The Top 10 Books to Help You Start Your Personal Development Journey

By Krista


Last Updated: December 3, 2021

Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher, once said,

“Knowing others is intelligence. Knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is a true power.”

Even thousands of years ago, the great minds of the world were diving inwards and trying to truly understand themselves so they could be better and do better. 

In the chaotic world we live in today, reading up on personal development topics has never been more important. With so many distractions, it’s easy to lose your way and lose touch with yourself. In fact, having a consistent self-growth plan can help you reach your full potential — and achieve success in all aspects of life. 

So, what should you be reading? What are some bestsellers to get you started? 


10 Books to Help You Develop a Self-Growth Plan

Alright, you’ve decided you’re ready for growth. You want change. You feel you could be happier. And, arguably, getting started is the hardest part. Yet, with this book list, you’ll get off on the right foot and be able to start making actionable changes in your life. So, what titles should be on your wishlist?

1. Atomic Habits by James Clear

Changing your day-to-day habits is seriously tough. And let’s throw away the idea that you won’t mess up (because chances are, you will. We all do!). However, Atomic Habits simplifies the whole habit-change process.

It’s not about drastic lifestyle overhauls or career changes. It’s all about doing that 1% each day to get you closer to your goals. It’s about failing forward, while creating good habits and shedding the bad habits. 

Now, James Clear breaks this down in many different ways. Primarily, he focuses on “hacking” each stage of the habit loop, including cue, craving, response, and reward. He offers up multiple ways to change your habits for the better, helping you finally create good habits and make ‘em stick.

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

For all my fellow naturally socially awkward friends, this is a must-read. In How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie’s advice has stood the test of time.

First published in 1936, the major takeaway of this book is kindness, and knowing that kindness actually works! Everyone wants to feel appreciated and important.

If you want to avoid conflict and overcome personal or business hurdles, the pages in this book are filled with actionable bits of advice that apply in various situations.

It’s basically the handbook on how to treat people, creating win-to-win scenarios again and again. There are also loads of examples, which can help make these ideas that much more concrete and applicable.

3. Let That Sh*t Go by Nina Purewal and Kate Petriw

In today’s modern society, stress is rampant.

In fact, it’s likely you’ve been under some degree of stress today, whether that’s worrying about a conversation you had this past weekend or worrying about the incoming tasks of today.

It’s safe to say, we could all worry a little less. And worrying, sometimes, is 100% not useful. On top of this, we all know holding grudges never does us any good. Yet, we all tend to do this from time to time anyway. 

Let That Sh*t Go attempts to flip your perspective and help you see the world through an entirely new lens. You can find that state of calm in your life. It’s entirely possible, especially after you read the advice and wisdom jam-packed in these chapters.

Related Article: How to Let Go of Unpleasant Things in Life

4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

If you’re set on changing your habits, grab this book and a copy of Atomic Habits. With these two in hand, you’re almost unstoppable. 

In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey simplifies the path to success. If you find yourself overwhelmed and never actually achieving your goals, this is another must-read. 

As far as self-improvement topics go, this book will flip your perspective and paradigm upside-down. You’ll learn simple principles that make all of life’s tasks easier, and that will make you more productive and successful.

5. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

A great way to learn more about why many of us behave the way we behave or have an innate desire for certain things is by looking backward in time. Sapiens outlines what we know about the history of humankind. Understanding our joint history is a broader way to understand your own motives and reasoning.

For example, there’s a reason we all want to belong. Back in the day of tribes and hunters, if you were rejected from the tribe, there was a very low chance that you would survive. This innate need is still present in modern-day humans. 

In Sapiens, there are so many more of these takeaways. But we’ll leave the rest for you to find when you read this incredible book (take your time though! It’s a lot of information, and is best consumed in small doses.).

6. The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris

If you’ve learned about or dabbled in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), you might enjoy this read. The Happiness Trap outlines the techniques of ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy).

This book further dives into how the hunt for happiness tends to lead to more unhappiness, and why. It also will help you unravel the true path to happiness using ACT and avoiding more stress and anxiety.

Related Article: How to Gain Back Control with CBT: The Incredible Power of Your Thoughts

7. The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

Alright, this one might not be for everyone. But if you’re growing more and more tired of your 9-5 job, you might want to give The 4-hour Work Week a serious read. It’s all about automating and delegating for those business-savvy individuals amongst us.

And hey, even if you aren’t business-savvy per say, this book might offer up ideas to help you optimize other aspects of your life, helping you get stuff done.

8. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

If you’re ready to get vulnerable, Brene Brown discusses the courage behind it, helping you lead, love, parent, work, and teach better. Vulnerability attaches meaning to events or interactions in our life. It brings more purpose into our lives. It creates more meaningful and deep relationships.

Without vulnerability, you end up standing on the outside. You never immerse yourself in your life. Yet, this book offers ways for you to do just that and take that courageous step forward, living your life in the most meaningful way possible.

9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Move over toxic positivity, Mark Manson offers useful and practical tips for making your life better. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck addresses life head-on. Sometimes, there’s going to be stuff you don’t want to face and it’s going to suck. At the same time, you get to choose where you invest your attention.

The takeaway? Choose wisely. Pick the things that truly matter and make a difference in your life. Mark Manson is ultra thought-provoking, breaking through the commonly accepted barriers that society has created.

10. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

Love stories and learning? This one is right up your alley. 

This book is based around four characters that live in a maze. These characters are examples of the risks and rewards associated with being adaptable.

If you always find yourself searching and searching for something but unwilling to change to get there, this is the story you will want to pay attention to! With lessons woven into a relatable and easy-to-follow story, Who Moved My Cheese? offers ways to help you deal with change in both work and life.

BONUS: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

We’re not done yet! Personal development topics are almost never-ending (this list could actually go on forever!). But we couldn’t leave it without a special mention here.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo might be just what you need if you’re drowning in clutter or struggling with organization. Marie Kondo provides a simple way to de-clutter and transform your house and home.


Start Your Personal Development Journey Today!

There’s no better time than right now. Whether you want to achieve personal goals in your life or you simply want to feel better, you’ll find what you need in the pages and chapters of the books above. 

From learning about letting things slide off your back to allowing yourself to become more vulnerable and make new habits, you are already well on your way toward transforming yourself into the person you need to be for the next chapter in your life. So, it’s time to get reading and start implementing!

Read Next: What Valuable Lessons Can You Learn From Your Life?

Photo by Vincenzo Malagoli from Pexels


5 comments on “The Top 10 Books to Help You Start Your Personal Development Journey”

  1. Thanks for this amazing article! I have been using self-development books for a long time, it is the best investment because it allows you to do your own life homework.

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