textbooks available there – making it simple for a teacher to update a text for her students from semester to semester. With my blogs, I can update an edition in minutes from the point someone tells me about a needed change. I can add pages or graphics as easily as opening up a word-processor and a browser. It’s a great way to feed your muse. I got my first print contract because I published my books through them first. And it doesn’t cost you anything to get started!
MJ: In closing, what advice do you have for potential readers?
Worstell: You can be, do, or have anything you want. The only limits in your life come from your own mind. As Earl Nightingale said, “You become what you think about.” Oh, and Good Luck!
MJ: And good luck to you. We’ve been interviewing Dr. Robert C. Worstell, author of “Go Thunk Yourself”. Where would you tell people how to get your book?
Worstell: Just search on Google for “Go Thunk Yourself” or on Lulu or Amazon or Barnes & Noble..
MJ: Thank you Dr. Worstell.
Worstell: My pleasure.
Visit http://gothunkyourself.com for more information and copies of all of Dr. Worstell’s books.