That’s the number of self-improvement books sold in 2019. That’s more than the biography, true crime, and horror genre combined. And since then, the number has only grown.

Self-improvement books have been idolized and have changed people’s lives. However, it’s important to remember that mere reading alone won’t bring change; consistent effort and implementation are key to seeing results.

For this project, we each chose a book to read and reflect on. I chose to read Eat That Frog! By Brian Tracy, a book entirely on stopping procrastination. This book lists 21 ways to be more productive with your time. The main idea focuses on eating that frog. By that, it means to get your unpleasant, difficult task out of the way first so there can be nothing worse in the day if you eat a frog in the morning.

For this book, we had three tasks; research the author, write a book review and finally, create an artifact that ties in with the book’s ideology.

Researching the author, I created a bio using Canva. Brian Tracy is an acclaimed author for his countless self-improvement books. Over 80, in fact. Though this amount of books is overkill for this genre, it shows that his habits and way of thinking works.

Blue White and Gold Modern Oldman Magazine Cover by Anders Bergman


My book review covered Eat That Frog’s main point: “Eat that Frog!” I talked about how it connected to me and where the saying came from. If you want to learn about the majority of the book in a few hundred words, read below.

The Artifact:

I often find myself bombarded by the constant posts and videos on social media that sometimes I just need a reminder. Most of the time, I need that little push to remind me to get back on task. Like every self-improvement book, this is only a guide, and you need the willpower to act on those tips.

Apple has an extremely closed system that is very unfriendly to developers. It is challenging to develop a notification system without paying or being blocked by iOS. I used a framework called Flutter and programmed in Dart to build an app compatible with iOS and Android. 

Coding a notification is complex, as you have to link it to a server, add the dependencies and integrate it within your app. Linking my app to the Firebase cloud servers using terminal commands was daunting at first but then became easier with familiarity. 

The app was made entirely from .json and .dart. Below are the simple notification settings connecting to Firebase cloud messaging for what I want to display.

import 'firebase_options.dart';
import 'package:firebase_messaging/firebase_messaging.dart';
void main() async {
  await Firebase.initializeApp(
    options: DefaultFirebaseOptions.currentPlatform,
  FirebaseMessaging messaging = FirebaseMessaging.instance;

  NotificationSettings settings = await messaging.requestPermission(
    alert: true,
    announcement: false,
    badge: true,
    carPlay: false,
    criticalAlert: false,
    provisional: false,
    sound: true,

And this is part of the code to tell the message what to say:

  "aps" : {
    "alert": {
      "title": "EAT THAT FROG!",
      "body": "“If you have two frogs, eat the ugliest one first”",

The notification will display a quote from the book, such as “If you have two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.” This artifact isn’t just a gimmick; I can see it being used as a productive tool.

In the exhibition, my presentation went really well. Despite being placed where nobody would walk, my pitch had many people coming back to learn more or look at how the notifications work. I was surprised by the number of people who were genuinely engaged with our projects and wanted to learn something. One area where I feel we fell short is that nobody read our author bios or book reviews. We could have improved the display of our connections and made them more engaging, but there is only so much you can do before you lose someone’s attention span.

This self-improvement genre is very divided, and the results are what you make of the tips, but at the end of the day, it is up to you. Like the notification system, a book might give you that short-term boost to get something, so stick with it. Do what you need to achieve your goals. Everyone has to find their own journey, so you might as well start now. Now go out and Eat That Frog!