There is a myriad of self help, personal development and self improvement books available to read.
They cover a whole range of topics, from the more spiritual (such as personal enlightenment and the pursuit of happiness), right through to more practical topics (such as time management and goal setting).
Here, we present – in no particular order – the 60 best self-help, personal development and self-improvement books that will support you in your career ambitions.
By Stephen R. Covey
In this #1 bestseller, Covey presents a framework for personal effectiveness, and takes us through the following steps:
1. Dependence: The idea of us having to rely on others, as when we were born;
2. Independence: The ability to think, make decisions and care for ourselves;
3. Interdependence: Working cooperatively to achieve more together than we can individually.
Covey argues that one cannot become Interdependent without first becoming truly independent, so the first 3 habits focus on transitioning from Dependence to Independence. They are:
- Habit 1: Be Proactive
- Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
- Habit 3: Put First Things First
The following 3 habits then address Interdependence:
- Habit 4: Think Win/Win
- Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
- Habit 6: Synergize
And finally the 7th habit is one of renewal and continuous improvement.
Despite the title, this book is about more than just being more effective. It is about becoming a well-rounded person who not only seeks the best in oneself, but also in those around them.
A must read.
By Eckhart Tolle
In this book, Tolle will take readers on a spiritual journey to help find their true self, and reach the highest levels in personal growth and spirituality.
Whilst writing about enlightenment, Tolle introduces you to Enlightenment’s natural enemy – your mind.
The Power of Now has inspired millions of people the world over to enjoy a more compassionate and fulfilling life through the practice of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is a technique that can help avoid or reduce depression, increase emotional intelligence, and enhance compassion. It is a relatively recent phenomena in the Western world, which remained sceptical until some related claims were scientifically validated.
The Power of Now teaches you how to let go of certain thoughts and change your state of mind, allowing you to clear your mind and fully embrace the present moment.
By Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist is a magical story about a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago and his journey to find the greatest treasure in the world.
From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.
Santiago travels across great distances and encounters crazy adventures in his quest for gold. Little does he know that the ultimate treasure is actually found deep within.
No matter what your dream, goals or visions are, the universe will conspire to help you achieve the things you want, regardless of how insurmountable the task seems.
If you are looking for a book that will inspire courage, this is the one. You must live the life you truly desire to its fullest extent if you want to look back on a life having worth lived.
By Robert Kiyosaki
Kiyosaki uses his experience of having two father figures in his childhood, and their different approaches to money, to tackle financial literacy.
One father figure (his real father) struggled paycheck to paycheck for a lifetime, and is referred to as ‘Poor Dad’. The other father figure (his friend’s father) was a multimillionaire eighth grade dropout, and is referred to as ‘Rich Dad.
Kiyosaki argues that the principles he teaches are fundamental gaps in the state education system.
The primary concept of the book is that rich people have money work for them, whilst poor people work for money. There are a good range of specific examples, and some practical techniques, to help explain this principle.
This is a must-read for anyone that wants (or needs) to change their beliefs about money and finances, or to simply understand how you can take a smarter approach to your finances.
By Dale Carnegie
One of the most timeless self-help books ever written.
Carnegie believed that most successes come from an ability to communicate effectively.
This book teaches these communication skills by demonstrating how to really value people, and to help them feel appreciated – rather than them feeling manipulated.
It outlines what we all should already know: When doing business of any kind, you need to make it about the other person.
Being nice helps…a lot.
This book contains a whole host full of timeless wisdom, with very practical and applicable techniques that you can use immediately.
No wonder it has sold millions of copies, and will continue to do so for years to come.
By M Scott Peck
Peck begins this book with the phrase “Life is difficult”, and goes on throughout the book to provide personal and shared examples to back this up.
The book starts with the tools and techniques of suffering, the discipline – to experience the pain of problems constructively.
These four tools are: delayed gratification, acceptance of responsibility, dedication to truth, and balancing.
The author says that problems in life cannot be avoided. And to experience happiness, problems need to be identified and solved:
“Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.”
Peck’s timeless wisdom in The Road Less Traveled continues to help us distinguish dependency from love; how to become a more sensitive parent; and ultimately how to become one’s own true self.
By Napoleon Hill
Hill was an early self-help author, and his books are just as relevant today as when first written.
Think and Grow Rich condenses his rules of success and outlines 13 key principles of personal achievement.
It is noted that people with desire, persistence and faith can achieve great success by removing negative energy and thoughts, and by focusing on the wider goals in play.
The word ‘rich’ could suggest that this book is about purely material gain. While it certainly does cover that topic, the book is about much more than that.
