My Top 20 Recommended Books For Self-Improvement

Published on: January 10, 2014

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“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Every so often I’m asked by family and friends to recommend books that are captivating, inspiring and motivational. It is no secret that I like reading, given the enjoyment one encounters from discovering new horizons within a good book. Goodreads is a novel (pardon the pun) way to connect with like-minded people who share a passion for books. The website features games and activities which encourage one to share their passion with others. The annual online book challenge is a way of matching your reading prowess against others. As an aside, the site has been acquired by Amazon in recent times, so there is a self-interest in recommending books which the giant bookseller carries in stock.

The following list is my top twenty recommended books, irrespective of whether you are starting out or an avid bookworm. They are in no particular order or genre. It is said that a good book chooses you. A friend of mine who had very little interest in reading a year ago, has discovered a passion for motivational books in recent times. I advised him to choose books he liked and read as much or as little as he felt compelled to do so. These days he has at least two books on the go and has found much enjoyment in reading for pleasure. Kindle has made life easier in this respect. For those of you with an iPhone, the Kindle app means you are never far from your favourite book. It has a feature which allows you to synchronise with your Kindle, so you can pick up where you left off on your phone. This is a handy tool when you’re on the go and don’t have the option of taking your Kindle with you.

It took me some time to move from hard-copy to electronic format, due to the reluctance of highlighting and writing notes in my books. Electronic book readers allow you to perform this function and more, including an inbuilt dictionary, highlighter and a summary of popular highlights from other readers. Reading is a journey of self-discovery. You will know what appeals to you once you’ve acquired a taste for consistent reading. Much like your favourite film genre, gravitate toward books that call out to you. Don’t read because others have enjoyed particular books, since you’ll find yourself stagnant and not compelled to finish it. Nowadays, I am intrigued to discover the interconnectedness between books. Once you’ve acquired a history of regular reading, you’ll begin to see patterns, stories and themes evolve. It takes me longer to choose a good book these days, since I know what I am drawn to. I’ve been fortunate enough to read a number of books over the past decade to get a feel for various author’s writing style.

This is not a complete list and I have purposely left out many books due to brevity. So without further ado:

  1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – A MUST read. One of the first books I ever read about discovering your personal legend.
  2. The Power of Intentions by Dr Wayne Dyer – One of the finest motivational and self-improvement authors in recent times. He has been called the father of self-motivation.
  3. The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer – featured on Oprah’s book club. A powerful book about self-discovery.
  4. Succeed by Heide Grant Halvorson – I have used this book with clients and audiences on many occasions. There is some great advice on understanding and working with willpower. The author is a behavioural psychologist. The book details her years of experience working with individuals in the area of behavioural psychology.
  5. The Gifts of Imperfections by Brene Brown – Learning to understand oneself through self compassion.
  6. I AM THAT by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – One of the greatest spiritual texts of all time. Written in a question and answer format.
  7. Power vs Force by Dr David Hawkins – Considered to be the father of consciousness evolution. The late Dr Hawkins series of books were instrumental in my pursuit of seeking the truth.
  8. The Deepest Acceptance by Jeff Forster – Understanding oneself at the deepest level in order to transcend the ego.
  9. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell – Why things/people are successful and the determinant which drives success. He coined the term, the 10,000 hour rule.
  10. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle – A MUST read for what is considered one of modern day’s greatest spiritual texts.
  11. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – A masterpiece. The title explains it all.
  12. The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto – A fabulous book about the power of thought which influences our cells and environment.
  13. How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton M. Christensen – This book remains one of my favourites. There are some great gems contained within.
  14. Ask and It Is Given by Esther Hicks – This is the teachings of Abraham channelled through Esther Hicks based on the law of attraction.
  15. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work by Chip & Dan Heath – The Heath brothers deliver a great book on how to make effective decisions via clever reasoning.
  16. Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach – Yet another fine spiritual text. Tara takes us through the stages of self-acceptance and how to love and embrace the real self.
  17. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra – Describes the seven spiritual laws that govern the universe and how to work with these laws.
  18. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman – An all-time must read. How your emotions are a greater indicator of intelligence than intellect.
  19. Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers – An all-time best seller on how to overcome your fears. Understanding the nature of fear and advancing forward despite the fear.
  20. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy – First published in 1963 with subsequent reprints, this book remains a must read as a way to understand the power of your subconscious mind.

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