Best self improvement books – oh no, self improvement/personal development is such a huge topic! I’m afraid I may have bitten off more than I can chew?
Most ‘best of’ book lists in this genre will include the requisite ‘As a Man Thinketh’, ’The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ and ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ etc. Don’t get me wrong, they are all great books (yes, I’ve read them all) but, they didn’t change me. They didn’t give me a metaphorical slap to the side of the head kind of reaction.
One of the most popular self improvement books is ‘Think and Grow Rich’ by Napoleon Hill. Once again, another good book, but I just don’t get what all the excitement is about. It introduced me to some important concepts, and it was an easy enough read; but I just didn’t feel the excitement about it, that so many other people expressed. It certainly didn’t change my life, and didn’t inspire or challenge me in a way that changed my life.
(This could very possibly be the reason why I’m still struggling to make significant breakthroughs in my life!? Hmmm, something to think about…)
But anyway, let’s get stuck into it and start by looking at the self improvement books that were released in 2016 that have been the most popular.
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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
I’m sure that many books on the best seller list are there simply because the marketing machine behind the launch of these books is both well-oiled and fed premium fuel. I suspect that this is the case with this book of Mark Manson’s. However, part of that marketing machine relies heavily on the reputation of the writer, and Mark’s reputation serves him well.
This book is not going to appeal to everyone.
With Mark’s generous use of expletives and informal style of writing (it pretty much reads like his blog posts) it would be easy to get caught up in the style of writing and dismiss the content. Personally, I think the content needed to be served up in this manner. He irreverently challenges the reader to put aside their bullshit excuses and stories and really look at why they behave the way they do.
I’m still reeling from this book.
I only finished it yesterday and it has made me start asking myself some tough questions about what I want, what I’m working towards, and why. I wish I could be more clear than that, but all I know is that it’s made me ask myself a lot of questions. Good questions, that require honest answers. And I think it’s those answers that will lead me closer to who and what I want to be. Gosh, how’s that for an airy-fairy sentence!?
Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferris
Tim Ferris is a master at book launches now. He just needs to tell his horde of followers that he’s releasing a book and the pre-sales go through the roof. Once again though, that’s because his (good) reputation precedes him. You’ve probably heard of Tim’s first book ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ and the number of raving fans that produced. It opened up peoples eyes to how they could do life a little bit differently.
Those were the two major releases for 2016. So now onto my favourite personal development books. By favourite, I mean that these books were the ones that impacted* me the most. (*Impacted in the slap to the side of the head kind of way.)
The Miracle Morning by Elrod
I’ve already expounded numerous times on my love of this book. The Miracle Morning is what got me started (again) earnestly seeking my own personal improvement after years of hearty, but inconsistent, efforts.
I think this book would be good for those people that are not convinced that a morning routine will be beneficial to them, and to those who would like some guidance around how to have a good morning routine.
I’ve been consistently having my own morning routine for over 6 months now, and I think it’s what has had the most influence on my personal development.
The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
I’m pretty sure it was this book that got me started down the road of tiny habits. ‘The Slight Edge’ made me realise that I’d missed out on so many opportunities to improve myself because I wanted big and quick changes. Yet the power of those tiny changes (or slight edge) over time, are huge.
Realising that the slight edge can be used either to my advantage or my disadvantage was an eye-opening revelation. The slight edge is so powerful, yet so easy; much like tiny habits.
The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan
Basically, this book encourages you to look for the one thing, among your large list of things to be done, that would cause all the other things on your list, to be easier.
As an example, I have a list of things that I want to do every day in my morning routine. The one thing that I could do, that would make completing all the items on my morning routine, easier?
Going to bed early.
So now, my focus and energy is put into making sure that I get to bed at 8pm (so that I can get up at 4am and have a couple of hours to do my morning routine and other stuff, before I go to work.)
I get so much done, all because I focus on my one thing, of going to bed early. Pretty simple, huh.
The Power of Neuroplasticity by Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D.
I’m nervously adding this one. It’s a full-on read, and I probably only understood about 60% of what was said in it; but I really want to believe that we can change the wiring of our brain. Change how we think and by doing so, change the world around us.
The reason why I’m ‘nervously’ adding it here is that I haven’t fully grasped the concepts nor consistently applied them to my life. So this book hasn’t changed my life… yet.
All the books make a difference though
It’s in doing a book round-up like this one, that you realise just how much you’ve learnt and taken on from all the different books that you’ve read. Even though books like ‘Think and Grow Rich’ and ‘The Magic of Thinking Big’ weren’t my favourites, maybe it’s the reading of these books that have opened up my mind to the principles taught in the books that are my favourites.
Possibly ‘The Miracle Morning’ wouldn’t have resonated with me so much if I hadn’t first read Tony Robbins’ ‘Awaken the Giant Within’; or Mark Manson’s ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ would have gone over my head if I hadn’t first read ‘The Power of Positive Thinking’.
What I’m trying to say is that even though I’ve listed out the books that have made the biggest impact on me, I am certain that it’s ALL the books I’ve read that have developed my thinking to such a point that the ‘favourites’ actually made sense to me and contained principles that I am now able to apply to my life. If I’d read these books 10 years ago I suspect they could have also made it to the I-don’t-get-it pile, along with ‘Think and Grow Rich’.
Anyway, that’s my list. Have you got any favourites? Which books do you think are the best self improvement books?