The best books for success in life

43 authors have picked their favorite books about success in life and why they recommend each book.

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The Power of Full Engagement

By Tony Schwartz, Jim Loehr,

Book cover of The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal

This book shares the secrets to being highly productive. In the book, the authors explain that the key to high performance isn’t time management, but energy management. Applying these insights will allow a person to accomplish far more than most people. I know, because I have been applying them for over 20 years and they work!

Who am I?

Michael Beck is an executive coach, business strategist, author, and president of Eliciting Excellence. Over his 20 years as a professional executive coach, he has helped leaders improve their interpersonal skills, sharpen their strategic thinking, and enhance their judgment. Although he started his career as a poor leader, over the years, he learned how to be a good communicator, came to understand human nature, and developed into a business strategist. His engineering and business degrees, combined with his executive experience in a wide range of industries allows him to bring keen insights to readers and clients.

I wrote...

Eliciting Excellence: Bringing Out the Best in People

By Michael Beck,

Book cover of Eliciting Excellence: Bringing Out the Best in People

What is my book about?

Eliciting excellence is the essence of exceptional leadership. Everyone accepts that good leadership is important, but rarely is the question raised as to why and how good leadership makes a difference.Although developing good strategies and making smart decisions are important,bringing out the best in people is the most important ability a leader needs in order to produce great results.

What Got You Here Won't Get You There

By Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter,

Book cover of What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

Marshall Goldsmith is a renowned executive leadership coach. In this book, he lays out the secrets to getting promoted and moving up in an organization. While not a traditional book about leadership, it’s an essential text for figuring out what you need to do to be successful as you climb the corporate ladder. Goldsmith writes about the need to figure out what knowledge and skills to let go of at your current level as you move up to the next level, where different tasks and responsibilities await you (e.g., being a star as an individual contributor does not mean you’ll be great as a manager). This is one of the best books ever written about what it takes to be a successful leader at different levels of an organization.

Who am I?

After a career as an HR and learning & development executive at PepsiCo, AOL, and Capital One, I founded Arneson Leadership Consulting to provide coaching, talent management, and leadership development solutions to corporations and non-profit organizations.  I have a passion for helping leaders develop to their full potential and believe all leaders have the capacity to learn and grow. But development doesn’t just magically happen – you have to be willing to work at it. Whether it’s taking a course, gathering 360 feedback, or reading a best-selling book, the best leaders know they must never stop learning.

I wrote...

What Your Boss Really Wants from You: 15 Insights to Improve Your Relationship

By Steve Arneson,

Book cover of What Your Boss Really Wants from You: 15 Insights to Improve Your Relationship

What is my book about?

The most important work relationship you have is with your boss; no one else has as much power to make or break your career. You need this relationship to be positive, but sometimes the boss can be difficult or hard to read. In this pragmatic and accessible guide, top executive coach Steve Arneson shows how to find the answer to fifteen essential questions that will help you understand your boss’s leadership style and motivation. Vivid real-world examples demonstrate Arneson’s advice in action and show clearly how this process can be used to gain a more meaningful, productive, and enjoyable work life. 


By Barbara Sher, Annie Gottlieb,

Book cover of Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want

A dream is just a dream until you write it down – then it becomes a plan. This book provides practical approaches to turning dreams into goals and plans. With strategies as simple as charting your progress and setting accountability checkpoints with a buddy, the “impossible” gradually becomes possible, and eventually becomes inevitable. Sure, you may lurch fitfully in the direction of your dreams and goals, but the advice in this book will ensure that any setbacks are temporary, and progress is tangible and a source of hope, inspiration, and motivation.

Who am I?

In 1995 I was challenged to declare my purpose in life. In the absence of any evidence that it was possible, and without knowing HOW to do it, I declared the possibility that I would transform Planet Earth by creating community everywhere. As ridiculous as it sounded at the time, the amazing breakthroughs that I’ve encountered on my journey since then have been even more incredible. After decades of experience helping myself and others achieve what initially seemed “impossible” possible, I’m delighted to be able to help myself and support others in making progress on pretty much any “impossible” project aside from changing the gravitational constant of the Universe. (I’m a physicist, so I’m going to leave that to greater minds than mine!) Looking forward to hearing what seems impossible for you, but if it WERE possible, would transform your life for the better!

