Self Improvement Books to Change Your Life
Here are some of the best self help books I’ve read. I’ve categorized them based on the topic they relate to. I am a voracious reader, so if you have any book to contribute, please leave a comment below. I’m always looking to learn. The following books have added a lot to my life and I view them as good personal development books, and you can undoubtedly gain a valuable perspective from them.
I wish I had these books when I was 18 or college bound. As a result, these are highly recommended books for 18 year olds and for college-bound students.
Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi: This book taught me a lot about how to really connect with people. I sucked at this before. This book helped me build relationships by leading with vulnerability. Keith teaches you that everyone has something to contribute in the lives of others around us. Highly recommended!
SuperConnect by Richard Koch: The big idea here was realizing the power of weak links, which is possibly one of the most amazing insights I’ve learned on how to find the bridge to new opportunities. For instance, knowing that the best opportunities come to us through people not from our close network makes us rethink how we see others. We become less clique based, and more open to being helped and helping others.
The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch: This author is here again because his ideas are just brilliant. You’ve probably heard of Pareto’s principle, but what this book does is show that we can apply this rule to everything in life! From the opportunities we pursue in our personal and professional lives, to how we make decisions and manage our time. Only a few things really matter. This book shows how to use this principle to free your life!
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson: I’ve listened to this book more than 4 times in the past year. It absolutely shatters the idea of quantum leap advantages and shortcuts we look for so often in life. Instead, it shows that success in all areas of our life is simple, and more importantly, easy! It all begins with the slight edge, which is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal. I wrote about here as well.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown: Another book I’ve read multiple times. It’s helped me get through a lot of
Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto: I found the ideas here to be absolutely fascinating. It helped me understand why schooling does not equal education. It helped me to recognize the limiting beliefs that I had picked up from a lifetime of public schooling and take on more personal responsibility in life. I wrote more about this here. If nothing else, read his essay titled “The 7-Lesson Schoolteacher.”
The 50th Law by Robert Greene: Greene is an absolute master as distilling the lessons of history and contemporary news into powerful lessons on human success and power. He wrote this book along with Curtis Jackson aka “50 Cent.” I regard this to be his most practical book, but I have yet to read Mastery. This book is mostly about fear and how to overcome it to grow your personal power.
Mini-Habits and How To Be An Imperfectionist by Stephen Guise. These books are excellent because they focus on strategies for personal change that are bite-sized and actionable. Most self-improvement books are all motivation, and they make you want to go out and work hard…until the buzz wears off. Stephen does something extremely remarkable. I haven’t seen anyone articulate life changing strategies in such a manageable way as him. I would highly recommend these two books if you have been struggling to start new habits, or not been able to take action.
Listen & Lead by Richard Himmer has given me more insight into why so many of my relationships haven’t worked, and what we can do about it. Instead of talking about a general philosophies on leadership and listening, Himmer actually goes into detail how to implement it. This book has done more to help me build stronger relationships than almost anything else I’ve read. These principles apply at work, with friends and with family. For the sheer universal applicability of this book, I highly recommend it.
Purpose/Way of Life:
The Bhagavad Gita: Can there be anything more profound than this? This text has been around for thousands of years, but severely underrated in the western world. As a practicing Hindu, I did not read this book until a year ago, and I have since revisited it again and again. It is a poetic and profound method of how to live life. It teaches the secret of engaging in this world so you can always be successful in every pursuit. It shows what sort of understanding is required to be forever happy. It takes us above the duality of happiness and sorrow, and instead urges us to aspire for something greater. Everyone from Emerson and Thoreau to modern day YouTube sensation Elliot Hulse swear by this book. Taking place on a battlefield, it is a metaphor for how we can engage in our lives. “On this path, effort never goes to waste, and there is no failure.”
Transcendence by ABJ Abdul Kalam: What can a rocket scientist, and the most popular President of the largest democracy on the world teach us about purpose and spirituality? Turns out a lot! Chronicling his experiences with Pramukh Swamiji, Kalam writes about how if we are to succeed and be happy in the coming era, we must ground our lives with spiritual awareness. Intrigued? Check it out! It was Dr. Kalam’s penultimate book which he launched days before his passing away.
Choose Yourself! by James Altucher: The future will be determined by those who learn to choose themselves for success. We no longer need traditional institutions to give us permission to do things (although they can be very useful in giving us a leg up!). In today’s era, we can all become artist entrepreneurs and redefine ourselves not by our success but by the value we create. Reading and implementing the daily checklist in this book with 4 simple practices has changed my life and opened more doors for me than ever before!
I hope to keep adding to this list. Feel free to leave a comment below.