The most recommended motivational books

Who picked these books? Meet our 546 experts.

546 authors created a book list connected to motivation, and here are their favorite motivation books.
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Book cover of Bottom of the Food Chain: A Fresh Perspective on How Your Career Impact Goes Beyond Your Job Title

Jocelyn Davis Author Of Insubordinate: 12 New Archetypes for Women Who Lead

From my list on women done with leaning in.

Who am I?

On Jan 30, 2013, I was sacked for "insubordination." No notice, no severance. My bosses threatened the other employees with dismissal if they talked to me. I'd been at the company for decades, rising from entry level to the executive team; after years of striving, it was a devastating blow. Once I picked myself up, I realized I’d leaned in so far, I’d toppled over. So I set off on a new path. Today, I have a master’s degree in Eastern classics, four leadership books, and one historical novel, and I’m committed to helping high achievers—women, especially—find their own paths to happy success: paths beyond “lean in.”

Jocelyn's book list on women done with leaning in

Jocelyn Davis Why did Jocelyn love this book?

LaPora Lindsey's key message, that we can make a profound positive impact no matter how little formal authority we have, is the leadership message for our time.

And her key metaphor—"life at the bottom of the food chain," whence all energy originates—is a brilliant way to express it. I’ve come to realize that this perspective on careers isn’t just for entry-level youngsters; it’s also for us oldsters with top jobs and/or years of experience.

We imagine it’s our bird’s-eye strategies and top-down direction that count, but oftentimes, it’s our earth-bound energy and support that make the biggest difference. When we say, “Yes, good idea, I’ll get behind that. Here’s how I’ll help,” we gain more power than we know. 

Book cover of The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't

Peter A. Bamberger Author Of Exposing Pay: Pay Transparency and What It Means for Employees, Employers, and Public Policy

From my list on (mis)managing people at work.

Who am I?

I've been studying people at work for over 40 years, starting as an undergraduate at Cornell’s School of Labor Relations. As a student, I got involved with the trade union movement in the US, and worked as an assembly-line worker and fruit picker on kibbutzim in Israel. These hands-on experiences made me want to understand and have an impact on the way people spend most of their working hours. I’ve collected survey data from literally thousands of workers in dozens of studies conducted around the world. I’ve published more articles in scholarly journals than I ever imagined possible. And while I’m still passionate about the study of work, I’ve yet to really understand it.

Peter's book list on (mis)managing people at work

Peter A. Bamberger Why did Peter love this book?

Aside from my research on rewards management, pro-social organizational behavior, and employee substance misuse, I’ve focused a lot of my attention on workplace incivility. 

Bob Sutton’s book was one of the factors leading me to look at this topic.  We’ve all encountered incivility at work and all know – at least implicitly – how it impacts us. Sutton’s book was one of the first to make sense – at least for me – of such behavior, not only by identify the “dirty dozen” (12 highly prevalent manifestations of workplace incivility), but also by detailing how damaging such behavior can be to individuals and the organizations employing them.

Aside from giving me insight into the prevalence and nature of employee MIS-management, this book was the start of a personal journey to discover some of the less obvious (but potentially more robust) implications of such problematic organizational behavior.

By Robert I. Sutton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The No Asshole Rule as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When the Harvard Business Review asked Robert Sutton for suggestions for its annual list of Breakthrough Ideas, he told them that the best business practice he knew of was 'the no asshole rule'. Sutton's piece became one of the most popular articles ever to appear in the HBR. Spurred on by the fear and despair that people expressed, the tricks they used to survive with dignity in asshole-infested places, the revenge stories that made him laugh out loud and the other small wins that they celebrated against mean-spirited people, Sutton was persuaded to write THE NO ASSHOLE RULE. He believes…

Book cover of How to Use the Laws of Mind

Christopher A. Pinckley Author Of State of Mind 2.0: 11 Lessons of the Most Productive People on the Planet

From my list on leveling up spiritual entrepreneurs & artists.

Who am I?

