7 must-read personal development books
Mindset & Personal growth

7 must-read personal development books (that will change your life)

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In this post, I’ll share my 7 must-read personal development books that have had a huge impact on my life and hopefully on yours too!

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I’ve always been interested in personal development books. They have helped me better understand who I am, overcome challenges in my life, and given me a positive outlook on the world.

It wasn’t always easy and I’ve had to take a hard look at my habits and beliefs to move forward. But that’s the point, isn’t it?

So if you’re looking to move towards your dreams and goals, then these books should help!

Here is my list of the 7 must-read personal development books (in no particular order)

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Think and grow rich, by Napoleon hill

Think and grow rich was written in 1937 and the concepts are just as valid today as they were 80 years ago! Don’t be fooled by the title and think that it’s all about money. While it covers financial success, it’s about so much more than that.

Napoleon Hill studied the habits of several millionaires (Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and others) to understand how their success came about. From his research, he came up with a set of principles that anyone can apply to achieve success.

My takeaway: Your thoughts shape your reality; how you think determines your success. If you believe you will be successful, then you’ll be successful.

“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” ― Napoleon Hill

The Richest man in Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon is all about saving and investing money and it’s one of my favorite personal finance books. It was also written over 80 years ago but the principles taught in this book are just as true today as they were then. It’s a short, easy read and it’s perfect for those who are starting their financial education. 

It’s set in ancient times, the main character is on a journey to wealth and asks a rich merchant to be his mentor. He goes from a poor scribe to the richest man in Babylon by following 7 simple rules of money.

My takeaway: set aside 10% of your income, invest the money you save and learn as much as you can.

“Wealth, like a tree, grows from a tiny seed. The first copper you save is the seed from which your tree of wealth shall grow. The sooner you plant that seed the sooner shall the tree grow. And the more faithfully you nourish and water that tree with consistent savings, the sooner may you bask in contentment beneath its shade.” ― George S. Clason

The four agreements

I have read this book multiple times and each time I discover something new. It’s propbably my favorite one in this list!

Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, Miguel Ruiz presents 4 agreements we must make with ourselves to live a fuller, freer life: Be Impeccable With Your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions, and Always Do Your Best.

It’s short, it’s simple but so powerful. 

My takeaway: Following these simple 4 agreements enables you to take your life back. “Don’t take anything personally” is the one I need to work on the most! 

“Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” ― Don Miguel Ruiz

7 habits of highly effective people

Are you looking to be an effective leader and communicator? Then this book is for you! Covey covers the skills you need to work on to be successful, based on 7 habits: Be Proactive, Begin with the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win/Win, Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood, Synergize, Sharpen the Saw.

The principles are simple to read but no so simple to implement! They require you to shift your perceptions of yourself and the world before being able to move forward.

This book is full of wisdom and practical tools to change and challenge yourself to be more effective and successful.

My takeaway: To be successful, your actions need to be aligned with your values and ethics.

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” ― Stephen Covey

Breaking the habit of being yourself

You can create your life. You are not doomed by your genes. You are not hardwired to be a certain way for your whole life. These are the powerful messages in Dr Joe Dispenza’s book, breaking the habit of being yourself. Based on neuroscience, quantum physics, biology, and genetics, he explores the body’s ability to change and show you what you are truly capable of. This is a great book to read to create lasting change and a chance to reinvent yourself.

My takeaway: Don’t let your genetics dictate how your life unfolds. You are capable of being whoever you want to be.

“We cannot create a new future, by holding on to the emotions of the past.” – Joe Dispenza

the 5 am club

The 5 am Club is all about how the way you start your morning shapes how your day unfolds and ultimately how successful you are in life. 

The main idea is to wake up at 5 am and break up your morning routine into 3 20-minute chunks focused on movement, reflection, and development

My takeaway: Wake up early and use the extra time to start your day with intention and purpose. 

