Our collection of the best motivational books for self-improvement!
Reading motivational books can make a huge difference in how you see yourself and the world around you.
Tell us your favorite motivational book in the comment section below.
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According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 27% of Americans haven’t read a book in the past year.
However, reading motivational books can increase personal growth, self-esteem, and overall happiness.
What are the benefits of reading these motivational books?
Reading an inspiring book daily will help keep you in optimal condition and help you interpret yourself and the world more positively.
When you read a motivational book, you get inspired to:
- smash through your limitations
- make better choices
- take positive actions more often
Although you might struggle initially, attempt to read a motivational book every morning or at whatever time works best for you.
Jim Rohn said it best:
“The book you don’t read won’t help.”
We have thought long and hard about developing a list of the best motivational books that:
- urge you to take action
- change the way you think
- inspire creativity
- take control of your life
- provide practical guidance to achieving personal and professional success
The authors of these books have either educational or practical knowledge (sometimes both) that you can relate to something going on in your life.
Our results are below – our top ten motivational and inspirational books.
Reading these books and drawing upon their wisdom could change your life.
We also have a collection of titles focusing on becoming a millionaire, along with the best quotes for inspiration.
Best Personal Development Books For Creating a Better Life
1. The Art of War, by Sun Tzu
The Art of War may be the most widely read book that examines strategy and dispute resolution, equally studied by men and women, military, business executives, and politicians alike.
According to this book, strategy, preparedness, and taking advantage of opportunities are key to achieving success by overcoming conflict.
“The wise warrior avoids the battle.”
“Thus those skilled in war subdue the enemy’s army without battle …
They conquer by strategy.”
“To … not prepare is the greatest of crimes; to be prepared beforehand for any contingency is the greatest of virtues.”
“What is of the greatest importance in war is extraordinary speed: One cannot afford to neglect opportunity.”
You will also enjoy our article on 10 inspirational psychology books living meaning.
According to author Miguel Ruiz, four agreements in life are fundamental steps on the path to freedom:
Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.
The motivational books basic premise is that the diligent application of these agreements will lead to personal freedom.
“Every human is an artist.
The dream of your life is to make beautiful art.”
“Maybe we cannot escape from the destiny of the human, but we have a choice: to suffer our destiny or to enjoy our destiny.”
“You will find that you don’t need to trust others as much as you need to trust yourself to make the right choices.”
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Best Motivational Books for Personal Development
This educational and motivational book was first published in 1989, and has sold over 25 million copies worldwide in over 40 languages.
The 7 habits touted by the book are:
Begin with the End in Mind
Put First Things First
Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
Sharpen the Saw
“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is.
Treat a man as he can and should be and
he will become as he can and should be.”
“If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control – myself.”
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Brimming with practical advice, this motivational book includes fundamental techniques in handling people, six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, how to be a leader and change people without giving offense or breeding resentment, and seven rules for making your home life happier.
“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy.
It is what you think about it.”
“The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage.”
You will also enjoy our article on 10 books every woman should read.
Best motivational books about life and success
The title of this motivational book suggests that this book tells you how to accumulate monetary wealth, but it is so much more than that – the principles set out in this book cover growing rich in every aspect, personally and professionally.
The author conducted a series of interviews with the most successful and wealthiest individuals to determine the universal doctrines that anyone may apply in order to be successful.
“There is no substitute for persistence.
The person who makes persistence his watch-word discovers that “Old Man Failure” finally becomes tired, and makes his departure.
Failure cannot cope with persistence.”
“The majority of people are ready to throw their aims and purposes overboard and give up at the first sign of opposition or misfortune.
A few carry on despite all opposition until they attain their goal.
These few are the Fords, Carnegies, Rockefellers, and Edisons.”
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6. Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny, by Anthony Robbins
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. “
“You can’t have a plan for your day, ’til you have a plan for your life.”
“Success is doing what you want to do, when you want, where you want, with whom you want, as much as you want.”
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This therapeutic and motivational book is all about seeing the bigger picture, and learning to let go of those things that don’t really matter.
Cherish your loved ones and take time to stop and smell the roses.
“Even though we often mess up, most of us are doing the best that we know how with the circumstances that surround us.”
“True happiness comes not when we get rid of all of our problems, but when we change our relationship to them, when we see our problems as a potential source of awakening, opportunities to practice, and to learn.”
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The authors of this fun and motivational book examine change.
Their theory is that there are two brain systems – a rational system and an emotional system.
When these systems work together, making changes is simple.
When these systems work against each other, the opposite is true – making changes becomes very difficult.
Using inspirational anecdotes, this book illustrates how to make change happen.
“So when you hear people say that change is hard because people are lazy or resistant, that’s just flat wrong.
In fact, the opposite is true: Change is hard because people wear themselves out.
And that’s the second surprise about change: What looks like laziness is often exhaustion.”
“It’s a theme we’ve seen again and again — big changes come from a succession of small changes.
It’s OK if the first changes seem almost trivial.”
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Think small, and you will have small success.
Think big, and you will have big success.
These are the core concepts espoused by this motivational book.
The author provides practical advice to overcome fear, have confidence, and above all, aim high.
“Think you are weak, think you lack what it takes, think you will lose, think you are second class – think this way and you are doomed to mediocrity.”
“Those who believe they can move mountains, do.
Those who believe they can’t, cannot.
Belief triggers the power to do.”
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Walter Isaacson provides an in-depth account of the professional and personal life of Steve Jobs, drawing upon interviews with Jobs himself, as well as family members, friends, competitors and colleagues.
This book is incredibly inspiring, as it shares the tale of a driven perfectionist, admittedly difficult to deal with, that was the greatest innovator of his generation.
“Steve Jobs: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
“Jobs insisted that Apple focus on just two or three priorities at a time.
