Top 10 Self Development Books

There are hundreds of self development books out there and I have an entire bookshelf loaded with them. I have tracked most of them down through various recommendations from leaders in their respective fields and through reading up on the latest and greatest books in personal development communities such as Real Social Dynamics and their rsd nation forums. So while I might have about 150 self help books on my shelf, there are only a few key ones I go back and read over and over, each time eliciting a little more value and getting re-focused and inspired. People are always asking me for a top 10 self development books list so I figured I would put this page up. My other favorite subject matter to read up on is travelling which is a form of self help by itself I find, and extremely important to leading a balanced life.

Some of the books below are focused on a how to method of self improvement while others are inspirational chronicles from some seriously amazing people. Sometimes you have to filter out the underlying message to really gleam the value out of a book, and while there are a lot of time wasters, the ones in this list really shone through. There is a reason most of these are dog eared and tattered, from multiple readings, highlighting etc. If you pick the right books, the cost of the book itself vs the value inside is a no brainier. You do have to actually read the books to benefit though, no one ever learned anything from a book just from having it sit on the shelf:) I am slowly moving towards digital books with Amazon Kindle and E-Books etc, but I still enjoy the feel of paper on my fingers vs staring at a screen. Do yourself a favor and read through the books on this list, I spend hours reading and this is the cream of the crop. This is a constantly evolving list as I focus on various areas of self improvement.


Total-RecallTotal Recall : My Unbelievably True Life Story – Arnold Schwarzenegger

Talk about an inspiring story! Schwarzenegger is the ultimate self made man. A millionaire from real-estate long before he was ever famous as an actor. World champion body-builder, action hero icon, governor, the list goes on. This book is HUGE, easily one of the thickest  on my shelf and most interesting. Any time I am questioning myself about my personal path I pick this up, often times looking at the cover is enough to get me motivated again. packed with a ton of inspirational value and hammers home the importance of hard work and believing in yourself. Anyone looking to forge the best, most successful version of themselves should read this book right now.

SixPillarsOfSelfEsteemThe Six Pillars of Self Esteem – Nathaneil Branden

This book is near the top of most peoples list in self development, and with good reason. Highlights the importance of self esteem in all aspects of life: Mental health, relationships, crushing it in business etc.. It is also filled with a ton of info on helping others build their self esteem and being able to provide that level of value to others is amazing for anyone looking to build a great social circle, advance in their careers and maintain a fantastic interdependent relationship VS one based in co-dependancy. An oldie but a goldie. There is a reasons everyone recommends this book. Do yourself a favour and give it a read. His other book The Psychology of Self Esteem is also fantastic.

LosingMyVirginityLosing My Virginity – Richard Branson

Another inspirational story about one of the most prominent business owners in the world. A really interesting read on his phenomenal successes and many failures. Filled with tons hilarious and adventurous stories its not hard to see his zest for life and success. One of the most diversified business men (airline, telecoms, cola, space exploration etc..) It blows my mind how much hard work Richard Branson has put into his life and how well it has paid off. After reading this book he jumped to the top my my personal heroes list along with Arnold.  His philosophy of “screw it, lets do it” is a great mindset for taking action.

WayOfTheSuperiorManThe Way of the Superior Man – David Deida

This is a classic most people into self-development have read and is referenced on the RSD Nation forums all the time. A really great look at masculine and feminine polarities and how they compliment each other. Strong focus on relationship dynamics of not just man and woman but every relationship in general, as well as some interesting inner self questions to ponder. Written in a very spiritual way and some concepts are a little out there but its 90% rock solid info that once you become aware of, will never be able to look at human interaction the same way again. Very solid read.

NoMoreMrNiceGuyNo More Mr. Nice Guy – Robert Glover

This Book was a nice wakeup call for me to become far more assertive and start to seize the opportunities in my life. He explains how you can stop seeking approval and start getting what you want in life. Great sections on expressing your emotions, the importance of having a satisfying sex life, and how to embrace your masculinity. Good stuff also on the importance of forming meaningful relationships with members of the same sex to fully flesh out your life and social circle. Written from a male perspective but the info is really applicable to anyone looking to get the most out of their life.

TheOneThingSelfDevelopmentBookThe One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

This book was essential for someone like me, with an unofficial case of ADD. I always have a hard time focusing on one project at a time and end up feeling spread way to thin or never having time, or feeling preassure to constantly work but never seem to get much done. The concepts in this book really helped me blast out the cobwebs on the ol’ brain so to speak and refine my focus heavily on a single area of self development at a time. Working this way decreased my stress dramatically and also really helped see my results of taking action on one thing skyrocket without feeling too overwhelmed by the backlog of other projects, because I knew I would get to them with the same lazer focus in the near future. Great for anyone starting something new but not gaining significant momentum.

OneYearLivedOne Year Lived – Adam Shepard 

Whenever anyone is asking what they should do with their life, or how to become a more interesting person I always have one answer: Travel. Travel as much and as often as you can. This book is a great read about a young twenty-something taking a year off his life to travel around and experience the world. Some really great stories he learned about the value of life, relationships, what it means to live in poverty, as well as inspirational stories from being on the road for so long. After reading this I wanted to pack my backpack and get out there. Perfect for anyone with a little wanderlust in their veins, or if you are feeling lost and questioning your life. A lot of really valuable life lessons documented within these pages and well worth a read. It’s entertaining and an easy read. Also made my Top 10 Travel Books list.

MoodCureThe Mood Cure: A 4 Step Program to Take Charge of Your Emotions – Julia Ross

The links between diet and your mood are explored in this handy little book. It’s a great look at simple little changes you can make to your daily eating habits that can drastically alter and improve your mental well being. Was recommended to me by a friend battling depression and social anxiety and I’m glad I decided to pick it up!


warofartThe War of Art – Steven Pressfield 

This book is all about getting shit done. Procrastination is something I have always had a problem with and there is some solid gold info in here about the path of most resistance. Basically if you are feeling afraid of doing something, it’t probably the one thing you should be doing. Self sabotage is a common human trait and after reading this self development book I can identify those behaviours in myself much quicker and take action to power through. Great for anyone into self improvement, business, relationships, or any creative type endeavour. Its a short book and an easy read, you can blast through this in an afternoon or a couple evenings.

80-20-PrincipleThe 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less – Richard Koch

The 80/20 Principle shows how you can achieve much more with much less effort, time, and resources, simply by identifying and focusing your efforts on the 20 percent that really counts.  Richard Koch talks about how the principle works and shows how you can use it in a systematic and practical way to vastly increase your effectiveness, and improve your career, relationships and any type of new venture you are starting to pursue. Lots of people know about the 80/20 rule but this really dives deep into it and is packed with a ton of valuable info.


All these books are amazing resources for anyone into self help or struggling with various sticking points in their lives. I love the fact that as humans we have the ability to constantly improve ourselves by becoming aware of our faults and striving to fix them!

One Comment

  1. Jason dubois

    Wow nice list, I have read most of these and agree with your choices. I just put the arnold book on my list. another good one to check out is Eat that frog by brian tracey, similar to the war of art.

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