14 Must-Read Personal Growth Books That Could Change Your Life

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One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day

Happiness is not something that simply happens. It is a process, it is the result of a sum of factors, it is the outcome of certain actions and thoughts. So it is basically the result of personal effort that involves the non-physical and physical. You are surely aware of the notion that if you have a happy mind and a happy body then you have a happy life.Well since it all starts with having a happy mind, one of the easiest and quickest ways there are in getting there is through reading. Reading in itself has been shown to be able to reduce stress by up to 68% (considering you won’t pick a book that upsets you) and it’s considered quicker and more efficient at doing so than other relaxation methods such as listening to music or drinking hot tea for example. Reading is also great for boosting you memory, improving your vocabulary and essentially your communication skills and emotional intelligence.

If you combine this stress relieving habit with literature on positive thinking, then I think you get a great combination which can make you happier and with the potential of changing your life for the better.

The literature on positive thinking is very vast and diverse no doubt, and by diverse I mean books of real substance and books that are superficial. This following lists tries to avoid the superficial ones and suggest quality works regarded as among the best in the positive thinking, personal growth and productivity arena.

(for those finding various excuses for not reading or who are thinking about not having enough time for it, here is a little piece that might convince you to see things differently.)

1 - The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

A book that was translated in more than 30 foreign languages that will most likely change your life.

As the title suggests, the message behind this book is living in the now which is described as a way of reaching happiness, but as you’ll read it you’ll realize that you are not simply extracting information, but actually freeing yourself from pain and delusion.

Tolle sends his message in a clear and gentle way, but don’t get me wrong, even thought it may seem like alight read, mainly due to Tolle’s ability of translating complex concepts into concrete language, you will need to take breaks while reading it, to allow the inspiration to sink in.

The "The Power of Now" is number one on this list because I see it as a great choice if you haven't read any other book in the spiritual/personal growth category in the past. As a second suggestion for those who have just started interacting with the spiritual/personal field, I would mention "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz. Or another great book by Eckhart Tolle called  "A New Earth"

2 - The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy

We already have scientific proof on how your mind can influence your body right down to the DNA level. Well this book is a reinforcement of that and more, offering many examples of people who used the power of their mind to cure seemingly incurable illnesses, find various solutions to various problems, acquire success, etc. The author himself is an example, as he healed himself from a painful skin condition. The idea is this,command your subconscious and your possibilities will become infinite and limitless.

3 - Think and Grow Rich! By Napoleon Hill

Another life changing book if you want success and you are ready for it. A book which stands at the foundation of modern motivation, and even thought its title might get you thinking it is only about creating wealth, it is actually more about creating a rich life and the importance of having a purpose and committing to it.

Through this book, which is based on hundreds of interviews of super successful people such as Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Alexander Graham Bell, John D. Rockefeller, George Eastman,interviews which were conducted over the course of 20 years, you will also understand the importance of having "a mastermind alliance" and setting clear goals, because as the author himself says : "Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

4 - The Science of Getting Rich The Original Classic (Capstone Classics)

You might get bored of me saying this, but this is yet another book that can have a profound impact on you, and in this particular case we are definitely talking about your wealth. It is a great book that presents concepts that will transform your mental approach to money and will show you exactly how to align your thoughts so you can have the wonderful life you were created for.

This book had a big influence on the book and movie "The Secret".

5 - How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

A book that holds timeless advice in blueprint form on exactly what the title says. The thing about the teachings in it, is that they can be applied in other areas of life as well, so it is not only about turning just about anyone into a friend. It can also be about you turning into a good sales man, a great partner in your relationship, about building great coworker relationships, etc.

Warren Buffet said Dale Carnegie’s book changed his life, and if you give this book a read you will probably understand why.

6 - The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

It is sometimes hard to explain why a book is great, and this is one of those cases. What I can say is that the basic concept behind Peale’s work is this: positive thinking creates a positive life. Don’t be inclinded to think this is a pop-psychological book filled with mental techniques, because you’ll be mistaking. The book contains a definite religious tone throughout and it tells you what you need to do to become better. It is inspirational and will give you a spiritual uplift. 

7 - The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck

This book witch opens up with a rather pessimistic message, "Life is difficult", is actually like a manual for life in which Scott Peck gently guides the reader through the hard and often painful process of change toward a higher level of self-understanding.

Translated into more than 23 languages and with over 7 million copies sold, "The Road Less Traveled", is divided into 4sections (discipline, love, religion and faith) and is like a good psychotherapist that will lead you to self discovery.

8 - Three Magic Words by Uell S. Andersen

Some say the philosophy inside U.S. Anderson's book represents the pinnacle in metaphysical studies.Others say that it is an all time classic that will surely influence your spiritual, mental as well as your financial growth. Just like with any book,it will be eye opening for some and not so much, or not at all to all the others.

What you should know is that before you dive in U.S. Anderson’s series of essays, you need to have an open mind.

9 - Tao Te Ching- Lao Tzu, A Translation by Dennis Waller

This is a modern interpretation of the original Tao Te Ching, a Chinese text written in the 6th century BC, that is considered to be among the most profound philosophical texts ever written on the nature of human existence.

The Tao Te Ching or the Great Way has been translated into thousands of versions, in virtually every language, and is actually the second most translated book in the world after the Christian Bible.

The work of Lao Tzu (whose name translates as The Old Master) contains 81verses that provide

intuitive insight into the art of living an authentic life and it basically helps you achieve a state where you are in tune with nature and the issues of life become irrelevant.

10 - Change Your Thoughts - Change Your Life by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

This particular book is a detailed interpretation of the "Tao The Ching" that was mentioned above, containing 81distinct essays representing Wayne Dyer’s take on the 81 verses of the Tao.

Wayne Dayer, and internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development has spent one year reading, researching, meditating and practicing on Lao-Tzu’s messages, and then wrote down these essays as he felt Lao Tzu wanted you to know them.

As the author advices, this book should be read slowly, perhaps on essay a day.

11 - The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

A book that might tell you very few things that you did not already know, especially if you have already read some of the titles mentioned above, like Napoleon Hill's "Think and grow rich" or Dale Carnegie’s "How to Win Friends & Influence People" for example.

What this book will do better than others in its genre however is provide the motivational power to take action. It will give you that extra nudge to get you going again when things aren’t exactly flowing the way you would like them to. And as you will find out, it does so in a very honest and simplistic way, but overall very effective.

12 – As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

Even though this book sends out a message pretty similar to what other titles that were mentioned here do, it is still definitely worth mentioning on this list. Just like others have said, it is a short,brilliant meditation that acts like an old friend that you keep returning to from time to time, a friend who will remind you that your life is what you make it.

Perhaps the key takeaway from James Allen’s work is this: "Until thought is linked with purpose there is no intelligent accomplishment".

13 - The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama

If there is something more important than finding happiness to you, then you shouldn't read this book, but I bet there isn't :)

Also think about this for a moment: this is a book containing material from the Dalai Lama, a man who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, a man who is always seen laughing or at least smiling wherever he is, a man who makes everyone else around him feel like smiling.Wouldn’t you be curious about what he has to say on the matter of happiness,something which he believes is behind "the very motion of our life"?

14 - Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Being vulnerable requires an open heart plus the commitment to go beyond imperfection and always try, even if you fail. That is what Brown encourages in her work,because as she suggests, that is the clearest path towards courage, engagement,and meaningful connection.

The book is based on 12 years of research and will most likely challenge quite a few things you think you know about vulnerability.

And after all "It is better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all" right?


If you have your own recommendations as far as positive thinking books that influenced your life, please mention them in the commenting section below.