Almost 40% of adults set a resolution every New Year’s Eve, according to InsideOut Mastery. While only up to 12% of this group keeps their resolutions, this trend proves that growth, self-improvement, and success are craved by many.
Rather than setting a New Year’s resolution, a person may find greater personal success within the pages of personal development books. They serve as a mirror, prompting readers to examine their strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement. In fact, spending time reading self-help books each day is one of the ten powerful habits of successful people.
Here is a list of 40 of the best books to read for professionals who want to reach success and improve their relationships, career, or mental health.
Self-Help Books for Personal Growth
“Real self-confidence is not reflected in a title, an expensive suit, a fancy car, or a series of acquisitions. It is reflected in your mindset: your readiness to grow.”Carol Dweck
1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
This classic book presents a holistic approach to personal and professional effectiveness, emphasizing timeless principles that can empower individuals to lead purposeful and fulfilling lives.
2. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck
Dweck explores the concept of a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset and demonstrates how adopting a growth mindset can unlock one’s potential, enhance learning, and foster resilience in the face of challenges.
3. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Drawing from his experiences as a Holocaust survivor, Frankl delves into the search for meaning in life and offers profound insights on finding purpose, resilience, and inner strength even amid unimaginable adversity.
4. Atomic Habits: An East & Proven Way to Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear
Clear provides practical strategies and actionable advice to help readers build and sustain positive habits, break free from destructive patterns, and make incremental changes that lead to significant personal growth and success.
5. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brenè Brown
Brown explores the power of vulnerability and highlights how embracing vulnerability can foster connection, authenticity, and resilience, ultimately leading to a more wholehearted and fulfilling life.
6. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
Cameron helps readers uncover problem areas that hinder their natural creative flow. By offering certain techniques for releasing blockages, Cameron shows readers how to live up to their highest creative potential.
For more suggestions, read 15 of the World’s Best Leadership Books.
Self-Help Books for Mental Health
“Thoughts are not facts. They are a mix of opinions, judgments, stories, memories, theories, interpretations, and predictions about the future.”Julie Smith
7. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
Sincero blends humor, inspiration, and practical advice to help readers overcome self-doubt, embrace their worthiness, and create a life filled with abundance and positivity.
8. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns
This book provides cognitive behavioral techniques to combat depression, anxiety, and negative emotions. Burns offers practical tools and exercises to help readers reframe their thoughts, overcome self-defeating beliefs, and cultivate a positive outlook.
9. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before? by Dr. Julie Smith
Dr. Smith provides valuable lessons for fortifying one’s own mental health by gaining a deeper understanding of why you are the way you are. Smith achieves this by teaching readers how to cope with anxiety and depression while building the confidence and resilience to tackle life’s challenges.
For more suggestions, read 15 Mental Health Books to Read in 2023.
Self-Help Books for Relationships
“We have our own thoughts, and if we want others to know them, we must tell them.”Henry Cloud
10. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
Cloud and Townsend explore the importance of setting healthy boundaries in relationships. This book provides practical insights and tools to establish boundaries, manage conflicts, and foster healthier communication dynamics.
11. The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman
Chapman identifies five distinct love languages—words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch—and offers insights and practical guidance on how understanding and speaking your partner’s love language can strengthen relationships.
12. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson
The authors present strategies for handling difficult conversations effectively and constructively. This book equips readers with techniques to navigate high-stakes discussions, manage emotions, and achieve positive outcomes.
13. Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B. Rosenberg
This book introduces a powerful communication framework that promotes empathy, understanding, and compassionate connection. Rosenberg’s approach focuses on expressing needs, active listening, and resolving conflicts peacefully.
Self-Help Books for Productivity and Time Management
“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”Timothy Ferriss
14. Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done In Less Time by Brian Tracy
Tracy offers practical advice and techniques to overcome procrastination and improve time management. Additionally, the book emphasizes tackling the most important tasks first to increase productivity and achieve better results.
15. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
Newport explores the importance of deep, concentrated work in a world filled with distractions. He provides strategies to cultivate focused work habits, eliminate distractions, and maximize productivity.
16. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Allen presents a comprehensive system for managing tasks, projects, and information overload. This book offers practical techniques to increase productivity, improve focus, and reduce stress.
17. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
Ferriss challenges traditional notions of work and productivity, offering unconventional strategies for efficiency and lifestyle design. This book provides insights on outsourcing, automation, and prioritization to achieve more with less.
For more suggestions, read 15 of the World’s Best Leadership Books.
Best Self-Help Books for Career and Financial Success
“There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.”Napoleon Hill
18. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Hill’s classic work explores the principles and mindset necessary for achieving financial success. The book offers valuable insights on goal-setting, positive thinking, and the power of persistence.
19. Change Your Habits, Change Your Life by Tom Corley
In this book, Corley breaks down the specific daily habits that have led 177 ordinary people to self-made millionaire status. Corley believes that success is not a secret to be held only by the wealthy and instead reveals to the reader how simple habit change can bring abundant transformation.