After decades of trial and error, reading hundreds of books and applying the lessons I learned, practicing thousands of hours of meditation & emotional integration work, landing in jail multiple times, battling 20 years of chronic fatigue, surviving a prolonged life/death illness, losing everything, becoming homeless, and rebuilding myself anew, I’ve seen a few things. When I emerged from the abyss, and without my conscious awareness of the fact, I had become transformed. I had become who I’d been seeking all along. Now I hold the space for my clients to express themselves unconditionally, access their deeply held suppressed emotional charges, and shatter the beliefs that keep them tethered to an outdated reality that is fast becoming obsolete in the New Earth.

Christopher's book list on leveling up spiritual entrepreneurs & artists

Christopher A. Pinckley Why did Christopher love this book?

The first, biggest breakthrough I had in life with business, money, and creating what I wanted came when I began reading Dr. Joseph Murphy. I started with his first book The Power of Your Subconscious Mind but my favorite is How to Use the Laws of Mind. Dr. Murphy explains how it became his life mission to interpret the metaphors and hidden messages within the bible into real-life methods on how to harness your own subconscious mind to create the life that you deserve. When I began utilizing affirmations it changed my life.

At the time I was a struggling personal trainer trying to figure out how to get clients in an area swarming with hundreds of other trainers trying to do the exact same thing. When I began utilizing the affirmations in his books it changed everything. Overnight, I booked out solid and became successful. If you want…

By Joseph Murphy,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Use the Laws of Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is one of Dr. Murphy’s best books, on a par with his classic The Power of your Subconscious Mind.<.I> It explains the difference between the conscious and subconscious mind, and how the two work together to create the reality of the individual.

As in Murphy’s other books, examples are given of how people overcame problems or manifested their desires by changing their minds through belief, affirmation, and visualization. The chapters deal with: HEALING PRAYER BECOMING SPIRITUAL-MINDED THE CREATIVITY OF THOUGHT THE MEANING OF EVIL THE MEANING OF LIFE CONTROLLING ONE’S FEAR THE POWER OF SUGGESTION MARRIAGE, SEX, AND DIVORCEIn…

Book cover of The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Program to Help You Achieve Success, Confidence, and Happiness

Alana Stott Author Of She Who Dares

From my list on helping you escape victimhood and keep you winning.

Who am I?

In life my motto has always been “The buck stops with me.” There is no room in life for excuses, blame, and victimhood. You need to build your own strength and resilience and not rely on others when it comes to your own successes. I have spent my life putting this mindset into practice and have surrounded myself with people, and books that keep me winning. 

Alana's book list on helping you escape victimhood and keep you winning

Alana Stott Why did Alana love this book?

Dr. Steve will blow your mind but introducing you to your chimp.

A being we all have within us that plays with our minds and is a wrecking ball! The chimp can work for you or against you! It's how you handle your chimp that counts and this book teaches you how to deal with him. Understanding your chimp will help you live a happier and healthier life!  

By Steve Peters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Chimp Paradox as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you sometimes behave irrationally or impulsively? Do you face some situations with fear and trepidation? Do feelings of self-doubt consume everyday activities?

Leading Consultant Psychiatrist, Prof Steve Peters, knows more than anyone how impulsive behaviour or nagging self-doubt can impact negatively on our professional and personal lives.

In this, his first book, Steve shares his phenomenally successful mind management programme that has been used to help elite athletes and senior managers alike to conquer their fears and operate with greater control, focus and confidence.

Seemingly complex concepts are made simple with the use of memorable analogies -- such as…

Book cover of Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World

Dinty W. Moore Author Of The Mindful Writer

From my list on for inspiring beginning writers.

Who am I?

Dinty W. Moore is the author of the writing guides The Story Cure, Crafting the Personal Essay, and The Mindful Writer, among many other books. He has published essays and stories in Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Southern Review, Creative Nonfiction, and elsewhere, and has taught master classes and workshops across the United States as well as in Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Canada, and Mexico.

Dinty's book list on for inspiring beginning writers

Dinty W. Moore Why did Dinty love this book?