For example, the first mention of positive thinking describes how to care not just about the cash in your pocket, but also the thoughts in your head.
This book covers basics topics such as planning, decision making and persistence, right through to more advanced techniques such as auto-suggestion, transmutation, and what we can learn from fear.
By Don Miguel Ruiz
This self help book is rooted in traditional Toltec wisdom, four agreements in life are essential steps on the path to personal freedom.
As beliefs are transformed through keeping these agreements, shamanic teacher Don Miguel Ruiz asserts lives will “become filled with grace, peace, and unconditional love.”
By James Allen
This is considered a classic self-help book that inspired future books on the law of attraction.
Its underlying premise is that noble thoughts make a noble person, while lowly thoughts make a miserable person. James Allen reveals how our thoughts determine reality.
He shows you how you can master your thoughts to create the life you want instead of simply drifting through life unaware of the inner forces that keep us held in failure and frustration.
By Victor Frankl
This self help book has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival.
Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.
He holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure but the discovery and pursuit of what we find meaningful.
By Zig Ziglar
As one of America’s most gifted speakers/authors in motivation, the late Zig Ziglar shares the secrets of climbing the stairway to personal success.
He presents a proven program of self-development based upon the foundation of a winning self-image.
By James Redfield
In the rain forests of Peru, an ancient manuscript was discovered. It includes 9 key insights on life.
Drawing on ancient wisdom, it shows you how to make connections among the current events in your life and let’s you see what is going to happen to you in the future.
This book can help you understand why you are where you are in life and align you with a new optimism for your future.
By Dr Norman Vincent Peale
Dr Peale shows you 10 simple rules to obtain confidence, 3 proven secrets for vigor, 5 techniques to overcome defeat and much, much more.
This book proves that an attitude can change lives, win success in all things, and overcome obstacles.
By Wallace D. Wattles
Originally published in 1910, this book takes the mystery out of wealth accumulation and breaks it down into a scientific formula.
The text is divided into 17 quick, no nonsense chapters that show you how to conquer mental barriers, and how creation, not competition, is the true key to attracting wealth.
By Deepak Chopra
Chopra’s teachings are summed up in 7 simple principles which can be applied to all areas of your personal life to create success.
Chopra’s basic premise is that personal understanding and harmony promote fulfilling relationships and material abundance without extra effort.
Each of the chapters provide specifics on how to achieve it.
By David J. Schwartz
Millions of people all over the world have improved their lives using this book.
Schwartz will help you sell better, lead more effectively, earn more money, and (this is a big one) find more happiness and peace of mind.
He proves that you don’t need innate talent to achieve massive success but you do need to understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that get you there.
By Susan Jeffers
We’ve all got fears which is why I love this book!
Whatever your fear, here is your chance to push through it once and for all.
You’ll discover how to move from victim to creator, the 10-step process to turn off the negative talk in your head and how to create more meaning in your life by overcoming those fears.
By Anthony Robbins
Tony Robbins is famous for his motivational speaking but this is, by far, one of the best self help books of all time.
Robbins shows you his most effective strategies and techniques for mastering your emotions, your body, your relationships, your finances, and your life through a step-by-step program teaching self-mastery that enables you to discover your true purpose, take control of your life and harness the forces that shape your destiny.
By Wayne W. Dyer
This isn’t your typical book on intention.
Dyer has researched intention as a force in the universe that allows the act of creation to take place.
This book explores intention—not as something you do—but as an energy you’re a part of.
We’re all intended here through the invisible power of intention.
He’s the first in our industry to look at intention as a field of energy that you can access to begin co-creating your life with the power of intention.
By Dr. Shad Helmstetter
Don’t overlook this book because it’s #20 on my Top 20 Best Self Help Books of all time list.
I’ve recommended this book to many friends and family members who’s lives have been changed dramatically as a result of reading this book.
Self doubt? Read this book.
Insecure about anything? Read this book.
I’m sure you get the idea.
By Bob Litwin
After not making his tennis team in college, Bob Litwin became a history teacher who wanted more out of life.
By using a unique brand of storyteller, he became #1 in the world in tennis and has helped thousands of others reach seemingly impossible goals.
Bob has sent tips to Djokovic before he won tournaments, he’s coached diamond barons, New York Times editors and some of the most powerful men on Wall Street, and now he shares his secret sauce with us.
The 33 coaching sessions included in this book can easily be read in an afternoon by the pool and will increase the odds that every other self-help book on your shelf will actually start working.
This is the first book I’ve ever read that made me believe change was actually easy.
By Robert Cialdini
If by mistake or miracle, you travel in time, this is a book to take with you because when it comes to human behavior, people are reacting pretty much the same way no matter where/when they live.