I wrote...

Scrappy Project Management: The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces

By Kimberly Wiefling,

Book cover of Scrappy Project Management: The 12 Predictable and Avoidable Pitfalls Every Project Faces

What is my book about?

Projects are MESSY! From the minute the project begins, all manner of changes, surprises, and disasters befall them. Unfortunately, most of these are PREDICTABLE and AVOIDABLE. Tact and diplomacy can only get you so far in the wild and wacky world of project work. A combination of outrageous creativity, sheer bravado, and nerves of steel will serve you far better than any fancy-schmancy Microsoft Project Gantt chart!

The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity

By Catherine Ponder,

Book cover of The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity

I read this book when I first moved out to California from Canada. I was living on the beach and having a great time. Catherine Ponder has this energy that is like Tim Robbins and her message is that you can have anything you want if you put your mind to it. It helped me chart my way forward in the entertainment industry and helped me find my path.

Who am I?

Tommy Chong is a Canadian-American actor, writer, director, musician, cannabis rights activist, and comedian. He is known for the Cheech and Chong comedy albums and movies along with many other roles. He is a poet and a philosopher and these are his picks for the books that mark his spiritual journey through life.

I wrote...

The I Chong: Meditations from the Joint

By Tommy Chong,

Book cover of The I Chong: Meditations from the Joint

What is my book about?

Beginning with Tommy's experiences growing up in Canada in the forties and fifties as a mixed-race kid and going on to become a comedy legend, The I Chong is at once a memoir, a spiritual exploration of his time in prison, and a political indictment of the eroding civil liberties in post-9/11 American society. He tells the unbelievable story of his trip down the rabbit hole of America's war on drugs and of his experiences in the federal prison system, and he offers up timely observations on combating the conservative political forces at work in this country. Introspective, inspiring, and incendiary, The I Chong is a unique chronicle of one man's life and how his humorous and spiritual point of view saved him during his wrongful incarceration at the hands of an administration without boundaries.

Creating Money

By Sanaya Roman, Duane Packer,

Book cover of Creating Money: Attracting Abundance

The title of this book is a tad misleading because it’s about so much more than money, yet since most people want to make more money, the good news is they’ll pick it up and get way more than they bargained for by reading it and doing what it says. While it does indeed teach you how to create money, it also gives clear instruction on meditation, clearing blocks, manifesting, working with energy, gaining clarity, etc. All of which contribute to manifesting money, as well as pretty much everything else, into your life.

Easy to read and follow with simple exercises and deceptively deep concepts broken down, this is an awesome starter book as well as one to always have around to provide important reminders and re-alignment.

Who am I?

Jen Sincero is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, success coach, and motivational cattle prod who’s helped countless people transform their personal and professional lives via her products, speaking engagements, newsletters, seminars and books. Her #1 New York Times bestseller, You Are a Badass®: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life (2013), spent over 4 years on the NY Times bestseller list, has sold over 3 million copies, is available in over 35 languages, and continues to grow in popularity around the globe. Her follow-ups, You Are a Badass® at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth (2017), also a NY Times bestseller, You Are a Badass® Every Day (2018), and Badass Habits (2020) are written with the same signature sass, down-to-earth humor and blunt practicality that made You Are a Badass® an indomitable bestseller and Jen a celebrated voice in the world of self-development.

I wrote...

You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth

By Jen Sincero,

Book cover of You Are a Badass at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth

What is my book about?

You Are a Badass at Making Money will launch you past the fears and stumbling blocks that have kept financial success beyond your reach. Drawing on her own transformation--over just a few years--from a woman living in a converted garage with tumbleweeds blowing through her bank account to a woman who travels the world in style, Jen Sincero channels the inimitable sass and practicality that made You Are a Badass an indomitable bestseller. She combines hilarious personal essays with bite-size, aha concepts that unlock earning potential and get real results.


