Looking for the best personal development books to read so that you can improve your life, accomplish your biggest dreams, rewire your thinking, level up your game, take your life to the next level, build a life you love, and reach your full potential? Here is the best of the self help genre that will inspire you to take your personal growth to a whole new level.
Reading is my all time favorite way to relax – snuggled up on a couch, in my cozy socks, with a steaming Earl Grey tea beside me and the flames from the wood stove dancing in front of me.
Sometimes I don’t even look at the words on the page; I just stare in contentment, grateful for all of the beautiful things in my life.
You can almost always find me immersed in a personal development book in the evenings and on the weekends. I devour at least 3-4 a month, and am frequently reading more than one at a time.
There’s just something about a great author’s ability to challenge my thinking, shake up my status quo, and light a fire under my butt that leaves me feeling inspired and motivated to live my best life.
I want to share with you 5 personal development books that have made a profound impact on how I see the world and how I choose to live my life. They will, without a doubt, help you make the changes you need and become more successful.
Buckle your seat belts, it’s going to be a long ride!
In this post I explain why these books are so freakin’ awesome and what you’ll learn should you choose to spend your hard earned dollars on one! I share my key takeaways, the things I’ve started doing differently since reading these, as well as my favorite quotes!
// 1 // Tools of Titans
by Tim Ferris
This is the best thing I have ever read. It is #1 on all of my charts. Tim Ferris takes what he’s learned from interviewing hundreds of world-class performers on his podcast and deconstructs their tactics, tools, and routines so that you can use them to transform your life.
I love the format: every couple of pages are about someone different, so it is the perfect book to read in small chunks throughout your day — I use it in my morning routine! So motivational! He’s got legends in there like Tony Robbins and Brene Brown, all with very practical tips and such good questions to make you think about your life.
You’ll learn everything from the best morning routines and time management tactics, to the qualities that make up success and how to handle failure. If you do one thing this year, read this book.
I was highlighting things like a maniac. There’s not a single page where something didn’t ring true for me. I reread it on an annual basis because there is so much wisdom in those pages. I want to share some quotes that really resonated with me to give you a feel for the vibe of the content:
Have no fear. You’ve got one chance here to do amazing things, and being afraid of being wrong or making a mistake or fumbling is not how you do something of impact. You have to be fearless.ADAM GAZZALEY
Don’t evaluate only the potential downside of action. It is equally important to measure the atrocious cost of inaction. If you don’t pursue those things that excite you, where will you be in 1 year, 5 years, and 10 years? How will you feel having allowed circumstance to impose itself upon you and having allowed 10 more years of your finite life to pass doing what you know will not fulfill you? If you telescope out 10 years and know with 100% certainty that it is a path of disappointment and regret, and if we define risk as “the likelihood of an irreversible negative outcome”, inaction is the greatest risk of all.TIM FERRISS
Doing something well does not make it important. Being busy is a form of laziness, used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions.TIM FERRISS
Could it be that everything is fine and complete as is? Type A personalities have goal pursuit as default hard-wiring. This is excellent for producing achievement, but also anxiety as you’re always future focused. You have to want what you already have.TIM FERRISS
Get the book. You won’t regret it.
// 2 // You Are A Badass
by Jen Sincero
This is a fantastic runner up! Another great book to read as part of your morning routine to get you fired up and excited about giving it your all today.
Jen’s writing style is HILARIOUS and made me burst into laughter more than once. At the same time, she challenges your conventional thinking and limiting mental models to help you unlock your full potential.
You’ll learn how to identify the stories you tell yourself that hold you back from greatness and then use practical strategies to change your thinking so that you can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Jen touches on
- our fears about success and money,
- the distractions in life that keep us from chasing our dreams, and
- the importance of getting the hell out of your comfort zone (and staying there)!