Mastering the art of persuasion gives added power to your words and makes you a winner.
By Richard Koch
In this book, Koch explains how you can become successful in your personal and professional life by doing less.
The idea is that you can achieve more if you are relaxed, give enough time to each area of your life and concentrate your attention on fewer things that really matter to you.
By Daniel Kahneman
Thinking, Fast and Slow is a book that details the research Kahneman conducted over decades, sometimes in collaboration with Amos Tversky.
It covers the three phases of his career: his early days working on cognitive biases, the work on prospect theory, and his later work on happiness.
The core idea of the book is that people shift their thinking between two modes of thought: “System 1” is fast, instinctive and emotional; “System 2” is slower, more deliberative, more logical.
This brilliant book by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman is a lucid account of all the amazing research he has done over the years.
He is the founder of behavioral economics – the way our psychology affects our decisions – and explains in simple prose how our thinking is divided in two systems: one fast and one slow.
The fast one is almost instant; it consists of the hardwired instincts that govern emotions, a remnant of an evolutionary past, an unconscious irrational machine.
The slow one is deliberate, self-reflexive and logical, but can easily be distracted and takes a lot of effort. Both play a large role in our lives and Kahneman explores when the fast system fails and why the slow system is often not utilized.
Packed with mind blowing examples and sharp analyses, this book teaches you how to learn to make sound judgments, and use the best of both systems.
By Charles Duhigg
The neurological pattern that governs any habit is a loop and consists of three elements: a cue, a routine, and a reward.
Understanding these factors can help you discover how to change bad habits and form good ones.
By Tim Ferriss
If you are a workaholic or close to being one, this book can help you to sort that out through practical techniques and advice.
Life is more than just a job, status, money or power.
By Darren Hardy
This book is about how to get successful in everything that you do by making small changes long-term.
Eating healthy for a week will have almost no effect, but doing it for a year does make a huge difference.
By David Allen
When you feel stuck and need a helping hand to achieve your goals and accomplish your dreams, this is the book for you.
This book is intended to help you get better organized, stay focused on the important things, and take advantage of what you know how to do best.
By Tony Robbins
A wise person once said: “people that say money doesn’t bring happiness don’t know what to do with it.”
In this book, Tony Robbins talks extensively about how to gain financial freedom, how to use your wealth to grow even more and lead a happy and fulfilled life.
Doesn’t money bring happiness?
Maybe, but is surely maintaining it!
By Brian Tracy
Everyone knows what it feels like to procrastinate.
There is a big task ahead of us, and just thinking about it feels overwhelming or unappealing, particularly if the task ahead is not an enjoyable one.
So we allow ourselves to become easily distracted, as doing anything else is a welcome change from the unpleasant feelings of thinking about what actually needs to be done. Social media is particularly handy for procrastinating and distracting ourselves!
Before we know it, hours have passed us by without a single productive thing being done – we have made zero progress on our task, but we’ve watched countless cat videos on Facebook!
At this point, we still have the unpleasant feelings associated with the unpleasant or overwhelming task ahead, but now we also have feelings of guilt having just wasted hours of our precious time.
It can be a vicious circle that’s difficult to break free from.
In this book, Tracy advises us to ‘Eat That Frog’ in order to beat procrastination. Tracy talks about getting our priorities straight, how to break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable ones, and how to learn when it’s best to take on the big frog and when it’s best to begin with smaller tasks.
A great book to help you beat procrastination and increase your productivity, which comes with the added benefit of a strong sense of satisfaction. Seriously worth a read to help you make small changes with big impacts.
31. Tools of Titans
By Tim Ferriss
If you want to know how to think, work, organize and succeed like highly achieving people do, this book shows you exactly that.
Tools of Titans is a book containing tools and tactics that can be applied in any field, from baseball to business.
32. Start With Why
By Simon Sinek
Your success in life starts with the “why”. Why do you do what you do? What drives you? What can make your offer (in business and day to day life) desirable to others?
This book helps you find and define your message and mission because no matter how amazing things you create, the rest of the world doesn’t want until you makes them want it.
By Noah J. Goldstein
You love when people say “yes” to you.
And why shouldn’t they say yes when you have the best intentions and great ideas?
Yes, you have the best intentions and great ideas. However, the next person believes the same about his/hers intentions and ideas.
Therefore, somehow you need to make people abandon what they believe and adopt yours.
This book is a tool based on science about how to make that step, how to convince people that your message is the “right” one.
By Roger Fisher
From buying something to dividing chores in the family, from getting along with your neighbors to signing a business contract, all need you to know how to negotiate.
