Your level of success will seldom exceed your level of self-development, because success is something you attract by the person you become.
– Jim Rohn
It would be nice to have more time to read.
But doesn’t it always feel like life gets busy and there’s no time to read or focus on personal development?
That’s seriously why I remember the quote above as much as possible.
In this post, I put together a list of the top 5 best personal development books I think everyone should read to improve their personal development.
Hopefully, this list takes some of the time away from researching what to read and makes it easier for you to get started. (Side note: I highly recommend reading at a certain time of day, every day. It will become a habit and you’ll be amazed at how much you read!)
So, here are my top 5 personal development books I think everyone should read…
1. How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
In this classic book, Dale Carnegie lists and describes principles that will show you how to win friends and influence people. One of the most-widely read books in this area, Carnegie isn’t philosophical or theoretical – he’s practical.
You’ll learn the fundamental techniques for handling people, six ways to make people like you, how to win people to your way of thinking, and how to change people without making them resent you.
This book isn’t motivational, which is one down-side, in my opinion. However, it’s a must-read because it sets the foundation for personal development, including how to think outside yourself and learn to change.
2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
This book is about using your values to solve professional and personal problems. If you know what your values are, then it should be easier to solve problems from them.
Specifically, the 7 habits that you’ll learn are: be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win/win, seek first to understand then to be understood, synergize, and sharpen the saw.
This book is more philosophical than some of the other, which I really like (but keep this in mind if you don’t).
3. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
In The War of Art, Pressfield talks about how to turn the resistance we experience from just about anything (a new job, starting a diet, writing a book, etc.) into an opportunity to “turn pro” (i.e.: accept the challenge and implement habits that will help us be the best).
This book is motivational and has practical tips throughout; however, it’s not exactly the deepest book I’ve ever read. That said, I loved it because it reinforced ideas about habits, discipline, and being successful that I already believed. It’s very encouraging.
4. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
It will help you understand how to implement habits to be more productive, do less, and enjoy more. The book helps you learn that your every day decisions are making a huge impact on your life down the road. It’s practical and actionable, but it is also philosophical.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It radically changed the way I make decisions and helped me understand and set healthy boundaries without feeling guilty about saying no.
5. The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth by John Maxwell
This book is a practical guide to help you reach your full potential. Maxwell revisits his past and explains what he’s learned over the years for personal growth. He believes there are 15 rules that teach you how to move forward and grow as a person. He talks about a variety of things including habits, your personal and professional life intertwining, intentional living, and life planning.
This book is why I plan out my year and reflect back on it at the end. It had such an impact on me at the value level and at the practical level (it changed my thinking as well as giving me ways to implement that change).
I can’t recommend this book highly enough (plus there are tons of quotes in the book and who doesn’t love a good quote?!).
It’s really hard for me to just make a list of 5 books!
There are just so many amazing books. If you set a goal of reading one book per month, you will be able to read 12 in one year.
So, I want to include a few bonus reads that I love…
- Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
- Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins
- The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
- Mastery by Robert Greene
- The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
A Final Note!
This post wouldn’t be complete without me mentioning The Five Minute Journal and the Productivity Planner. These are physical books, but they’re not meant to be read like all the others. They’re meant to be used to improve your life. Since that’s the point of this post, it felt like I should include them. I use both daily (one for gratitude and daily affirmations and the other for planning and productivity). I haven’t found anything that works better — they were game changers for me.
My final pro tip is to set a goal of reading one new book a month. This will get you in the habit of starting a new book at the beginning over every month and help you focus on making sure you finish a book within a decent amount of time. I do this and keep track of the books I’ve read throughout the year. It’s awesome!