As well as being passionate about crystals, I’m a massive fan of books – particularly books about self-help and personal development. Always have been! In fact my journey into energy and crystal healing work would probably never have begun without some of the books on this list.
Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was one of the first personal development books I read, and I remember it opened my eyes to a whole new genre of learning, and thinking. At times over the last couple of decades, I feel like I’ve owned or read every book in the self-help section of the local book shop. Can you relate??
This post outlines 21 books that had a massive impact on my life. And while many of them have been around for at least 20 years (if not longer), I have kept the hard copies of these books because I still delve into them from time time.
“Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.” ~ Abigail Adams
I’m also a massive fan of lifelong learning and personal development. Dan Miller, founder of the bestselling book 48 Days to the Work You Love, said in his podcast of the same name, that you should spend at least 3% of your income each year on developing yourself. Whether you educate yourself through books, courses, workshops, coaching or other self-directed learning, my personal view is that the day you stop learning is the you die.
In my opinion, the more you read, the more you can draw from different perspectives.The more you read, the more confident you become. And the more you read, the more knowledge you gain and value you create in yourself.
My goal these days is to read one book a month, and I now consume many of my books through an audio book services like audible.com. I find audio books to be great way of consuming content while you’re on the move.
And so here’s my list of 21 books – a mix of fiction and non-fiction books covering a broad range of areas.
Awaken the Giant Within, by Anthony Robbins, is one of the first and most influential personal development books I ever read. Reading this book started me on a long journey of learning, and a pursuit of self improvement.It’s truly one one of the classics in the genre of personal development. Robbins discusses the power of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and offers simple strategies for changing habits and behaviours, that can profoundly change your attitude and set you on the path to success. I loved all of Anthony Robbins’ books and audio programs and still am inspired by his material today.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie was first published in 1937, yet it remains a best-seller today. The book is as relevant today as when it was first published, because it describes the universal truths about human nature and relationships. Whether you are in a formal leadership role or are seeking to improve your ability to influence anyone (in an authentic, non-manipulative way), this book guides you on how to behave in a way that will win people over. Over 15 millions copies of this book have been sold to date. If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend you do!
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey is based on the premise that our character is a composite of our habits. This book has the power to fundamentally shape your personal and interpersonal effectiveness, relationships and outlook on life. I remember having many a-ha moments when I first read this more than 20 years ago. With over 10 million copies sold, this book is worth studying thoroughly and really questioning how it relates to your life.
First Things First by Stephen R. Covey followed on from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, challenging readers to think about time management in a new way. First Things First focuses not on managing time so much as managing relationships, result and doing the things that matter most. Reading this book in my early 20’s really helped me to think how I wanted the rest of my life to look, and how to work towards creating it. “First Things First provides you with a compass, because where you’re headed is more important than how fast you’re going.”
The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo is one of my all time favourite books. After I read this famous fable, I promptly read all of Coehlo’s books and loved them all. The Alchemist is a story about following your dreams and is told though the eyes of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy. Through Santiago’s journey, we too learn to listen to our heart’s true desires, and become more aware of the many signs along our own path. If you are currently feeling stuck or unfulfilled in your life, or have a niggling suspicion that there is something more out there for you, you’ll love this book!
The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman truly is a book that can change lives. I was given the book in 1988 and was drawn in to the blend of autobiographical fact and narrative fiction, in which a young athlete finds himself on a quest for happiness beyond the usual trimmings of fame and fortune. I have read this and all of Millman’s books many times over. When reading The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, you can’t help but reflect on your life’s own meaning and purpose, and your view of happiness.
Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior is the second book in Dan Millman’s bestselling Peaceful Warrior series. Again we are drawn into the fictional world of the character Dan Millman, and his guide, Socrates. Dan is sent out into the world to apply his new-found knowledge, and quest for wisdom, clarity and meaning. This books draws on ancient wisdom and universal truths, and reminds us all that we have to explore our own sacred journey. This book helps to refocus on the bigger picture of your life, and ultimately remind you that life is an adventure.
“Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear.” ~ Dan Millman
I’m a huge fan of Dan Millman, and love his non-fiction books as much as his fiction books. Everyday Enlightenment is another fantastic personal development book, offering a 12-step framework for personal growth. It helps you to address every every area of life, covering topics such as your body, mind and emotions, intuition, sexuality, fears, dreams and passions. Millman helps readers to discover their true worth and reconnect with their will.
