37 Best Self-Development Books That Can Completely Change Your Life
I still remember the first time someone mentioned reading a self-help book to me. The concept of reading a self-development book was strange because I always categorized those books as something only “desperate people” needed. I was cocky and arrogant, believing I knew everything I needed to know.
But out of curiosity, I decided to see what difference reading a self-development book would bring upon me. After all, you hear people claim everyday how this or that book had changed their life.
It took only several minutes of reading How to Win Friends and influence People before I was hooked. There were techniques and methods to understanding human behavior that I never noticed before. There were bad habits I realized had to get rid of that day. I had a variety of bad habits I mistook for normal such as the way I spent my time and how I managed my income.
Despite how old we get or how much knowledge we accumulate, we’re always going to have a part of our life that’s considered our weak point. We lose track of our priorities and commit to “what feels good at the moment”. Rather than committing ourselves to read a book at night, we fall into the “feel good” reaction by watching Netflix instead.
Self-development books are like mentors and coaches we need to get our heads out of the dirt and back onto the right path again. Throughout life, we’re going to encounter situations where we lose focus on what’s important. And without anyone reminding us what our bad habits are, we lose sight of who we really are. Our laziness increase as our productivity decrease.
Thus, below are 37 of the best self-development books that can completely change your life. Whether you never read any of the books listed below or read one of them in the past, committing yourself to a self-development book is essential for your growth. Even if it’s just lying on a shelf gathering dust, you might see that book one day with an itching curiosity that will make you read it and get your life back in check. Enjoy!
This book reminds you how to wake up and take control of your life. Anthony Robbins shows you his most effective strategies and techniques for mastering your emotions, your body, your relationships, your finances, and your life.
The acknowledged expert in the psychology of change, Anthony Robbins provides a step-by-step program teaching the fundamental lessons of self-mastery that will enable you to discover your true purpose, take control of your life, and harness the forces that shape your destiny.
This book is a how-to guide on achieving a state of enhanced mental, spiritual, and physical function, sometimes referred to by athletes as getting in the zone, identifies biological triggers and offers step-by-step techniques.
Benson explains the stages of stress/struggle, release, breakout/peak experience, and “new-normal” state. He balances the science behind his concepts with practical, how-to tips.
For example, many different activities and types of experiences can trigger your personal Breakout in the release stage, and Benson helps you figure out which ones might work for you: repetitive mental or physical activity, an absorbing personal encounter, expression of your personal belief system, “total abandon” to an intense experience, altruistic activity, or filling your mind with a dominant sensory impression.
The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem is essential reading for anyone with a personal or professional interest in self-esteem. The book demonstrates compellingly why self-esteem is basic to psychological health, achievement, personal happiness, and positive relationships.
Branden introduces the six pillars-six action-based practices for daily living that provide the foundation for self-esteem-and explores the central importance of self-esteem in five areas: the workplace, parenting, education, psychotherapy, and the culture at large.
The work provides concrete guidelines for teachers, parents, managers, and therapists who are responsible for developing the self-esteem of others. And it shows why-in today’s chaotic and competitive world-self-esteem is fundamental to our personal and professional power.
Stephen Covey anecdotes are as frequently from family situations as from business challenges. Before you can adopt the seven habits, you’ll need to accomplish what Covey calls a “paradigm shift”–a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works.
Covey takes you through this change, which affects how you perceive and act regarding productivity, time management, positive thinking, developing your “proactive muscles” (acting with initiative rather than reacting), and much more.
This isn’t a quick-tips-start-tomorrow kind of book. The concepts are sometimes intricate, and you’ll want to study this book, not skim it. When you finish, you’ll probably have Post-it notes or hand-written annotations in every chapter, and you’ll feel like you’ve taken a powerful seminar by Covey.
Psychedelics for spiritual, therapeutic, and problem-solving use
• Presents practices for safe and successful psychedelic voyages, including the benefits of having a guide and how to be a guide
• Reviews the value of psychedelics for healing and self-discovery as well as how LSD has facilitated scientific and technical problem-solving
• Reveals how ultra-low doses improve cognitive functioning, emotional balance, and physical stamina
• This year 600,000 people in the U.S. alone will try LSD for the the first time, joining the 23 million who have already experimented with this substance
James Fadiman has been involved with psychedelic research since the 1960s. In this guide to the immediate and long-term effects of psychedelic use for spiritual, therapeutic, and problem-solving purposes, Fadiman outlines best practices for safe, sacred entheogenic voyages learned through his more than 40 years of experience.
