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 Spanish home, Santiago sets off on a journey that takes him through the deserts of Egypt before encountering 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 self-help 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 different father figures in his childhood, and their different approaches to money, to tackle financial literacy.
One father figure (his real father) struggled financially for a lifetime, needing every paycheck to stay afloat, and is referred to as ‘Poor Dad’.
The other father figure (his friend’s father) was a multi-millionaire who dropped out of school in the eighth grade, 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 use their money to work for them, whilst poor people work for their money. There are a good range of specific examples, and some practical techniques, to help explain this principle.
This really is a must-read book 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
Quite simply, one of the most famous self-help books ever published.
Carnegie had a firm belief that most successes come primarily from a strong ability to communicate brilliantly with others.
This book aims to teach some of these vital communication skills by demonstrating how to make people feel appreciated by valuing them for who they are, rather than making people feel ignored, or worse, 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 offers us a chance to: understand the difference between dependency and love; become more caring and sensitive in our roles as parents; and how to become one’s true self.
By Napoleon Hill
Hill was an early self-help author, and a lot of his books are just as relevant today as when first written.
Think and Grow Rich includes Hill’s rules of success and outlines his 13 key principles for personal achievement.
Hill talks about how people with desire, persistence and faith can achieve huge success by removing negative energy and harmful 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
Influence is a classic book about persuasion, written by Dr. Robert Cialdini – who is a widely recognised expert in the field of persuasion and influence.
The book examines the reasons why people say “yes”, and the psychology behind those reasons.
Cialdini outlines the six principles of persuasion, and how you can use them in your own life to become more persuasive and influential.
By knowing these principles, you can also guard against people using them against you!
Not only essential reading for serious professionals such as hostage negotiators, this book is perfect people from all walks of life who want to further their personal and professional success.
By Richard Koch
The well known 80/20 principle is examined in this book, with a view to achieving more in your personal and professional life, by doing less.
And it is very powerful.
Whilst seeming counter-intuitive that more can be achieved by doing less, Koch explains that 80% of results / achievements are thanks to 20% of causes / efforts.
The book really emphasises concentrating your time and effort on the all-important 20% on the fewer things that really matter to you and deliver the best outcomes.
It’s no secret that Richard Koch did not create the 80/20 principle – that honour goes to the Italian economist Pareto – and Koch pays due homage to the Italian in the book.
There are lots of examples in the book of how the principle can be applied, to help illustrate how to optimise your time management around essential tasks.
By Daniel Kahneman
This book presents the findings of many years of research by Kahneman (a Nobel prize winner), covering his work on cognitive biases, prospect theory, and – more lately – happiness.
The primary idea of the book is that there are 2 types of thinking that people shift between:
The Fast System: Which is almost instantaneous, very emotional and instinctive. It consists of hard-wired instincts that drive emotions, which are a legacy of human evolution.
The Slow System: Which is very deliberate, much slower, and much more logical. Slow thinking takes a lot more effort, and can easily be distracted.
Both thinking systems play a significant role in our everyday lives. It is interesting to read Kahneman’s explanation of why the the Fast System sometimes fails us, and why the Slow System is often not used as much as it could be.
The book is full of great examples and in-depth analysis, and will teach you how to make the best use of both thinking systems to your greatest benefit.
By Charles Duhigg
Duhigg, a New York Times reporter, explains in this book why habits exist and what we can do to break or change them.
The book brilliantly illustrates that habits aren’t beyond our control, and that we can – in fact – manage our habits to transform our daily lives, our health, our families, and our wealth.
The book includes many examples of how good, positive habits have led to extraordinary success, including that of Olympic athletes, blue-chip companies and their senior executives, and national public services.
Duhigg, on the other hand, also explains why other people and companies struggle to adapt and change, because of their ingrained habits.
Essentially, any habit consists of a neurological pattern that includes three steps: a cue, a routine, and a reward. Understanding more about these factors can help the reader discover how to adopt and change bad habits, and instead form good and positive habits.
The book is a great balance of scientific substance and real-life examples, which makes for an easy and interesting read.
Anyone serious about long term personal development should definitely read this book. After reading it, you will struggle to look at your life, your family, your work, and your communities in the same way.
By Tim Ferriss
This book is simply fantastic for anyone who hates their 9-5 job. In fact, even if you like you job, but would love to have more freedom in your life, then you’ll equally love this book too.
Ferriss goes into great detail, with specific examples, of how you can free up your valuable time to spend it on things that you choose to spend it on. Ferriss refers to this as ‘Lifestyle Design’.