By Maxwell Maltz,

Book cover of Psycho-Cybernetics

Psycho-Cybernetics is one of the original self-help books on which most others are now based. It deals with the self-image and the role that it plays in shaping a person's continued success or failure. The author, Dr. Maxwell Maltz, was a plastic surgeon who became interested in the dramatic personality changes of some of his patients after surgery. For many patients a physical defect (for example flappy ears) had imposed an artificial limit on the person's ability to succeed, and once the cosmetic defect had been rectified, so had the psychological limit been removed. Other patients went right on with the same damaged self-image even after successful surgery. This prompted Dr. Maltz to study this phenomenon and ultimately he changed his career in order to focus on it. This book deals with a lot more than just improving your self-image though. It is jam-packed with invaluable insight into a range…

Who am I?

I’ve experienced crippling anxiety personally, to the point of nervous breakdown. I’ve researched this topic extensively and have been panic-free for over a decade due to the knowledge and coping skills accrued.

I wrote...

How I Overcame Panic Disorder Without Drugs

By Roxane Lapa,

Book cover of How I Overcame Panic Disorder Without Drugs

What is my book about?

Constantly having panic attacks for no good reason is no way to live. Yet so many people are living this way. This very common anxiety disorder is most often treated with SSRI drugs. These pharmaceuticals do not address the cause of panic attacks though and are arguably not terribly effective at treating the symptoms either.

In this book, I will show you how I was able to overcome panic disorder in two periods of my life without pharmaceuticals. You will discover the different methods of overcoming the many faces of this mental disturbance, and ultimately you will learn how to eliminate unwarranted panic from your life.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

By Dale Carnegie,

Book cover of How to Win Friends and Influence People

This book has been around longer than I have, which makes it borderline ancient. And yet, it is not—and probably never will be—outdated. The advice is so sage, so useful, and so well-written that I still recommend this book to students who want to develop essential communication skills. These skills, when appropriately applied, will make you a more effective persuader and, in my view, a better person too!

Who am I?

As an undergraduate in college, I worked selling men’s clothing. There was a rack of suits that, for whatever reason, would not sell, so my boss phoned a coworker and told her to cut the price of the suits by 50 percent. Misunderstanding him, she doubled the price instead. By the time our boss returned from vacation, nearly all those suits had been sold! It made no sense to me…until I read Robert Cialdini’s book, Influence. From there, I not only sold plenty of suits, I earned a Ph.D. at the University of Southern California, and eventually was named a Distinguished Professor at Utah State University.

I wrote...

Persuasion: Social Influence and Compliance Gaining

By Robert H. Gass, John S. Seiter,

Book cover of Persuasion: Social Influence and Compliance Gaining

What is my book about?

The newest edition of this field-leading book provides a highly readable, often entertaining, yet astute, presentation of major approaches to persuasion. Using real-life examples, often involving the authors’ own persuasive mishaps, the book encourages readers to develop and apply conclusions about persuasion in real-world settings. Along the way, readers are also introduced to major theories of persuasion as they apply to the practice of social influence in an array of contexts (e.g., advertising, marketing, politics, interpersonal relationships, social media, groups) and across a variety of topics (e.g., credibility, personality, deception, motivational appeals, visual persuasion). Finally, the book not only emphasizes the goal of effective persuasion, but also the importance of being ethical in one’s attempts to influence others.

The Go-Giver

By Bob Burg, John David Mann,

Book cover of The Go-Giver: A Little Story about a Powerful Business Idea

The Go-Giver shows how giving and putting other's needs before your own can lead to success.

Such a beautifully written book discussing a simple truth that the majority of people miss about wanting to live, learn, and laugh more abundantly. When we stop thinking about I, me, myself, and my pleasures, problem, and pain and start focusing and working on caring, contributing, and concerning ourselves with improving our community... magical things will start to happen to you.

Who am I?

Tomas Veres is a European novelist and poet. He is primarily known for his memoirs in which deep characters and a wide range of emotions are beautifully and painfully depicted. They come from a point in his life when he felt lost, uncertain, and uncompromised soul exhaustion from dirty jobs and the abnormal flow of creative thinking, energy, and satisfaction.

