How to Read (and Study) The Master Key System
How to Read (and Study) The Master Key System

How to Read (and Study) The Master Key System

One of the most asked questions about The Master Key System sounds silly.

But is it really?

The question is …

How should you read The Master Key System?

You see, it does sound silly.

Then you realize that the book is divided into twenty-four chapters (weeks) …

… and each chapter ends with an exercise …

… which the author, Charles F. Haanel, implores you to practice for a week (or until you master it).

The confusion about how to read this book comes from the fact that originally The Master Key System was a correspondence course. In his “General Instructions to Students“, Haanel wrote that

The Master Key System consists of twenty-four parts, names of students are placed on an addressing machine and one part is mailed each week. They go forward automatically, and cannot be sent more frequently nor can they be held back.

Haanel wrote that his students should read each part at least once per day until the next part arrived. Then …

… write the replies to the questions in the first part, cut off and mail to me.

The completion and the sending to Haanel of the questions at the end of each chapter was necessary as these papers were returned to the student “with the correct replies for comparison.”

It should also be noted that Haanel at this time did not sell a bound volume (book) of The Master Key System. One had to complete the correspondence course before a book of all the lessons would be sent.

The bound volume is never sold to any one at any price, unless they have completed the study and made payment in full.

So, should one, when first encountering The Master Key System, approach the book as originally directed by Haanel?

While Haanel’s method is good, I have found that a different method is required.

I encourage a person who is approaching the book for the first time to read through it just as if they were reading a novel or any other book. I tell them to go from cover to cover and read, don’t pay too much (if any) attention to doing the exercises, and just get acclimated with the work.

Once the person has done this, then — and only then — have I found that he or she is ready to actually study the book with an emphasis on the exercises.

In my experience, far too many begin studying the book before they are ready and, within a few chapters, find themselves burned out.

Or worse … Bored.

When a person reads through the book and becomes familiar with Haanel’s jargon and style, then that person will be able to grasp the concepts and exercises better. They won’t get caught up in the minutiae. They’re not “excited” about what’s coming next because they already know. They’ve got the gist of it and now they are ready to truly experience the book and the exercises.

It’s a lot like going somewhere for the first time. When you get there that very first time, you want to do everything at once. Your mind is running a million miles per minute and you are constantly distracted by everything because it is all new to you. Thus, you miss out on a lot and you never really enjoy yourself.

But by the second or third time going there, you get to know your way around. You are calmer. You know what to expect and what you are going to see, so you can keep your eyes open to what truly interests you. And you can take it all in calmly and decidedly.

If this is your fist experience with The Master Key System, then read it from cover to cover. See what it is about.

Then, when you are ready, take the time to study it as Haanel instructed, going week by week, reading each lesson once per day for a week, and practicing the exercises.

Most of all, when you commit to studying it, don’t quit. Finish your study.

The Master Key System is the most cogent system of study for developing your mental powers of concentration and visualization ever written.

And know that the real value in the book is not necessarily what Haanel wrote regarding his philosophy and metaphysics. It is in the exercises. Take your time with them and truly work to master them as best you can.

The Master Key System is a powerful book, but it must be approached properly.

Take your time with it. There is no need to hurry. This is a race of endurance, not speed.

Or as Haanel would put it-

If a part comes before you are ready for it, put it aside until you are ready. There is no occasion for haste.

Again, there is no occasion for haste.

Only understanding.

Read these books when you’re ready to get what you want.


  1. Jan says:


    another inspiring piece. You are right: I have been on the first part for over a year, not making any progress at all. You gave some good advice here, one that I will put to the test at once.


    • Tony says:

      Hi, Jan!

      Thank you for the kind words. What you wrote is one of the reasons I wrote this article: far too many people attempt to STUDY the MKS before they merely READ it. In doing so, they either try to master each exercise too thoroughly (because they don’t know how they are connected, which is generally revealed in later chapters) or they get bored (sometimes because they don’t know where it’s all headed).

      While it is important to study The Master Key System (especially the exercises), sometimes one has to walk before they can run. In this case, it means to just read the book and become acclimated with it.

      Believe me, you will get a LOT more from it than you ever imagined.

      Please let me know if I can be of service to you, Jan. All the BEST!

      Have fun … Tony.

  2. I had the Secret and it really didn’t teach me what I needed to know…Is how to do this?Rather than just telling me.MKS Is The Key of What the Emerald Tablet is about.I’m still on Exercise#1.I’m doing 30mins and working on 1 hour.I’ve read a few pages&it just makes me want to perfect these lessons as well as the exercises.Before long I will be The Master of My Universe.And I’ll share this advance knowledge with my love ones (Those who wish to get far ahead of the crowd.)I have my own copy of TMKS!!!!The Universe is Ours.Maurice Davis

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