Self-improvement is all about becoming a better version of yourself and improving your way of life. Enacting practical ways to improve yourself will help you escape feelings of meaninglessness and move you in a positive direction.
Reading self-improvement books will help you improve your life and present new opportunities that will strengthen your self-esteem. You’ll be able to form better relationships, act with confidence, and explore innovative ways to improve. Whether you're looking to become a better leader or just improve your overall day to day life, self-improvement books can prove beneficial. The paradox of self-improvement: you’ll reach the point where you no longer feel the need to improve yourself. Below are the best 10 self-improvement books that will introduce you to compelling and positive ways of living.
Best Self Improvement Books
Becoming the best version of yourself can seem challenging, and you may need some extra support. Below find our top picks for the best self-improvement books.
1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Published in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People remains one of the most popular self-improvement books to date. With over 30 million copies sold worldwide, Dale Carnegie’s masterpiece won #19 in Time’s list of most influential books in 2011. This life-changing guide to building better relationships deals with the fundamental techniques of handling other people and gives readers advice on how to never criticize, condemn, or complain.
The central epiphany: you can change other people’s behavior by simply changing your own. This book will teach you how to understand people, be more likable, and win others over through influencing behavior. You’ll be able to make friends quickly and easily by winning other people over to your way of thinking. Carnegie offers rules that apply to every opportunity that will allow you to win people over by making them feel good and invest in relationships for paramount success.
2. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Created by the worldwide best-selling author of Eat Pray Love, Big Magic teaches readers how to live fulfilling lives. Readers of all ages can draw empowerment from Gilbert's words and lessons of inspiration. She explains how to cultivate a mindset that leads to the willingness to take chances and live life to the fullest. The book is divided into six qualities that she believes are necessary for living without fear: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust, and divinity.
Ultimately, Big Magic will teach you how to see your fears in a new light and give yourself permission to create. After all, nobody can make stuff if their creativity has been strangled by the world's external demands.
3. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
The Power of Now is a spiritual guide for day-to-day living that stresses the importance of living in the moment. Every minute you spend worrying about the future or reminiscing over the past is a minute lost in the present. Building off of this principle, Tolle provides actionable strategies for the reader to start living every moment as it occurs.
By reading The Power of Now, you’ll be able to discover your true meaning, explore the present moment, and let go of pain from the past. He explains how your thoughts and ego can be obstacles toward enlightenment, and how you can use this knowledge to move past stress and anxiety to improve the now.
4. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
Best-seller with over 1.2 million copies sold in America, The 48 Laws of Power teaches readers how to acquire power and avoid being manipulated by others. Basing his observations on relevant historical and contemporary figures of authority, Greene gives examples of how each law has been successful and how each has been a failure. He claims that power is amoral: neither good or evil. Further, to acquire power, you must always make those above you feel comfortably superior.
This book is unique because you’re free to read it in any order, indulging yourself in the laws that interest you most.
5. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Written by Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman, best-seller Thinking, Fast and Slow explains the two systems in your brain that continually fight for control. He goes into how this fight over control leads to error, and what you can do about it to maximize your productivity and effectiveness. To craft his argument, Kahneman explains recent studies about how we think about thinking, why we react to certain situations, and how to improve those reactions.
Kahneman’s profound insights will make you a better thinker, decision-maker, and allow you to avoid some of the most common cognitive pitfalls to improve your overall way of thinking.
6. Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell
Some people seem like they’re born to achieve anything while others struggle. Are successful people just lucky and blessed with high morals and a carefree childhood? In Failing Forward, John C. Maxwell explains the difference between the ordinary people and the achievers. One of the most crucial elements to success is turning failures into stepping stones toward achievement. It’s all about taking risks, and avoiding failure is a failure in and of itself.
Maxwell teaches you how to cultivate the right mindset and embrace the inevitable failure. Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s the road to it. According to Maxwell, the number of times you’ve failed in the last 12 months is a direct indication of how successful you will be in the next few years. Blame yourself for the outcomes of your actions, not external circumstances. While we’ve been conditioned to fear failure and believe it indicates low intelligence, failure in the real world is an indication of progress. Even the most talented fail, and they take responsibility for all failures, even if it wasn’t directly their fault.
7. The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
Forbes called it one of the greatest self-help books of all time. The Magic of Thinking Big provides several starting points for developing the most essential trait of successful people: believing in yourself. The majority of people do not think big. They merely hope to get a decent job, rather than one they’re passionate about. But thinking big is just the first step in becoming a success, and if you do not enact other factors such as working hard and smart, you are delusional. That said, if you do not have big visions for your future, all else will fail.
Schwartz teaches you how to eliminate excuses, get rid of a victim mindset, and believe that you are deserving of success.
8. The Last Lecture by Jeffrey Zaslow and Randy Pausch
The Last Lecture is a famous, heart-warming book about the pursuit of childhood dreams. Growing up shouldn’t mean abandoning your childhood aspirations. Randy Pausch goes deep into his thoughts on death, and how to affirm life by relentlessly pursuing your dreams. This book is perfect for anyone searching for a sense of purpose and will introduce you to the power of becoming aware that your time here is finite.
9. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
You can’t take shortcuts toward real personal growth, but enacting the 7 habits of highly effective people can help you speed up the process. Stephen Covey explains how to be productive while pursuing your goals. The main factor: aligning yourself with your values. It’s not just about obtaining results but caring about the process that got you there.
With over 25 million copies sold worldwide, this timeless classic goes into how one can balance the principles of the external world and its internal values. Stephen Covey teaches the reader how to cultivate a win-win mindset, be understood by understanding others, and how to continually improve throughout all areas of life.
10. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Expert on vulnerability and shame, Brené Brown goes into vulnerability: the most explicit path to courage. She explains how vulnerability can make you a more genuine and open person. Reading Daring Greatly will allow you to take risks and succeed in a world where everyone pretends to know exactly what they’re doing. You’ll learn how to challenge difficult emotions like shame, fear, and grief, and understand why these emotions are actually the birthplace of love and belonging.
With books on self-improvement, you’ll be able to thrive in all areas of your life and improve your mindset. Picking up a book and learning more about personal development is a significant step to growth.