I wrote...

Before I Won

By Tomas Veres,

Book cover of Before I Won

What is my book about?

Before I Won tells the story of a young man fighting toxic thoughts inside his head. Bullying. School. Graduation. Parents. A period causing cold sweat was over. Now, the period he always dreamt of – adulthood. Freedom. Independence. The power to live your own life.

But instead of calming happiness only hurting darkness. Depression emerging randomly. Uncontrollable anxiety. Lack of self-confidence. Feeling lost. Lack of money.  All of the ordinary things in society keep young Tom outside of society. Relationships, career, life – they bring questions without answers. Who am I? What do I want?

Manifest Your Destiny

By Wayne W. Dyer,

Book cover of Manifest Your Destiny: Nine Spiritual Principles for Getting Everything You Want

This book changed the way I was living my life. It literally changed the words I used to speak about my future plans/goals and made me want to dream big. It leads you to make the connection between what we think and what shows up in our lives. This was an epiphany moment for me. That, we are, who we spend time with, the books we read, and the TV we watch. And thus, the people around us become mirrors of ourselves. It made me examine my thoughts on a minute-to-minute basis and ultimately start living in the present moment. It introduces you to the benefits of daily gratitude and of being of service to others.

Who am I?

When I left school at 18, I initially studied computers and French, because it was deemed the best way to get a ‘proper’ job. I then spent my 20’s working in various sales jobs. By 29, I was burnt out. I felt empty. Something was missing in my life. I wasn’t following my passions. I had grown up wanting to be on stage, to act, to sing, to dance, and to perform. The end of one stage of my life was the beginning of another. I changed course and began to listen to my heart and work full time as a performer. I hope you enjoy the books I’ve chosen, they all helped me to believe in myself, listen to my inner voice, and to dream again.

I wrote...

Tojo's Dream

By Dominic Anglim, Marta Magnuska (illustrator),

Book cover of Tojo's Dream

What is my book about?

Follow the story of Tojo, an Aye-Aye lemur on the island of Madagascar. Tojo dreams of one day being a professional ballet dancer, but his friends have other ideas. Will Tojo listen to them or follow his heart?

My book is about having the courage to follow your own path and listen to your inner voice. When I was younger I wanted to do drama and performance, but spent a lot of time playing soccer instead. It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I found the courage to go my own way and start acting.

The One Thing

By Gary Keller, Jay Papasan,

Book cover of The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

In this wonderful book, Keller pushes back on the idea of a “balanced” life. To accomplish anything of true worth, to build an uncommon life requires an uncommon approach to living it.

He explains the benefits of narrowing the focus down to 1 thing and be determined to excel at it. Prior to reading this, I’d try to be good at so many things, spreading myself too thin. By focusing on my one thing over and over, I was able to overcome my challenges and get to the mountaintop sooner.

Who am I?

Having built multiple profitable businesses in multiple states, I’ve learned that success comes from thinking outside the box and at times comically questioning authority. Flexibility, nimbleness, and comfort with change are bedrocks of a strong entrepreneurial foundation. However, even though there may be no standard blueprint to success, winning in business still requires some basic tenants, like a strong level of determination and efficiency. Every year, my team and I work with hundreds of home buyers and sellers to fulfill their dreams, and a huge reason for this lies in the lessons we’ve learned in the books listed here. I hope you learn from them as much as I have.

I wrote...

One in a Million: Everything You Need to Know to Find the Best Realtor

By Erik Brown,

Book cover of One in a Million: Everything You Need to Know to Find the Best Realtor

What is my book about?

In One in a Million, Erik Brown shares in a fun, informative, and easy-to-read way for you to identify a great agent and why you want them long-term as a go-to professional in your corner. When you buy, sell, or invest in a home or property, Brown guides you to finding the professional services to give you the right peace of mind for a job well done.

Written by an agent that has helped hundreds of home buyers and sellers in multiple states buy or sell a home, like The Matrix, Brown shows you how to "read the code" of how to buy and sell a house. Discover typical and costly common pitfalls and mistakes made, and areas of interest that can make or break a successful sale.

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