New Years Resolutions.
They’re like…well you know. Everybody’s got one.
They are the shining hope of a new year and offer the promise of completely transforming you and your life into the best versions possible.
But unfortunately, there is a dark side to these seemingly wonderful beginning of the year life commitments.
90% of you will fail and never make your resolution happen and stick.
It’s not that you don’t have hope, that you don’t want to change really badly, or that you’re lazy or anything like that. The simple truth of the matter is most people are not well equipped with the tools and mental conditioning necessary to set, maintain, and achieve success with long-term personal growth goals. That is why so many resolutions fail.
These resolution journeys typically look the same (ask yourself if this sounds familiar):
- Person gets fed up with problem area
- Person decides that [insert current year here] will be “the last year I ever [insert problem area]!”
- Person is jacked.
- New year comes around and person begins their epic journey (think any fitness gym on Jan. 1st)
- A week and a half goes by, and life starts to get in their ear… “Hey, you’re doing so great. You deserve [insert temptation that would devastate all progress]. It will only be this once. You earned it.”
- Progress halts and the plan slowly starts to degrade because life is difficult.
- Person never recovers, feels discouraged, and falls back into old habits.
You’ve likely seen that before. Probably in your own life.
But there is a way to achieve any resolution you’d like, and not become a resolution failure statistic. The answer is in these ancient magical texts.
Okay, they aren’t ancient. However, they are pretty magical, and reading them will definitely help you succeed. Here is a list of the top 10 self-improvement books to get your butt in gear and help you become the person you’ve always wanted to be.
10 Best Self-Improvement Books
There are some “self-improvement” or “personal development” books that aren’t worth your time. They might make you temporarily feel better about yourself, inspire you for a second, or give you a sense of fleeting hope.
But what they won’t do is help you actually make lasting change. They don’t give you the tools or real techniques to achieve transformation. In actuality, they don’t accomplish their promised effect.
These do. In fact, they overdeliver. Let’s get to it.
The 4 – Hour Workweek – Tim Ferriss
Ferriss’ goal with this book is to completely rewire your brain in terms of how you think you’re supposed to live, how to prioritize responsibilities, achievement, and realizing your potential. But the best part about his approach to these instructions is the sheer practicality of the book.
Each chapter involves a reflection activity where he has you physically journal, reflect, and then go out and perform the activities. These are techniques he has learned and proved in his own life, and that other highly successful people have used and replicated in their own lives. So you can trust that they will be effective.
The fact of the matter is that this book genuinely changes lives for the better. All you have to do is read all of it and do what it says.
7 Habits Of Highly Effective People – Steven Covey
This highlights the importance of 7 key concepts of effectiveness. Or as Covey refers to them, “principles”. He claims that everyone has the ability to create these principles, and instructs the reader how to maximize your life’s potential while putting them into practice.
Habits are the things we do over and over again in our lives, that after being established, are very hard to break. These can be helpful and beneficial to our live,s or very bad for us. For example, exercising regularly versus smoking. Covey gives a blueprint of the proven habits that will allow you to take your life to its next level.
All that’s stopping you is reading them and building the habits (which he helps teach you how to do).
Who Moved My Cheese? – Spencer Johnson
At first glance, the usefulness of this book might be in question. But do not let it’s lack of length fool you. This book uses the power of storytelling and an abstract concept to cement very powerful lessons into your mind. It deals with the struggle of getting too comfortable in life, and the fear of change. Both of which are extremely common traits that people have.
The story causes you to reflect on your life in each chapter, consider how you’re living, and if what you’re doing is really the best option, or if it simply FEELS like the best option. By the end, you will have a renewed perspective on challenges when they arise in your life, and your mentality will be completely switched for the better and geared towards taking on those challenges and making the most out of them every time.
It might be the shortest yet most helpful read around.
How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
If you’re wondering why you’re struggling so much in your day to day life, at work, or leverage relationships with those around you, your personality and behavior could be the issue. The old adage “it’s not what you know, but who you know” holds true more often than not.
