We've all heard the talk before.
How this new chess book will solve all your woes. Will increase your rating by a gazillion Elo points. That your opponents would be floundering with your new found secret "opening"/"trick"/"tactic". The one that would make you reach the rank of a titled master in less than a year. And unlike the other 1,000,000 chess books before it, this one will be different. It will be interesting, does not require you to memorise lines etc. etc.
Have you heard all of this before?
Yes, and in case you're wondering why this sound familiar. That because you probably already have.
It's no different than the exercise machines that you see being touted on the Home Shopping Network. How this revolutionary exercise machine will shape your butt, trim your waistline, stores easily into your cupboard and requires you only 5 min of your time.
The real world is unfortunately not like that.
You cannot hope to achieve anything without determination and willpower. If you cannot invest the time to train and upgrade your chess knowledge, no chess book will help you if you cannot lift your own game. Acquiring new chess knowledge is never easy. Most importantly, it takes a LOT of time. A lot of blood and tears and sheer determination.
In other words, it boils down to this:
How badly do you want it?
The good thing about trying to improve your chess skill is that it basically involves the same steps and skills that you use when you were a student.
You spend time on it, learning the necessary knowledge, acquiring new concepts, learning to apply them and gathering the experience learned from application of this knowledge. This sort of training does not occur overnight. It takes an enormous amount of time and practise to get it right.
This is the same with chess.
In education, a poor teacher will not make you improve and likewise poor chess material will not make you better. In fact, it teaches you bad skills that you'll find harder to rid yourself of later on.
On the other hand, good chess books and good chess material or a good chess coach will guide you towards your aim quicker.
Sure, there have been good chess books being published but there's also been some real stinkers as well. And this also applies to other chess media. There's also been good chess DVDs and some obviously "hacked up in a day" chess presentation DVDs.
The trick is to sort the wheat from the chaff and to apply these materials that you have gathered in a consistent manner. Only then will you improve.
There's no shortcut in life.