Top 10 Highly-Acclaimed Self Development Books to Read

self development books

Table of Contents

I vividly remember the first time I picked up some self development books to read through a few of them. I was thoroughly amazed at how much there is to learn about myself and about life.

I realized the power of myself and how my limitations and my capabilities aren’t set in stone. The revelation that books can provide insight to us with a whole different dimension to ourselves.  

Key Takeaways-

  • Self Development happens when you consciously take steps to better yourself and your life.
  • Either learning new, good skills and breaking bad habits can be viewed as Self Development.
  • Self Development can teach you invaluable lessons which can bring a permanent positive change. 

Why Do We Need Self Development Books?

Whether you want to inculcate new habits or if you want to become more courageous, self-development might just be a good read away. It has the power to invoke an initial change that, if put in the effort consistently, can unlock your potential. 

Also, investing your time and effort into self-development at a conscious level would help you manage the symptoms of various mental health problems. But not all self-improvement books are the same. Some help you start your journey, while others give a boost to an existing experience in certain areas. 

What are some of the best Self Development books to read?

Here are the best books that you might find really helpful no matter how old you are- 

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

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie for self development books to read

This is probably one of the most famous and oldest self-improvement books in this category. 

This was written back in 1937 mainly targeting the traditional direct sales era businessmen, this book is regarded as a classic. It depicts the intuitive knowledge that we have and underlines it really well- 

Your line of work is inconsequential in terms of what you want to achieve. If you are doing business of any sort, you have to make it about the customer.

It also talks about the importance of being nice. But the premise of this book isn’t all justified as it muddles the boundary between genuine interest and faking it till you get what you want. Nevertheless, this book contains a treasure trove of timeless wisdom. 

The overall learning from the book is “Everybody wants to feel appreciated and rightfully so”. So, as someone who understands this learning should make the world a better place by making small efforts to make someone’s day, irrespective of your goal.

2. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

This genius of a book by Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman is a simple account of all the fascinating research he has done over his life. He is the founder of behavioral economics.

It talks about the way our psychology affects our decisions. The same thing is explained in this book as simple prose about how our thinking is divided into two systems- one slow and one fast. 

The slow system is deliberate, rational and self-reflexive. But this can conveniently be distracted and requires a lot of effort. 

The fast system is instantaneous. It includes the hardwired instincts which control emotions, relics of an evolutionary past and an unconsciously irrational machine.

As per Kahneman, these two systems play vital roles in our lives and he explores the benefits and drawbacks of these systems. By exploring and learning about these systems, the book equips you to make sound judgments and to maximize the utility of both systems. 

3. Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell

Failing Forward by John C. Maxwell

In our life, failure is an inevitable truth and will happen from time to time. But what matters the most is how we deal with it and what we do with it. 

Do you give up? Or do you want to rise above it, making failure a setting stone for success? 

Failing teaches you invaluable lessons. And if you are ready to persevere in the face of adversities, the more you have in you to deliver. 

Now, this is an easy thing to say but harder to follow through. The reason for that is because of our instinctual reaction to failing is to dread or avoid or refuse to fail at every cost. And even from a rational perspective, these outcomes are far from sub-optimal. 

But this book teaches us to accept failure when it comes, to accept responsibility, and to use failure as a way to learn. This will help you to grow and learn about yourself and to fix your weaknesses. 

By being absolutely honest with yourself when it comes to failure, can you grow. This book provides a fresh mirror to have a glance at your true self and how to attain your true potential. 

4. Smarter, Faster, Better by Charles Duhigg

smarter gfaster better by Charles duhigg

This is a recent book but it has a whole lot of lessons around productivity, finding meaning, working as a unit, and many more. The book is relevant to our lives as we are more connected with other people and we are still figuring out what we want to do in life. 

This book has plenty to offer in terms of setting goals, making better decisions, and focuses on the importance of how to think. Duhigg pulls real-world examples to focus on 8 key productivity concepts. He did a lot of research into neuroscience while also interviewing a wide range of people to arrive at these examples. 

5. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
Source: Google

This is a timeless and great book that emphasizes the mindset of money rather than making money. This book is heralded as the best personal finance book in the world for the past 20 years and for good reasons too. It provides a disillusionment of the myth that you need a high-paying job to make a living. Now, this statement rings truer than ever before in this world of “gig economy” and various other opportunities for people to make their living.

This book hits the readers with a barrage of timeless quotes and lessons which still hold true in today’s time as people’s views around money haven’t changed all that much over decades.

As you’ll read through the book, it will present you with opportunities to challenge and shape your views about money. 

6. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

think and grow rich by napoleon hilll

This book was written by Napoleon Hill back in 1937. It was promoted as a personal and self-improvement book and still is timeless in this day and age. Ever since it was released, it has sold more than 100million copies throughout the world. 

