Best Personal Development Books

Book rating updated 9.05.2024

Looking to better yourself? Self-improvement starts with reading the right books. This definitive list features the best self development books of all time for bettering yourself and is laced with classics that have stood the test of time alongside some newer releases that are set to change lives.

  1. Atomic Habits

    4.8
    123 425 ratings

    The book reveals the power of small changes in routine actions which bring enormous results in the long run. It emphasizes how small changes can aggregate to immense leaps of personal or professional improvement. It describes ways of breaking bad habits and building good ones with a combination of science and real-life stories. It has a core message in that success is not to be found in massive overnight changes but in the consistency of small actions driving us toward our goals. Therefore, it is offering practical advice as to how behavior changes stick and transform habits into a track leading to achieving lasting success.

  2. Thinking, Fast and Slow

    4.6
    42 429 ratings
    Recommended by: Bill Gates, Sam Altman, Ray Dalio and 10 others

    In this highly insightful exploration, the author guides the reader through the two systems that drive the way we think, from fast, intuitive, and emotional System 1 to slow, more deliberative, and more logical System 2. The book gives a series of examples, which are very thought-provoking, that could help an individual gain a sense of how our biases affect us and how we are less rational than one would imagine. It provokes the reader to think in considering the complexities of how man thinks, and provides some very practical insights in how man might make better decisions in his personal and professional life.

  3. Can't Hurt Me

    4.8
    94 155 ratings

    An amazing story of a man who made himself from nothing by pure strength of will, and in the process, managed to develop a new skill that propelled him to become one of the top endurance people on the planet. Starting his life as a poor and despised person, he transformed himself through sheer determination. Most limitations, as this story could most succinctly and most forcefully articulate, are self-imposed. This impresses the reader with the need to break past those personal barriers into everything that they possibly can become.

  4. The Power of Now

    4.7
    59 828 ratings

    This book leads readers on a path to spiritual enlightenment that argues one of the most significant sources of human suffering is located in the attachment to past experiences and future anxieties. In the "Now," one can find a path to achieving inner peace and personal growth. The author, Eckhart Tolle, is the teacher who is able to combine a huge number of wisdom from various spiritual teachings and real-life examples in order to feel life. This transformative work encourages a shift in consciousness, leading to a more fulfilling and meaningful existence.

  5. The 48 Laws of Power

    4.7
    72 960 ratings

    Delve into the art of power through the 48 laws that are timeless; they stem from centuries of wisdom drawn from the most powerful thinkers and leaders that have ever existed. Each law represents a certain strategy that ensures gaining dominance, the knack to negotiate social situations, and at the same time evade being manipulated. "With page-turning narrative and sage advice, this guide puts powerful new tools in the hands of today's readers who will surely use it to win great success in their personal and professional lives It is a roadmap for those aspiring to achievement, maintenance, and the wielding of power, in the name of understanding complex dynamics of human behavior and the principles of control and influence.

  6. The 4-Hour Workweek

    4.5
    26 453 ratings

    This guide breaks from the normal 9-to-5 work parameters, in that it provides a plan for leaving the rat race by outsourcing money-making and task completion processes. It is a book about lifestyle design with ways to have more of life while working less. Packed with personal stories, pragmatic advice, and step-by-step strategies, readers learn how to best manage time by cutting out unnecessary work while seeking financial freedom. Aimed at all the enthusiasts out there who look for their big life change, it lays down a roadmap towards traveling the world and living the dreams of your youth without being shackled by a full-time job.

  7. The Four Agreements

    4.7
    111 635 ratings

    This book presents a powerful code of conduct derived from ancient Toltec wisdom. The book has a down-to-earth approach to personal freedom and advocates four essential agreements which a person has to make with himself: to be impeccable with the word, not to take anything personally, not to make any assumptions, and always to be the best. These are to be the principles that change lives by understanding, reduce conflicts, increase joy and love. This is the road map to breaking free from limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and cause needless suffering. Ideal for anyone seeking a life of greater fulfillment and happiness.

  8. The 5 Love Languages

    4.8
    91 602 ratings
    Recommended by: Hal Elrod, Jay Shetty

    This insightful guide will teach readers that every individual has their way to express and feel love, whether that is through words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, or physical touch. In fact, understanding these languages can change relationships, helping people effectively communicate love to their partners. This is a book with very practical ways that help in identifying one another's love language to be spoken in order to be able to foster intimacy and true friendship. It's an essential read for anyone looking to improve their personal relationships.