Fadiman reveals new uses for LSD and other psychedelics, including extremely low doses for improved cognitive functioning and emotional balance. Cautioning that psychedelics are not for everyone, he dispels the myths and misperceptions about psychedelics circulating in textbooks and clinics as well as on the internet.
A lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?
When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
But the lecture he gave “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams” wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment. It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.
In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.
Why aren’t there more millionaires? In Fooled by Randomness, Nassim Nicholas Taleb examines what randomness means in business and in life and why human beings are so prone to mistake dumb luck for consummate skill.
This eccentric and highly personal exploration of the nature of randomness meanders from the court of Croesus and trading rooms in New York and London to Russian roulette, Monte Carlo engines, and the philosophy of Karl Popper.
Part of what makes this book so good is Taleb’s ability to make seemingly arcane mathematical concepts entirely relevant in evaluating and understanding everything from the stock market to the success of those millionaires cited in the aforementioned bestsellers.
Here’s an articulate, wise, and humorous meditation on the nature of success and failure that anyone who wants a little more of the former would do well to consider.
Made for dipping into again and again, Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? brings together the very best of Seth Godin’s acclaimed blog and is a classic for fans both old and new.
‘Getting your ducks in a row is a fine thing to do. But deciding what you are going to do with that duck is a far more important issue’ Seth Godin is famous for bestselling books such as Purple Cow and cool entrepreneurial ventures such as Squidoo and the Domino Project.
But to millions of loyal readers, he’s best known for the daily burst of insight he provides every morning, rain or shine, via Seth’s Blog. From thoughts on how to treat your customers to telling stories and spreading ideas, Godin pushes us to think smarter, dream bigger, write better, and speak more honestly.
Meditation offers, in addition to its many other benefits, a method for achieving previously inconceivable levels of concentration. Author B. Alan Wallace has nearly thirty years’ practice in attention-enhancing meditation, including a retreat he performed under the guidance of the Dalai Lama.
Beginning by pointing out the ill effects that follow from our inability to focus, Wallace moves on to explore a systematic path of meditation to deepen our capacity for deep concentration.
The result is an exciting, rewarding “expedition of the mind,” tracing everything from the confusion at the bottom of the trail to the extraordinary clarity and power that come with making it to the top. Along the way, the author also provides interludes and complementary practices for cultivating love, compassion, and clarity in our waking and dreaming lives.
In Perfect Health Diet, the Jaminets explain in layman’s terms how anyone can regain health and lose weight by optimizing nutrition, detoxifying the diet, and supporting healthy immune function. They show how toxic, nutrient-poor diets sabotage health, and how on a healthy diet, diseases often spontaneously resolve.
Perfect Health Diet tells you exactly how to optimize health and make weight loss effortless with a clear, balanced, and scientifically proven plan to change the way you eat—and feel—forever!
The Road Less Traveled continues to help us explore the very nature of loving relationships and leads us toward a new serenity and fullness of life. It helps us learn how to distinguish dependency from love; how to become a more sensitive parent; and ultimately how to become one’s own true self.
Simplify is a celebration of living more by owning less. Written by Joshua Becker, who inspires hundreds of thousands of people on his personal blog, this is a book that calls for the end of living lives seeking and accumulating more and more possessions by highlighting the enjoyment of living with less.
Three years ago, his typical, suburban family of four made the decision to minimize their possessions, declutter their home, and simplify their lives. In so doing, they discovered countless real-life benefits of living with less. And now, to help others experience the same freedom, they offer the most important lessons they’ve learned through the process. Simplify is full of personal stories, practical tips, and powerful inspiration.
It is based on a rational approach to minimalism. It will forever change the way you look at physical possessions. And most importantly, its approach will free you from the burden of clutter and provide you with the extra motivation to realign your life around your heart’s greatest passions… however you choose to define them.
