MARLBORO - David Riklan is not an expert on
self-improvement, but he believes he is an expert on the
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
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
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
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
The subject matter covered in the book includes anxiety,
forgiveness, anger, life changes, aging, failure, heroes,
networking, positive thinking, self-confidence and stress
Currently, Riklan's books are sold through his Web site or
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
"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.