  9. Essentialism

    4.6
    18 543 ratings

    The heart of this book, embracing the way of the essentialist, is all about less doing and more finding. This is an ascetic, systematic approach in seeing where our highest point of contribution lies and then making the doing of those things nearly effortless. The author is of the view that by focusing on the vital few instead of the trivial many, then the highest possible contribution toward what really matters is likely to be attained. It teaches us, through practical tips and real-life examples, how to prioritize your task, say no to the things not of great importance, and get back our own choice again.

  10. The Body Keeps the Score

    4.8
    72 698 ratings
    Recommended by: Hamza Ahmed

    This paper uncovers the deep implications of trauma on the psyche, pointing out that stress and violence directly cause change in the brain; they are long-lasting marks that could eventually stack up to anxiety, depression, and drug addiction. It discusses novel treatments, which get the brain to activate its natural neuroplasticity to recovery. The book discusses ways of healing and recovery from trauma, and it emphasizes on mindfulness, yoga, and body-centered psychotherapy. This work gives hope and understanding to all those seeking to take their lives back from the grip of the past into an integrating love and reconciliation. In this, it is an argument with the firm conviction of therapeutic embodiment.

  11. The Obstacle Is the Way

    4.6
    26 538 ratings

    It is a book based on the philosophy of Stoicism, and it deals with the fact that obstacles in life should not be considered as hindering factors but rather as occasions or opportunities for growth and for the betterment in one's life. It basically inculcates an idea in us on how to take problems and in fact use them to our advantage, thus paving our paths on to success. Through countless historical stories and actionable advice, this book appears to demonstrate that defeat can be converted into victory, that obstacles can be converted into opening new paths towards success, and that trials can be converted into triumphs. This guide offers a framework for facing any difficulty with resilience and turning problems into powerful solutions.

  12. The Miracle Morning

    4.6
    32 913 ratings

    This transformative guide offers a start-to-finish routine to revolutionize mornings, tapping into the power of early hours to create extraordinary results in all areas of life. It introduced the six life S.A.V.E.R.S.: Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing, which were designed to help anyone bust through challenges and reach their full potential. It encourages readers to create the habits that would bring the highest levels of success, happiness, and fulfillment. It is a call to redesign your morning and, hence, your life.

  13. The Untethered Soul

    4.7
    39 499 ratings

    To unleash such habitual thoughts and feelings that imprison our consciousness, and to explore the path to discovering ourselves, hence to achieve personal freedom. This is a guide to life transformation through mindfulness and meditation, one that makes the reader look at their inner selves and detach from mental barriers that hold one bound from true happiness and enlightenment. It is an invitation to deeper awareness of one's thoughts and feelings – a framework within which to live a more full life in the present moment. It is an invitation to the life lived in peace with oneself, permitting the one who lives to the flow of life in and around oneself.

  14. You Are a Badass

    4.7
    46 217 ratings
    Recommended by: Matt Ogus, Jay Shetty

    Investigating the deep effects that trauma has on our minds and bodies, this work lays bare how stress and violence really do imbricate in indelible marks on our brains, often leading to anxiety, depression, and addiction. It delves into the various treatment approaches that are working towards the intervention of trauma by the brain's very own neuroplasticity. Techniques like mindfulness, yoga, and body-oriented psychotherapy are reviewed for their implications in treatment that goes beyond trauma. This work stands, then, as a beacon of hope and understanding for anyone who might reach out to reclaim their lives from the hands of what they knew in the past and substantiates, with powerful evidence, the case for an embodied approach to therapy. A bestseller in recent years.

  15. Mindset

    4.6
    21 404 ratings

    In the book "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success," the author Carol S. Dweck introduces to the readers the tremendous power of our minds to shape our lives. She introduces the concept of the fixed mindset and growth mindset in which a fixed mindset would mean believing in some static abilities and thus fearing failure. On the other hand, a growth mindset looks at challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. Dweck has evidenced that people with a growth mindset tend to be more successful and satisfied with life. "This book provides hands-on guidance for nurturing the growth mindset in ourselves and others, breaking free from the fixed mindsets by which we approach our goals and challenges.

  16. Never Split the Difference

    4.7
    42 734 ratings

    Imagine having a task to negotiate for your life on a daily basis. Well, the author, a former FBI hostage negotiator, lives this daily. This book will distill his high-stakes negotiation tactics down into simple strategies that anybody can use in order to become more persuasive in their professional and personal lives. It is a book about how to really and truly understand people and yourself – through empathy and knowing how to negotiate in life-critical situations. Whether you aim to smoothen your skills in salary negotiation or you are a person that really gets along with the family - this book has an array of useful tips on all the art of negotiations.