Don’t let the title of the book fool you, even though a lot of text in the book focuses on becoming rich. This book will help you succeed in any line of work, and will let you become anything you can imagine for. 

Think and Grow Rich remains to be one of the most influential self-development books ever written and has changed millions of lives for the better and it offers enough for it to change yours as well. 

7. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

This book is an international bestseller with over 5 million copies in print since 1952. It has helped people around the world to attain contentment in their lives through Peale’s impactful expression of faith and inspiration.

The book dives deep into how to attain an optimistic yet permanent attitude through undying optimistic conscious thoughts. This is often through affirmations and/or vivid visualizations.

Peale makes use of positive historical cases along with practical instructions to implement his method of positive thinking. This depicts the roots of anyone’s success lying in their mind. 

This book will teach you to believe in yourself and how to do that. This will also touch upon breaking unproductive habits like worrying and to take control of your life by changing your attitude. 

8. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

A great many people consider Eckhart Tolle as one of the influential thought leaders of our time. “A New Earth” goes above and beyond teaching how to live in the moment. It also helps readers to learn about how to turn their day to day suffering into peace. 

There is an extensive addressal of suffering in the book ranging from anger and grief to jealousy and despair. Tolle also touches upon quite a lot about ego and how to separate ourselves from it. His examples and exercises are fruitful and require only effort to accomplish. 

This book acts as a nice reference point as well. As Tolle lets you see life from varied perspectives through this book, your suffering rooted in anger, despair, grief, sadness, anxiety or depression can all be transcended by awakening you to your life’s purpose.

9. What Are You Hungry For? By Deepak Chopra

What Are You Hungry For? By Deepak Chopra

Deepak Chopra is a revered self-help guru of our time. Any of his books can be recommended in this list. But “What Are You Hungry For?” is highly recommended as it helps you see your relationship with food in an entirely unique light. 

While this book might be considered as a guide to go for weight loss, there is just so much more than meets the eye. Chopra talks about losing weight and also provides a regimented recommendation about what we need to eat.

This book digs deeper into the rationalization to our desire for seeking this transformation at a subconscious level. It also explains how the fulfillment of the act of weight loss serves at the center of this argument. 

As change isn’t as easy for most of us, this book provides a lot of right intention-setting pointers to help readers gauge their motives behind their goals. Chopra also shows the path as to how to attach emotions to things that matter in your life to make it easier to stay on track when going gets tough. 

10. The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey

The Wisdom of Sundays by Oprah Winfrey

We all know that Oprah is a genius at interviewing spiritual gurus, world leaders, doctors, therapists, famous personalities and other thought leaders. This book takes some of the best conversations from these interviews and condenses them into one transcendental read. 

The book is small and short, only at 240 pages with pages filled with snippets of what Oprah regards as “life-changing insights”. Other authors for this book include Shonda Rimes, Tony Robbins, Wayne Dyer, Cheryl Strayed, Thich Nhat Hahn and many more. 

So, do take some time out for yourself with each individual page to ensure that you aren’t skimming over anything at all. This book is filled with wonderful and thought-provoking insights which will change your life or at least will inspire you to see life in a different light.  


I hope that you now have a list of the 10 best self development books of all times which you can start off with to bring a change in yourself and in your life. You can work on yourself next and start focusing on aspects which need some attention.

If you aren’t a regular reader, that is all okay too. These books are meant to be read by casual readers and don’t have too much complexity to it. The goal is to start making an effort to bring a change in yourself. 

This effort can be as simple as completely reading one book every month. This is still better than reading nothing in one month.

Remember that you don’t need to measure the magnitude of your self-development. Rather, to be mindful of the direction that you are headed is the entire crux of self development. 

After reading these books, you might want to get into personality development so as to build yourself consciously in a particular way that would suit you.

These books offer enough pointers to do that as well, should you choose to move in that direction. Because, at the end of the day, the goal is to become what you’ve consciously envisioned for yourself.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Self Development?

Self Development is the utilization of one’s efforts and resources to attain positive things without any external assistance. 

What are the examples of Self Development?

What are the examples of Self Development?
The following are the examples of self development-
I. Self-Awareness- A method of introspection to understand your own nature, behavior, shortcomings, positive elements and much more. 
II. Time Management- A practice in which you can allocate time to multiple tasks based on its priority. 
III. Awareness- A process of extrospection of the world and people around you in a more profound intensity.

What are the ways to grow yourself professionally? 

You can make new connections and broaden your professional network. You can also practice your soft skills from time to time. Sharpening your time management will always give you a professional edge over all others. 

What are the simple ways to develop myself?

Develop a foresight and try to perfect your planning as per your foresight. You should develop an attitude to try new and different things to stay engaged and to learn more every day. 

What are the 5 key areas of Self Development?

The 5 key areas of self development namely are mental, spiritual, social, physical and emotional. 

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