Getting ahead can be done in a vacuum, but using the help, support, and resources of others can help expedite the process monumentally. In this book, Carnegie outlines what makes someone have a truly magnetic personality, how to make others join you in your journey to success, what great leadership looks like, and ultimately how to be a genuinely pleasant person as well.
These skills that are covered and taught in the book might seem like a lot of fluff at first. But once you read the book, you will quickly realize how these skills will translate into very real and immediate results when it comes to accomplishing any goal.
The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
Despite being a very captivating read thanks to Rubin’s light but deeply introspective voice, one of the book’s strengths is the relatability it presents.
The takeaways can be hard for some to swallow because they require a hard look at your own habits and mind. But the lessons are also easy to approach, and once the meaning to behind them is understood, very easy to implement. It is as helpful as it is encouraging, and it is almost impossible to not be motivated about achieving a more fulfilling life after this read.
Blink – Malcolm Gladwell
In Blink, Gladwell explores the idea of snap decisions that rely on our subconscious, what bias’ humans inherently have, and when relying on our intuition is a good thing versus bad. The takeaway from this fascinating read is to better understand and question your own preconceived biases that you have about yourself and the world around you.
Once you understand why you feel the way that you do, or react in certain ways to external stimuli in your environment, you can begin to make changes for the better. Having control of (through understanding) your thought process will allow you to alter it to your benefit. Also, learning when to shut your brain off and simply take action is another invaluable lesson this book illustrates just as firmly.
The Code To An Extraordinary Mind – Vishen Lakhiani
None of his writing aims to persuade you to think in any one certain way, the point is simply to get you to understand that all of what you have been taught to believe isn’t correct. Throughout the read, you will gain powerful insights into how your own mind functions, and learn practical techniques while hearing inspiring anecdotes from the author himself.
This book is less of an “inspirational” novel, so much as it is a mind map for restructuring your thought and learning how to build a life that is truly fulfilling and satisfying. That’s something everyone should strive for.
The Little Book Of Talent – Daniel Coyle
Only four words are required to get an idea of what this book is: small, but life changing. The Little Book Of Talent is essentially a manual, or framework for how to practice, study, and develop your skills more effectively in life.
Coyle has been all around the world, interviewing the world’s most productive, talented, and efficient athletes, musicians, teachers, and more, with one goal in mind. To find out how they train. He has taken the time to boil all of these powerful insights and lessons into this little book.
Due to the book’s size, every section is incredibly actionable and gives specific solutions to problems that everyone faces on their journey to mastering a new challenge. Get ready to be more productive than ever before.
The Power Of Positive Thinking – Vincent Peale
It isn’t simply a self-help book that states that the world will be amazing if you think it is either. Where this book shines is in the practical implementation and real world examples of how optimism, positivity, hopeful expectations have a snowball effect to everything around you.
It offers a blueprint towards discovering and creating happiness and favorable outcomes in life despite obstacles and unforeseen hardships. Peale argues (very convincingly) that the key to a better life starts and ends with the mind.
Habit Stacking – Steve Scott
Most people feel like there simply isn’t enough time in the day, or that achieving lasting change or success with a dream is much too hard. But really, humans prioritize what they deem to be most important, and create habits around those desires or urges.
So perhaps there actually is enough time, and with the correct habits in place, any goal is actually very attainable. That is exactly what habit stacking conveys in this brilliantly simple and straight forward book. The key takeaway is that we already have formed habits, which are hard to break.
So instead of stressing over setting and keeping lofty goals and time commitments you should start small. Exercise once a week, 10 minutes at a time until that feels natural and part of your new routine, then scale and repeat. The book then goes beyond the simple explanation of this concept and offers 97 extremely attainable habits that will help change your habits, and your life for the better.
You will be downright surprised at how quickly you will be able to make the changes you’ve always wanted after this read.
And there you have it, the top 10 self-improvement books of all time. Let us know what you thought about the list in the comments, or how you felt about the books after reading them.
*Full Disclosure: This post does contain affiliate links which I do make a small commission on if the item is purchased. This helps keep my head above water and give me time to work on awesome content for you all. Also, I have read all but three of these and would personally recommend them to anyone. That’s why I did. Good luck on your journey!