  17. Maybe You Should Talk To Someone

    4.6
    43 394 ratings
    Recommended by: James Altucher, Katie Couric

    In this amazing book, readers are taken on a quest with a therapist who, facing her personal crisis, looks for help in another professional. Through her sessions, she explores the lives of her patients and her own, opening up the universal quest for understanding and connection. Interspersing personal stories with professional insights of the human condition makes for an interesting read. It is an engrossing journey into how therapy can open portals to healing and transformative possibilities, not only for the client but for the therapist as well. This book is a testament to the power of talking to someone.

  18. The Magic of Thinking Big

    4.7
    16 867 ratings

    This book is going to help change your life by unlocking the power of positive thinking and helping you realize your dreams. You'll discover how to set high aims, think confidently, and overcome fear of failure, all while improving your productivity and self-discipline. Learn practical strategies for leading a more successful and fulfilling life by changing the way you think about yourself and your possibilities. It's all about attitude, focusing more on actions rather than excuses, and developing a mindset that attracts success. Ideal for anyone looking to expand their horizons and reach their full potential.

  19. The Secret

    4.6
    42 950 ratings
    Recommended by: Steve Harvey

    Discover simple principles that unlock the power of the universe to manifest all your desires—the Law of Attraction. This guide shows that thoughts shape reality and thus presumes that only positive thinking can give all the positive outcomes in life, health, wealth, and happiness. The knowledge and the use of this law help the readers to draw in their life all they want and take out all they do not like. Conjoining the old knowledge with modern success stories, the story present to the reader practical exercises to turn thought into concrete success. Ideal for those seeking to change their mindset and improve their overall quality of life.

  20. Mastery

    4.7
    9 286 ratings

    "Mastery" explores the lives of historical and contemporary masters, uncovering the path to supreme levels of excellence in any field. The book shows, through rigorous study and captivating stories, that real mastery results from a special blend of passion, dedication, and intelligent practice. It asserts that anybody can master by following this blueprint because it is about the importance of mentorship, the mastery of the basics, and embracing the creative process. This handbook can inspire and offer insight, not only to them but in a very practical way to all on a journey towards becoming masters in their own fields.

  21. The Black Swan

    4.4
    7 101 ratings

    The book is an exploration of the deep influence of highly unlikely events, which the author calls "Black Swans," to be rare and unpredictable incidents, which in their nature revolutionize the usual understanding of the world. The author argues that despite our focus on the predictable, it's the unexpected events that shape our lives and history the most. Through engaging examples and a compelling narrative, the book challenges readers to reconsider how they think about risk, luck, and the future. It's a thought-provoking exploration of uncertainty and the limitations of human knowledge.

  22. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

    4.7
    17 398 ratings
    Recommended by: Mr. Beast, Rob Dyrdek, Jim Kwik

    The book is a guide to unlocking personal and professional effectiveness, capturing the seven transitional habits for the aspirational individual on their journey of growth taking one from dependence to independence through self-mastery, finally, to interdependence in excelling within collaborative environments. Proactive behavior, envisioning your ultimate objectives, prioritizing what really counts, fostering mutually satisfying relationships, listening empathetically, creating synergistic teamwork, and perpetually self-renewing make up what the journey is about in the first place. Targeted at empowering the reader to attain grace in dealing with life challenges that might come their way to sustainably live a successful and fulfilling purpose-driven life.

    One of the best self-help books of all time.

  23. Who Moved My Cheese

    4.6
    26 275 ratings
    Recommended by: Jay Shetty

    It's a story about two little humans and two mice living in a maze. They all are in search of cheese, which symbolizes happiness and success. One day the cheese disappears, and characters react differently to this. On the other hand, the humans waste time, struggle with change, and fear the unknown while the mice quickly adapt and search for new cheese. The book then goes ahead to illustrate through the journey certain aspects of adaptability, the wisdom in embracing change as well as the dangers of getting too comfortable. It offers valuable lessons on how to deal with change in one's personal and professional life.

  24. Big Magic

    4.5
    22 021 ratings
    Recommended by: Anna Akana

    In her book "Big Magic," Elizabeth Gilbert sets off to explore the nature of creativity and exhorts people to live a life empowered by creative passion manifested through curiosity. She talks about the attitudes, approaches, and habits without which we can't have creativity, exhorting a life filled with artistic expression, joy, and no fear.