My favorite passages out of the book:
This is about getting mighty clear about what makes you happy and what makes you feel the most alive, and then creating it instead of pretending you can’t have it. Or that you don’t deserve it. Or that you’re a greedy egomaniacal fathead for wanting more than you already have. Or listening to what Dad and Aunt Mary think you should be doing.JEN SINCERO
Watching someone else totally go for it can be incredibly upsetting to the person who’s spent a lifetime building a solid case for why they themselves can’t. One of the first things you might have to deal with when you decide to wake up from The Big Snooze and make massive positive changes in your life is disapproval from other people who are snoring away. Especially the people closest to you.JEN SINCERO
Nobody who ever accomplished anything big or new or worth raising a celebratory fist in the air did it from their comfort zone. They risked ridicule, and failure, and sometimes even death.JEN SINCERO
Much of the time we pretend we aren’t clear on what our calling is when what’s really going on is that we’re horrified to face it because it seems too big or too impossible to make a living at or completely out of the question for us. But what if you had the audacity to leave your excuses and your shame about wanting to be huge and fabulous behind and really went for it full-on anyway? What if you decided to do the most outrageous, most exciting thing you ever dared fantasize about, regardless of what anyone, including your terrified self, thought? THAT would be living.JEN SINCERO
I just LOVED this book. I know you will too. My biggest tip for reading this is to actually do the exercises she suggests. You’ll get the most tangible results that way.
If you let your learning lead to knowledge, you become a fool. If you let your learning lead to action, you become wealthy.TONY ROBBINS
Don’t read books and do nothing with the information – apply it to your life for goodness sakes!
If you’ve read this book before, which strategies did you find most useful in helping you change your habits or your thought patterns? Email, comment, or share with us on Facebook! I wanna know!
// 3 // The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck
by Mark Manson
Again, I have to start out by saying I LOVED THIS BOOK, but you might have guessed that since it’s on this list 😉
Mark Manson is another awesome writer with a comical writing style that keeps you laughing as you read, while all the good stuff sinks in behind the scenes. In his book, you’ll learn everything in between failure and success, happiness and suffering.
My key takeaways were:
- Humans yearn for extraordinary experiences, but those are few and far between, and social media has created a generation of people that think it’s not okay to feel negative feelings, or turn out average.
- You can pick and choose what matters to you based on your own finely honed personal values, and get rid of the noise caused by everything else.
- Become aware of the trivial things you spend so much time and energy on, and redirect those precious resources toward something that will help you live your most fulfilling life.
- Happiness is not something that can be earned or achieved, but something you choose to feel right here right now
- Being average is the new standard of failure, but it shouldn’t be. The majority of your life won’t be news-worthy and that’s okay. Once you take the pressure off of yourself to be something amazing, you are free to be exactly who you want to be and that is when you will thrive. In the end, it’s the ordinary moments that will have mattered the most anyway.
- Stop avoiding failure; measure success in ways that are achievable.
- Don’t pigeonhole yourself into one identity. The narrower your view is of yourself, the more everything will seem to threaten who you are, and the less life you will be able to live.
- Motivation is the effect of action, not the other way around.
My favorite quotes out of the book:
To not give a f*ck is to stare down life’s most terrifying and difficult challenges and still take action.”MARK MANSON
Life is about not knowing and doing something anyway, all of life is like this.MARK MANSON
The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.MARK MANSON
Mark Manson is awesome. He also has a blog that I visit frequently for life changing tips. Read his book and tell me what you learned about yourself that you weren’t aware of before!
By the way, if you’re looking to improve your life and want to get better at setting goals, we’ve got a free goal setting template & success checklist for new subscribers to our email community! Join us!
// 4 // The Gifts of Imperfection
by Brene Brown
Brene Brown makes me feel all the feels!
Her books are a little bit different from the other ones on this list, focusing less on ‘go, go, go accomplish everything!‘ and more on ‘live your life gratefully, courageously, and be kind to yourself.’
It is refreshing.
Being a very strong Type A personality, I often get stuck in the hamster wheel of chasing achievement.
Brene Brown’s books help me center myself and enjoy the life I’ve created.
In this book you’ll learn about a few pretty powerful concepts:
- The hustle for worthiness.