For example, Ferriss advocates numerous techniques to outsource your most time-consuming or boring admin tasks, or how to convince your boss to let you work remotely.
The book offers an alternative view on the traditional work / life model of working for many years and then retiring. Instead, Ferriss promotes the idea of having many ‘mini-retirements’ throughout a career.
To support this, there are suggestions for how you can develop alternative sources of income so that you are no longer reliant on the traditional job for your income.
Tim Ferriss is also the author of The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Chef.
By Darren Hardy
Refreshingly, this book argues that there is no short cut to success.
Instead, Hardy promotes a long-term view, explaining that ultimate success is a combination of small steps and small decisions taken regularly and consistently.
Hardy argues that even small decisions you take in everyday life will move your life in one of two directions: 1) Towards the life you want to live; or 2) Away from the life you want to achieve.
If you can consistently make the right decisions and choices that take you towards the life you want to live, then – over time – you will get there.
It’s a simple principle, and the book presents it in a simple, straight-forward fashion, which makes it a clear and concise manual for achieving long term, sustained success.
By David Allen
This book is one of the most influential books on personal organisation of its era.
In addition to simply helping you get things done more efficiently and increase your productivity, the indirect benefits of this book are an increase in overall happiness thanks to a reduction in stress from being more organised.
And in a world that seems to be growing increasingly overloaded, a reduction in stress can only be a good thing.
One of the really good things about this book is that Allen’s productivity ideas and tips are all very actionable, and can be put into practice immediately.
So you get instant benefit from this book from the first page through to the last.
Getting Things Done (GTD) has actually developed into a bit of a cult movement, with many websites, seminars and offshoots having developed since the book’s initial release.
By Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins is a world leader on understanding human behaviour.
In this book, he has used his skills to interpret and simplify the strategies of the world’s greatest investors into an engaging and readable format.
Robbins outlines a 7 step path that the reader can follow to save and invest their money in such a way that will lead to longer-term financial freedom.
A key element of the strategy is making use of compound interest, which Einstein once described as the 8th Wonder of the World!
If there is one criticism to aim at this book, it’s that it can be a bit long winded. The key messages and really useful nuggets of advice could be explained in far fewer pages.
In order to keep your interest throughout the whole book you may want to consider skim reading sections, or missing some out altogether when you feel they are less valuable to your personal circumstances.
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
This book is essentially a selection of audio interviews from Ferriss’s podcast, converted into a selection of transcripts.
The range of people interviewed is immense, and includes successful people from all walks of life, such as elite athletes and sports people, entrepreneurs, and business people.
The layout of the book allows for it be read in chunks, with the option to jump from section to section at anytime without disrupting a flow. It also allows easy referencing in the future, when you might want to jump back in to a particular section.
Tools of Titans offers up a whole host of tips, techniques and advice from such a wide range of fields that you cannot fail to find something of interest that you can apply to your life.
32. Start With Why
By Simon Sinek
Start With Why is a great book to help you fundamentally re-think what you do, either in your personal or professional life as an individual, or what companies do at an organisational level.
For example, most organisations typically consider what they do. Sinek argues that by changing that thought process to considering why an organisation does what it does, a truer and more inspirational vision is developed.
Sinek analyses leaders such as Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King throughout the book, to support his argument and use them examples of ‘starting with why’.
A key argument of the book is that those organisations who ask themselves why they exist are much more innovative, pioneering and ultimately successful than others.
Sinek also promotes the idea that having this fundamental understanding of your mission can lead to longer lasting, repeatable success.
By Noah J. Goldstein and Steve J. Martin
As the titles suggests, this book includes 50 distinct examples and techniques to help you become more persuasive.
The authors present the overall principles of persuasion, and then go on to discuss an whole range of specific and detailed examples.
Goldstein and Martin outline the results of many studies (both their own and those from other people) to help illustrate what to do and what not to do when trying to master the art of persuasion.
And fairly so, the techniques offered in this book are promoted as being more reliable than personal experiences, on the basis that they are backed up by scientific research.
Each of the 50 chapters begins with a question, which is then answered through the rest of the chapter. For example:
Q. “Does fear persuade or does it paralyze?”
A: “Fear only motivates us to action if we have a clear and effective means of reducing the danger.”
A great follow up for anyone that has read and enjoyed Influence by Robert Cialdini.
By Roger Fisher and William Ury
Getting to Yes simplifies the whole process of negotiation, with a very effective framework to enable successful negotiations.
