Have you ever felt lost in life?
Maybe it’s a feeling of being stuck? Like you’ve tried to achieve something many times before but you seem to be going round in circles…
It’s a state that many of us fall into and unfortunetly for some, you may have found yourself here for years.
I know I did.
Here’s my list of the best personal development books that got me unstuck with life, gave me a sense of purpose and drastically reduced my stress and anxiety levels.
But, before I share my list, here are just a few pointers that might help you make the most out of what you’ll learn from these books.
How to Let a Self-Help Book Actually Help You?
Reading a self-help book won’t magically change your life once you finish it.
You need to have an action plan…
Granted, part of that plan can be “Finish personal development book”, but you need to have a second and third and tenth to that list if you want to get real results.
Too many a time I see people reading books on personal transformation which should have motivated them to change their life for the better (and what they expected to get out of the book in the first place).
But they end up just as they were before reading it.
Why? Because they didn’t take it seriously enough.
That’s why I’m giving you 3 quick book hacks you can do while reading them, and hopefully help you implement what you’re learning:
- Read with intent – This is not a novel or a fun read, and it’s definitely not something you read while on the beach.
- Get a pen/marker or anything you want to help you take notes as you read. By the end of the book, you’ll find that you remember most of what you’ve learned because you were paying attention, highlighting and taking notes along the way. Again, you’re reading this for the life you daydream about every day.
- If you read a quote or something that really resonates with you. Take a sticky note, write it down and pin it somewhere you see all the time (like a bathroom mirror or your laptop screen).
Now you know how to actually use your self-development book, here are 9 amazing books that can help you become the best version of youself and live the life you always wanted.
Mindset by Carol S. Dweck
In a nutshell: We’re born with a certain level of intelect and talent, but these aren’t fixed traits, they’re maliable. If you grow up believing you’re incapable of learning how to become more talented or more intelligent then you’re working with a “fixed mindset.” People with the fixed mindset believe they were dealt a “bad hand” at birth and feel the need to prove their worthiness by looking better than others, lying about test scores or blaming others (even objects) for their shortcomings. Those with the “growth mindset” on the other hand, believe their abilities are improved by effort and perseverance, strive for progress not perfection and value learning from mistakes over fearing failure.
If I could go back in time and give my younger self any book it would be this one.
I was a young 20 year old with a head full of dreams, ideas and a huge belief in changing the world but missing a big piece of the puzzle.
I lacked the potentual because I had a fixed mindset.
Unbeknownst to me, I was doomed from day one.
I’m not saying that mindset is the only thing that’s caused me to struggle in life, but it plays a huge piece of the pie. I just spent the rest of my twenties trying to figure out what the smaller piece of the pie was.
I say trying to figure out because that’s where working from the fixed mindset kept me. Trying to do everything myself, never picking up a book to learn from someone smarter than me because I couldn’t bare admitting that there were people smarter than me.
I fealt so let down and cheated by the education system that I had no trust in anyone to help me learn and grow as an adult.
The only thing that has kept me from giving up is the shere determination to succeed with life which ironically lead me to this book.
My biggest takeaway is how mindset can impact such a plethora of ways in which we think, and for me this was how feeling judged by others kept me stuck for so many years. Being affraid that someone “might figure out I’m a fraud” when I’m being as genuine as humanly possible OR feeling like I need all the answers now otherwise people won’t see me as an expert.
And these are just two examples out of potentually hundreds why a fixed mindset can mess people up.
Do yourself a favour and read it, I can guarantee you’ll be eternally grateful, especially if you feel stuck in life.
Find Your Why By Simon Sinek
In a nutshell: Most of us go through life knowing what we do but we can work more productively and live a more fulfilled life when we know why we do what we do. Sinek explains why and how this is important in his book, Start with Why; and Find Your Why goes on to help you figure out what your why is. We all want to feel like we have a purpose in life and work and this is the blueprint for unlocking our destiny.
I’ve almost always known that I’ve wanted to help people.
From a really young age, I set out on a journey to become successful in business. Yes, to live a better life and yes to have more freedom, but all with the goal to be able to help others.
Fast forward 10 years or so and it only just feels like I’m just figuring things out for myself, let alone others.
If one thing has kept me determined all these years is that of my own stories of the past that have shaped me into the person I am today and this is exactly how Simon Sinek uncovers the process to Find Your Why.
It’s a step by step process of recalling stories of your past and sharing them with a partner, identifying a theme and producing your Why Statement.
What I really like about this book is how practical it is and even if you don’t have a partner to tell your stories to, you can share your stories on social media to see which ones get the best response.
