Best Personal Development Books: 20 Books to Skyrocket Your Success

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Use the links below to navigate our picks for the best personal development books for each topic.

Best Personal Development Books for Finances

Personal finance book recommendations - man and woman celebrating buying a new house.

1.  The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness by Dave Ramsey

Leading the pack for the top personal development books for finances is this book from Dave Ramsey. You'll learn the core habits that you'll need to have to get your spending under control and start investing for the future.

2.  The Millionaire Next Door:  The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy by Thomas Stanley

More than 20 years of research into the habits of the wealthy went into this book. By the end of this book, you will be able to identify the seven common traits of the average millionaire so that you can implement those into your own life.

3.  The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason

First published in 1926, this book is still topping the charts nearly a century later. There's a reason for that. One of the quickest reads you'll find here, George Clason boils the essentials of building up wealth into this easy to read short story.

4.  The Intelligent Investor:  The Definitive Book on Value Investing by Benjamin Graham

Are you thinking of investing in the stock or bond market? Read The Intelligent Investor before you do anything other than picking a target-date fund or an index fund for your 401k. You'll learn the essentials of what makes up a stock price and when stocks might be getting overvalued.

5.  Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich is about changing your mindset and focusing on the income portion of your finances. More than just how to become rich, this book provides a practical framework for working toward nearly any major life goal. A staple in most personal development libraries, you'll get a lot out of this one.

Best Personal Development Books for Business

business book recommendations - man reading paper

1.  Built to Last:  Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras

Built to Last tops the charts for our best personal development books for business. Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies and studied each in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. They examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day.

The authors asked this question: “What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the comparison companies, and what were the common practices these companies followed throughout their history?” Filled with hundreds of examples, this book is bound to help you in your business!

2.  Good to Great:  Why Some Companies Make the Leap, and Others Don't by Jim Collins

Five years and mountains of data later, a team of researchers identified why some companies leap from merely being good to being great and why others do not. With clear findings on what these companies did differently, this fascinating work is the go-to book for companies looking to grow.

3.  SPIN Selling by Neil Rackham

SPIN Selling is essential reading for anyone involved in selling or managing a sales force. The result of the Huthwaite corporation's massive 12-year, $1-million dollar research into effective sales performance, this groundbreaking resource details the revolutionary SPIN (Situation, Problem, Implication, Need-payoff) strategy. Looking to grow your sales?  Read this!

4.  The 5 Levels of Leadership:  Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential by John C. Maxwell

John Maxwell gives a clear picture of how leadership works in this outstanding book. This book delivers a clear framework for how leaders can drive results while developing deep relationships. One of my favorites, I believe this should be required reading for anyone in a leadership or management position and certainly deserves a spot in our list of the best personal development books.

5.  Delivering Knock Your Socks Off Service by Performance Research Associates

If you want to know the practical steps you and your team must take to ensure that your customers are raving fans, you need to read this! I led a service department for more than two decades that consistently wins top honors nationally, boasts a 99.5% satisfaction level, and I can personally vouch that these ideas work.

Best Personal Development Books for Relationships

Relationship book recommendations - family walking together on the beach

1.  ScreamFree Marriage: Calming Down, Growing Up, and Getting Closer by Hal and Jenny Runkel

You may not be screaming at your partner, but do you want your relationship to improve? Screaming takes many forms, including silence when things get rough. Written by a world-renowned expert, this book is the place to start improving your relationships.

2.  ScreamFree Parenting:  The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool by Hal Runkel

ScreamFree and Parenting don't go together in the same sentence, do they? With 5 kids, I can tell you that while you will likely still pull your hair out at times, this book will majorly impact your family. This isn't about lowering your voice; it gives practical advice on controlling your emotional reactions and responding effectively so that you and your kids will have a better relationship. Take charge of your family confidently and lead well with the wisdom captured in this book!

3.  The SPEED of Trust:  The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M. R. Covey and Stephen R. Covey

Trust, you either have it or you don't, right? This book challenges that assumption by giving practical advice on building and rebuilding trust rapidly. If you thoroughly trust those around you, things will happen at lightning speed, especially in business. Learn how to create trust by reading this excellent book!

4.  Getting Ready for Marriage: How to Really Get to Know the Person You're Going to Marry by Jerry Hardin and Dianne Sloan

Considering marriage? How do you know if your partner is the right fit? My wife and I used this intensive workbook to ensure we were on the same page before getting married.

You and your partner will be asked questions you've never even thought of to work through scenarios before they happen. Why wouldn't you invest some time into this before committing to spending the rest of your life with someone?

5.  Click:  The Magic of Instant Connections by Ori and Ron Brafman

You know the feeling. You meet someone, and you instantly “Click.” How does that happen? This fascinating work digs into the factors that go into this magical feeling and gives practical advice on giving yourself the best chances of regularly making it happen.

6.  How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

For more than 60 years, this book has topped the charts. Number one for a reason, the title says it all. Business or personal relationships, this should be a required read for everyone, in my opinion!

Best Personal Development Books for Skills & Time Management

Time management book recommendations - people around a clock.

1.  The Talent Code:  Greatness Isn't Born.  It's Grown.  Here's How.  by Daniel Coyle

This book is one of my absolute favorites of all time. Daniel Coyle goes to nine of the world's talent hotbeds that have consistently churned out world-class talent to answer this question: “What is the secret of talent, and how do we unlock it?” Coyle reveals cutting-edge research into the brain's development to show us the three key elements necessary to create talent.

2.  First Things First by Stephen R. Covey, A. Roger Merrill, and Rebecca R. Merrill

I'm getting more done in less time, but where are the rich relationships, the inner peace, and the confidence that I'm doing what matters most and doing it well?

Does this nagging question haunt you? If so, First Things First can help you understand why so often our first things aren't first. First Things First allows you to check your compass because where you are headed is more important than how fast you're going.  Are you heading in the right direction?

3.  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:  Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has transformed the lives of Presidents, CEOs, educators, and parents— in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations. Pick up a copy and start creating these habits in your life!

4.  StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath

Are you doing what you do best every day? Why do we worry so much about things we aren't good at instead of focusing on things we do well? This best-selling book will help you identify your strengths and focus on areas you can excel in.

More Personal Development Book Recommendations

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Best Personal Development Books: 20 Books to Skyrocket Your Success

About the Author 

Don Smith

Former bank director who enjoys helping people master their finances. Father of five, founder of The Personal Growth Channel, and business owner.

  • If I had to choose my favorite out of all of these it would probably be The Talent Code. It has some awesome research on how the brain develops and how to develop new skills or refine existing ones. First Things First which teaches you how to achieve your dreams in life would be a close second.

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