Personal development books

Essential personal development books

A fundamental of personal development is that to have more, we must first become more. And in order to become more, we must keep feeding our minds with empowering information. Reading personal development books is one of the best ways to ensure that we keep growing.

For someone new to personal growth, the question may be “where do I start?”. And even for a seasoned veteran, there will always be other books that may prove useful or add that little missing piece of the puzzle. Having this in mind, I compiled a list with some of the books I’ve read over the years that I consider to be essentials in personal development.

Have a look at them and see whether you can find one or two that intrigue you to read them (or listen to the audiobook, if you prefer).

1. The five major pieces to the life puzzle – Jim Rohn

This was the first personal development book I’ve ever read, at the age of 21. It describes how our philosophy, our way of thinking, affects our attitude, how we feel. The attitude then determines our activities, the actions we take, and these in turn produce the results we have. The final blending of our philosophy, attitude, activity and results is what creates our final personal quest that we call lifestyle. Lifestyle is how we design and choose to live our lives.


2. Rich dad, poor dad – Robert Kiyosaki

I consider this book to be the cornerstone of getting financially educated. I have described the main principles conveyed there in this blog post.


3. The compound effect – Darren Hardy

The compound effect describes how small, consistent, seemingly insignificant actions we take every day, compound over time to produce huge, massive results. And these results, depending on the kind of the small actions (habits), either benefit us or ruin us. Consistency is the ultimate key to success (and, unfortunately, to failure too).


4. The power of now – Eckhart Tolle

One of the best books I’ve ever read, it talks about the importance of living in the present moment (rather than in the past or in the future), and how most people identify with their mind, with the voice inside their heads. Eckhart Tolle provides us with a wealth of information about understanding ourselves, the mind, and how meditating and being conscious can help us live our lives day-to-day with fulfilment.


5. How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie

This book is a must-read for anyone that deals with people (so that’s every single one of us!). I have summarised the key concepts of this extraordinary book in this post.


6. The 4 hour workweek – Tim Ferriss

For anyone still clinging on to the old concept of “work hard all your life and when you retire you will finally enjoy life”, this book is a must! Ferriss describes the concepts of working less, distance working, automated cash-flow techniques, mini-retirements through our life, and living the millionaire lifestyle without being a millionaire! It is a blueprint for an exciting, fulfilling life.


7. Notes from a friend – Anthony Robbins

This is an insightful little book that you can read in an evening, and it can serve as a perfect introduction to Tony Robbins and his concepts, for those of you who are not familiar with him. It is “a quick and simple guide to taking charge of your life”.


8. Awaken the giant within – Anthony Robbins

Contrary to “quick and simple guide” #7 above, this book is a thorough, comprehensive, extensive guide to take control of your life. Make no mistake – it will take you a while to go through it all and do the exercises it contains. But if you do, it has the power to help you make major transformations in your life, through identifying and changing core beliefs that have been self-sabotaging you.


9. Who moved my cheese? – Spencer Johnson

A fantastic little book that uses an allegory to describe how different people react to the changes that happen in their lives or work. It can be read in a couple of hours, and it will offer you insightful lessons and practical advice on dealing with change.


10. Seven strategies for wealth and happiness – Jim Rohn

This is another extraordinary book, for which I’m going to write a blog post soon – watch this space.


11. Man’s search for meaning – Viktor Frankl

In this book, the author wrote about his ordeal as a concentration camp inmate during the second world war. His message is ultimately one of hope, concluding that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living, even in suffering and death. My favourite quote from the book is “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Truly inspiring book.


12. The richest man in Babylon – George S. Clason

A classic book (1926) on wealth creation, that I have summarised in this post.


13. Think and grow rich – Napoleon Hill

Another classic book (1937). The principles described in it can be used not only for wealth creation, but for anything we aspire. The book states that desire, faith, and persistence can drive us to great heights, if we can restrain negative thoughts and focus on our long-term goals.


14. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus – John Gray

A fantastic book that delves into relationships between men and women and describes how different they are – as a matter of fact they come from different planets and they speak different languages! This is a definitive guide to understanding not only yourself , either you’re male or female, but even more importantly to understand why the opposite sex behaves like they do. You will be surprised at the lightbulb moments you’ll have while reading this gem.


15. The secret – Rhonda Byrne

Maybe one of the most popular personal development books out there – if you haven’t read it (or watched the documentary), I suggest you do soon! Its main concept revolves around the universal “law of attraction”: we attract in our lives what we predominantly think about. The book is written in a way simple to understand and it is very inspirational.


And a few more books:

The following books are different from the ones above, because one could consider them to be novels. And, technically speaking, maybe they are. However, all of them are allegorical, containing very powerful metaphors about life.

THE ALCHEMIST – Paulo Coelho

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”



“We must assume every event has significance and contains a message that pertains to our questions…this especially applies to what we used to call bad things.



“Action always happens in the present, because it is an expression of the body, which can only exist in the here and now. But the mind is like a phantom that lives only in the past or future. Its only power over you is to draw your attention out of the present.”


Jonathan Livingston seagull – Richard Bach

“Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding. Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly.” 



I hope you this blog post has given you information and inspiration to grab one or two good books and, by reading them, to evolve and grow as a person.

I will welcome your comments below!

3 thoughts on “Essential personal development books

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