If you read this blog regularly, it probably won’t come as a surprise that personal development books are kind of my jam.
I’ve always loved reading. But prior to my mid-twenties, my time spent reading was devoted almost entirely to fiction.
And don’t get me wrong, I still love a good novel. But to me, one of the best feelings is reading a personal development book you LOVE and feeling like you’ve finally been let in on this big secret that you know is going to change your life.
I’ve read a LOT of personal development books over the past few years, and today I want to share some of my favorites!
And while you’re here, you might also like the article I wrote where I share more than 80 of the best personal development tips!
9 Personal Development Books to Read This Year
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7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
I wanted to list this book first because it’s just such a classic, and one I think EVERYONE should read.
In fact, a lot of you may have read it in school at some point. But I guarantee that as an adult, you’ll get a LOT more out of it.
Seriously, there’s a reason it’s still a best-seller so many years after it was published!
7 Habits of Highly Effective People shares the 7 habits that will help you be successful and help you solve problems in your personal and professional life.
I’m not kidding when I say that the core values shared in this book can legit change your life if you implement them.
To achieve goals you’ve never achieved before, you need to start doing things you’ve never done before. – Stephen Covey
Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis
I’m going to be honest, I was skeptical about this book at first. I read Rachel Hollis’ first book, Girl, Wash Your Face, and I really didn’t love it. I thought it was okay, but not exactly life-changing.
This book, on the other hand, I loved.
This book doesn’t have any of the fluff I found in her first book. Instead, this book is filled with amazing, actionable steps you can take to reach your big scary goals. And even as someone who has done a LOT of reading and writing about goal-setting, I found myself taking notes all the way through.
Girl, Stop Apologizing is broken down into three sections: excuses you need to let go of, skills you need to learn, and an actual roadmap for the steps Rachel takes to reach a goal.
If you’re a goal-driven woman and just need a little guidance on reaching your goals, this is a must-read for you!
Plus, Rachel writes with a really personable tone that makes her seem like a friend sharing some killer goal-setting advice.
For all my dreamers, for all my hustlers, for all my girls reading this who are building and planning, don’t you dare compare your beginning with someone else’s middle! – Rachel Hollis
You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
This book has become something of a cult classic since it was published in 2013, and for good reason.
In this book, Jen talks you through the process of overcoming those limiting beliefs and behaviors that are holding you back.
Basically, the author transformed her life, and now she’s helping you change yours. She’s not teaching you to become a badass, she’s just proving to you that you already are.
If you constantly feel yourself being held back by your own excuses, mental blocks, and fear of what other people think of you, then this book is perfect for you.
You’ll definitely feel like a badass when you’re done reading it!
P.S. If you LOVED this book, make sure to check out Jen Sincero’s other books for badasses:
You are responsible for what you say and do. You are not responsible for whether or not people freak out about it. – Jen Sincero
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson
I’ve read a lot of Mark Manson’s articles, so I knew going into this book I was going to like it. But it definitely exceeded my expectations.
One of my favorite things about the book is that unlike a lot of other books and articles sharing “honest truths” and (sometimes) “unpopular opinions”, these are well-researched and shared alongside academic research.
The premise of the book is you just CAN’T focus on or care about everything. And the key to a good life is REALLY focusing on your values and the things that matter to you.
You can’t make everybody happy. But also, you aren’t responsible for making everybody happy.
He’s also critical of the positivity and pep talks we see from so many personal development gurus. Because as inspirational as they might be, are they really all that effective?
It’s a tone that probably won’t be appreciated by everyone, but I definitely recommend it!
It turns out that adversity and failure are actually useful and even necessary for developing strong-minded and successful adults. -Mark Manson
Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss
You know those personal development books that you got so much out of that you want to read them again and again?
That was Tribe of Mentors for me.
You’ve probably heard of Tim Ferriss from his book The 4-Hour Workweek, but Tribe of Mentors is definitely my favorite book of his.
Basically, Tim interviews some of the most successful people in the world and shares the life advice that got them there.
As you read the book, you’ll find the same advice repeated over and over again by different people in the book, which was a huge lightbulb moment for me.
This book is LONG, but each interview is only a few pages long (at most), so it’s easy to digest in short sittings.
What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. – Tim Ferriss
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
You probably recognize the name Elizabeth Gilbert from her book Eat, Pray, Love. But Big Magic is, in my opinion, even better.
Not only does the author dig into some of her own creative process in this book (which I always LOVE to see), but she also offers LOTS of tips for cultivating your own creativity.
What’s even more, she gets brutally honest about creativity. And about the fact that sometimes, your creativity is just nowhere to be found.
One of the biggest takeaways from this book is not putting too much pressure on your creativity to pay the bills.
Sure, it would be great if your creative passion also made you a ton of money. But it’s also possible that the pressure to make a lot of money could be exactly what kills your creativity.
This is a must-read for all creatives!
The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong, and they handled it. -Elizabeth Gilbert
The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
I’ve mentioned this book quite a few times before on my blog, but I just had to mention it again because it seriously can change your life.
I first read this book because I heard it recommended by literally ALL of the most successful people I follow online.
In the book, the author (Hal Elrod) shares a story of being at a particularly low point in his life. Then, he shares how transforming his morning routine (otherwise known as his miracle morning) changed his entire life.
Hal started seeing success in literally every area of his life.
It might sound pretty basic, but I promise you this book is NOT just a typical morning routine guide.
Hal walks through what activities to include in your miracle morning, WHY to include each one, and HOW to motivate yourself and really stick to your routine.
If you’re struggling with your mornings or just life in general, definitely give this one a read.
You are where you are because of who you were, but where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be. – Hal Elrod
Atomic Habits by James Clear
I LOVE reading about habits and I’ve been following James Clear for quite a while, so I jumped when I saw this book come out toward the end of 2018.
You probably know by now that the habits you do (or don’t do) every single day are what is going to make or break your success.
James Clear clear is a leading expert on habit formation, and this book definitely shared lessons that no one else is sharing on the subject.
He also breaks habit formation down in a way that makes it sound a LOT easier than you think it is.
If you are struggling to form healthy habits, this book is for you.
If you are struggling to reach your goals, this book is for you.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour. You don’t have to build everything you want today, just lay a brick. -James Clear
The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
If you feel like your attention is constantly being divided among a million different things, stop reading this blog post and go read this book.
The big takeaway from this book is that narrowing your focus to fewer things will have a bigger impact on your life.
And while you’ve probably heard that advice before, this book legit breaks down HOW to choose what to focus on, how to create habits to help you focus on those things, and how to really develop discipline.
What’s the ONE thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary? -Gary Keller
Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
If you struggle with vulnerability, then this book is seriously for you. And I say this from experience because I am someone who struggles with vulnerability.
In this book, the author talks about how so many of us are waiting until we’re perfect or successful to really open up. But by doing that, we’re wasting so much time that we could have spent making connections.
Most of us think we’re unworthy in some way. And if all of us had the courage to be vulnerable anyways, we could see that everyone has those same struggles.
It’s definitely a powerful book!
Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable. It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you’re feeling. To have the hard conversations. -Brené Brown
I love personal development books, and I know a lot of you do too! I have been lucky enough to read some personal development books that have legit changed my life, and I just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to share them with you. I hope you find one (or more!) on this that you really love!