Self Development is a field that has exploded in the last 20 years or so. Not only are there a myriad of books out there in this field, there are audios, courses, videos, podcasts and guided experiences to name a few. In a field with so many options, where should you be looking? Experiencing a great self development book is like having colour added to your life. You find that voice that connects, the message of the book is clear that you are inspired to change, to try the things outlined in the book.
So what makes a great self improvement book and where should I look? Word of mouth should be one of your first steps, ask your friends or family (or at least those who have an active interest in this field) for a good starting point book. Alternatively reach out to people who have achieved what you are looking to achieve and find out if they read any good self improvement book.
If this is a dead end then look to some popular figures that you identify with and find out what has helped them in their journey? Create your own list, revisit books that work for your, that have a voice that speaks to you. Take notes, try things, move on from what doesn’t work, stick with what does work but never stop learning.
Below we discuss 5 great self improvement books that should be in your library:
1. “Beyond Positive Thinking” – by Dr Robert Anthony
The first book in this field that I purchased as a young adult (and one of the best self improvement introduction books) was The Ultimate Secrets of Total Self Confidence by Dr Robert Anthony. Unfortunately it wasn’t until several years later that I was able to appreciate and fully process the message in this book. This then lead to a Dr Anthony deep dive into all his books and audio programs leading to my favourite Dr Anthony book Beyond Positive Thinking (this book is brilliant with Dr Anthony’s audio program Know How To Be Rich).
Dr Anthony goes into great detail about how you are programed to live the way you live, how you react the way you react. Even better he then provides the basic tools to help you make the necessary changes to live the live you want. On most lists of popular self help authors or best self help books, in most cases Dr Anthony is rarely mentioned however on this list he is number one. Through all the books, courses and audios that I’ve purchased read or listened to over my journey, Dr Robert Anthony is the author that has helped me the most and to me this is his most meaningful book.
Going into detail into how our brains work, how we are programmed and how this programming evolves from when you were a child, what we pick up and how this affects you as an adult was quite profound to me. Dr Anthony also has a way of breaking down complex topics into easy well written books and this is no exception. The role of affirmations and how these can be used as part of your new programming to achieve success was a great part of this book.
Some of Dr Anthony’s audio programs go a lot deeper with the tools to make changes to your “programming” such as Secret of Deliberate Creation and Deliberate Creation Instant Self-Hypnosis and replace this “faulty” programming however Beyond Positive Thinking is a worthy number one on our list of 5 great self improvement books that should be in your library.
2. “Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself” – by Dr Joe Dispenza
In a similar vein to the Beyond Positive Thinking book above is the book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr Joe Dispenza.
I wasn’t familiar with Dr Dispenza until I read an article where someone credited this book and the author (Dr Joe Dispenza) as being critical to their success.
According to the bio on his website “Dr Joe holds a Bachelor of Science degree and is a Doctor of Chiropractic. His post graduate training includes the fields of neuroscience and neuroplasticity, quantitative electroencephalogram (QEEG) measurements, epigenetics, mind-body medicine, and brain/heart coherence. As a researcher, lecturer, author, and corporate consultant, his interest lies in demystifying the mystical so that people have all the tools within their reach to make measurable changes in their lives.”
The book is broken down into three sections The Science of You, Your Brain and Meditation and Stepping Towards Your New Destiny. For those of you that have an understanding of how the body works (such as brain waves and touching on topics such as quantum physics) this section may be a little slow however the book builds and the third section is awesome.
Dr Dispenza goes through how you create this persona or view of yourself through your upbringing and if this isn’t working for you how to chip away at this old you and provides exercises to create the new you.
Dr Dispenza has written other books such as Evolve Your Brain and Becoming Supernatural (both of which can be purchased through his website) and has a wide range of free resources such as meditations available on his website drjoedispenza.com
A really helpful book, Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself is a must own book in the self help space.
3. “The Success Principles” – by Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer
Jack Canfield is one of the most successful authors in this field (similar to Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer or Eckhart Tolle), founding a very lucrative enterprise via the Chicken Soup for the Soul series and his Jack Canfield training and coaching program.
Jack Canfield’s career started as a high school teacher, moving in the self help area and eventually building a very successful writing career either as a solo author or co-author.
Co written by highly successful celebrity revenue strategist, The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be is a comprehensive (the biggest book on this list) that helps you understand where you are, what success is and outlines the steps to help you achieve your goals and success of where you want to get to.
The book is broken down into 6 areas with a total of 64 success principles. Part One is The Fundamentals of Success, Part Two is Transform Yourself for Success, Part Three is Build Your Success Team, Part Four is Create Successful Relationships, Part Five is Success and Money, the last part is Part Six, Success in the Digital Age
There are so many great ideas in this book, great stories of how successful people overcame the odds. I got the most out of the first two sections of the book (Fundamentals of Success and Transform Yourself for Success) however this is a must read book for anyone looking to become successful.
4. “Think and Grow Rich” – by Napoleon Hill
While some parts of the book can seem to be a little far fetched (as well as the claims that Hill never met Andrew Carnegie or some of the other people discussed in the book) there are some really good nuggets of wisdom that can be applied in the present day.
Hill’s career began after attending business school in Virginia he worked several jobs including mine management, set up several failed businesses including lumber company an automobile college and an advertising agency.
After managing to avoid various arrest warrants as a result of some of his “business activities” Hill gravitated towards writing, starting out with The Law of Success which was very successful. After some ups and downs in his professional and personal life Hill eventually wrote Think and Grow Rich in 1937.
Think and Grow Rich is broken down into 16 “laws” and is (supposedly) constructed of various conversations that Napoleon Hill had with famous successful men of his time (including Henry Ford, J.P Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and Thomas Edison) at the supposed challenge of famous industrialist Andrew Carnegie. These conversations were apparently what Hill’s previous book The Law of Success was based upon.
The book talks about a “secret” however the main takeout we got out of the book is that the power of the brain is what can drive you to your success, that you can become anything you put your mind to.
Whatever you might think of Napoleon and his colourful legacy, his book Think and Grow Rich has been part of the success of thousands of people since the book came out in 1937.
5. “The Psychology of Winning” – by Denis Waitley
Another book that doesn’t get the credit it deserves is The Psychology of Winning by Denis Waitley. Reading The Psychology of Winning the message is as strong today as it was when it was written in 1979.
Denis Waitley started his career in the US Navy, eventually moving into the self development area through his audio recordings titled The Psychology of Winning. Eventually these audios formed the basis of the book The Psychology of Winning and launched Waitley’s writing career made up of over 15 books as well as several audio programs.
The Psychology of Winning – Ten Qualities of a Total Winner is an easy to read book (smallest book on this list) that is made up of 10 areas that according to Waitley are essential qualities of a winner.
These areas listed in the book are Self-Awareness, Self Esteem, Self Control, Self-Motivation, Self-Expectancy, Self-Image, Self-Direction, Self-Discipline, Self-Dimension and Self-Projection.
A really good book, one that you will constantly go back to and will always find something new after each read through.
There are so many good books in this area that it is easy to get lost. If you are relatively new to this field then any of the books on this list are a good starting point however some of the claims these books make or the author makes are at times dubious and in a grey area however there are some great take outs that any can use for their success journey.
Remember reading any good self help book is an important part of your as a guide however the most important part of any journey is to take action.