This book is a tool to use to improve your negotiation skills and get to a “yes”.
By Jack Welch
After being a high-achieving CEO, Welch is sharing in this book his knowledge, experience, and expertise.
This is a pragmatic book on how to manage your business and your life, how to become the leader you want and those around you deserve.
For you to win, no one has to lose.
By Jack Canfield
Your success is not bound by time, money, age, but can be limited by your knowledge and understanding.
This book provides you knowledge and wisdom, inspiring you to go from where you are to where you want to be using and taking advantage of the things you already have.
By David Rock
This book is based on the brain science, explaining how we act, how we make decisions, and what are the things that drive and motivate you.
However, because just knowing the facts doesn’t take you forward, the book is filled with examples, tools, techniques, and practical advice on how to use your brain for maximum efficiency consuming less energy and mental strength.
By Matthew Kimberley
This book is a simple, practical, and useful advice on how to take charge of your life. Some things in this book, probably, you don’t want to hear.
However, Kimberley’s casual and humoristic approach will make you pay attention and open your mind.
By Susan Cain
If you are an introvert, this book makes you justice and puts you in the desirable category.
Introverts are a special breed of people that silently and diligently make the world a better place.
Find ways to make a difference, improve your life with the help of this book and discover the importance of those who talk less and think more.
By Mark Manson
Your life seems stressful enough without adding unnecessary worries and overthinking. Right?
Discover in this book ways to let go of things that stop you living the life of your dreams, caring less about unimportant issues, and clean up the way you think about yourself and others.
By Robert Greene
What makes you the best in your field? Perhaps is hard work and dedication, or maybe a lot of practice and persistence.
In this book, you will find how a few known figures became the best in their field and made a difference in our lives.
By Carmine Gallo
Ted talks are in our times the best platform to spread your innovative ideas and knowledge.
However, no matter how good you are at what you do, in order to communicate your ideas efficiently and make your message count, you need to be, not just a professional, but an entertainer as well.
In this book, you can find dissected many interesting Ted talks that can teach you how to be captivating, entertaining and liked on any stage.
By Malcolm Gladwell
In this book, Malcolm Gladwell explains the factors that contribute to your success giving many examples like Bill Gates, The Beatles, Joseph Flom, Christopher Langan and Robert Oppenheimer.
Throughout the book, Gladwell often mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, which is (in his view) the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill.
The “10,000-Hour Rule” means to practice the correct way for about 10,000 hours what you want to master.
This book was a number one on the bestseller lists for The New York Times and The Globe and Mail, holding that position for eleven consecutive weeks.
44. Unlimited Memory
By Kevin Horsley
Where are your car keys? Glasses? Books? Tools?
We all forget important things from time to time, and when that happens, we feel dreadful.
This book shows you ways to improve your memory and take advantage of it because most times forgetting things is not caused by a “faulty” memory but a lack of attention, repetition or connection.
Your memory is just fine, learn how to use it.
By Barry McDonagh
Anxiety is more prevalent in our modern times because the pressure to perform, compete and be the best that you can be are at their highest ever.
Learn from this book ways to deal with your anxieties and panic attacks and take back control over your life and well-being.
By Patrick King
This is a surprisingly pleasant book on how to create rapport with others, how to make yourself liked and get to a win-win type of outcome in your interactions with others.
Life is more about how you connect with those around you rather than financial comfort.
Is it not?
By Grant Cardone
You can overcome your condition and limitations.
You can become the person who does things rather than waiting for things to happen.
You can be extraordinary by accomplishing many ordinary things.
Would you like that?
By Jesse Tevelow
This book will challenge you to start moving, to rediscover your potential and put it to good use.
Not everything needs ageing to become a masterpiece; some things can be done fast with great results.
49. Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success
By Shawn Stevenson
If sleep could talk would scream at you how much you need it and how vitally is to your health, well-being, happiness, productivity, and joy for life.
In this book, you can find not only the benefits of a good night rest but also, how to achieve it.
By Marshall Goldsmith
Leave behind some of your unwanted behaviors and beliefs that stopped you in the past to become even more successful with the help of this book.
Yes, it will challenge you, but it will inspire you as well.
The road of a great leader does start with a challenge: being open minded.
By Michael Bungay Stanier
Helping someone means to know when to speak, when to listen, what to ask and how. If you are a leader or an ordinary person eager to help, this book is for you.
Change your mind and the lives of other by changing your rhetoric and questions.
By Mark Goulston
Isn’t it frustrating to feel like you are talking on deaf ears?
With the help of this book, you can improve your communication and influence skills.
Make people listen what you have to say and be inspired by your words and wisdom.
