The most recommended personal development books

Who picked these books? Meet our 41 experts.

41 authors created a book list connected to personal development, and here are their favorite personal development books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of personal development book?


Book cover of The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Tereill Peay Author Of My Broken Stiletto: A Woman's Guide to Up Leveling Your Faith, Finances, and Fashion

From my list on to improve style, increase cash, illuminate confidence.

Why am I passionate about this?

Throughout my journey, I’ve had to endure many challenges coming from humble beginnings so I wrote my book based on my experiences of being the 1st generational college graduate to overcoming many obstacles that affected my self-esteem while running a multimillion-dollar branch in the banking industry. Writing My Broken Stiletto allowed me to showcase that being resilient is a mindset that can be challenging but worth the reward when you get out of your own way.

Tereill's book list on to improve style, increase cash, illuminate confidence

Tereill Peay Why did Tereill love this book?

I was introduced to this book by a business mastermind which we all read together and discussed chapters on video.

Imagine twenty women from different countries trying to not only understand each other and implement at the same time. I’m not sure what was more entertaining our language barrier or our interpretations. Nevertheless, I was blown away by the amount of structure and stretches that this book presents.

We all agreed to do the stretches as they relate to our lives. One of the many to-do’s was making a list of things that are unfinished and getting to it no matter how big or small. Now I must warn you this is a pretty thick book and I use it as a reference whenever I need a pick-me-up when life seems chaotic.

Mostly I reference the chapters that I feel are in alignment with where I am struggling in day-to-day…

By Jack Canfield, Janet Switzer,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Success Principles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, a revised and updated edition of Jack Canfield’s classic bestseller with a brand new foreword and an afterword for succeeding in the digital age.

Since its publication a decade ago, Jack Canfield’s practical and inspiring guide has helped thousands of people transform themselves for success. Now, he has revised and updated his essential guidebook to reflect our changing times.

In The Success Principles, the cocreator of the phenomenal bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series, helps you get from where you are to where you want to be, teaching you how to increase your…

Book cover of Hot and Bothered: What No One Tells You About Menopause and How to Feel Like Yourself Again

Jill Stoddard Author Of Imposter No More: Overcome Self-Doubt and Imposterism to Cultivate a Successful Career

From my list on personal development for kicking a$$ at life.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up I never felt good enough. I was called ‘tubby’ and ‘little tubette.’ I tried to people-please my way to love and acceptance, being who I thought others wanted and needed me to be. I achieved. I followed (most of) the rules and was nice and polite. But none of that worked to cultivate a balanced or meaningful life. Not surprisingly, this led me to a career in psychology and a love of learning about how to help others with similar struggles. Reading and writing self-development books has completely changed my life for the better. I hope this list will help you do the same!

Jill's book list on personal development for kicking a$$ at life

Jill Stoddard Why did Jill love this book?

Ok, I know it seems like this book is only for middle aged ladies but hear me out. Half the population will experience menopause and it is impactful. And yet, it is talked about so very little.

So for those of you who are going through it or will go through it, this book is a must read. For the rest of you—you will work with, love, and/or live with people who go through it, so if you care about your relationships and want to demystify what is happening behind the curtain of those you love, this could be an incredibly valuable read for you too.

Not only is this science-based book chock full of must-know information, it is laugh-out-loud-with-tears-streaming-down-your-face funny.

By Jancee Dunn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Hot and Bothered removes the shame, disdain, and mystery that’s surrounded menopause….An informative, entertaining and desperately needed book.” —Jen Sincero, author of You Are a Badass

When Jancee Dunn hit her mid-forties, she was bombarded by seemingly random symptoms: rampant insomnia, spring-loaded nerves, weirdly dry mouth, and Rio Grande-level periods. After going to multiple doctors who ran test after fruitless test, she was surprised to finally discover the culprit—perimenopause. For more than two decades, Jancee had been reporting on mental and physical health. So if she was unprepared for this, what about all the women who don’t write about health…

Book cover of Take a Moment

Sandy Barker Author Of A Sunrise Over Bali

From my list on personal growth and transformation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sandy is a writer, traveller, and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, a film buff, a wine lover, and a coffee snob. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her partner, Ben, who she met while travelling in Greece. Their real-life love story inspired Sandy’s debut novel One Summer in Santorini, the first in the five-book Holiday Romance series. The series continues in Paris, Sydney, Bali, and Tuscany. Sandy's standalone novel The Christmas Swap celebrates her favourite time of the year, and her rom-com, The Dating Game, is set in the world of Reality TV.