  25. Tools Of Titans

    4.6
    11 717 ratings

    Revealing the secrets of over 200 high achievers in different fields, the manual delves into the routines, habits, and tools such people attribute to their success. Organized into Health, Wealth, and Wisdom, it serves up actionable advice to supercharge life and work. Readers can gain insight into overcoming roadblocks, increasing effectiveness, and accomplishing high-stakes goals. An immense collection of key lessons from athletes, billionaires, artists, and entrepreneurs, this resource is a must-read for anyone striving to improve their personal and professional development.

  26. Grit

    4.6
    18 861 ratings
    Recommended by: Tom Bilyeu

    The book aims to delve into the power of passion and persistence, attempting to find out whether the above qualities are instrumental in success rather than mere talent. Research and case studies of very successful people suggest it is grit – made up of passion and persistence – that drives long-term success. The book offers an insight into how anyone can cultivate grit through developing a growth mindset, taking on challenges, and learning from failure. This is a guide to understanding what really drives achievement, and how to cultivate your inner strength in order to reach your fullest potential.

  27. Think Again

    4.6
    15 089 ratings

    The book challenges the beliefs and opinions of the reader to restudy. It ensures that the mind is open to change, with value in rethinking for growth and success. The author states that considering a world full of quick changes, one's ability to reconsider and unlearn are important skills. The book fosters and cultivates doubt, curiosity, building a learning and flexibility culture, and also gives lively stories and evidence for these. It is such a roadmap to better critical thinking, better capacity for effective decision-making, and greater adaptability within one's personal and professional life.

  28. Awareness

    4.7
    4 938 ratings

    This deep exploration of awareness unlocks the door to deeper knowing of the self and the world around us. It could serve as a source of guidance for the reader to go through a transformative journey towards self-realization—waking up from the autopilot of routine existence. Taking on the perceptions of society and questioning their own belief, the book enlightens how true happiness and freedom comes from within, not from outside conquests and acquisitions. A simple wisdom, insightful stories, and examples help clear illusions that subject a person to sufferings, in order to enable one to lead a life of clarity, peace, and fulfillment. It is an invitation to be alive; fully, joyfully, with no judgment at all.

  29. The 5 Second Rule

    4.5
    11 929 ratings

    One simple tool can change your life: the 5 Second Rule. The technique eliminates procrastination and self-doubt by instilling immediate action in the person practicing it. When you are met with the urge of wanting to act towards a goal, just count down from 5 to 1 then move without further ado. This technique instantly puts your mind in action instead of procrastinating, hence enabling one to conquer fear and increase productivity that eventually helps in meeting set goals. It is a simple and straightforward way towards building better habits, increasing confidence, and making improvements in all areas of your life.

  30. Give and Take

    4.5
    5 882 ratings
    Recommended by: Marcus Lemonis

    This insightful book explores how our success at work and life is largely influenced by our approach in interactions with others. It introduces the concept of 'givers,' 'takers,' and 'matchers,' revealing how each style impacts our prospects. It convincingly explains through cutting-edge research and real-life stories to re-examine selflessness: generally, selfless givers succeed more than takers and matchers. It is a persuasive book against the conventional wisdom of the key to success: self-promotion. It gives useful guidance in how to conduct personal and professional relations for the benefit of all involved.

  31. Eat That Frog!

    4.7
    7 439 ratings

    Master time management and boost productivity by tackling your most challenging tasks first. This book is based on the advice of Mark Twain that if the first thing in the morning you do is to eat a live frog, then nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day. The book deals with a practical methodology for the prioritization of tasks, avoidance of procrastination, and for getting more in less time. This takes you through the disciplines to organize your day, the rule of "touch it once," and 21 effective strategies of defining your biggest and most important tasks ("frogs") and then taking immediate action on them. Learn to embrace the discipline of doing your toughest jobs first, hence transforming your life and work habits for good.

  32. Thinking in Bets

    4.3
    4 160 ratings
    Recommended by: Marc Andreessen

    As Annie Duke elaborates in "Thinking in Bets," life's decisions are as much a bet as ever, with the outcomes a combination of skill and luck. According to her, embracing uncertainty might make people become better decision-makers. By treating decisions as bets, it is possible to analyze one's beliefs, weigh probabilities, and accept the fact that not all decisions are going to have the desired outcomes. Duke, a former professional poker player, uses her experience to offer strategies on how to make better choices in life even when information is incomplete. This book teaches how to embrace uncertainty and make more informed decisions in both personal and professional life.

