“Bibliotherapy” Using the Book Financial Freedom By Grant Sabatier

Whether we need to explore new ways of coping with life’s ups and downs or we just want to find someone who has been through what we have been through, books allow us to try out other realities without too much of an opportunity cost.

Any reaction you have to a story is important and valid in itself.  However, fully dissecting your response with others (and/or creative writing) while using the four-stage process of bibliotherapy can amplify and add dimension to your personal revelations.

Without intense analyzation, I may have read two chapters of Financial Freedom by Grant Sabatier and thought….

Here’s Grant: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Here’s Me: $$

  • I'm feeling "less than"
  • In fact, I'm feeling kind of dumb 
  • What's the opportunity cost of this book?
  • Art is more interesting anyway...
  • Music and teaching are fun...
  • Death to my strict boring money tasks!

However, I wasn’t threatened by the book.  In fact, I couldn’t put the book down.

I love the effective way he wove numbers with stories while explaining the power of compound interest. In addition, I realized I have a lot in common with Grant, even as a petite Midwestern mom who sings (and isn’t handy with computers or advertising).  

I also found out I have a lot in common with the All-American Travis character who kept showing up to shoot his future money self in the foot.

Comparison Is Everywhere!

Let’s be honest - some financial books, podcasts, and articles leave me feeling financially behind for my age and worse about myself.  

However, compared to the average person, I’m doing alright.

Why is being a financial blogger wearing on me after less than half a year?  I’ve learned I naturally perform upward comparisons (versus downward comparisons) because I like to PUSH myself.

My recent walk with a Hidden Brain podcast about why no one feels rich helped me gain even more insight into this. #highlyrecommended

The Solution?

For me, bibliotherapy has become a go-to method for minimizing psychological harm while exposing myself to an onslaught of financial stories causing uncomfortable self-comparisons.  

In other words, after a six-year break from social media, I’m enjoying my time online again as a highly sensitive person draped in thick psychological armor. 

Why Else is Bibliotherapy Appropriate For People Writing
About Business?

Bibliotherapy works because positive group interactions with music, poetry, and stories have all been proven to increase empathy and confidence.  The “group part” might have been missing as I read this particular book, but an online community is a good substitute for processing similar information.  

(Recently, I’ve even found myself interacting with some of my favorite podcasters!)

Anyhow, anytime you choose a path that goes against established societal norms, you are taking on a large psychological task.  The Theory of Positive Disintegration is an enormously effective theory for developing your confidence as a high-ability person with a unique approach to life.  

Today I want to discuss how bibliotherapy works right along with TPD as a constant companion along your path to forming a unique and integrated approach to life.  

In addition, bibliotherapy has been proven to impact multiple behaviors. It has the potential to change values, adjust attitudes, expand thinking, and positively develop the personality when implemented properly.

The Four Stages of Bibliotherapy

As a reminder, bibliotherapy is a four-stage process where you…

  1. Identify yourself with a character or theme.  
  2. Examine the connection you recognized, allowing catharsis to take place.
  3. Juxtapose (compare and contrast) your circumstances with the theme, plot, and/or character in order to gain insight into your own issue (this may involve creative writing).
  4. Apply the lessons learned to your life and enjoy universal feelings of awe.

When wisely conducted, bibliotherapy looks like a trinity:  literature - participant - facilitator.  If it truly goes the distance, it adds creative personal expression as a fourth element.

For example, I’m here publicly adding to Step 3 after reading the book (aka - this is not a book review). You’ve probably figured that out.  Also, I'm functioning as both the facilitator and the participant. 

Focused Reading Includes a Plan

My goals before reading included:

  1. Liberating myself from my own small story.
  2. Stimulating my imagination to see aspects of my money situation I may be missing.
  3. Focusing my attention on one long book requiring concentration (a relief after months of scrolling).
  4. Understanding and recognizing new feelings formed in the past year about money (especially after having my first child).

Bibliotherapy should be implemented with the careful selection of high-quality literature matching a conundrum in someone's life.  Also, you should use questions carefully created for the goals of the discussion.

  • High-quality literature? Check!

Financial Freedom was a surprise I received in the mail from Andy at Marriage, Kids, and Money.  I left a review of his excellent podcast with no expectations and received quite a nice gift!

  • Questions to match my goals? Another check!

The questions were formed using question stems from a flip book in my reading classroom based on the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.  

Grant - Take Me On a Four-Stage Trip!