From making significant purchases and cutting major business deals, through to dividing up family chores, this book offers you techniques and principles to reach a good outcome.
Sadly, Roger Fisher has passed away. In his obituary, there was an example of how Fisher was asked to help resolve a very confrontational negotiation between two central American countries over a land border.
With Fisher’s introduction, and the application of some of these techniques – including the use of objective criteria – negotiations resolved amicably. As it turned out, the President of one of the countries involved had been a university student of Fisher!
So there aare real-life, tangible examples of how the principles and techniques taught in this book can be used to achieve successful outcomes in real life situations.
By Jack Welch
Welch is one of the highest-achieving, well known CEOs in modern times, after leading General Electric to year-on-year, sustained success – in multiple, highly competitive markets, and in multiple geographies.
Since retiring from the business world, Welch has written what is a combination of both philosophical and practical insights on how to win in business.
Welch begins the book with an introductory section to describe his underlying philosophy on business – the importance of candor, values, and differentiation.
The core of Winning is is then split into three sections.
The first section focuses ‘inside the company’, looking at things such as leadership, how to pick winners for the team, and how to make change happen.
The second section looks ‘outside the company’, i.e. the competition, with a focus on overall strategy, mergers and acquisitions, how to get a competitive advantage, plus a whole lot more.
The third section is about managing your own career, with advice on finding the right job and achieving a healthy work-life balance.
By Jack Canfield
This book will help you to get from where you currently are in your life, to where you ultimately want to be.
It will help you achieve this transition by teaching you things such as how to improve your self-confidence, effectively tackle your daily challenges and tasks, go about your life with greater passion and a sense of purpose, and ultimately realise all of your ambitions.
Canfield relays stories of celebrities, CEOs, top-class athletes, and everyday people, to illustrate a number of principles that have been used by successful people around the world and throughout history.
The book promotes these proven strategies and principles, for you to review and adopt in your own life, to help you achieve whatever your ambition may be, from achieving financial wealth, job success or losing weight.
By David Rock
Rock gathers a host of neuroscience research, then explains it clearly and succinctly, to help explain how the human brain functions in different circumstances, such as at work, at home and in social situations.
The principles are explained in individual chapters, which are relatively short and digestible.
Each chapter begins with an example of a particular situation, where the outcome is less than ideal. The book then moves in to an explanation of how the brain functions during that particular situation, and how the brain functions have led to that particular outcome.
Then Rock suggests changes that could be made in the circumstance or interactions to improve the outcome. The situose changes applied, and the different outcome is presented.
It’s very simple, but effective, way of demonstrating what could otherwise be complicated ideas.
By Matthew Kimberley
Do you remember how your parents and school teachers used to get right to the heart of the issue, telling you exactly what you needed to hear even if you didn’t want to hear it?
It may have been uncomfortable but it was always worth listening to.
How to Get A Grip is the self-help book equivalent of this type of advice. Kimberley uses short, compressed sections written in an accessible, witty and humorous style, to dispense advice on key areas in need of improvement.
These always make for great (if uncomfortable) reading and because they are short and to the point, are easy to put into practise straight after reading. This means that you see effective improvements extremely quickly.
If you value honesty as opposed to flattery and like the advice you read to be effective and to the point this is the book for you.
By Susan Cain
Are you an introvert? Do you manage introverts? If so this book is a must read for you.
Many of the characteristics we use to define success, confidence, desire to take risks, to be at the thick of the action, are associated with extroverts.
We value these characteristics in our work and in society at large. As these traits are celebrated it is easy to forget the quiet determination that is vital for success. Every organisation needs its share of introverts, to push behind the scenes, to make sure that everything works as it should.
Unfortunately many managers and organisations fail to get the best from their introvert employees and many introverts see themselves, rather than corporate systems, to blame.
Quiet helps to redress this balance.
A combination of research-backed advice and anecdotes will help even the most enthusiastic extrovert to understand their more introverted colleagues, and help introverts to understand not only what makes them valuable employees, but how to alter their work environment to their benefit.
By Mark Manson
Are you a people pleaser?
Do you sacrifice your own well-being for that of others or do you spend your time worrying about how you will be perceived?
In this book Manson teaches you how to get over this desire and literally not give a f*ck. While other books may extol the virtues of positive thinking Manson takes the opposite approach.
‘F*ck positivity’ he tells us.
The book is as honest as the title, it pulls no punches either in its language or its message. Don’t be put off by the title or the profanity, behind the language and the humour lies a profound message.
