20+ self improvement books to help you learn anything
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20+ self improvement books to help you learn anything
In today’s fast-paced and constantly changing world, the importance of self-improvement cannot be overstated.
Whether you want to advance in your career, improve your relationships, or simply become a better version of yourself, there are countless resources available to help you achieve your goals.
One of the most popular and effective ways to embark on a journey of self-improvement is by reading books. With so many self-improvement books out there, it can be overwhelming to choose the right ones.
Whether you’re just starting your self-improvement journey or looking for new insights and strategies, this list is sure to provide you with valuable tools and inspiration for personal growth.
What is the purpose of self-improvement books?
The purpose of self-improvement books is to provide readers with practical strategies, insights, and inspiration to help you achieve you goals and become the best version of yourself. These books cover a wide range of topics, from personal finance and productivity to relationships and mental health. They offer guidance and support for people who want to make positive changes in their lives but may not know where to start or how to overcome obstacles.
Personal Development books often provide readers with a framework for growth and help them develop new skills, behaviors, and attitudes that can lead to greater success, happiness, and fulfillment in all areas of their lives.
They can also serve as a source of motivation and encouragement during difficult times, inspiring readers to keep pushing forward and striving for their goals.
In this list of the best self-improvement books, you find advice on how to:
I picked up this book because I wanted to learn how to be one of those people that wakes up at 5 am to get stuff done. After all, the book's tagline is "the not-so-obvious secret guaranteed to transform your life: before 8 am". Sounds pretty promising!
And once you know the steps, you can implement them and it would only take a minimum of 6 minutes a day. It sounds too good to be true. And it kind of is. But the idea is to start small because you can do anything for one minute, right?
I heard a lot of references to the 12-week year before I figured out that there was a book to guide you through the concept. And I actually thought that the concept was to work really hard for 12 weeks and the rest of the year is yours. I was wrong.
The 12-Week Year breaks the year down into four 12-week cycles, with a week, in the end, to reflect and plan for the next one. We tend to underestimate what we can do in a day or a week but overestimate what we can do in a year. And we often get to the end of that year, not having achieved half of what we set out to do. Using The 12 Week Year, you can accomplish four times as much in a year.
I read The 12 Week Year right before I started using my Life Map planner and doing a 12-week blog blitz. So the concept was familiar for me to use both very effectively. And I can see how many people use it to get ahead.
If you can't already tell, I love best selling author Gretchen Rubin. And this book is all about helping you make or break habits. It makes you think about the type of person you are and how you can use that to your advantage. For example, are you a lark (morning person) or an owl (night person)? Or maybe you are an abstainer (cold turkey) or moderator (small doses). Not only that, there are 21 strategies to help you build or quit a habit. Using treats or rewards to motivate yourself, taking advantage of a clean slate like a new house, job or school or making something easier or harder to do.
My father-in-law swears by this book. He says it's the reason for his success and he pestered my husband to read it for years. When my husband finally purchased it, I think I read it first. But that's only because I like to read. You can use the concepts in this book for almost anything in your life, even though it's mostly touted as a business or personal finance book.
I'll be honest, I've listened to this one a few times. And it's one that I try to read or listen to every year.
I love it because it's relatively short. Coming in at 276 pages or just over 5 hours for the audio version.
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert provides insight into the mystery of inspiration. Where it can come from and what it can lead to.
Balancing between spirituality and realism, we are encouraged to uncover the hidden jewels within us. Whether that means writing a book, making art, finding new ways to address the challenges we face, embarking on a new dream or simply infusing our everyday life with more passion.
It's a timeless best-seller with solid advice on creating relationships and improving them. It turns out there are six foolproof ways to make people like you, twelve ways to get people on your side and nine ways to change people without creating resentment.
It's a great book for workplace managers that need to share their vision and bring people together with shared and common goals.
David Allen is a veteran coach and management consultant. And his book Getting Things Done he shares his breakthrough methods for stress-free performance. The premise is simple: productivity is directly proportional to our ability to relax. And it's only when our minds are clear with our thoughts organised that we can achieve effective productivity and release our creative potential.
We've been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy and rich life. Mark Manson disagrees. And he doesn't sugarcoat it in his book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Improving our lives lies not in our ability to make lemonade when given lemons, but to get to know our limitations and accepting them for what they are. Then when have embraced our fears and faults we can begin to find true courage through perseverance, honesty, curiosity and forgiveness.