Sandy's book list on personal growth and transformation

Sandy Barker Why did Sandy love this book?

Kaye’s own diagnosis of a neurological disease sparked the idea for this terrific book―the protagonist, Alex, is diagnosed with MS and transforms her life to avoid being seen as ‘the victim.’ Like the author, Alex displays incredible bravery―she’s terrified of what’s to come but makes active steps in her life to follow her professional and creative dreams, as well as letting someone new into her life. This one tugged at my heartstrings.

By Nina Kaye,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Take a Moment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Life is better lived in the moment

Meet Alex. She has a wonderful fiance, a job she thrives in, and a best friend she's known since childhood. Life's not perfect, but it's pretty fantastic. Until a shock diagnosis suddenly throws everything off course.

But Alex has never been one to back down from a fight. Now single and unemployed, she packs up and moves from her Glasgow hometown to vibrant Birmingham for a fresh start. In a new job, in a new city, she's learning all over again what's important in life.

Friendship, fun and even romance lie just around…

Book cover of The Illusion of Money: Why Chasing Money Is Stopping You from Receiving It

G. Brian Benson Author Of Habits for Success: Inspired Ideas to Help You Soar (Habits of Successful People)

From my list on to inspire personal growth and success.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been motivated to be the best version of myself for as long as I can remember and that has included reading a ton of books, pushing my own limits on what I was capable of (Ironman triathlons and a cross-country bicycle ride), tapping into my own creativity as well as taking it to the next step and sharing what I have learned through my own books and TEDx presentation. I believe we have so much more inside of us than we realize and I love to share and see others reach their goals and dreams.  

G.'s book list on to inspire personal growth and success

G. Brian Benson Why did G. love this book?

I loved this book because it is not only Inspiring in how it makes you understand your current money beliefs, but the exercises are easy to do and I found profound in what they reveal. Kyle explains spot-on how you can shift yourself from your current viewpoint into one that allows abundance and your true potential to shine through. And the book’s wonderful nuggets translate into all areas of your life! 

By Kyle Cease,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Your obsession with money is costing you MILLIONS.

Money is one of the biggest excuses we make to not go after what we really want. Our fixation with money - the desire for more of it, and the fear of not having enough of it - is often really just a longing to feel safe. But this obsession with money is coming at a much bigger cost: our sanity, our creativity, our freedom, and our ability to step into our true power.

In this book, comedian turned transformational speaker and New York Times best-selling author Kyle Cease will help you…

Book cover of The Power of Focus: How to Hit Your Business, Personal and Financial Targets with Absolute Confidence and Certainty

Anne Bachrach Author Of Live Life With No Regrets: How the Choices We Make Impact Our Lives

From my list on to catapult your business and your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

My main goal and purpose in life is to make a difference in people’s lives by helping you overcome obstacles that hold you back, so you can make more money, work less, and enjoy having even better work-life balance. Helping you realize how you can get around roadblocks that hold you back from achieving what you truly want in life gets me excited. I think many people make business and life so much harder than it needs to be and I like to share powerful books and resources that help you focus on how you can more easily realize your potential, accelerate your results, and fulfill what's truly important to you in life.

Anne's book list on to catapult your business and your life

Anne Bachrach Why did Anne love this book?

The bottom line is that the people who focus on what they want, not what they don’t want, achieve their goals and even accelerate the achievement of their goals. So many times we have limiting beliefs (things we don’t want to happen) that get our focus and that is the wrong thing to focus on. No matter what you want in business or in life, the power of focus will help you get there. This book helps you to focus on your strengths and eliminate what holds you back from getting to where you ultimately want to go. It can help you change bad habits into habits that will serve you much better in life. This is a powerful book to help you no matter where you are or what you want in your business and life.

