What Is Personal Development?
Personal development is the idea that you can and should take time to do activities that improve your overall feeling of wholeness and balance.
Some areas that you might consider developing include your career skills, thinking capabilities, work responsibilities, and more. Common methods of personal development include watching videos by inspiring people, reading helpful books, going to college, or investing time into training, coaching, or mentorship.
Why Read Personal Development Books?
Many successful people recommend engaging in personal development activities daily. One simple way to work personal development into your day is by starting with a good book filled with information that will inspire you or help you grow.
Another efficient way to work your daily dose of personal development into your schedule is to listen to personal development info while in the car. Podcasts, Audible, or online training are all accessible when you are in your car. When you make personal development a priority, you will be more likely to stay motived, feel confident about the path you are on, and be more likely to reach your goals.
What Are the Differences Between Self-Help & Personal Development Books?
Personal development and self-help information are very similar. However, one key difference can be noted. Self-help books generally provide actionable steps that you need to work through in order to reach a specific outcome or expectation that you have for yourself. Personal development books, on the other hand, help you enhance your personality traits so that you can advance professionally and socially. You can glean personal development insights from almost any book if you think about the information critically and consider how it relates to your life. If you feel that self-help books are a better fit for you, check out the best self-help books to read today.
The 15 Best Personal Development Books
#1 Story Teller by Morgan Harper Nichols
Are you a modern poetry fan? If you just threw your hands up in the air and yelled, “YES!” then Story Teller is right up your alley. It might seem odd to you that I would include a poetry book on a personal development list so I should probably explain myself. See, Morgan Harper Nichols doesn’t just write boring poems that aren’t applicable in the real world. She writes stories about people. People that you can relate to. The point of these poetic stories is to encourage you to keep going, and as someone who is on a path to greatness, the most important thing is that you, keep going. “For it is all in the journey you will learn to be strong.”
- Morgan Harper Nichols
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
- Paperback: 108 pages
#2 Top Five Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware
Sometimes the most important thing you can do to improve yourself is to take a good hard look at your life and decide whether it is aligned with your core values. The Top Five Regret’s of the Dying will help you reflect on your life and how you want to live it. The author shares personal stories of people she cared for while working as a hospice nurse. As she sat by their bedside, they often shared their deepest regrets and Bronnie wrote them down for you in the hopes that you will live your life to the fullest. How’s that for a morning of personal development?
- The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing
- Bronnie Ware
- Publisher: Hay House Inc.
#3 The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
If you enjoy books that are grounded in research and data to support the suggestions the author throws at you consider reading The Happiness Advantage. Shawn Achor shares compelling information about the changes you can make in your life to live a happier existence starting now with a little help from gratitude, family time, and more.
- Crown Business
- Shawn Achor
- Publisher: Currency
#4 Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is my all time favorite book. Don’t bother reading this one if you don’t believe in divine timing. As you strive to develop yourself and become a more enlightened and successful you, it is important to remember to “let inspiration lead you wherever it wants,” because from my experience my biggest personal breakthroughs happen when I least expect it and stop trying so hard.
- Big Magic Creative Living Beyond Fear
- Elizabeth Gilbert
- Publisher: Riverhead Books
#5 Daring Greatly by Brené Brown
Looking to live a more courageous, whole-hearted life filled with less self-doubt and more bravery? Then it is imperative that you start devouring books by the beloved Brené Brown immediately. How many shame and vulnerability researchers have their own Netflix special! In the book, Daring Greatly, she gives you actionable strategies that you can add to your life to work through fears so that you can live your life with more purpose.
- Avery Publishing Group
- Brené Brown
- Publisher: Avery
#6 You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
Struggling to break through the noise? Broke and don’t know what’s next? Then a reminder of how truly badass you are is exactly what you need. Jen Sincero will give you the pep talk you need to hear, not necessarily the one that you want to hear. You Are A Badass is a great read for anyone who is feeling unsure about whether making a big life change is worth the risk.
- Great product!
- Jen Sincero
- Publisher: Running Press Adult
#7 The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals With Soul by Danielle LaPorte
Danielle LaPorte is all the rage this year! She is inspiring people from all different walks of life. Hippies, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders alike. Danielle will help you get in touch with all the feels so that you gain the confidence you need to reach your big goals in her helpful book, The Desire Map.
