The other day, when I was standing in Barnes and Noble, I came to the realization that I don’t need any more books. All I need to do is put the ones I’ve read into more active use. In fact, if I were to apply 1% of what I’ve read, I would be wildly successful!

I’ve read a lot of business books over the years. I have discussed a lot of these books and recommended a lot of them to other people. I’ve attended book discussion groups. But I must admit that I’ve applied very little of what I read inside their pages. A burning obsession of mine over the last several years has been finding additional ways to reinforce and apply ideas from books. There are a lot of great ideas and concepts out in the world. There are countless authors who spent their lives developing solutions to problems, many of which are long forgotten.

I’ve recently been putting together a checklist for applying the concepts in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich. It’s a long book with a lot of material. Last week, I had a thought: what if I just reduced Think and Grow Rich to its skeleton, creating a short and to-the-point set of steps to follow? I still think reading the book is worthwhile, but at this stage of the game, I’m more interested in doing than reading. I also think this checklist could function as a valuable tool for holding myself accountable.

On the other hand, there’s nothing wrong with reading books for entertainment. If you haven’t applied what you read from one business book and you pick up another business book, you should be clear that you are essentially reading for entertainment.

I wish I had figured that out much sooner.