By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Les Hewitt

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

More than 600,000 people around the world have been captivated by the simple, practical, and profound strategies contained in the original bestseller, The Power of Focus. Now a decade later, authors Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Les Hewitthave joined forces to create a special 10th Anniversary Edition of this enduring classic. Each of these masters of business and personal development provides a crystal-clear picture of why your ability to focus is even more vital today in determining your future success.  Readers will discover:
The keys to prosperity in a turbulent economy A personal look at the last ten years…

Book cover of Own Your Career Own Your Life: Stop Drifting and Take Control of Your Future

Zakiya Akerele Author Of Dump Your Degree: How to Repurpose Your Education, Control Your Career, and Gain Financial Freedom

From my list on managing your career and finances after college.

Why am I passionate about this?

Many degree holders experience career and financial challenges they aren't prepared to handle. I know this first hand because after completing my Ph.D., I faced joblessness and massive student loan debt, and after becoming a professor, I saw my students encounter similar situations. This prompted me to write, Dump Your Degree: How to Repurpose Your Education, Control Your Career, and Gain Financial Freedom. My mission is to provide tangible solutions to students and early career professionals so that they stop solely relying on their degrees but instead learn how to use the sum of their knowledge, skills, and talents in unique ways to create meaningful, viable careers.

Zakiya's book list on managing your career and finances after college

Zakiya Akerele Why did Zakiya love this book?

If you want to create a career that is entirely in your hands, then Own Your Career Own Your Life is an excellent resource in helping you have complete control. I like how this book enables readers to develop a career vision that positions them for success in any industry. It causes you to reflect on the challenges holding you back, how you make decisions, and discover your purpose. Readers will come out on the other side feeling more confident about having a career that makes sense for their life and knowing how to evolve it when necessary. 

By Andy Storch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Own Your Career Own Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Are you searching for a fulfilling career and a life that feels meaningful?

Do you want to wake up every morning feeling excited to start the day and confident that you are truly reaching your potential?

Own Your Career Own Your Life was written for you.

Andy Storch spent years stuck in the wrong career and drifting aimlessly through life. Now, he is a professional coach, consultant, speaker, and author whose life mission is to equip others to live intentionally, love the life they live, and fulfill their true potential.

In his eagerly-anticipated book Own Your Career Own Your Life,…

Book cover of The Genius Zone: The Breakthrough Process to End Negative Thinking and Live in True Creativity

Andrea J. Johnson Author Of How to Craft Killer Dialogue for Fiction & Creative Non-Fiction

From Andrea's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Mystery writer Book coach Pop culture enthusiast Editor Professor

Andrea's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Andrea J. Johnson Why did Andrea love this book?

Hendricks is the author of The Big Leap, which is a classic in the personal development field, but this more recent book makes the list because it emphasizes something that we tend to forget when goalsetting: recommitment.

Just because you failed today, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try again tomorrow. Endeavor to put all your energy into your passions (even if that means an occasional misstep) and the cumulative effects are bound to change your life forever.

By Gay Hendricks,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Too often we live lives that we find unfulfilling, fail to reach our own potential, and neglect to practice creativity in our daily routines. The Genius Zone offers a way to change that by tapping into your own innate creativity. Dr. Gay Hendricks broke new ground with his bestselling classic, The Big Leap, which has become an essential resource for coaches, entrepreneurs, executives, and health practitioners around the world. Originally published as The Joy of Genius, The Genius Zone has been updated and expanded throughout, making it the essential next beyond The Big Leap.

In The Genius Zone, Hendricks introduces…

Book cover of The Power of Charm: How to Win Anyone Over in Any Situation

Kurt Mortensen Author Of The Laws of Charisma: How to Captivate, Inspire, and Influence for Maximum Success

From my list on how to inspire, influence, and become more charismatic.

Why am I passionate about this?