- includes workbook
- Danielle LaPorte
- Publisher: Sounds True
#8 Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
Clarissa beats the drum for the wild woman in this enchanting personal development book. If you are a deep thinker and lover of learning through story and metaphor, then you must stop what you are doing right now and read Women Who Run With Wolves. This book is a reality check for every woman who is questioning her power and intuition. You are wise. You are strong, and you need to get in touch with the wild woman within so you can live your most empowered life.
- Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés
- Kindle Edition
#9 100 Days to Brave by Annie Downs
Personal development in just 5 minutes a day, yep, it’s possible. If you’re a daily devotional kind of person who doesn’t mind a Christian spin, then 100 Day’s to Brave is just what you’re looking for. Through personal anecdotes about stepping outside of her comfort zone, Annie Downs will give you the inspiration you need, over the next 100 days. “Brave people don’t stop hearing the whispers of fear. They hear the whispers but take action anyways.”
- Annie F. Downs
- Publisher: Zondervan
- Hardcover: 240 pages
#10 The Presence Process by Michael Brown
If you feel dysregulated or overwhelmed by the chaos of life, then stop what you are doing and tune in to the wisdom that Michael Brown. When every day is a daily struggle of uncomfortable emotions, it is time to find peace and let go of suffering through the practice of mindfulness, and The Presence Process can help.
- Michael Brown
- Namaste Publishing Inc.
- Kindle Edition
#11 What Do You Do With An Idea by Kobi Yamada & Mae Besom
A very wise human once said that if you need a good reminder of what matters in life pick up a children’s book. I may be paraphrasing here, but the advice is good. The children’s book, What Do You Do With An Idea is a great read for any adult or child looking to get a quick hit of personal development. This intriguing bedtime story is an important reminder that the things you think and do hold the potential to change the world.
- By best selling author,Kobi Yamada What Do You Do With an Idea? - New York Times best seller top sold in Children's Self-Esteem Books-Hardcover # New york times best seller
- Kobi Yamada
- Publisher: Compendium Inc
#12 Healing Trauma by Peter A. Levine PH.D.
Feeling weighed down? Overcome by flashbacks of unfortunate life events? Feeling overwhelmed by painful emotions because of a common daily event? You may be experiencing the effects of past trauma and when this happens it is your job to recognize these feelings because you are the only one who has the power to release the pent up energy from your body. This book will teach you how to do just that.
- Peter A. Levine PhD
- Kindle Edition
- Edition no. 0 (10/01/2008)
#13 Tribes by Seth Godin
Every book by Seth Godin is a pure genius, but Tribe’s is my favorite. If you are an entrepreneur, manager, or leader, you need to understand how to create a movement and build a unique tribe filled with people who have a strong vision for what they are creating. If you want to create change then you need to start building a tribe, and it might not be as hard as you think.
#14 Mindset by Carol Dweck
If you haven’t heard the word mindset floating around, do you even live on planet earth? Talk about taking control of your mindset is everywhere! Whether you are trying to figure out how to manifest more money, build better relationships, or be more productive at work, it all starts with mindset. In case you need a refresher, by definition, mindset is the beliefs you have about yourself and the world around you. It may sound simple, but shifting the way you think about things can create momentum toward making massive changes in your life.
#15 You’re Not Lost by Maxie McCoy
Feeling a bit lost? I was a few months ago. In fact, I felt so lost that this book really spoke to me. If you are a woman who is unsure what about the next step and struggling to trust your instincts and take action on your ideas, then this is the book might help you turn things around. You’re Not Lost is a personal development book filled with stories, exercises, and advice to get you moving toward making your dreams a reality.
- Maxie McCoy
- Publisher: TarcherPerigee
- Paperback: 256 pages
Deciding On A Personal Development Book
Consider where you are at in your life. What kinds of things are you struggling with? Do you need help with overcoming mental blocks, maybe you want to be a better leader, or forge an entirely new path in life? Whatever aspect of yourself you are hoping to develop there is definitely a book that can help give you new insights and perspectives. Which of these books will help push you to the next level?
Last update on 2019-09-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / Prices shown represent Amazon prices only, and do not represent the current price from any other source.