There are only so many things that we can truly care about without getting burnt out, choose wisely. Don’t worry about the minutiae of life, save your concern for those things that really matter.
Don’t pretend that problems don’t exist, don’t minimise them, learn to take responsibility and tackle them head on.
By Robert Greene
What does it mean to be a master?
We all aspire to be good at what we do, to be a master, whether in our careers, our personal lives, as parents or as lovers.
Mastery comes easy to some people, they appear to be able to learn new skills and apply them without effort. Others struggle, have to put the hours in, have to work harder just to keep up.
If you fall into the second category it can be easy to become demoralised to believe that success is just not for you.
If you are looking for a short cut to success, for an easy out, a way to skip the hard slog then this is not the book for you. If, however, you recognise that genius is as often made as born and that all of us have the capacity to be a master in the right niche, if we put the work in then this book should be on your bookshelf.
The strategies, hints and tips are designed to help you maximise your effort and focus your hard work. More than this it draws from real life success stories that will inspire you to keep going no matter how hard the journey.
By Carmine Gallo
From their inception in the 1980s, TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talks have redefined the public lecture for the modern era.
Spreading beyond their original remit, TED talks now exist for almost every topic under the sun (and several beyond). Experts in their field present their knowledge to the wider world, but – far from being dry and esoteric – such talks have a reputation for engaging and enthusing their audiences.
What are the common criteria that define a successful TED talk? Could you give one tomorrow?
If we are honest most of us for whom public speaking is a minor (but important) part of our role struggle from time to time. Gallo has analysed the most popular TED talks of all time and used this analysis to come up with a winning formula for creating and delivering an exciting and interesting talk without stress.
Even if public speaking is a minor part of your role you will find Gallo’s techniques applicable to many other work situations, helping you feel more confident in meetings, interviews or everything in between.
By Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers are the brightest and the best. The people who stand head and shoulders above others, those high achievers that put the rest of us to shame.
We all know someone like this, an athlete who runs faster than anyone else without seeming to do anything different.
A piano player for whom the music just flows from their fingers, superheroes who pull off amazing feats that we think we would never manage.
The truth, Gladwell tells us, is that success is not a product of the person alone, it is often a product of many converging environmental factors. It does not matter how talented you are, he suggests, if you were not also born in the right place at the right time and have 10,000 hours to spare.
Outliers is an easy read, closer to a novel than a traditional self-help book. It is thought-provoking and interesting but often a little too glib and simplistic.
In these times when ‘privilege’ is the word on everyone’s lips Gladwell’s book can help us learn more about who and what we are and how our privilege can make or break us.
44. Unlimited Memory
By Kevin Horsley
Do you have a memory like a sieve?
Do you recall those times in school when you studied and studied, remembered enough facts to pass an exam and then promptly forgot almost everything?
These days with a wealth of information stored in the internet and kept at our fingertips we tend not to even try to memorise information.
Why would we when it is always there?
There are, however, situations where the internet will not and cannot help. From remembering people’s names to memorising important yet fleeting information (a car number plate for example). A good memory is as important if not more important than ever.
The good news is that memory is a muscle and you can train yourself not only to remember facts but to commit them to your mind quickly and accurately.
Horsley is one of the leading memory champions in the world and this book is full of exercises to help you refine your own memory and make the most of your mind. These are not quick fixes, they require hard work and dedication but, if you follow his advice, you will see your own memory skills improve.
By Barry McDonagh
Anxiety sounds like such a minor affliction, to those who have never suffered it at least.
Those who do suffer from anxiety or panic attacks know the truth, that it is a severely limiting and distressing disorder.
Advice from friends and family typically falls into two camps: ‘Knuckle down and get over it’ or ‘medicate it away’.
McDonagh takes a different, somewhat, approach.
His four step strategy supports his readers in confronting their fears head on, acknowledging what can go wrong, facing down their fears and allowing themselves to engage fully in life and its pleasures.
This book will help you to accept your anxiety as a part of who you are and cope effectively with a panic attack on your own, without the need for emotional support from others.
By Patrick King
Don’t you wish that you could be the sort of person that others love to speak with?
You know the type, the person who is the hub of every social gathering, the one that everyone at the networking meeting wants to associate with.
They never run out of things to talk about, always have a witty story but, even more often, manage to listen to others while looking genuinely interested.
How do they do it?
The answer is that almost anyone can learn to be a people person, all you have to do is learn how to be charming without being obsequious, friendly without looking like a stalker and how to listen to what others have to say.
