The best books on self-reliance for achieving success and fulfillment

Greg Everett Author Of Tough: Building True Mental, Physical & Emotional Toughness for Success & Fulfillment
By Greg Everett

The Books I Picked & Why

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why

By Laurence Gonzales

Book cover of Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why

Why this book?

Gonzales has a way of providing information in a compelling manner, managing to use stories to present ideas rather than approaching them clinically. Deep Survival is a fascinating look at how people interact with the world as influenced by their unique and our shared human psychology and experiences. This book provides insight, but also inspiration to pay more attention and learn from our own experiences, creating a mental foundation for further exploration and growth. 


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Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

By Martin E. P. Seligman

Book cover of Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life

Why this book?

Seligman pioneered work in “learned helplessness”, which provides invaluable insight into we different people respond so differently to similar challenges or experiences. With his interpretations of this work and more, Seligman creates a guide for changing the way we interpret our circumstances, learning how to create a sense of control, and consequently how to not only enjoy our lives more but to determine their course effectively. 


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Man’s Search for Meaning

By Viktor Frankl

Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

Why this book?

This book is a fascinating look at a type and degree of adversity few people will ever come close to experiencing as communicated with a psychiatrist’s understanding of the mind, and a remarkable person’s insight into how we discover meaning, determine the nature of our experiences even when external control is impossible, establish and preserve personal freedom regardless of physical suffering and restraint, and live a life worthy of the gift it is. 


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Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival

By Tom Brown Jr.

Book cover of Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival

Why this book?

Survival books these days tend to be more flash and gimmicks than qualify information, just selling an author’s image rather than providing practical, valuable tools that can be immediately put to use by any inquisitive and motivated reader. Brown not only eschews such silliness, but he also provides the information in a tone and with an attitude sadly unusual in the genre and at large, inspiring curiosity, awe, and respect for the world around us rather than a clumsy attempt to dominate it.


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Violence of Mind: Training and Preparation for Extreme Violence

By Varg Freeborn

Book cover of Violence of Mind: Training and Preparation for Extreme Violence

Why this book?

Violence of Mind is the only book I can remember immediately reading a second time upon finishing it. While the title is somewhat misleading and will likely dissuade too many people from picking it up, the content is straightforward, intelligent, and far more insightful than any other book in the genre I’m familiar with. Freeborn delivers succinct but critical lessons in self-defense from a philosophical perspective—this isn’t tough guy fantasies squeezed into ill-advised recommendations, but a quest to help us understand how to successfully navigate dire situations in ways that align with our values. 


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