Here are some of the best self help books of all time. I consider them a must for anyone looking to start with the foundation, the mind. Personally, I consider them the best self improvement or personal growth books because they got me going through some dark patches and changed my life in meaningful ways. Besides in hard copy, they can be found online. They’ve been around for quite sometime too so you might even be able to read these books free online.
I consider these books treasures that could be passed on to loved ones and generations. That’s why I have copies of them in my library collection. These are books anyone truly devoted to personal growth and development should have handy. Once you read books such as the ones recommended here, it is important to go back to them as often as possible to keep the ideas and themes fresh in your mind.
Practicing the content learned is critical to seeing results. This also helps in the habit formation process. Whether you are working out, constantly on the move doing something, driving by yourself, with family or friends, you can make your activity exciting by continuously enriching your mind through some of the audio versions of these books.
As A Man Thinketh
If you are starting out with self-awareness and self-help, this James Allen’s book is my favorite. There may be other books out there but this one did it for me. The mind is where the battle begins. If you can win the battle of the mind, you are off to a great start. I became aware of my thoughts, the power of my subconscious and the discipline needed to purposefully think the way I should be thinking instead of being in an autopilot state where dis-empowering thoughts run through my mind.
For new habits of constructive and empowering thoughts to be formed in your subconscious, make it a 7-day goal to deliberately stand-guard of your mind. Permit only positive and empowering thoughts. This is not as simple as it seems if you live a busy life or are not secluded or are exposed to the media. If you break this positive pattern of thoughts, recover within two minutes. If you are unable to recover and you stay there longer than two minutes, start over the 7-day challenge. The goal here is to retrain your subconscious to think in positive and empowering terms.
Awaken The Giant Within
If you snap out of it one day to realize you are not living your truest potential and you’ve decided to make the shift, Tony Robbin’s “Awaken The Giant Within” is a must read. This book reminded me of who I was all along and got me through a rough patch. “Awaken The Giant Within” is a fantastic read that will change the course of your life if you apply what you read. Any attack on one’s truest and best identity is an attack on one’s pursuit of happiness and fulfillment.
If happiness and fulfillment is important to you, make the decision and believe you can change your circumstances. You are bigger than your circumstance. Inside you lie powers that would astonish you when you unleash them. You have dormant powers that only need activated and aroused and go to action. Change your narrative and the story you keep telling yourself as to why you haven’t achieved your goals. Be obsessed to be better and to succeed. Forget about the not-so-good past or present experiences that seem to have crippled you. Be committed and apply what you’ve read for 10-days; follow the 10-day mental challenge in part 1 and the 7-day lessons in part 3 and see as the direction of your life changes and improves as you apply what you’ve read. These activities are essential to form the neuro-association necessary to create new empowering habits and thoughts of success. This book will help you take back control of your life instead of feeling helpless and leaving it to chance and being reactive to your environment or circumstances.
Carol Dweck’s Mindset is another one of my favorite go-to books when I need to be reminded to enjoy the process of doing and becoming rather than the accolades and recognition. Have you been told numerous times and for so long how smart or athletic you are, that you start to believe you are gifted and don’t need to work as hard as much? Are you a parent that boosts the self-esteem of your children when they do well instead of actually encouraging and making them fall in love with the process of becoming? Boosting a child’s self-esteem is not a bad idea but when the child starts to think she/he is so smart and doesn’t need to work as hard as much, then that’s a problem; this could also lead to the habit of entitlement, which eventually fuels frustration and disappointments. The book, Mindset helps you stay grounded. It helps you focus on being truthful to your inner-self. True learning as opposed to pretending to learn, which leads to forgetfulness. Mindset builds your truest self with real inner-confidence as opposed to confidence with shake-able egos. Do you feel easily insulted? Do you feel you must protect your territory and appear smart always? Do you feel you must have the answers to all the questions and if you don’t, your ego diminishes? Imagine understanding where you are and accepting that you need to grow and are willing to role up the sleeves to take the time to learn and grow? That’s the “growth mindset”; Here in the growth mindset, you don’t feel the need to always prove a point of how correct you are or think less of others around you. The growth mindset helps you treat yourself better instead of beating yourself up all the time. When you are nice to yourself, you will be nice to others. You won’t feel like everything has to be a contest, where you need to win. It helps you take the time to learn, enjoy the process, grow, and focus on creating and contributing rather than competing and taking away.
The Magic Of Thinking Big
David J Schwartz’s “Magic of Thinking Big” is a great book that teaches you the practical strategies, techniques and principles to achieve success and attain your big goals and dreams. In Magic of thinking big, techniques and strategies are backed up with real-life case history. The book shows you how to apply what you’ve learned. The beliefs we have is one of many things that separates those that accomplishes their goals and does that don’t. If you are looking to defeat disbelief and self-doubt and get results by believing big, this is the book to read. What’s the worst that could happen if you shoot for the stars and beyond and you miss? What if you aim too low and you miss? The reward for thinking small is mediocrity and likely failures, discontent, envy, regrets in life, which inevitably leads to an unfulfilled life.