By Cal Newport
Someone said that children don’t have problems, adults do if they don’t listen.
Do you wonder how come you get bored easily and want more excitement every day?
You, like children in school, got accustomed being entertained all the time and work become so uninspiring.
Rediscover the passion for what you want to accomplish and how to stay focused on your goals and dreams because, at the end of your life, the most precious thing you have, it will be your legacy.
By James K. Harter
If every leader did the same thing, probably, every organization would have the same results. However, most leaders don’t have the proper tools to be more than a boss.
This book dissected for you what and how are doing things the most powerful leaders, containing examples and practical advice about how you can implement their tools in your life.
By Andrew Sobel
Questions are a powerful way to build relationships, get out of tricky situations and help others. Find in this book how to ask the right questions at the right time.
By Seth Godin
This book is a masterpiece, and unlike most self-improvement books, this one targets an infinite array of areas in which you can, and ultimately must, improve. With its ruthless honesty and genuine inspiration, Godin makes you ponder the difficult questions you wouldn’t ever dare to ask yourself.
The result is a completely new perspective of the world- a fresher, more vibrant perspective, packed with new and bold possibilities.
If you need a friend that understands, a boss that forces you to venture deep in your non-comfort zone, a wise guru that tells you what needs to be left behind and a sage that proclaims the coming of a new age, then look no further; you will find these shrewd voices all tied together in this magnificent book.
Make sure to get this one.
By Robert Greene
I read this book in a time where I thought power was something I should attain. Power for power’s sake. And while I disagree with my former self on this point, the fact remains that power is very real, it forms the invisible scepter of all hierarchical relations around us. I still recommend this book; I believe it is important to know how people use power for their own benefit and what to do to protect yourself from certain abuses of power.
Besides the fact that all stories in this book gravitate around power, it contains many life lessons, amazing historical anecdotes and, if read in a certain light, the ability to use power for good. From Caesar to Goethe, Sun-Tzu to Machiavelli, this eye opening book spans a wide range of human development.
If you, like me, would rather be interested in something less egotistical, perhaps Greene’s latest book Mastery will suffice (I haven’t read that one myself). Another great book in the same style, but this time around, covering a wider scope, and, perhaps, something that will make the world make a better place.
By David D. Burns
Arguably, one of the most effective types of therapy used by psychologists is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
The theory behind CBT is that your thoughts and moods follow patterns, and you can manage the patterns that they follow to your benefit, rather than to your detriment.
Identifying thought patterns that have a detrimental effect on your self-image and mood, and deconstructing these in order to break out of these destructive cycles, will ultimately increase your happiness.
If you want to know how this works, which moods are central in your life, what thought patterns are causing your depression, how to overcome self-judgment and guilt, how to defeat approval and love addiction and how your self-perfectionism is hindering you, then don’t look further; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has helped millions of people and it can help you, and this is the best book for the job.
Packed with scientific research, exercises and examples, this is the best improvement your self is going to get.
By John C. Maxwell
At one time or another, we will all fail. What matters most is how you deal with it once you do. Will you give up? Or will you use it as a stepping stone for success? I recently read an article about new start-ups in silicon valley. Its hypothesis was the more you had failed in the past, the more likely you were going to get funding.
Because failing teaches you invaluable lessons, and if you decide to continue after you hit the pavement, the more you have it in you to deliver. Now, this is not in anyway our instinctual reaction to failing. Most of us dread it, avoid it or refuse to fail at all costs. All three are by far sub-optimal. It is far better to accept failure where it arises, to accept responsibility and use it as a way to learn about yourself and your weaknesses.
Only when you are absolute honest with yourself with respect to failure can you hope to grow. This wonderful book will teach you how to do exactly this. A honest book for everyone searching for a clean mirror.
By James Horton
Knowledge is power!
But only if we are able to use our knowledge. Otherwise it’s worthless. Usually, at school, most children “learn” a lot of things by heart and don’t learn how to learn. This is the purpose of this book: learn how to learn more, in less time.
“The entire quality of life will be determined by your ability to learn, to think, to make your mind perform.”
You will discover in this book that the capacity to process new information is not depending on your IQ (or any other hereditary factor, gender or age). If you learn how to learn, your entire life can change. Knowledge and power are not restricted to a few elites or particular “high IQ” specimen.
You too can access to any knowledge you need, in a record time. All you need is to learn how to learn fast, and more important, how to acquire profitable knowledge, rather than cram a vast mass of unorganized facts.
Think about it: how import is your level of education in your career? Many people believe that getting higher education and degrees is a matter of intelligence. Read this book and get rid of this myth!