As a traditional psychotherapist, Dr. Brian Weiss was astonished and skeptical when one of his patients began recalling past-life traumas that seemed to hold the key to her recurring nightmares and anxiety attacks.
His skepticism was eroded, however, when she began to channel messages from the “space between lives,” which contained remarkable revelations about Dr. Weiss’ family and his dead son. Using past-life therapy, he was able to cure the patient and embark on a new, more meaningful phase of his own career.
Williamson reveals how we each can become a miracle worker by accepting God and by the expression of love in our daily lives. Whether psychic pain is in the area of relationships, career, or health, she shows us how love is a potent force, the key to inner peace, and how by practicing love we can make our own lives more fulfilling while creating a more peaceful and loving world for our children.
Do you find yourself attracted again and again to troubled, distant, moody men while “nice guys” seem boring?
Do you obsess over men who are emotionally unavailable, addicted to work, hobbies, alcohol, or other women?
Do you neglect your friends and your own interests to be immediately available to him?
Do you feel empty without him, even though being with him is torment?
Robin Norwood’s groundbreaking work will enable you to recognize the roots of your destructive patterns of relating and provide you with a step-by-step guide to a more rewarding way of living and loving.
Man’s Search for Meaning tells the chilling and inspirational story of eminent psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who was imprisoned at Auschwitz and other concentration camps for three years during the Second World War.
Immersed in great suffering and loss, Frankl began to wonder why some of his fellow prisoners were able not only to survive the horrifying conditions, but to grow in the process.
Frankl’s conclusion was that the most basic human motivation is the will to meaning – became the basis of his groundbreaking psychological theory, logotherapy. As Nietzsche put it, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
In Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl outlines the principles of logotherapy, and offers ways to help each one of us focus on finding the purpose in our lives. This new edition of Man’s Search for Meaning includes a new preface by the author, in which he explains his decision to remain in his native Austria during the Nazi invasion, a choice which eventually led to his imprisonment. It also includes an updated bibliography of books, articles, records, films, videotapes, and audio tapes about logotherapy.
Are you afraid of making decisions . . . asking your boss for a raise . . . leaving an unfulfilling relationship . . . facing the future? Whatever your fear, here is your chance to push through it once and for all.
In this enduring guide to self-empowerment, Dr. Susan Jeffers inspires us with dynamic techniques and profound concepts that have helped countless people grab hold of their fears and move forward with their lives. Inside you’ll discover
• what we are afraid of, and why
• how to move from victim to creator
• the secret of making no lose decisions
• the vital 10-step process that helps you outtalk the negative chatterbox in your brain
• how to create more meaning in your life
And so much more!
With insight and humor, Dr. Jeffers shows you how to become powerful in the face of your fears–and enjoy the elation of living a creative, joyous, loving life.
Are some people born to achieve anything they want while others struggle? Call them lucky, blessed, or possessors of the Midas touch. What is the real reason for their success? Is it family background, wealth, greater opportunities, high morals, an easy childhood?
New York Times best-selling author John C. Maxwell has the answer: The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.
Most people are never prepared to deal with failure. Maxwell says that if you are like him, coming out of school, you feared it, misunderstood it, and ran away from it. But Maxwell has learned to make failure his friend, and he can teach you to do the same.
“I want to help you learn how to confidently look the prospect of failure in the eye and move forward anyway,” says Maxwell. “Because in life, the question is not if you will have problems, but how you are going to deal with them. Stop failing backward and start failing forward!”
Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, we must find the courage to walk into vulnerability and engage with our whole hearts.
In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown challenges everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she argues that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement, and meaningful connection. The book that Dr. Brown’s many fans have been waiting for, Daring Greatly will spark a new spirit of truth and trust in our organizations, families, schools, and communities.
The twelve steps tap into the essential human process of change and will be regarded as one of the intellectual and spiritual landmarks in human history.
It was out of his reverence and respect for the wisdom and therapeutic value of the Twelve Steps that Carnes wrote A Gentle Path through the Twelve Steps, now a recovery classic and self-help staple for anyone looking for guidance for life’s hardest challenges.
Hundreds of thousands of people have found in this book a personal portal to the wisdom of the Twelve Steps. With updated and expanded concepts and a focus on the spiritual principles that lead to lifelong growth and fulfillment, Carnes’ new edition invites a fresh generation of readers to the healing and rewarding experience of Twelve Step recovery.
