Our Top 14 Books For Self Development

Those that have an interest in personal development may remember a time when the self-help section of the book store was the quietest and the selection of books was minimal. Today, the self development book industry is booming with tens of thousands of different self development titles to choose from.

What exactly are Self Help Books

Self-help books certainly aren’t a magic cure that solves all of life's problems. They do however help us to learn from those before us, who have been through similar struggles, and have already learnt the lessons we strive to learn. The intention of a self development book is to help the reader by solving their own personal problems, and in turn result in self growth.

Self-help books often focus around different parts of our lives, including relationships, wealth, business, human behaviour, self-awareness, and more. 

What book should you read next

Our team has researched the many self-improvement books out there, and have compiled a list of our top choices to help you make an informed decision of which book to read next to help your self-growth. 

best self development books

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie is probably one of the most well known authors from our list. He has written several self-help books, but the stand out book from his collection is ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’. Although published in 1937, this book still holds true in today's world.

This book teaches us the skills of dealing with individuals. It teaches us that simply being nice, giving respect, and being thoughtful will go a long way in creating powerful relationships between friends, family, and colleagues. A relatively short, and very easy to read book, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ is a great introduction to the world of self-help books.

list of best self development books

2. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle, a leader in the world of spiritual teaching. A German-born author who is widely known as one of the top inspirational spiritual teachers. ‘The Power of Now’ is probably the book Eckhart Tolle is most well known for. ‘The Power of Now’ aims to teach us to release our attachment to thoughts and states of mind, helping us to be clearer in our mind and appreciate what is happening around us and to us in that moment. Arguably, this book introduced mindfulness to the masses, and helped increase awareness around this topic.

This book has inspired millions of readers to live in the now, helping them to be rid of depression and develop compassion.

list of best self development books jack canfield

3. The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield is most well known for his ever popular book, ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’. 

‘The Success Principles’ is a wonderful book that shares 65 different ways to transform your life for the better. A no nonsense book that gets right to the point, and has easy to follow techniques to apply to different parts of our lives. Jack Canfield relays fun and interesting stories that pair with the techniques. 

Many of the lessons in the book seem to be common sense, and you may feel that you already do these. However, even if this is the case, the book serves as a great reminder. Perfect for picking up every now and again to reread a few pages and remind yourself.

list of best self development books 4 hour work week

4. The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris

With the tagline ‘Escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich’ you can understand the popularity of this #1 New York Times best seller. Tim Ferris is the author of a number of books that follow a similar theme of hacking life, becoming more effective, and enjoying the fruits of your labour.

‘The Four Hour Workweek’ follows Tim Ferris and the lessons he has learnt along the way, from starting with nothing, to creating a hugely successful business and living in various exciting cities around the world. Tim Ferris is an entertaining, inspirational, and eye opening character that shows that you don’t have to opt for the norm. Throughout the book he gives us lessons and examples that will help you run your life from a laptop anywhere around the world, how to start a company in the most effective way, and how to get more for less when it comes to spending.

This book can have a profound effect on your life!

list of best self development books awaken giant within tony robbins

5. Awaken The Giant Within by Tony Robbins

This book from the Godfather of self-help, Tony Robbins, is a must for anyone interested in self-help and self-awareness. Tony Robbins may well be the most well recognised self-help teacher. 

In ‘Awaken The Giant Within’ Tony Robbins guides us through the lessons to help us take control over all areas of our life, which includes mental, emotional, physical, and financial aspects. This book is up there with the top best self help books and it is a step-by-step system to help us become masters of our own lives. Read this book, and take control now!

list of best self development books 7 habits

6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

The title of the book sums it up perfectly. This self help book looks at the most common 7 habits that highly effective and successful people use in their life. This book works as an easy to follow guide, elaborating on each of the 7 habits in great detail. While the book does of course look at the habits of successful people, it does in fact go deeper, with the key takeaway being to practice fairness and integrity in order to become successful. The classic self development book steers you away from using shortcuts, dishonesty, and get rich quick tactics.

atomic habits best self help book

7. Atomic Habits by James Clear

James Clear has exploded on to the scene of self-help and self-improvement in recent years. Now a New York Times bestselling author and regular personal development keynote speaker for some of the largest companies, James Clear is the authority figure on habits.