Stage 1 - Identification: I realized Grant plays the guitar and I play guitar.  He’s also into philosophy. My kind of human!

Stage 2 - Examination:  I noticed Grant struggled with anxiety and low self-esteem.  He even connected food issues to money. Plus, he watched his neighbors cat as a side-hustle and walked his dog.  My connections deepened and I found myself thinking about this “character” as my mind wandered throughout the day.

Stage 3: Juxtaposition: I emerged with a full-on Venn Diagram comparing and contrasting Grant’s life to mine.  I wondered, what can I learn from his story? What part of him acts as a role model for me and what parts of his story will I reject in relation to mine?

Stage 4: Universal AWE: This will be lived out over the next few years as I pocket the memory of his story and reference it with self-application.

You can watch that journey on this blog if you wish.  Will this book eventually lead to universal feelings of awe? We’ll see. If I don’t get those feelings from success in business, I’ll certainly have good vibes coming in from plenty of other places.


While reading, it takes extra cognitive work to identify intense feelings, sort through them, and evaluate why we may be having certain responses. It also takes effort to creatively process a story while creating spin-off works of our own.  

However, these few extra steps may pay dividends in the long run if we value quality over quantity when it comes to our reading habits.

In future posts, I will take you through my current songwriting process and explain why bibliotherapy is appropriate for artists and creative people.

How about you?  Have you ever read a finance book?  What did you think?


10 Replies to ““Bibliotherapy” Using the Book Financial Freedom By Grant Sabatier”

  1. This is fascinating! I’m looking forward to applying bibliotherapy to the next book I read. I love finishing a book and having a concrete idea of how some of the lessons learned through it will follow me long after reading it. What a great way to add depth to those lessons and overall take-aways! I also tend to not be tuned in to my feelings, so this will be an exercise that can help continue bringing conscious effort to identifying why I am having certain responses and where they are coming from.

    1. I’m glad to have exposed you to the process Ms. Mod! I love how the process can work for fiction or non-fiction books. It also works when reading poetry or song lyrics. I think it’s awesome you will use it to tune into your feelings and reactions. It certainly does add a lot of depth. If you have time, please stop back by the blog and let me know how it goes for you and what book you use it on!

  2. I haven’t read the book yet, so I can’t comment specifically on that. But I love the deep thinking and concept connection that you’re doing in this bibliotherapy series.

    Books, and reading, are an important part of my life. I’ve never used a structured process, but I see a lot of links between the 4 steps and how I treated reading.

    I’m glad you rejoined social media and started blogging. I’m definitely enjoying reading!

    1. Thank you for the kind words PFI! I worked in education for several years before hearing about bibliotherapy. I think it’s an obvious and powerful idea, so I’m trying to spread the word! I don’t think you have to overthink the process. As you said, it’s how reflective readers usually treat reading anyway. I find it is nice to refine the process, add simple goals before reading, and make sure to follow up with some creative product. Otherwise, I read a lot of books but don’t always integrate the lessons.

      I’m glad I got back online too. I’m enjoying this community of people!

  3. Interesting stuff. I haven’t read Grant’s book, but I’ll definitely have to look into it. It sounds like it’s not as dry as some financial tomes.

    I think a lot of bibliotherapy is intuitive and something we do without thinking as we read books — fiction or otherwise. I know I do. But it’s nice to have names to put to the steps that I’m going through.

    1. Thank you for stopping by the blog Abigail! I liked this book because I was drawn to Grant’s background, especially the idea that he thought he did everything “right” according to societal standards, but sometimes we have to buck some trends in order to truly find what is right for ourselves.

      I agree that almost everyone naturally performs bibliotherapy, but we can do it better by labeling the steps and adding reflective writing and discussions. Hope you enjoy using it with your next book!

  4. Only just catching up. This is fascinating.

    When I read your post about the theory of how this would work the trickiest bit felt that it would be stage 4 – how to make it applicable.

    The approach of making like 3 SMART action points has never worked for me.

    I can see that your approach of making this a long term process that you internalise (possibly in multiple, evolving ways) can totally work.

    Great stuff!

  5. Thanks for your comment Caveman!

    It is such a long-term process.

    Like a lot of people, I created the blog to hold myself accountable (so I keep coming back to these financial issues on a weekly basis). There’s so much great material out there when I read blogs. I will keep doing that obviously, but I feel more organized using the principles in one book (reflecting the beliefs of most of the blogs I read).

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