After more than thirty years, Love Is Letting of Fear continues to be among the most widely read and best-loved classics on personal transformation. Both helpful and hopeful, this little gem of a guide offers twelve lessons to help us let go of the past and stay focused on the present as we step confidently toward the future.
Dr. Gerald Jampolsky reminds us that the impediments to the life we long for are nothing more than the limitations imposed on us by our own minds. Revealing our true selves, the essence of which is love, is ultimately a matter of releasing those limited and limiting thoughts and setting our minds free.
Love Is Letting of Fear guide you to a life in which negativity, doubt, and fear are replaced with optimism, joy, and love.
Discusses the variety of reactions that people experience because of the loss of a love and provides numerous recommendations for coping with pain and achieving comfort.
No matter how much money, status, or success they may have, very few people experience true joy and personal freedom. Byron Katie knows this reality too well. In the midst of a “normal and successful” life, she was sinking deeper and deeper into depression and despair until a sudden, profound insight into how the mind works set her on the path to a life filled with love for everything life brings.
Eager to help others find this freedom, Katie developed a revolutionary process to make this transformation practical, a simple yet powerful method of inquiry known as The Work.
The Work’s four powerful questions and turnaround have transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world.
In Your Inner Awakening, Byron Katie will teach you how to use The Work for yourself to question and undo any stressful thought that keeps you from experiencing mental clarity. You’ll discover that trying to let go of a painful thought never works; instead once you have investigated it, the thought lets go of you. Eventually you may find, as so many others have, that peace and joy flow into every area of your life.
In The Four Agreements, bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering.
Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.
Psycho-Cybernetics has been used by athletes, entrepreneurs, college students, and many others, to achieve life-changing goals. From losing weight to dramatically increasing their income, finding that success is not only possible but remarkably simple.
Now updated to include present-day anecdotes and current personalities, The New Psycho-Cybernetics remains true to Dr. Maltz’s promise:“If you can remember, worry, or tie your shoe, you can succeed with Psycho-Cybernetics!”
This grandfather of all people-skills books was first published in 1937. How to Win Friends and Influence People is just as useful today because Dale Carnegie had an understanding of human nature that will never be outdated.
Financial success, Carnegie believed, is due 15 percent to professional knowledge and 85 percent to “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.”
He teaches these skills through underlying principles of dealing with people so that they feel important and appreciated. He also emphasizes fundamental techniques for handling people without making them feel manipulated.
Carnegie says you can make someone want to do what you want them to by seeing the situation from the other person’s point of view and “arousing in the other person an eager want.”
You learn how to make people like you, win people over to your way of thinking, and change people without causing offense or arousing resentment. For instance, “let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers,” and “talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.” Carnegie illustrates his points with anecdotes of historical figures, leaders of the business world, and everyday folks.
In The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, Dr. Joseph Murphy gives you the tools you will need to unlock the awesome powers of your subconscious mind.
You can improve your relationships, your finances, your physical well-being. Once you learn how to use this unbelievably powerful force there is nothing you will not be able to accomplish.
Join the millions of people who have already unlocked the power of their subconscious minds. This book may lift you up from confusion, misery, melancholy, and failure, and guide you to your true place, solve your difficulties, sever you from emotional and physical bondage, and place you on the royal road to freedom, happiness, and peace of mind.
Rich Dad Poor Dad, the #1 Personal Finance book of all time, tells the story of Robert Kiyosaki and his two dads—his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad—and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing.
The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.
If you’re plagued by guilt or worry and find yourself unwittingly falling into the same old self-destructive patterns, then you have “erroneous zones” whole facets of your approach to life that act as barriers to your success and happiness.
Perhaps you believe that you have no control over your feelings and reactions. Dyer shows how you can take charge of yourself and manage how much you will let difficult times and people affect you.
Or maybe you spend more time worrying what others think than working on what you want and need. Dyer points the way to true self-reliance. From self-image problems to over-dependence on others, Dyer gives you the tools you need to break free from negative thinking and enjoy life to the fullest.
