“The wise man reads both books and life itself.” ~ Lin Yutang
I often get asked which self help books I’d recommend to read. I think everybody has a book or two that had a profound influence on his/her way of life. Some books were a great help on the path of personal growth and some were even life-changing. I personally read hundreds of self help books in the past and this is my list of 10 books I would recommend to everybody without a second thought. So here is my personal Top 10 list of the best self help books in reverse order…
The Top 10 Self Help Books:
#10 The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
A really new kind of thinking about where you invest your time and what is the most effective way to do it. Even if you don’t manage to only work for 4 hours a week (who really wants that anyway?), the ideas from Tim Ferris could make it possible. → Get The 4 Hour Workweek on Amazon
#9 Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
One of the best productivity books. It is a complete system for using your time most efficiently and especially there where it matters most for you. → Get Getting Things Done on Amazon
#8 The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama
A great and complete guide to happiness in life by The Dalai Lama (← my review). It focusses on worldly factors like wealth and satisfaction as well as spiritual parts. → Get The Art of Happiness on Amazon
#7 Good To Great by Jim Collins
Another success book and especially one if you want to build a great business. I really enjoyed this book which is based on examining companies that made it from decent to really outstanding. → Get Good to Great on Amazon
#6 The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
This is about “A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth”. → Get The Road Less Traveled on Amazon
#5 Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. → Get Man's Search for Meaning on Amazon
#4 How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
For more than sixty years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives. → Get How to Win Friends and Influence People on Amazon
The Top 3 Self Help Books:
#3 Think and Grow Rich
by Napoleon Hill
Napolean Hill’s classic book from 1930 is of course a book about money. But at it’s core it’s also a personal developmment book that can help you to develop a mindset of success and personal achievement.
What you will learn: While the title says that the goal is to become rich, it actually teaches a lot about what is now known as The Law of Attraction: thoughts become things. What and how you think continiously is what you draw into your life. The book is based on 500 interviews of super-successful people of that time.
Why I recommend it: Whether we like it or not, money is an important part in our life. It helps to get educated in that area and build a mindset so that money is not a limiting factor in our life. For me this book opened a lot of new thinking strategies, which not only helped in reaching my financial freedom.
#2 The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People
by Stephen R. Covey
“The 7 Habits” is an outstanding book to build positive habits that really improve your life. It is like a framework for success and for building character and integrity, with Stephen Covey being the exceptional personality who really walked his talk.
What you will learn: The book has two parts: private victory and public victory. In the first part, the private victory of the 7 Habits, you’ll learn the 3 habits to personal effectiveness: Proactivity, Begin with the end in mind, First things first.
In the second part, the public victory, you’ll learn the qualities to be effective with other people: Think win-win, Understanding others, Synergize. The last of the 7 habits is Personal Renewal. You also learn a lot about personal vision, goals, time-management and communication.
Why I recommend it: The 7 Habits are not just 7 random tips to improve your life, it is a complete system reduced to the essence of effectiveness. It comes from deep understanding and from the willingness to believe and seek the good in everyone and everything. It is a source to start with the man in the mirror and then to go on to build a better world.
#1 The Power of Now
by Eckhart Tolle
If I could recommend only one self help book, The Power of Now would be it. This is one of those life-changing books that can turn your world upside down.
What you will learn: The Power of Now is really a spiritual book. If you let it, it can connect you with yourself beyond your name, character, roles or body. You will learn to feel and trust your deeper sense of self again. Most importantly if helps you to be more alive and to center your consciousness in the present moment – The Now. The subtitle is “A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” and that’s what is really all about. The first chapter teaches you that “You Are Not Your Mind”. And this is also the credo in order to really understand the book, which contains not just intellectual knowledge but also real transformational power.
Why I recommend it: The Power of Now had a huge positive impact on my life. While I was always drawn to spiritual books seeking for the truth of what is, I never glimpsed the actual experience of spirituality. Spiritual awakening, as Eckhart Tolle writes himself in the book, is not some super-human accomplishment but simple the felt oneness with being. Unfortunately our own ego and mind chatter gets in our way in order to really feel this oneness. The present moment, or The Now as Tolle calls it, is the entry point into this realization. Oprah Winfrey recommended the book as well.
If you haven’t read The Power of Now yet, start with the first chapter here on this site and dive into this life changing book from Eckhart Tolle. You can read my in-depth Review of The Power of Now here.
Those were my 10 recommendations for self help books. I would love to hear in the comments which books you would recommend and which had a positive influence on your life!