Kurt Mortensen is an international authority on charisma, negotiation, and influence. Kurt has spent over 20 years researching influence, leadership, sales, persuasive presentations, and he teaches at the university level. Kurt is the author of Persuasion IQ, Laws of Charisma, and the best-selling book Maximum Influence. His books have been translated into 28 languages. He is also the host of the popular podcast Maximize Your Influence. Mortensen teaches that professional success, personal relationships, and leadership all depend on the ability to persuade, influence, and motivate others. The key is to get others to want to do, what you want them to do and like doing it. 

Kurt's book list on how to inspire, influence, and become more charismatic

Kurt Mortensen Why did Kurt love this book?

Brian Tracy was one of my early mentors. He taught me the keys to success and happiness. He changed my life and gave me the personal development bug. He has studied all types of successful people and has written over eighty books. I love this book because charm is a big part of being charismatic. This book gives you more confidence by building trust and using that innate charm to be more likable and win the support of others.

By Brian Tracy, Ron Arden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Brian Tracy has devoted his life to helping others achieve things they never dreamed possible. Now, he gives readers the key they need to open any door and get whatever they want, every time.

This book gives you proven ways to become more captivating and persuasive in any situation. As one of the world's premier business consultants and personal success experts, Brian Tracy shows readers what charm can do, and how they can use simple methods to immediately become more charming and dramatically improve their social lives and business relationships.

In The Power of Charm, you will learn how to:…

Book cover of How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

Erik Qualman Author Of The Focus Project: The Not So Simple Art of Doing Less

From my list on self improvement and staying focused.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been in the digital space for 30 years and my breakthrough book was Socialnomics. In this book, I encouraged individuals and organizations to lean into social media and digital, both personally and professionally; emphasizing that this shift wasn’t just for teenagers, that it would change the world more than anything in our lifetime. That it would become a powerful force around business, politics, gaming, and beyond. And, unfortunately, it did. It was even more powerful than I could have imagined. What I didn’t comprehend was that we would lean in too much. I realized I needed to give the anti-venom to Socialnomics. We needed as a society to return to focusing on what matters most.

Erik's book list on self improvement and staying focused

Erik Qualman Why did Erik love this book?

One of the greatest days of my professional career was when a media outlet called me a “Digital Dale Carnegie.” They had no idea what a fan I am of Carnegie's work. Carnegie passed away (1955) long before I was born but he continues to have a profound impact on my life. My grandfather, and father have both taken Dale Carnegie Courses. While Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People is wonderful and is one of the best-selling books of all time, my favorite is How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

In our modern world, worry is almost a certainty. We worry as parents, business owners, employees— we never seem to run out of things to worry about. Dale Carnegie’s How to Stop Worrying and Start Living reframed my perspective on the cost of worrying. Eliminating the fear of the unknown is often the first step…

By Dale Carnegie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Stop Worrying and Start Living as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first trade paperback edition of the classic guide to conquering the fears and worries that prevent individuals from living full and happy lives offers practical advice on how to eliminate business and financial anxieties, turn criticism into an advantage, avoid fatigue, and more. Reprint. 25,00

Book cover of Emergence: Seven Steps for Radical Life Change

Richard W. Kelly Author Of Times... They Are a Changin'

From Richard's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author All Genres writer Pro-wrestling fanatic Disney Adult Analytic Dreamer

Richard's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Richard W. Kelly Why did Richard love this book?

I love self help books, but most of the time they feel like just putting your faith into a mantra or chant. 

This book has step-by-step instructions on how to not only harness the strength of positive thinking and meditation. But, it also goes deep on how to create a plan and keep moving so that you are actively creating the life you want.

By Derek Rydall,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Personal development has been an enormously popular topic, from Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence Peopleto Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project, from Tony Robbins to Deepak Chopra. But it's not working anymore. Many of us struggle with the same, on-going battles day in and day out. We attract a new mate but have the same old fights. We increase our pay check but end up broke. We fight for our health only to slip back into the same, old habits. And the harder we try to change, the more difficult it becomes.

Emergence is not the end of…