“There is no one better at turning off the noise that is going on around him,” Cook said.
“That allows him to focus on a few things and say no to many things.
Few people are really good at that.”
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More motivational books about life and success
Legendary trainer Tim Grover reveals what it takes to get those results, showing you how to be relentless and achieve whatever you desire.
Grover breaks down what it takes to be unstoppable: you keep going when everyone else is giving up, you thrive under pressure, you never let your emotions make you weak.
“Being relentless means demanding more of yourself than anyone else could ever demand of you, knowing that every time you stop, you can still do more.
You must do more.”
Trying is an open invitation to failure, just another way of saying, “If I fail, it’s not my fault, I tried.”
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Leadership expert John C. Maxwell explains how to be more creative and when to question popular thinking.
Learn how to focus your thinking and capture the big picture.
The author teaches how to tap into your creative potential, develop shared ideas, and derive lessons from the past to better understand the future.
“Maya Angelou observed you can’t use up creativity.
The more you use, the more you have.
Sadly, too often creativity is smothered rather than nurtured.
There has to be a climate in which new ways of thinking, perceiving, questioning are encouraged.”
“A person who knows how may always have a job, but the person who knows why will always be his boss.”
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13. The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy, by Jon Gordon and Ken Blanchard
In this book, Jon Gordon reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment – at work and at home.
The author offers a guide on how to overcome adversity and bring out the best in yourself and your team.
“You haven’t failed until you stop trying.”
“the goal in life is to live young, have fun, and arrive at your final destination—as late as possible—with a smile on your face, because this would mean that you truly enjoyed the ride.”
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14. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero
In this book, bestselling author and world-traveling success coach, Jen Sincero, helps you identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors that stop you from getting what you want.
The book aims to help you understand why you are how you are, how to love what you can’t change and how to change what you don’t love.
“If you’re serious about changing your life, you’ll find a way.
If you’re not, you’ll find an excuse.”
“You are responsible for what you say and do.
You are not responsible for whether or not people freak out about it.”
15. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World, by William H. McRaven
This timeless book provides simple wisdom, practical advice, and words of encouragement that will inspire you to achieve more, even in life’s darkest moments.
“None of us are immune from life’s tragic moments.
Like the small rubber boat we had in basic SEAL training, it takes a team of good people to get you to your destination in life.
You cannot paddle the boat alone.
Find someone to share your life with.
Make as many friends as possible, and never forget that your success depends on others.”
“You cannot paddle the boat alone.
Find someone to share your life with.
Make as many friends as possible, and never forget that your success depends on others.”
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16. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey
This book was named the #1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century.
If you happen to struggle with improving certain aspects of your life, you might want to read this.
“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise.”
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
17. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondō
Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary KonMari Method for simplifying, organizing, and storing.
The book aims to help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home – and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.
“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”
“But when we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.”
Other motivational books for personal development
18. Imperfect Courage: Live a Life of Purpose by Leaving Comfort and Going Scared, by Jessica Honegger
In Imperfect Courage, Jessica Honegger invites readers on a journey of transformation, challenging them to trade their comfort zones for a life of impact and adventure.
The author aims to help set you free from shame, commit to building a culture of collaboration and to broaden your circles of compassion to embrace the entire globe.
19. The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage, by Mel Robbins
In this book, Mel Robbins teaches you how to become your greatest self.
Learn how become confident, break the habit of procrastination and self-doubt, beat fear and uncertainty, stop worrying and feel happier, and share your ideas with courage.
“You can’t control how you feel.
But you can always choose how you act.”
“You Are One Decision Away from a Completely Different Life”
20. I’ve Been Thinking . . .: Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life, by Maria Shriver
A book of reflections for those seeking wisdom, guidance, encouragement, and inspiration on the road to a meaningful life.
The book features quotes, scriptures, prayers, and reflections meant to encourage empowerment, accomplishment, and forward mobility in women of all ages.
“Let’s not look back in anger, or forward in fear, but around in awareness.” —James Thurber
“Prayer is talking to God.
Meditation is letting God talk to you.”
21. Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude, by Pretty Simple Press
Good Days Start With Gratitude is a 52-week guide to cultivate an attitude of gratitude!
It is a self-exploration journal designed to focus on being thankful for what we have, the big things in life, as well as the simple joys.
In Tattoos on the Heart, Gregory Boyle distills his experience working in the ghetto into a breathtaking series of parables inspired by faith.
The book offers a stirring look at how full our lives could be if we could find the joy in loving others and in being loved unconditionally.
“Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it.”
“If there is a fundamental challenge within these stories, it is simply to change our lurking suspicion that some lives matter less than other lives.”
23. Strong: A Runner’s Guide to Boosting Confidence and Becoming the Best Version of You, by Kara Goucher
In this book, Kara Goucher shares her secrets to conquering self-doubt and improving running performance using proven tools from the field of sports psychology.
In this book, Bobby Bones delivers an inspirational and humorous collection of stories about his biggest misses in life and how he turned them into lessons and wins.
“Get out of your head and into your life. Fight, Grind, Repeat.”
In Care Package, Sylvester digs deep to uncover pain and moments of fear and relates to the reader’s struggles through powerful stories.
The author’s mission is to inspire the reader to heal, release, vibrate higher, and practice self-care every single day.
What other motivational books would you add to the list?
Reading an inspiring book a day is to enhance your life.
Self-help books can help expand what you’ve got and make you believe you can be more.
You explore what you’re capable of and experience more.
Even if you struggle at first, develop a habit of reading motivational books.
We hope you’ve found a few titles in the list above to get you started.
Which of these motivational books have you read?
Do you have any other favorite books to add to the list?
Let us know in the comment section below.
Read more awesome inspirational self-help books here!