Self-development makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Who better to improve your life and your approach to it than you? The thing is, a mountain of self-development books have been written, so it can be hard to know where to start.
Here are five of the best self-development books of all time. Read these and you will be ready to conquer the world.
The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale is an absolute classic in the self-development genre. Despite coming from way back in the 1950s, this book is packed with advice that seems simple but that is actually very powerful. What you think has an enormous impact on how you interpret and respond to the reality playing out outside of you. Peale focuses on basic aspects of how our thoughts shape our daily approach to life and long and short-term goals, emphasizing the way that having a positive outlook can fundamentally improve every aspect of our lives and careers.¹
Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell
Next up is an outstanding book called Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell. This book is for everyone who’s been knocked down twenty times or more and wondered if it was really worth getting up again. Maxwell’s book highlights stories of success and overcoming adversity, explaining how the greatest victory can emerge from responding to failure as a motivator and teacher rather than a “game over.” This well-written, easy-to-follow book will change how you see failure and how you frame your daily reality and is a power self-development powder keg.²
The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind by Alan Wallace
These days the one thing that always seems to be in short supply is very basic: attention. There just doesn’t seem to be enough of it to go around, between checking your phone, taking a call and refreshing the inbox. The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind by Alan Wallace addresses the attention gap in society and provides workable solutions. He uses the Buddhist state of Shamatha as a goal you can work toward where your attention and life will become more clarified and allow us to exercise our attention and focus with more control instead of twisting and turning with the daily circus.³
Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins
Awaken the Giant Within is a bedrock book when it comes to the self-development genre. This rousing motivational masterpiece from Tony Robbins encourages you to stop putting off your dreams and allowing control and your future to be external factors you can’t influence. Robbins emphasizes the importance of self-belief and habit, noting that “it’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” It gives you actionable steps to gain mastery over your own inner state, thoughts and feelings in order to reach peak financial, career and personal success. The book continues to be popular decade after decade and is certainly worth your time to check out.⁴
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
It’s true that The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is fiction, but it still deserves a place on this list. This book has sold more than sixty-five million copies around the world for a reason: it’s transformational story of Santiago and finding purpose in life will speak to even the deepest cynic, helping shape a future of potential, dreams achieved and deep lasting meaning. This book has changed a lot of people’s lives and helped them embrace a path of self-discovery and purpose-driven action, and chances are it can help do the same for you, too.¹