Waking the Tiger offers a new and hopeful vision of trauma. It views the human animal as a unique being, endowed with an instinctual capacity. It asks and answers an intriguing question: why are animals in the wild, though threatened routinely, rarely traumatized?
By understanding the dynamics that make wild animals virtually immune to traumatic symptoms, the mystery of human trauma is revealed.
Waking the Tiger normalizes the symptoms of trauma and the steps needed to heal them. People are often traumatized by seemingly ordinary experiences. The reader is taken on a guided tour of the subtle, yet powerful impulses that govern our responses to overwhelming life events. To do this, it employs a series of exercises that help us focus on bodily sensations. Through heightened awareness of these sensations trauma can be healed.
With Who Moved My Cheese? Dr. Spencer Johnson realizes the need for finding the language and tools to deal with change–an issue that makes all of us nervous and uncomfortable.
Most people are fearful of change because they don’t believe they have any control over how or when it happens to them. Since change happens either to the individual or by the individual, Spencer Johnson shows us that what matters most is the attitude we have about change.
When the Y2K panic gripped the corporate realm before the new millenium, most work environments finally recognized the urgent need to get their computers and other business systems up to speed and able to deal with unprecedented change. And businesses realized that this was not enough: they needed to help people get ready, too.
Think and Grow Rich was written by Napoleon Hill and published in 1937. It is one of the most influential financial and self-help books in the world, and has been expanded into a best-selling series.
Before compiling the text, Hill researched the lives of over 40 millionaires to discover how they became so successful. He then came up with 13 principles for achieving goals such as increased wealth and career advancement. Famous boxer Ken Norton claimed the book “changed his life” and was the inspiration for his victory over Muhammad Ali.
In this book, Robert Greene and Joost Elffers have distilled three thousand years of the history of power into 48 essential laws by drawing from the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and Carl Von Clausewitz and also from the lives of figures ranging from Henry Kissinger to P.T. Barnum.
Some laws teach the need for prudence (“Law 1: Never Outshine the Master”), others teach the value of confidence (“Law 28: Enter Action with Boldness”), and many recommend absolute self-preservation (“Law 15: Crush Your Enemy Totally”).
Every law, though, has one thing in common: an interest in total domination. In a bold and arresting two-color package, The 48 Laws of Power is ideal whether your aim is conquest, self-defense, or simply to understand the rules of the game.
The legendary Eat That Frog! will change your life. There just isn’t enough time for everything on our “To Do” list and there never will be. Successful people don’t try to do everything. They learn to focus on the most important tasks and make sure they get done.
There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day.
Using “eat that frog” as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on, but also probably the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life—Eat That Frog! shows you how to zero in on these critical tasks and organize your day. You’ll not only get more done faster, but get the right things done.
In The Paleo Manifesto: Ancient Wisdom for Lifelong Health, John Durant argues for an evolutionary and revolutionary approach to health. All animals, human or otherwise, thrive when they mimic key elements of life in their natural habitat.
From diet to movement to sleep, this evolutionary perspective sheds light on some of our most pressing health concerns.
What is causing the rise of chronic conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and depression? Is eating red meat going to kill you? Is avoiding the sun actually the best way to avoid skin cancer?
Durant takes readers on a thrilling ride to the Paleolithic and beyond, unlocking the health secrets of our ancient ancestors. What do obese gorillas teach us about weight loss? How can Paleolithic skulls contain beautiful sets of teeth? Why is the Bible so obsessed with hygiene? What do NASA astronauts teach us about getting a good night’s sleep? And how are Silicon Valley techies hacking the human body?
Blending science and culture, anthropology and philosophy, John Durant distills the lessons from his adventures and shows how to apply them to day-to-day life, teaching people how to construct their own personal “habitat” that will enable them to thrive. The book doesn’t just address what we eat, but why we eat it; not just how to exercise, but the purpose of functional movement; not just being healthy, but leading a purposeful life.
The daily meditations, reminders, and prayers from Courage to Change help families encourage their recovering alcoholic loved ones and point to Al-Anon’s impact as a vital part of recovery.
Thinking, Fast and Slow takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think.
System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The impact of overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning our next vacation―each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems shape our judgments and decisions.
Engaging the reader in a lively conversation about how we think, Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking.
He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives―and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble.
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