To be ambitious is a good thing. When you think big, it drives the desire to create and contribute more so you can be better off and help yourself and others in the process. Imagine if the world you live in today didn’t have people who thought they could invent the light bulb, build jet engines and air crafts, build space ships and invent vaccines that cured diseases that killed our ancestors? To be content is not the same as thinking small. Have you been passed over by promotion multiple times because you simply do your job and nothing more than required? You don’t think it makes sense to take on more, expand your scope of work and focus on delivering more value? Do you think you are usually unlucky and are always one of the few that gets laid off when there is a head-count reduction within your company? How important is your role within your company? Are you dispensable? Then, you need to think big. Get the magic of thinking big, read and apply the techniques (eliminate those limiting beliefs) and see how your life will change.
Rich Dad Poor Dad
This is a highly recommended personal finance book to anyone serious about financial freedom. Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad is a best seller that touches on the value of thinking and learning how to grow asset, reduce debt and truly live this gift of a life we are all meant to live. What makes the book unique is that it also touched on several areas of personal growth such as mindset, thoughts, beliefs, choices and the limited way of life and train of thoughts and dogma that we tend to fall into from time to time.
This is a great read for anyone old enough to understand the value of money and life. While it’s never too late to learn, it’s one of those books young adults should read before they start making big choices in life. For everyone, this makes for a perfect birthday gift or as part of one’s go-to books on personal finance fundamentals.
Rich Dad Poor Dad provides another unique perspective on being open to new ideas that’ll make us grow through the synergies these ideas would have with what we already know. The idea that we already know so much. However, learning one more thing or one more skill could literally transform our life. For example, adding financial literacy to some of the things we’ve learned could create synergies that could lead to financial freedom through the understanding of choices we make with our ordinary income.
Earning income through passive or investment sources does not have to be a daunting or complex experience. It could be as simple as anything else but most people never do either because they don’t know what to do, or they are too afraid or because they are simply arrogant.
Without giving too much away, if you want to understand the fundamentals of personal finance and put these fundamentals into action, this book has the potential to jump start your finances and create the kind of wealth that’ll last for several generations to come because the lessons can be taught to children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Learn about what the rich teach their children about money that the poor and middle class do not.
Man’s Search for Meaning
Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, survived four concentration camps during World War II. This book touches on several points with real examples on human’s capacity to survive hardship because of the vivid imagination of a strong sense of purpose. Man’s search for meaning is not only about Viktor’s unthinkable experiences in the four camps but also about the power of the mind – that strong inner sense of purpose that pushes someone forward in life and keeps them going against the odds. Viktor witnessed as co-inmates died – most at the hands of the oppressors and the inhumane conditions and experiences at the camp. While others, through the severe experiences and sense of loss, died first mentally, emotionally and spiritually because of a less compelling future.
Viktor Frankl is known for the psychotherapeutic approach called Logotherapy – a theory deeply rooted in the belief that people who have a clear sense of purpose in life and can imagine this purpose are less likely to be depressed or hopeless. Conversely, not having clarity on this strong sense of purpose leads to the emptiness or hopelessness – termed “existential vacuum” – that human nature is driven by the search for purpose in life and the pursuit of that meaning for life. This life purpose could relate to our work or passion, love of someone or living a life of contribution.
In Man’s Search for Meaning, you’ll learn about different techniques to deal with addictions, frigidity, bad habits, hopelessness, depression and different forms of mild (neurosis) or severe (psychosis) mental disorder. You’ll learn to appreciate your life and more importantly see that it already has a meaning, which you haven’t been focusing on.
You’ll learn about attitude modification, dereflection (taking your mind off something by redirecting it to something else – for example: focusing on the strengths rather than the weaknesses preventing you from achieving a goal). You’ll learn about hyper reflection (how focusing too much on yourself rather the goal can make it less likely for you to achieve the goal), tragic optism (being optimistic amid uncertainties and highly unfavorable circumstances and how it helps move you forward), paradoxical intention (making fun of your phobia to the point where it has little or no hold on you any longer).
I am sure you’ll have different lesson (s) from this book. However, one that’s pronounced for me is about appreciating the life we have today. I can’t imagine going through what the victims of world war II went through. To go through such severe pain, suffering and great loss is unthinkable. Yet, Viktor was lucky to come out of it to tell his story and influence the world in the way this book has over several decades.
No matter what you are going through, you can still come out of it with your dignity and your head held high. Don’t let life beat you to submission. Hold your head up high. Your inner dignity should not be stripped away. Focus all your energy on the positive drivers that turn you on. Enjoy every moment like it’s a second chance you been given at life. Decide what you going to do with it today and live it up.