BUSINESS

  August 16, 2006

Business delivers info on self-improvement
Marlboro resident links Web site users to many professionals
BY TALI ISRAELI
Staff Writer
 

MARLBORO - David Riklan is not an expert on self-improvement, but he believes he is an expert on the experts.

What started as a part-time hobby for Riklan 10 years ago has turned into a full-time career. The Marlboro resident owns a small business on Route 79 that provides self-help and personal growth information to the public.

"I loved the idea that there were tools out there to help you improve your life," Riklan said about pursuing the field full time. "I fell in love with the idea and became a self-improvement junkie."

Riklan's company, Self-Improvement Online Inc., is made up of several Internet Web sites, free e-mail newsletters, and the publication of two books with more on the way. The Internet Web site, selfgrowth.com,

provides a directory of links to other sites on topics including relationship advice, natural medicine, addiction recovery, mental health and dieting.

The site also provides Internet users with information on upcoming events, inspirational quotes, and articles on issues such as battling eating disorders, learning to meditate, dating tips, doing yoga at home and healing a broken heart.

Riklan said because the self-improvement field is so vast it can be overwhelming for people who are looking for help. He said his company makes it easier for people to search for information.

The newsletters, which Riklan described as mini magazines through e-mail, provide readers with articles, book reviews, advertisements, inspirational quotes and information on various topics including self-improvement, natural health, love and relationships, and home businesses.

Riklan said the articles are written by either high-profile well-known authors and experts, or up-and-coming individuals in the field.

In addition to Riklan's online company, he has published two books on self-improvement and is expecting his third and fourth books to come out later this year.

The first book, "The Top 101 Experts Who Help Us Improve Our Lives," was published in 2004 and gives an analysis of the self-improvement industry. The book covers who the most important experts are, what their message is, what they are teaching and how to find out more about them.

Riklan said he based the popularity of the experts on how many times their name is searched for on the Internet.

The specialists named in the book include Dr. Phil McGraw, the host of a television talk show; Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who gives personal advice on the radio; Dale Carnegie, the author of "How to Win Friends and Influence People"; the Dalai Lama, the author of "The Art of Happiness"; John Gray, the author of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus"; and Mark Victor Hansen and Jack Canfield, the co-authors of the "Chicken Soup for the Soul" book series.

Riklan's second book, "101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life," came out in May and is a compilation of articles and advice from experts in the field. Riklan said his next two books will be Volume 2 and Volume 3 of "101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life."

The subject matter covered in the book includes anxiety, forgiveness, anger, life changes, aging, failure, heroes, networking, positive thinking, self-confidence and stress relief.

Currently, Riklan's books are sold through his Web site or through amazon.com.

When asked what makes his book different from the thousands of self-help books already in stores, Riklan said many of those books are written by experts in the field who believe their viewpoint and their system is the one that will work for everyone.

"I have a general philosophy that there isn't one book, or one product, or one way of teaching that's going to work equally well for everyone," Riklan said. "There is a wide range of ways, techniques and systems to improve life."

Riklan said he is trying to be an expert on the experts by providing his readers with all the best products and the best systems to better their lives.

In addition to his self-help business, Riklan appeared before the Marlboro Township Council on July 13 to discuss his idea for implementing a township Web site.

He said the site would include information on upcoming events, entertainment, restaurants, business resources, local school updates, children's activities, home improvement, family life, local government, weather, real estate and local sports.

The site, which would be completely funded by Riklan's company, would be designed to complement Marlboro's existing municipal Web site, marlboro-nj.gov.

Riklan said he is meeting with the business administrator to move forward with his idea.