Gaiman is always wonderfully positive on the subjects of experimentation, failure, and persistence, and with advice such as “The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” This inspiring book is made even better by the accompanying four-color artwork from his longtime illustrator, Chris Riddell.

By Chris Riddell, Neil Gaiman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Art Matters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Seize the day in the name of art. This creative call to arms from the mind of Neil Gaiman combines his extraordinary words with deft and striking illustrations by Chris Riddell.

'Like a bedtime story for the rest of your life, this is a book to live by. At its core, it's about freeing ideas, shedding fear of failure, and learning that "things can be different" ' INSTITUTE OF IMAGINATION

Be bold. Be rebellious. Choose art. It matters.

Neil Gaiman once said that 'the world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before'. This little book…

Book cover of Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life

Robert Quinn Author Of Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within

From my list on finding your purpose and success.

Who am I?

Robert Quinn is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan School of Business. His research and writing focus on purpose, leadership, culture, and change. He has published 18 books on these subjects. He is passionate about speaking and teaching and his recent talk to Google on finding your purpose was viewed by over 18 million people.

Robert's book list on finding your purpose and success

Robert Quinn Why did Robert love this book?

This is a classic and has been foundational to my thinking and work. Fritz explains that we all live on the path of least resistance. Our lives change when we learn to ask one question; “What result do I want to create?” We all think we ask this question, but we do not. We ask; “How do I get what I want?” The difference is critical in the impact it can have on our lives. This book is filled with practical insight and wisdom.

By Robert Fritz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Path of Least Resistance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A revolutionary program for creating anything, from a functional kitchen to a computer program, to a work of art, Robert Fritz demonstrates that any of us has the innate power to create. Discover the steps of creating; the importance of creating what you truly love, how to focus on the creative process to move from where you are to where you want to be, and much more.

Book cover of Passions Within Reason: The Strategic Role of the Emotions

Ananish Chaudhuri Author Of Experiments in Economics: Playing Fair with Money

From my list on emotions and economic decisions.

Who am I?

I am Professor of Experimental Economics at the University of Auckland where my work lies at the interface of economics and psychology. In a discipline (and a world) that tends to emphasize human self-interest, I have always been interested in our willingness to engage in unselfish behavior. Incentivized decision-making experiments with human participants where payments depend on the nature of their decisions are a powerful way of analyzing behavior. Are people willing to put their money where their mouth is? My background running experiments made me well-positioned to study some of these questions; a lot of them in collaboration with other social scientists including psychologists and political scientists. 

Ananish's book list on emotions and economic decisions

Ananish Chaudhuri Why did Ananish love this book?

I am tempted to say: Because Frank is a delightful writer and leave it at that.

This book reiterates similar themes in discussing how a variety of supposedly non-economic factors affect economic decisions.

In this book Frank discusses how noble human tendencies (moral sentiments) may have not only survived the pressures of the material world, but actually have been nurtured by them. The title is a play on the David Hume quote that “Reason is, and ought to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”

To those interested, I also recommend any of Frank’s other books including Choosing the Right Pond, The Winner Take All Society, and The Darwin Economy

By Robert H. Frank,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Passions Within Reason as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The idea rests on a simple paradox, namely, that in many situations the conscious pursuit of self-interest is incompatible with its attainment. We are all comfortable with the notion that someone who strives to be spontaneous can never succeed. So too, on brief reflection, will it become apparent that someone who always pursues self-interest is doomed to fail.

Book cover of Rise to the Sun

Llinos Cathryn Thomas Author Of A Duet for Invisible Strings

From my list on mixing music and romance.

Who am I?

It’s often been said of musical theatre that the point when the characters begin to sing is the point their emotions become too much to express in words alone. I think that’s one reason I’m so obsessed with books about people connecting over music, art, and performance—it allows for so much passion and intensity. Having sung and played instruments over the years, I know how powerful it can feel to make music with other people, even when you’re not in love! These days, though, I spend more time reading and writing about music than I do playing it.

Llinos' book list on mixing music and romance

Llinos Cathryn Thomas Why did Llinos love this book?