Manson makes it clear that there are only so many things that we can give a f*ck about, so we need to figure out which ones really matter.
With 27 bite-sized chapters full of inspiring stories, easy exercises and advice to help you identify and change your self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviours, create a life you love and make some money.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport, focuses on the importance of deep work and provides a framework for achieving it in a world that is increasingly distracted by technology and other interruptions.
But was it deep work? It’s the ability to focus on a cognitively demanding task without distraction. And it’s becoming increasingly rare and valuable in modern-day life. Newport argues that the ability to engage in deep work is what separates successful people from those who struggle to achieve their goals. And it’s backed by several examples.
One of the key takeaways is that deep work is not just about working harder or longer hours. Instead, it is about working smarter by focusing on the tasks that matter most and eliminating distractions that get in the way. It argues that individuals can achieve more in less time and with less stress.
In the Happiness Project, author Gretchen Rubin tackles a different area of her life each month. Choosing to focus on one thing at a time
The subtitle for the book is Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, which gives you an example of some of the things Gretchen pursued.
Self-confessed happiness bully, Gretchen Rubin chronicles her adventures during the twelve months that she spent test-driving wisdom of the ages, scientific research and lesser from pop culture on how to be happier. And it turns out that novelty and challenge can be persuasive sources of happiness. She also noted that money can help buy happiness when spent wisely. She found that outer order creates inner calm. And that very tiny changes can make a big impact.
Good Vibes, Good Life: How Self-Love Is the Key to Unlocking Your Greatness by Vex King, aims to help readers develop a positive mindset and cultivate self-love to unlock their potential and achieve their goals.
The book is divided into four parts, with each section focusing on a different aspect of developing a positive mindset and cultivating self-love.
The first section focuses on the importance of self-awareness and understanding how our thoughts and beliefs impact our lives. The second section of the book focuses on cultivating self-love. The third section of the book is about creating a positive environment, which also includes people. The final section of the book focuses on taking action towards our goals.
The Mountain Is You, a New York Times bestseller by Brianna Wies aims to help readers understand and overcome self-sabotage and develop a sense of self-mastery.
The book is divided into four sections, with each section focusing on a different aspect of self-sabotage and self-mastery. The first section explores the concept of self-sabotage and how it manifests in our lives. The second section of the book is about self-awareness and self-discovery. The third section of the book focuses on building resilience and developing a growth mindset. The last section of the book is about taking action and developing self-mastery.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, is based on Covey's belief that success in life is not just about skills and techniques, but about personal character and a set of habits that can be learned and developed.
Covey outlines seven habits that he believes are essential for personal and professional success. These habits are:
The Magic of Thinking Big is a serious self-help book written by David J. Schwartz. The book is based on the premise that success is not determined by intelligence, talent or skill alone, but also, in the way that people think about themselves and their abilities.
The book is divided into several chapters, each covering a different aspect of thinking big. Some of the key concepts discussed in the book include: believing in yourself, setting high goals, thinking creatively and taking action.
It’s one of the best self-help books that encourage readers to think big and achieve their goals. Its timeless principles continue to be relevant today and it is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their success and happiness in life.
Thinking, Fast and Slow is written by Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist and Nobel Prize winner in economics. The book was first published in 2011 and has since become a bestseller, providing a fascinating exploration of how the human mind works and the decision-making processes that govern our lives.
The book is divided into five sections, each exploring a different aspect of how our minds work. Some of the key concepts are:
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, explores the science behind habits and provides practical advice for changing habits in order to improve one's life.
Divided into three parts, Duhigg covers different aspects of habits like the habit loop, the force of willpower, and the role of social habits like peer pressure.
Duhigg draws on research from psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science to explain how habits work and how they can be changed. He argues that habits are a fundamental part of human behavior, and that by understanding and changing our habits, we can transform our lives.
Atomic Habits by James Clear provides a practical framework for developing and maintaining positive habits in order to achieve personal and professional success.
Clear argues that success is not about setting big goals or making drastic changes in your life, but about making small, incremental improvements through consistent habits. He uses the metaphor of atomic energy, which is created through small, consistent reactions, to illustrate the power of small habits.