  33. You 2

    4.5
    3 869 ratings
    Recommended by: Bob Proctor

    A guide for personal development, the book calls for making great life changes by changing the way of thinking. Starting with pushing the boundaries of conventional thinking and moving to considering an exponential-growth model of thinking for accomplishment, this book advocates a radical approach to personal and professional development. Answering the call for a new mindset, it provides the answer for those who want to win in life.

  34. Be Useful: Seven Tools for Life

    4.7
    2 795 ratings

    Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Be Useful: Seven Tools of Life" talks about his wisdom on being useful to humanity. In this book, he shares his seven hands-on tools through which readers can channel their potentials to make some impact in humanity. Schwarzenegger is both biographical and motivational in nature, combined with a dose of vivid, practical advice directed at urging anyone to seize on challenges, instill discipline, and chase after what they love. This book is a real guide map for anybody to find something in it to improve for the better and bring positivity into their life.

  35. The Willpower Instinct

    4.6
    3 232 ratings

    Discover the keys to unleashing and enhancing your willpower based on the most up-to-date psychological research insights from neuroscience. Take this book into the comprehension of self-control science and its application for the achievement of personal and professional aims. Ways to resist that temptation, to get over procrastination, and to stay focused on the long term targets will also come in to the light. It will also show the importance of stress, sleep, and exercise in boosting one's willpower. Scientific findings merged with practical exercises provide a perfect fusion, arm one with mechanisms to change habits, increase resilience, and change life for the better.

  36. Super habit

    3.9
    588 ratings

    This book focuses on the transformative power of habits, brought by little changes and consistent efforts to take one to the heights they never imagined in their personal and professional life. It reveals the concept of "super habits" that promise to bring immense improvement in efficiency and productivity, let alone an all-around satisfaction to both the individual and the organization. With the help of scientific research, practical advice, and real-world examples, the author instructs the readers on how to identify, build, and sustain the new good habits required for success and long-term fulfillment. It's an inspiring call to action to harness the potential of daily routines to unlock one's true potential.

  37. Getting Better

    4.2
    141 ratings
    Recommended by: Bill Gates, Steven Pinker

    For the last couple of centuries, explore the inspiring story of change in the overall global health, education, and quality of life. Despite all kinds of economic inequalities the world over, quality of life saw major improvements, which were not directly proportionate to the increase in income. This book is a cornerstone in depicting how innovations in medicine, technology, and policy have brought about longer lifespans of humans, less poverty, and much greater access to educational institutions across the human population. It rebuts pessimistic standpoints on the issue of development, proffering evidence as to how human ingenuity and cooperation have brought about general human betterment. An optimistic perspective on the future of humankind, as it shows the ability for the further elevation of the quality of life of mankind in the world.

FAQ

  • What are the best self development books ever written?

    These are the top 10 best self improvement books of all time and for this year (2024) sorted by rating:

    1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
    2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
    3. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
    4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
    5. Atomic Habits by James Clear
    6. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
    7. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
    8. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
    9. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
    10. Getting Things Done by David Allen.
  • What are the best fiction books to read for personal development?

    Here are the top 5 must read fiction books for self improvement:

    1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    2. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
    3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
    5. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.
  • What are the most popular authors of self development books?

    Here are authors of good books about personal development :

    • Tony Robbins
    • Stephen Covey
    • Dale Carnegie
    • Eckhart Tolle
    • Jen Sincero
    • Marie Kondo
    • Mark Manson
    • Gary Chapman.
  • What personal growth books do famous people recommend?

    These are the top 10 most recommended self improvement books from famous people:

    1. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
    2. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
    3. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
    4. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
    5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
    6. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
    7. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
    8. The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer
    9. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
    10. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

    See more book recommendations here.

  • What book should you start with to explore the topic of self growth?

    List of must read personal development books for beginners:

    • Personal Development and Habit Formation: Atomic Habits by James Clear
    • Mindfulness and Presence: "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle
    • Emotional Intelligence: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
    • Self-Compassion and Acceptance: Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff
    • Motivation and Success: Drive by Daniel Pink
    • Psychology and Self-Exploration: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • Creativity and Innovation: The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
    • Life Purpose and Fulfillment: Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

List of top rated personal development books everyone should read. Best sellers only! Reading the best books about personal growth can improve your life by inspiring you to be a better person through self building and developing a positive lifestyle. Change your life for the better.