Following from his success with the Peaceful Warrior series, Dan Millman’s The Life You Were Born to Live is an excellent guide to finding your life purpose. Millman’s Life Purpose System outlines a modern method of personal growth based on ancient wisdom. I have read this book many times overall, and it has been particularly helpful before and during transitions in my life. Learn more about the 37 paths of life, how to determine your life path and those of the people around you, and how to live in harmony with the cycles of life.
I only discovered The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte last year. I actually bought the audiobook and it was a great way of consuming this book with LaPorte as narrator. This is a book about goal setting with a difference – it’s all about identifying your core desired feelings for every area of your life, and then setting goals that align with those core desired feelings. I have read a lot of books about goal setting, and The Desire Map resonated with me more than almost any of them. If you’re looking to overhaul your life and identify what really matters most to you, you’ll love this book!
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron was a transformational book early in my career. For anyone struggling with writing or creativity, this book provides a thorough 12-week program which not only gets you writing every day, but exercises and nourishes your creative self. It provides tools to combat the many common fears and emotions we have about writing and creativity, and offers gentle support and guidance. The book maintains that it is never too late to start fulfilling your dreams.
Goddesses in Everywoman by Jean Shinoda Bolen was actually recommended to me in a writing class about how to create believable characters. The book outlines seven archetypical goddesses to describe patterns and personality traits of women. One of the celebrated works on female psychology, the book is both an interesting read about Greek mythology and also offers practical advice for women wanting to better understand themselves and those around them.
I read Introducing NLP: Psychological Skills for Understanding and Influencing People (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) by Joseph O’Connor and John Seymour after learning about NLP in several Anthony Robbins books. This book provides a helpful overview of the fascinating subject that is human behaviour. It offers strategies for creating rapport with people, influencing others, how to identify and achieve the results you really want (in any area of your life), accelerated learning strategies and more.
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell, was recommended to me by a former manager. The book explains why some people achieve extraordinary success and others don’t. Gladwell discusses the 10,000 hour rule of mastery and analyses the patterns of successful people around the world. He also investigates the idea of “demographic luck” and how being born in particular decades can dramatically influence your ability to succeed. It’s an interesting read, relevant for anyone who is seeking to understand success.
The Go Getter was recommended to me by the CEO of a company I once worked for. He gave all of his new direct reports the challenge of finding the book (which used to be quite challenging before online book stores became widespread) and asked them to report back about the key message of the book. The Go Getter by Peter Kyne, was published in 1921, but remains relevant for anyone wishing to stand out in their career and distinguish themselves as a true “go getter”. It’s a short but powerful read about going above and beyond the call of duty in any situation.
Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich is another business classic, first published in 1937. Hill interviewed more than 500 of the most affluent men and women of his time, uncovering their secrets to amassing great wealth. He distilled all of this wisdom into a thirteen-step process for success The book offers practical advice and really makes you think about your goals, what you want from your life, and how to go about making it happen.
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Richard Kiyosaki is one of the world’s leading personal finance books. Kiyosaki’s book grew from his experiences with his real father (the poor father) and the father of his friend (the rich Dad). The book addresses how the two Dads viewed and used money, and how we form our attitudes about money. Our relationship with money has a major impact of our chances of achieving financial success. I remember being blown away when I first read this book 20-something years ago! I’m sure you’ll find invaluable information in it too.
The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne generated much controversy when first released, with nay-sayers saying that there was no scientific basis for the Law of Attraction and that it was all psycho-babble. But millions of readers, including me, found value in the book, which shows how you can use the power of your mind and energy to manifest desired things into your life. Take what you will from this book – readers are divided about its value, but I thought it was a great read.
I love a good autobiography, and Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson is up there with the best. In this book, the serial entrepreneur talks about his business ventures, personal achievements and amazing global adventures. The book provides an honest (and sometimes shocking) glimpse into Branson’s personal and professional life. There are some lessons about business throughout the book, but the key takeaway is about taking life with both hands, thinking big and going for it!
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is widely regarded as one of the most powerful stories about the human spirit. The book recounts Frankl’s horrifying experiences in Nazi death camps from 1942 to 1945, during which time his parents, brother and pregnant wife perished. Frankl’s message is that while we cannot avoid suffering, we can choose how we process and respond to it – most importantly, how we can find meaning and move on. This is neither an easy nor fast read, but it is a truly inspirational story.
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay has sold 50 millions copies, and is one of the leading self-help books available. The book is about taking responsibility for our lives and our happiness. It can be a confronting thought to know that we pretty much create every situation in our own lives – including illnesses in our bodies – by Hay provides tools, techniques and beautiful affirmations that can be applied in every situation. If you have long standing aches and ailments, or a sense of dissatisfaction, fear or anxiety in your life, this book could be really helpful for you.