Covering four sections of habit formation; identity, small habits, your environment, and the role feedback plays.
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is often touted as a personal finance book but it also covers mindset.
In the first chapter, we are introduced to Kiyosaki’s two “dads”: his biological father, who he calls his "poor dad," and his friend's father, who he calls his "rich dad." Kiyosaki argues that his "rich dad" taught him about money and investing, while his "poor dad" did not.
The remaining chapters focus on various financial lessons like acquiring assets that generate income, understanding cash flow, and learning to use debt to create wealth.
It’s thought-provoking and has inspired many people to think differently about money and investing.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain, explores the experiences of introverts in a society that often values extroverted qualities, and argues that introverts have unique strengths and abilities that are often overlooked.
Drawing on research from psychology, neuroscience, and social science to make the case that introverts are an important and valuable part of society. She challenges the notion that extroverted qualities such as assertiveness and social skills are necessary for success, and suggests that introverts often possess strengths such as creativity, sensitivity, and deep thinking.
Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy is a guide to overcoming procrastination and achieving greater productivity in both your personal and professional life.
The title of the book is derived from the famous quote by Mark Twain: "Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day." This quote serves as a metaphor for tackling the most difficult and important tasks first, before moving on to less important ones.
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor presents a compelling case for the importance of happiness in achieving success and fulfilment in all areas of life.
Based on Achor's research into positive psychology and his experiences working with organizations and individuals to improve their performance and well-being. Achor argues that happiness is not just a byproduct of success, but a key ingredient for achieving it. He presents evidence that happier people are more productive, creative, and resilient, and are better equipped to cope with stress and adversity.
Throughout the book, Achor provides practical advice and strategies for applying the seven principles in daily life, both at work and in personal relationships. It also includes many real-world examples and anecdotes to illustrate the points, making the book engaging and easy to read.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell explores the idea that people often make split-second decisions without fully understanding why, and that these decisions can be just as good - or even better - than those made through careful analysis and deliberation.
The central thesis of the book is that the human brain is capable of quickly processing a vast amount of information and making accurate judgments based on that information, even without conscious awareness. This process, known as "thin-slicing," is the focus of Gladwell's analysis. He provides numerous examples of thin-slicing, from the analysis of artwork to the judgments of police officers, to show how people can make successful decisions quickly and without much conscious effort.
Gladwell uses a wide range of real-life examples and scientific research to support his argument. He shows how our brains are wired to quickly recognize patterns and make intuitive judgments, and how this process can be honed and improved with practice.
Throughout the book, Gladwell also discusses how individuals and organizations can use the power of thin-slicing to their advantage. He explores how experts can develop their "intuitive expertise" through years of experience and practice, and how companies can use data analysis and other techniques to quickly identify patterns and make effective decisions.
The Alchemist by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, tells the story of Santiago, a shepherd boy from Andalusia, Spain, who dreams of finding a treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. On his journey, he meets various characters who help him discover the true meaning of his journey and his personal legend.
The central theme of the book is the idea of following your dreams and passions, and the importance of listening to your heart and intuition. The book explores the concept of "Personal Legend," which is the idea that every person has a unique purpose in life that they are meant to fulfil. Santiago's journey to find his treasure is, in fact, a metaphor for his journey to discover his own Personal Legend.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is a best-selling book written by Angela Duckworth, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Focusing on the concept of "grit," which is defined as the combination of passion and perseverance toward long-term goals.
Throughout the book, Duckworth provides a wealth of research and real-life examples to illustrate the importance of grit in achieving success. She argues that while talent and intelligence are important, they are not the only factors that determine success. Instead, individuals who possess grit are able to overcome challenges and setbacks and continue to work hard toward their goals.
One of the key insights of the book is that grit is not a fixed trait, but rather something that can be developed over time. Duckworth emphasizes the importance of deliberate practice, setting challenging goals, and developing a growth mindset in order to cultivate grit.
The book also addresses the role of your environment in developing grit, particularly the importance of supportive parents, mentors, and communities. Duckworth argues that individuals who have access to these resources are more likely to develop grit than those who do not.
Kathleen is the adventurous writer behind Life by Kathleen. After having her first child, she realised that she wanted and needed better relationships with her friends. Finding ways to improve those friendships, set and achieve her goals, all while juggling motherhood, a career in marketing and a household.