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There are so many personal development books out there. It can be difficult to choose where to start. These five books are great to lay the foundational ground to get started with personal development. Even if you’re not new to personal development, these books are must-reads. This list includes older books that are classics and have stood the test of time as well as some newer ones with new discoveries and unique approaches to personal development.
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Here are the five best books to get started with personal development with one honorable mention.
1. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
The book popularized the concept “growth mindset” which you may have heard or read about as it’s now one of the most mentioned topics in personal development and the book is as well. This book will teach you the right mindset you should have and how to develop it for success. Carol’s work is backed by multiple studies.
2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
The seven habits that Stephen Covey covers in this well-known classic book lay the essential groundwork foundation for healthy personal development work. These habits are not your typical productivity or routine type of habits. The habits are a way of living that go beyond the surface. This book is a great start for anyone who wants to start living more effectively, efficiently, and successfully.
3. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy
This was the first book I ever picked up that introduced me to the world of personal development. I remember going through a storage unit with my mom after moving and packing up all my books and all the other ones left behind. I was always an avid reader since I can remember, but I read mostly scary books like Goosebumps and Fear Street until I picked up this book with a strange, intriguing title. It must’ve been either one of my father’s or grandfather’s books. When I read this book, my life was never the same. It introduced me to the power of the human mind, precisely the subsconscious mind. I tried out the techniques in the book, and to my pleasant surprise, they worked!
4. The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field by Nathaniel Branden
This book is probably the best book that will lay the foundation for personal development. Everyone has self-esteem. There’s no escaping or denying it. Your self-esteem is like your credit score. Even if it’s high, you still have to maintain it and make sure it stays high. Self-esteem is far beyond just liking yourself. Your mindset, your emotions, and your actions make up your self-esteem, and your self-esteem directs those things. This book will demonstrate what self-esteem is, why it’s important, and what you can do to raise and maintain it through six essential pillars. He includes multiple examples and case studies. Here is Nathaniel Branden’s definition of self-esteem:
“Self-esteem is the disposition to experience oneself as being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and of being worthy of happiness. It is confidence in the efficacy of our mind, in our ability to think. By extension, it is confidence in our ability to learn, make appropriate choices and decisions, and respond effectively to change. It is also the experience that success, achievement, fulfillment – happiness – are right and natural for us. The survival-value of such confidence is obvious; so is the danger when it is missing.”
5. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Think and Grow Rich is another well-known classic that stands the test of time. The principles for living a successful life and achieving all the things you aspire to achieve start within you – your thoughts and emotions – your mindset. He answers the question of what makes someone successful. He closely studied and interviewed more than 500 self-made millionaires over the span of 20 years and shares the principles he learned.
6. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
This book is the #1 most recommended book by the world’s most successful people. Even if you are not involved in business or a company of your own, the principles in this book can be applied to our personal lives. Below is one of my favorite quotes from the book:
“Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great. We don’t have great schools, principally because we have good schools. We don’t have great government, principally because we have good government. Few people attain great lives, in large part because it is just so easy to settle for a good life.”