This book will teach you how to build rapport while giving you the skills you need to deal with difficult people with grace and aplomb.
By Grant Cardone
The author once followed the crowd. He did what society tells us all good people should do he gave up on ‘pipe dreams’ he set lower standards for himself and in striving to become Mr Average he failed and failed spectacularly.
Realising that following the normal road to the middle class dream had only led him astray he decided to do things his way.
He dreamed outrageous dreams and allowed himself to obsess.
He obsessed about his businesses, he obsessed about owning an airplane and this relentless obsession drove him down the path to success.
Cardone tells us that the road to average never pushes us out of our comfort zone. Somewhere along the line we stop striving and stop caring and this is seen as a positive.
This book gives us permission to truly care, to push ourselves to the very limits in everything we do to, in other words, obsess.
Full of practical hints and tips from how to re-invent yourself to preventing procrastination Cardone’s book will change your life.
By Jesse Tevelow
What happens when you stop moving? When you stop learning? When you stop growing?
The answer of course is that things start to go wrong, you get bored, grow old, become dull.
This is the basic premise of Hustle.
Movement, Tevelow tells us, helps you maximise your productivity, standing on your laurels ensures you will never exceed your own earlier achievement.
This book teaches us to appreciate our successes while all the time looking for the next thing we can do.
This book will teach you how to identify when to sprint (or work intensely) and when to run the marathon. You will learn how to take one step after another even when it seems impossible.
Hustle is about grit, it is about perseverance and it is about never, ever allowing yourself to become lazy.
49. Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep Your Way to A Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success
By Shawn Stevenson
Do you get enough sleep?
For many people with busy schedules a good night’s sleep is often the first thing to be sacrificed. Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once famously boasted that she got by on 4 hours sleep a night, and many people feel that they are not maximising their time if they do not sacrifice sleep.
After all it is a luxury not a necessity.
Not so claims this book.
Sleep is essential if we want to stay healthy, work efficiently and live our best life. Lack of sleep not only dulls the reflexes but dulls the mind.
That said how can you make sure that you get a good night’s sleep. It is all too easy to fall into bed exhausted only to be disturbed by ambient noise, distracted by your smartphone or woken by a demanding child.
In this book Stevenson not only convinces you that you really do need a good night’s sleep, he gives you the tools to help you get one. Some of the recommendations are more aspirational than practical but they are all useful.
Before you know it you will be sleeping your way to health and success.
By Marshall Goldsmith
Goldsmith is the man that the people who have already made it turn to when they want to become even more successful.
This is the book you should turn to to help you reach the next stage in your career.
Goldsmith’s book does not address on skills or knowledge, both of which he assumes you have already. He chooses, instead, to focus on behaviour.
His rationale is that all of us are flawed in our behaviour from time to time (he even acknowledges such flaws in himself) but that it is precisely our behaviour that can hold us back from ultimate success.
Do you get people’s backs up by speaking in anger? Perhaps you sometimes forget to thank or acknowledge those who help you.
Either way these behavioural mistakes, not big in and of themselves, can cost and cost you big when it comes to working your way up the career ladder.
This book will help you identify what you need to change in order to continue your progress to success.
By Michael Bungay Stanier
We all know that as we progress in our careers and in life we are expected to mentor and support others.
What fewer people know is how to mentor and support effectively.
All too often it can turn into a series of pro forma lectures that fail properly to support those we should be helping. Stanier tackles this problem head on by encouraging us to make coaching a more informal and yet integral part of our daily lives.
We can do this, he says by asking more questions and, perhaps even more crucially, listening to the answers. He encourages us to be brave enough to refrain from offering advice, rather to use questions to help people provide their own answers.
Follow his advice and you will not only learn to become an excellent mentor, you will be the type of leader everyone wants to work for.
By Mark Goulston
It is easy to talk, we do it every day.
Do people listen to you?
Probably, indeed almost certainly not as much as you would like. Do you listen to others?
Probably, indeed almost certainly not as much as you should. This locks us in a vicious cycle of talking without listening.
Goulston, a psychiatrist who has helped train FBI negotiators, teaches us that the first step towards being heard is to learn to listen.
Letting someone know that you are ready to hear what they have to say helps them to feel calmer, happier and more willing to listen to you in turn.
Full of case studies that make interesting reading in and of themselves, Just Listen is also packed with practical tips that you can put into practise straight away.
By Cal Newport
Speak to almost anyone and they will celebrate the ability to multi-task.
Make a call, write an email, prepare a presentation, you should be able to do them all simultaneously. As technology has grown and spread it has fed into this advice.