It’s a personal development book written as a novel and I have to say that I wasn’t enthralled with the storyline itself but I liked the underlying ideas and concepts. I think this book would have had more impact if it had been written as a shorter self-help book instead of a fiction novel. I’m including it in this list because it did make me take a hard look at my morning routine and I made big changes in the way I start my day.

“Take excellent care of the front end of your day, and the rest of your day will pretty much take care of itself. Own your morning. Elevate your life.” ― Robin Sharma

Atomic habits

The one thing successful people have in common is good habits. But how do let go have harmful habits and implement good ones? In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear explains practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

My takeaway: Having good habits is essential to reach your goals and make your dreams come true. You don’t need to alter your whole life, make small improvements every day and they will compound over time.

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.” ― James Clear

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Reading personal development books is wonderful and is a big part of your self-growth journey. However, knowledge isn’t power, it’s potential power. It becomes power when you put in practice what you’ve learned.

Once you finish your book, take action, and implement some of the methods, tools, or ideas you’ve learned. When you get to a chapter with practical exercises, don’t skip over them! Do the work, apply the principles, and see how you grow and how your world-view changes. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

So pick the ones that interest you and start reading! Your journey begins now.

Which of these have you read and what did you think? What books are you your list? Let me know in the comments so that I can add them to my 2020 reading list!

Till next time,

XO, Calie

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38 thoughts on “7 must-read personal development books (that will change your life)”

    1. All of these books are available on Amazon or as an audiobook! I read them on my iPad. I’m sure you’ll enjoy them as much as I did!

  1. Thanks for the recommendation. I am going to try to focus on my personal development. It’s nice to see that I’ve already read some of the books in your list, would definitely try to read the rest.

  2. Well just loved the mentioned books these seems to be very interesting and motivating to read…I haven’t read any of them yet but wanna read especially that Breaking The Habit of Being Yourself..this looks much amazing..Thanks for sharing the reviews…

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this! I plan on reading more books this year so glad I found this blog. My sister has read the rich man of Babylon and it’s on my next to read list.

    I definitely agree with knowledge practiced and applied to ones life is the real power!

    1. Yes! Knowledge is only power if you apply it! I’m happy you enjoyed this list and I hope you enjoy these books as much as I did!

  4. Thank you for the recommendation! I was looking to read the first one for so long, now that you recommend it I think I will buy it!

    1. I read this book a couple of times and my boyfriend is currently listening to the audiobook. We’ve both enjoyed it and I hope you do too!

    1. The personal development books are all about personal growth and self-discovery and I feel it’s so important to get to know yourself better!

  5. This is a great list! I have only read #4, so it looks like my reading list just grew by 6 more books. These all sound like important and thought-provoking books, but as a psychologist in my previous career, I am especially interested in #5.

    1. Breaking the Habit of being yourself is a wonderful book. I really like the work done by Dr Joe Dispenza so I recommend you go for it and read this book! I have a BS in Psychology but am now an HR Director. Psychology has always been something I’m extremely interested in!

  6. This is a great article – thank you for these recommendations. I wish I could be a 5am riser just like one of these book recommendations!

    1. 5 am is still too early for me but I get up at 5:45 and it gives me the time I need to work on this blog since I do work a regular 9-5 job. So happy you liked it!

    1. It’s a great book! Not easy to implement everything but it’s a game-changer, especially when juggling between my 9-5 job and this blog!!

    2. I think I need to read the Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. Most of my friends are telling me to go out of my comfort zone. That I need to show others / the world of what I’m capable of. But being an introvert, I tend to keep them by myself. Thanks for this list!

  7. Amazing! Thank you for the recommendations. I’m always in search for more self work reading so am adding these to the list. I read think and grow rich in college and it was a game changer for me. What’s next on your reading list?

    1. There are so many on my reading list it’s crazy! Here are my next two: You Are A Badass, by Jen Sincero and The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown
      I also really liked Think and Grow Rich (my boyfriend is currently listening to the audio book!)

    1. I have read some of these personal development books multiple times and I always get something out of them. I hope they do the same for you!

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