Brene writes, “when we struggle to believe in our worthiness, we hustle for it.” We chase success, we work 10 hour days, we stay busy and keep the calendars full, we do everything in our power to avoid coming to terms with the uncomfortable feelings that arise when we have to sit with ourselves and our thoughts.
- Vulnerability & connection.
It is essential to satisfying our most basic human need: connection. Without vulnerability we cannot bond on a deeper level with those around us.
- Purposeless play.
“In today’s culture — where our self worth is tied to our net worth, and we base our worthiness on our level of productivity — spending time doing purposeless activities is rare. For many of us it sounds like an anxiety attack waiting to happen … Who has time for painting and photography when the real work of achieving and accomplishing needs done?” ~ Brene Brown
- Shame resilience.
“The ability to recognize shame and move through it while maintaining our worthiness and authenticity.”
- Self worth and the comparison mandate.
“Fit in but stand out. Be like everyone else but better.” ~ Brene Brown
“We seem to measure the value of a person’s life by their level of public recognition. Worth is measured by fame and fortune. Our culture is quick to dismiss quiet, ordinary, hardworking people. We equate ordinary with boring, or even more dangerous — meaningless.” ~ Brene Brown
If you’ve read any of Brene’s books before, which concepts did you identify most with?
// 5 // Girl, Wash Your Face
by Rachel Hollis
Rachel Hollis is all over the media lately, and rightfully so. Her book, Girl Wash Your Face, is great: a real call to action to stop believing the lies you’ve been fed your whole life and get out there and kick some butt!
Rachel breaks her book up into 10 chapters, each representing a lie that is holding us back (ever tell yourself: something else will make me happy, I’m not good enough, I’ll start tomorrow?)
She then tears these lies to pieces and shares the things that helped her move through them. Things you’ll learn from Rachel Hollis if you add this book to your reading list this year:
- Your dreams are not someone else’s to manage.
“That’s the incredible part about your dreams: nobody gets to tell you how big they can be!” Claim your dreams.
“You need the courage to stand up and say ‘This one, right here: this is mine!” Work through your fears. Map it out. And get at it.
- Dreams don’t have expiration dates.
“Nobody will ever care about your dream as much as you do. Ever.”
“As long as you’re working toward the things you hope to accomplish, it shouldn’t matter if it takes you a month or a decade.”
- The key to creating the life of your dreams is imagining your dreams in intricate detail.
Write it down. Use visuals. Announce it every day (I love the Start Today Journal for that!) Make sure you are crystal clear on what you want, and that will drive you to success.
- Stop comparing yourself to other people.
Just stop. “Comparison is the death of joy and the only person you need to be better than is the one you were yesterday.”
- Steer clearly in one direction.
It doesn’t matter if you’re 100% certain that this is exactly what you want in life, it doesn’t matter if you get there. “It’s highly possible that by not being where you thought you should be, you’ll end up exactly where you’re meant to go.” “Nothing is wasted. Every single moment is preparing you for the next… All of it is growing you for the person you’re becoming, for a future you can’t even imagine.”
Other quotes I’ve written down on sticky notes all over my room:
You’d better find the will to keep going, because if you don’t, I promise you, someone else will … the only thing worse than giving up is wishing you hadn’t.RACHEL HOLLIS
Stop allowing your fear of getting it wrong to color every beautiful thing you’re doing right.RACHEL HOLLIS
Turns out, the most beautiful things in my life were never on my to-do list.RACHEL HOLLIS
I read this book just before New Year’s Eve and it was an extremely motivating start to setting new goals and making some headway. If you’ve read Rachel Hollis’ book, or listened to her podcast, which pieces of her advice did you find helpful? Which ‘lies’ did you resonate with the most?
So there we have it, 5 books for you to add to your must-read list in 2019.
The messages in these books and the way in which they’re written will get you laughing, crying, and feeling inspired to get back on track and living your best life.
I want you to buy one, get one from the library, borrow one from your friend, and make it part of your routine to surround yourself with information and motivation!
Then head on over to our Facebook page and let’s talk about your key takeaways!