I’m even doing it right now on this blog. Sharing my insights on the best personal development books whilst incorporating my own personal journey provides me with a sense of clarity on what I’m learning and how I can further help my readers when I get feedback from you (in the comments below) 😉
Without stories, our lives would be empty and it’s this very reason why we can find our purpose from the stories we tell, our past experiences and one’s we want to create in the future.
The Power of Now By Eckhart Tolle
In a nutshell: The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is a guide to inner peace and self discovery through spirituality and living in the present moment. Most of our suffering only happens when we’re consumed by our thoughts. We can still experience adversity and the ups and downs of life but it’s only when we hold onto the pain that it causes us to suffer unessecarily. The Power of Now has sold over 3 million copies in the US alone as of 2009 and it has been translated into 33 languages.
When I first started reading personal development books back in 2016, I got into the habit of purchasing any new book I heard of that might help me.
I would either head straight over to Amazon and order it to receive it the next day or download the audio version on Audible.
I did the latter with The Power of Now because I had heard a few people mention it over the course of a few days. I specifically remember someone saying something about how it helped them with their anxiety.
Now, just to note that The Power of Now isn’t a book on anxiety but nonetheless I headed straight over to my Audible app and bought it with a credit. When I started listening to it, it didn’t take me long to understand why it could help people with anxiety.
It does go into some simple concepts of why people suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety and depression which I found very eye opening.
It did however, take me slightly longer to realise that this book is about Spirituality or more specifically, Spiritual Enlightenment. It even states on the front of the book and audio version ‘A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment’.
The reason why I’m telling you all this is because one of the first things that struck me when listening to this book was that almost every minute of my day was taken up by my thoughts. Eckhart Tolle explains that most of us think we are living out our lives but in actual fact we are either replaying things that have happened to us in the past or we’re worrying about what might happen to us in the future, we’re in the habit of being consumed and absorbed by our thoughts everyday.
He goes on to explain that this is not life and that life only exists in the present moment – life only ever happens right now – when you stop thinking and harness your awarness of where you are in this very moment.
This is the foundational lesson of Spirituality. Spiritual growth or Enlightenment cannot be achieved without this fundimental principle. This principle alone is life changing in itself, but there’s much more to Spirituality than that and this book is the perfect guide for anyone interested in understanding the true nature of human existence.
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
In a nutshell: As a Man Thinketh by James Allen explains with encouragment, motivation and conviction how man is the total sum of his thoughts.
This is by far one of my favorite books. I’ve read it no less than 10 times and always turn to it when I need some encouragement and inspiration.
It was first written in 1903 so the language is somewhat ye’old albeit strikingly relevent even to this date.
It’s very short and can be read in 35 minutes or so but don’t let this dissuade you in thinking there’s no value here, As a Man Thinketh is filled with knowledge bombs and aha moments that seem to come out of nowhere even after the 4th, 5th or 6th read.
You’ll have a new lease of life and a whole new mindset after grasping the concepts and insights in this tiny but powerful book.
The Power of Positive Thinking By Norman Vincent Peale
In a nutshell: The Power of Positive Thinking will teach you how to take control of your life, be happy and develop the power within you to believe in yourself and reach your goals.
You could have the right mindset and know exactly what your goals are but still be unable to achieve them without realizing that it’s your negativity that’s stopping you.
You could be subconsciously telling yourself that you will fail, you will not succeed and your dreams won’t come true.
All of that is the absolute enemy of success.
This is where this book comes in and changes all of that for you.
This book was written with the sole purpose of making the reader happy with their life, free from worry and negativity. It will help you be kind to yourself, find the power in you to reach all your goals and live life without constant anxiety over being inadequate.
It will change the way you think, and that will change your life.
By Elizabeth Gilbert
Sometimes, the reason you feel that you’re in a rut is that you’re in a rut, creatively speaking of course. Creativity seeps into everything we do. No matter what your profession is, I can promise you that you’ll need some level or form of creativity to excel at it. That means you need this book in your life if you want to truly live life creatively beyond fear. Because guess what the number one thing that hinders your creativity, it’s fear. Fear of being a failure, of not being good enough, or any other fear that may arise right as you start a new chapter in your life.
This book will hit you hard and make you question everything you thought you knew about living life. And I mean truly living life to its fullest potential and making your dreams come true, even the ones you never in a million years thought possible. This book is a game changer, literally.
So, what are you waiting for?! No one is going to live your life for you, and if all that you needed were the perfect set of personal development books to help you get the life you want then now you’ve got no more excuses. You’re just literally a few clicks away from starting on the best journey of your life, one that will lead you to everything you’ve ever wanted.