When I first started out with self-development, I used books as my guides and as “mentors” to figure out what I needed to work on and improve to better myself when I didn’t really have anything else to help me with self-growth. I firmly believe that the quality of our thoughts determine the quality of our life so I figured I’d start this off with a few books that helped me shape my thinking, reframe my perception, and expand my horizons.
You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read. – Charlie “Tremendous” Jones
My mom used to spend the weekends babysitting for a family in New York City. One time she came home with a Goosebumps book for me and I was instantly hooked. That book was my gateway to reading (thank you R.L. Stine) and, because of it, I got heavily into other books. I think it’s powerful how a book can transport you into another world and unleash your imagination. My favorite part of that book was that I was able to choose my own outcome; it was the one where you get to choose what course of action you’d take and then go to the corresponding page to continue the story.
Fast forward a few years later, one of my friends in college introduced me to “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki and that provided the desire for me to keep exploring other genres and that got me started with reading a lot of personal development books. This is when I began to understand the importance of books for growing one’s mind and helping unleash one’s potential. We save a lot of time, energy, and resources learning from the mistakes of others and books are a great way to find out what works, what doesn’t, and to get into the mind of people we admire and want to learn from. Think about it. When someone writes a book, it’s essentially that person’s thought process, experiences, wisdom, and knowledge that they’re sharing with you. Sometimes it’s their whole entire life in ONE book. Imagine how impactful that could be. It’s almost like having that person with you and being able to study them and what makes them so successful. Believe in the power of books guys! It can really help shape someone’s perception and, in turn, shape their life.
So, I wanna share the top books that I think would be a great starting place for anyone who’s getting started with self-development. These are the books that, if you research self-help books or personal development books or success books, come up in almost every blog and every article.
The Top 3 Classic Books To Start Off Your Personal Development Journey
The size of one’s success is dependent on the size of one’s thinking.
This book is an easy read and a great summary of the mindset that one should have in order to prime themselves for success. It’s a great starter book because it pinpoints the adjustments that we need to make in regards to our self-esteem and confidence. It also touches upon setting high standards for ourselves and the positive thinking necessary to measure up and surpass those standards. As you go through this site, I will be stressing the importance of having mentors and being in the right environment and this book introduces the concept in a simple and easy to understand manner. Also, a lot of people are limited by their own beliefs and, therefore, only amount to as much as they think they can do. Unfortunately, for some, it isn’t much. This book encourages people to dream big and goes over some of the most common excuses that people come up with and the “cures” to these excuses.
What the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.
The first personal success book that I read and I have read it multiple times since then and it has always provided me with a proper framework to use in terms of goal-setting. Napoleon Hill is one of the pioneers of the success/motivation mindset and this is a book that has substantial actionable steps you can take and run with. Andrew Carnegie believed that what the world should have was a compilation of the achievement, philosophies, stories of the world’s most successful businessmen and he issued Napoleon Hill a challenge to interview and document some of the world’s wealthiest and most successful people at the time. What Napoleon Hill found was that there are certain characteristics, personality traits, and mindset that are apparent in ALL of the people he interviewed and he documented them in this classic book. Some of the people he met with were Theodore Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford among other successful people of his time. This book contains the success principles that Napoleon Hill has compiled over two decades.
A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
I’ve read or heard before (I forget which) that influence is the ability to lift people up to our perspective and that you can never really impact somebody for a long time unless you’re able to influence the way they think. A lot of people confuse influencing someone with manipulating someone and I think this book puts being able to move people the way you want them to in a positive light. A lot of our successes in life will depend on our ability to rally people towards a common goal and Dale Carnegie really focuses on the fundamental techniques in dealing with people and becoming a more likeable individual. The principles in this book explain how to win people over to your way of thinking and handle different situations that just come with being around people. It’s one of the most successful self-help books ever published and has an updated version “How To Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age.”
…one dad had a habit of saying saying, ‘I can’t afford it.’ The other dad forbade those words to be used. He insisted I ask, ‘How can I afford it?’ One is a statement and the other is a question. One lets you off the hook and the other forces you to think.
This was the first book I read that dramatically challenged my preconceived notions about how to achieve financial independence. Kiyosaki talks about how to escape the “rat race” and achieve success in ways that most business owners do. He really gets into money-making principles such as the basics of personal finance and the fundamental problems with working for money. He has built a brand that focuses on helping people elevate their financial well-being through books, seminars, games, and workshops. I like this book, and the Rich Dad company, because it encourages you to look at something at every angle and make the decision that’s right for you. He makes learning about financial independence simple and fun.
This list was a little challenging to narrow down to just three books. I have literally read hundreds of amazing and very informative books, but I think these are the best books to start your personal development journey with. So, how about you? Which books have had the most impact on your life? Also, if you think there’s a book that should make it on this list, let me know!