Our smart phones are designed to help us do multiple things at once. Apps offer us condensed versions of books to read or allow us to scroll through headlines and summaries to gain an understanding of what is happening in the world without ever having to spend the time to find out in more detail.
All this has its place but Newport extols the virtues of concentrating and taking the time to do important tasks very well.
Multitasking can help us to do a lot of things at once (often badly) but deep work is what will help you produce your very best effort.
In a world where everyone else is trying to prove they can juggle an infeasible number of tasks you can stand out from the crowd by taking your time and really concentrate.
Deep Work not only teaches you why spending time on important projects is helpful it teaches you strategies to help implement deep work into your day to day life.
By James K. Harter
As the title suggests First Break All The Rules is a self-help book with a difference.
Where most books spend the first half setting out a strategy and then teaching you rules to help you apply this strategy, First Break All The Rules actively encourages you to throw that rule book away.
Based on interviews with more than 80,000 successful managers at a range of institutions, this book proves that those who are truly successful don’t feel the need to be bound by conventional wisdom.
This book will help you understand why talent is more important, at almost any level, than skills and why you should help people in your team play to their strengths.
This book helps you learn from the best and apply those lessons in your own life.
By Andrew Sobel
Almost anyone can deliver a business pitch or speak to someone they meet. What is more difficult is to make a lasting positive impression.
Power Questions uses the art of questioning and listening to answers to deepen professional and personal relationships.
Applicable to both business and personal life Power Questions has something for everyone. Whether you simply want to learn to network effectively or you want to ensure that you are never lost for words this book has the answer.
Questions can be incredibly powerful. The right question can help you to expand your business opportunities, get a better deal, diffuse tense situations or even help someone feel better about themselves.
Power Questions does not expect you to just take the author’s word for it, however, it uses real life situations to prove how important insightful questions can be.
Packed full of anecdotes, advice and useful questions to ask this book is a must read.
By Seth Godin
This book is fantastic. It’s a collection of Seth’s blog posts over a period of several years, arranged into themes rather than chronologically.
Godin’s insight and advice all the way through the book is aimed at getting you understand and kick-start your own interests, talents, and motivation.
Most of the individual blog posts wrap-up with a specific ‘call to action’, typically urging you to ‘start now’ – which aligns with the practical, rather than simply theoretical,
It is ruthlessly honest, and covers such a wide array of topics and areas in which you can develop and improve. Godin makes you think about lots of difficult questions you perhaps wouldn’t normally ask yourself.
The result is a completely new perspective of the world- a fresher, more vibrant perspective, packed with new and bold possibilities.
The combination of posts includes a range of perspectives, including a friend who understands you, a mentor who may push and challenge you, a visionary that can create a picture of a different future, and more.
One for the ‘must-read’ list.
By Robert Greene
This is not just a strategy book written in abstract, but a life manual for anyone who wants to succeed in life and wield power – by making use of the collection of suggestions, all of which can be used practically in real life.
Some people may not like the idea of a book dedicated to increasing and using power.
But even for this that find the idea a little egotistical, this is a well written book that can help understand how other people make use of power for their own benefit, and what you can do to protect yourself – and others – from the potential abuse of power.
Whilst the short stories in this book focus on the subject power, there are wider insights and interesting historical examples that can be interpreted in a manner other than simply the pursuit of more power.
The book is written in such a fashion that the reader can jump in and pick up at any chapter, and move around the chapters in any order. This makes reading in digestible chunks nice and simple.
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.
By identifying specific patterns of thoughts that have a negative effect on your mood or feelings of self-worth, you can seek to deconstruct these patterns and break out of the negative cycle.
This will support your path to increased happiness and improved self-image.
This book will help you understand some of the most common thought patterns that you might want to disrupt, such as those that can lead to depression, guilt, self-judgement, approval-seeking, and the pursuit of perfection.
The book is supported by scientific research, which provides additional confidence in the methods.
By John C. Maxwell
It’s a universal truth that everybody fails.
But not everybody reacts the same to failure. Some people give up, thinking their failure is a sign that what they were trying to do will never work.
But other people use failure as a way of learning lessons that will significantly increase your chances of success in the future.
In addition to the lessons you have learned from your past failures, by continuing to keep trying you are also demonstrating that you have a strong sense of determination.
Most people dread the idea of failure, or don’t accept or acknowledge failure. This prevents people from benefiting from the lessons of failure, that will ultimately help them succeed in the future.
This book will help you understand how to do exactly that.
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!