Compared to the other titles on this list, ‘Atomic Habits’ is a recent entry, but the popularity of this book can't be denied, with over 5 million copies sold worldwide. The book focuses on improving our habits, and to make us aware of self sabotaging habits in order to improve our lives. This is certainly the go to book for anyone wanting a comprehensive guide on habits. The exercises and examples in this book are simple to follow and can easily be applied to our own situations. 

If you want to rid yourself of unhelpful habits, and form more beneficial habits, then this book is for you.

rich dad poor dad book

8. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

An American businessman turned author, Robert Kiyosaki is author of one of the most recognised self-help books out there, Rich Dad Poor Dad.

Again this is a well known self development book, and for good reason. This book has stood the test of time, and although the book covers many financial scenarios, it is still applicable to the current economy. The book is probably the best known personal finance self help book out there, selling millions of copies over the past 20+ years it has been published. It’s key takeaway message is that you don’t need a high paying corporate job to amass wealth and make a living. This book should challenge your thoughts on money, finances, and wealth.

best self-help books for development

9. Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck by Seth Godin

Seth Godin, an American author, entrepreneur, former dot com business owner, and speaker, has written a number of best-selling self-help books including The Dip, Purple Cow, and What To Do When It's Your Turn (And It;’s Always Your Turn).

In this book, Seth Godin is to the point, honest, and asks the reader to think about the challenging questions that many would often avoid asking of themselves. The result is that you push yourself to become smarter, dream bigger, and approach marketing more honestly. As with many of Seth Godin’s collections, this book will challenge the way you think for the better.

best self-help books for development

10. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

This book from Robert Greene has sold over 1 million copies, and is one of the most recognisable self-help books around. In this self development book, Robert Green shares the many lessons that we can learn from history and those that have gone before us. The book calls on stories of Henry Kissinger, Louis XIV, Elizabeth I to name a few. 

The lessons are clear and concise. Examples of the lessons in this book are to conceal your intentions, always say less than necessary, never put too much trust in friends, never outshine the master. While some of these lessons may seem outdated for today's world, you are certain to find a number of lessons that you can easily apply to your life.

best self-help books for development

11. Eat That Frog! By Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy is a Canadian-American motivational speaker and author. Eat That Frog! is a favourite self-help book for anyone who has tried to improve their productivity and reduce procrastination. The caption on the cover reads ‘21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time’, and that is exactly what this relatively short book delivers. Don’t read this book expecting to go deeper into the world of procrastination and why individuals do this.

Brian Tracy gives us clear lessons and examples on how to improve our productivity and efficiency. The key takeaway from ‘Eat That Frog!’ is to prioritise your daily tasks in order of importance with a simplistic coding system, being aware that completing your daily list is not always the priority. 

best self-help books for development

12. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill is an American self-help author, who is most well known for this book, ‘Think and Grow Rich’. This book deserves its place in our list with it being in the 10 best-selling self-help books of all time. Quite the accomplishment! 

The book itself was first published in 1937, so the fact that it is still passed around as a top self-help book is testament to the information inside it. While the book title prominently features the word rich, it does in fact cover much more than improving your financial wealth. The book covers lessons on making decisions, how to plan effectively, mental strength, and persistence. 

best self-help books for development

13. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli psychologist economist and is well known for his work on psychology of judgement and decision-making, not to mention his work on behavioural economics. The latter won Daniel Kahneman the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

In ‘Thinking, Fast and Slow’, the author explains that our thinking processes can be split in to two systems; fast and slow. His theory is that the fast system works instantly and works on hardwired instincts. The slow system takes more effort to think of, but is more deliberate, logical, and more thought out. The book uses numerous examples where this theory can be applied, and how we can apply it to our lives. 


14. Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell

An American author, as well as a pastor, who is known for his many books that focus on the power of leadership. The book focuses on what we can learn from mistakes in order for us to succeed, with the idea that the more you fail the closer you get to reaching your goals. A book that reminds us of the importance of persistence and drive.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

Shop now

Mål Paper also takes inspiration from the Scandinavian minimalist and clutter-free way of living.

As a result, we create simplistic and effective productivity tools that help you to focus on your wellness, fulfilment and potential.