This Young Adult romance takes place over the course of a single weekend, and it captures the urgency of young love perfectly. Sure Olivia and Toni fall hard and fast, but it’s no wonder—a great music festival can pull you far enough from your day-to-day that you feel as though you’ve been there a lifetime, even as an adult. And this book captures that so clearly, bringing you right into both girls’ perspectives, letting you feel every triumph and every moment of despair as they chase their dreams, musical and otherwise, and figure out who they are.

By Leah Johnson,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rise to the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

A stunning novel about being brave enough to be true
to yourself, and learning to find joy even when times are unimaginably
Three days.

Two girls.

One life-changing music festival.

Toni is grieving the loss of her roadie father
and needing to figure out where her life will go from here - and
she's desperate to get back to loving music. Olivia is a hopeless
romantic whose heart has just taken a beating
(again) and is beginning to feel like she'll always be a square
peg in a round hole - but the Farmland Music and Arts Festival is…

Book cover of Soul to Soul: Connection and Communication

Linda Reid Author Of Renegades: The Zygan Emprise Trilogy, Book 1

From Linda's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Creator Mom Trekkie Hitchhiker Murder mystery maven

Linda's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Linda Reid Why did Linda love this book?

Octogenarian philanthropist Ruth Lindeck Forman shares inspiring vignettes, critical questions, and helpful wisdom that has flourished from her lifelong journey as a wife, mother, grandmother, and communication specialist in the US, the Caribbean, and around the world.

Forman eloquently lays out pathways for readers to promote their self-insight and confidence, to utilize inspiring new models for advancing local and international rapport, friendship, hope, and harmony, and to improve cross-cultural understanding by embracing kinship and spiritual affection among members of our diverse human community worldwide.

Forman’s journal is a treasure trove of experience, optimism, compassion, comfort, and a practical guide to a more inspiring and emotionally rewarding life blessed with vibrant human connection and heart. Soul to Soul: Connection and Communication is an outstanding guidebook for enriching our lives. Highly recommended!

By Ruth Lindeck Forman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Soul to Soul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The unique Soul to Soul Connection and Communication experience presents a positive, mindful, and compelling

personal and intercultural communication global paradigm. Communication expert octogenarian Ruth Lindeck Forman

offers anecdotes and facts that enhance, inspire, and uplift to promote well-being, civility, and inclusion.

The book covers science, connections to nature, socio-political issues, and ideas that encourage worthiness and

actualization. Ruth declares each person solely defines who they are by what is in their heart and soul. She proclaims we

choose to respond positively or negatively and sensitively or insensitively. Likewise, we choose to honor or dishonor

ourselves and others. Our choices…

Book cover of 7 Rules of Power: Surprising--But True--Advice on How to Get Things Done and Advance Your Career

Deborah Shlian Author Of Lessons Learned: Stories from Women Physician Leaders

From my list on women leaders.

Who am I?

I am a physician with over 30 years as a healthcare executive recruiter and consultant. I have been responsible for launching the careers of future leaders—many are women who have defied the odds to become senior executives In every area of healthcare. Lessons Learned: Stories from Women Physician Leaders is actually the third iteration of a project that has followed the careers of women physician leaders over almost 3 decades. In the version, 33 women share the lessons they have learned along the way.

Deborah's book list on women leaders

Deborah Shlian Why did Deborah love this book?

I like this book because it provides proven strategies that have helped individuals advance their careers within various organizations. The examples the authors use are good guides for readers who need to learn how to leverage their power to accomplish career goals. I think this is a good book not only for entry-level workers, but seasoned executives as well.

By Jeffrey Pfeffer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 7 Rules of Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you want to 'change lives, change organizations, change the world,' the Stanford business school's motto, you need power.

Is power the last dirty secret or the secret to success? Both. While power carries some negative connotations, power is a tool that can be used for good or evil. Don't blame the tool for how some people used it.

Rooted firmly in social science research, Pfeffer's 7 rules provide a manual for increasing your ability to get things done, including increasing the positive effects of your job performance.

With 7 Rules of Power, you'll learn, through both numerous examples as…