20. The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey
Ramsey provides a step-by-step guide to getting out of debt, building an emergency fund, and creating a solid foundation for financial success. The book offers practical strategies for budgeting, saving, and investing.
21. I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi
Sethi offers a practical, no-nonsense guide to personal finance by covering topics such as saving, investing, and automating finances. He also implores the reader to make conscious spending decisions to achieve financial success.
22. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
Pink delves into the science of motivation and presents a fresh perspective on what drives individuals to succeed. The book explores intrinsic motivation, autonomy, and purpose, providing insights on how to enhance motivation and drive professional growth.
23. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton
This book focuses on negotiation skills, a vital aspect of professional development. It offers practical techniques and strategies for achieving win-win outcomes, fostering better communication, and building successful professional relationships.
24. The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday
As Marcus Aurelius once said, “The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way.” In this book, Holiday draws on Stoic principles to help the reader focus on the things they can control, embrace obstacles, and let go of everything else.
Self-Help Books for Women
“Being vulnerable is hard, but I’ve learned that sharing our true, flawed, authentic selves is the only way real connection and love can happen. It’s the only way to step into our full power and purpose in our lives.”Jamie Kern Lima
25. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Sandberg explores the challenges faced by women in the workplace and offers advice on achieving professional growth and leadership roles. The book encourages women to lean in, overcome obstacles, and pursue their ambitions with confidence.
26. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Gilbert delves into the creative process and encourages women to pursue their passions fearlessly. The book explores the importance of embracing curiosity, overcoming self-doubt, and living a creatively fulfilling life.
27. Believe It by Jamie Kern Lima
In this book, Lima, the founder of IT Cosmetics, shares her story of transforming from a struggling waitress to the first female billionaire CEO of a L’Oreal brand. Lima shares the intricate details of her journey to success, imparting invaluable wisdom and inspiration to any woman seeking significant change.
28. The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the hit TV show Grey’s Anatomy and the executive producer of Bridgerton, shares how saying “yes” more changed her life and how it can change yours, too.
Self-Help Books for Men
“In the military, we always say we don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”David Goggins
29. The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida
Deida explores masculinity and provides guidance on relationships, purpose, and personal growth. The book encourages men to embrace their authentic selves and navigate the complexities of modern life.
30. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins
Goggins shares his journey from a challenging past to becoming a Navy SEAL and ultra-endurance athlete. The book offers inspiration, resilience-building strategies, and motivation for men to push past their limits and achieve greatness.
31. The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man by Brett McKay and Kate McKay
This book explores traditional masculine skills and virtues, offering practical advice on various aspects of modern manhood, including etiquette, self-improvement, relationships, and personal style.
32. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
This classic book offers the personal reflections and philosophy of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. It explores Stoicism and provides valuable insights into self-discipline, resilience, and living a virtuous life.
33. Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
In this book, Eldredge helps Christian men rediscover their masculine hearts by looking inward and reconnecting with one’s childhood dreams. Additionally, he invites women to explore the true wildness often hidden within a man’s soul.
Self-Help Books for Personal Happiness
“Happiness is not the belief that we don’t need to change; it is the realization that we can.”Shawn Achor
34. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
Tolle explores the importance of living in the present moment and offers practical teachings and techniques to help readers transcend negative thinking patterns and find inner peace.
35. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
Ruiz presents four transformative agreements that can lead to personal freedom, happiness, and inner peace. This book encourages readers to adopt powerful principles such as being impeccable with one’s word and not taking things personally.
36. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by Dalai Lama XIV
The Dalai Lama shares his insights on achieving happiness and inner peace. The book combines Eastern wisdom with Western psychology, providing practical advice and perspectives for finding happiness.
37. Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert
Gilbert explores the science of happiness, challenging common misconceptions about what truly makes us happy. The book provides thought-provoking insights and practical strategies for understanding and pursuing happiness.
38. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
Rubin documents her year-long journey to discover what truly brings happiness. The book offers practical strategies, insights, and experiments for cultivating happiness in daily life.
39. A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield
Kornfield provides the reader with a guidebook to the practice of traditional mindfulness and inner transformation through meditation. This book has been acclaimed as one of the most important books on American Buddhism and meditation.
40. The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life by Shawn Achor
Achor explores the link between happiness and success, presenting research-backed strategies to cultivate a positive mindset, increase happiness, and improve overall well-being.
Reading Cultivates Success
In Change Your Habits, Change Your Life, Tom Corley shares the results of a five-year study he conducted on self-made millionaires. His study discovered that not only did 88% of his successful respondents read for at least 30 minutes each day, but 85% read two or more self-improvement books per month.
Whether a person aspires to be a self-made millionaire like Oprah Winfrey or a businessman like Sir Richard Branson, personal development books provide the tools and transformation required for success.
For more book recommendations, read The 25 Best Books to Read Before Your 20s Are Over.