Top 10 Essential Self Improvement Books

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Top 10 Essential Self Improvement Books

Self-help books seem to be a dime a dozen. There are self-help books catering to men, catering to women, and every niche in between.  Many are loaded with platitudes and filler material and don’t offer that much value. However, there are some that are true gems with actionable information. Some of the best self-help books are not even in the self-help book section. Some are in the form of other people’s stories.  Here is my list of top 10 Essential Self Improvement Books



1.  Outwitting The Devil


This book is kind of overshadowed by his classic Think and Grow Rich but it’s even better. Because it’s very comprehensive and touches on every facet of your existence. The format is very engrossing because it’s a dialogue, not a story or “guide”.

The subtitle is The secret to freedom and success. The special thing about this book is the secrets to freedom and success are probably not what most people think. It may actually throw some people off.

This book has so many gems in it and has helped me in innumerable ways. You have to read it with an open mind and an open heart though.  It crystalizes many of the issues we have as modern humans so clearly. From finances to sex and love. I can’t thank Napoleon Hill enough for writing it. It’s the preeminent book complete self-development.


2. Rich Dad Poor Dad


Rich Dad Poor Dad is one of the most popular financial self-help books of all time. Deservedly so. This book changed my entire outlook and philosophy on money. It gave me new perspectives on how to treat it and how to respect it as a tool.

The summation of the book is Robert’s father and his friend’s father have two different careers and two different approaches to money. As a result, the two father’s wealth generated is also very different. In every chapter, context is given to why Robert’s father does one thing one way, and his friend’s father, a different way. How true the story is? No clue. It’s probably make believe. But it doesn’t matter really in the end. It’s filled with gems of information.

Also Robert has a number of other books but they’re largely bits and pieces of Rich Dad Poor Dad repackaged into new books. This is the only one you need. Also the Rich Dad courses are questionable ethically as they upsell more and more expensive classes each time you attend. I know because I went to the first tier class about 15 years ago. Stick to this one book and you’ll be set. It relates to many posts on this site like 3 Ways To Actually Make Profit With Cryptocurrency and Why You Need To Start An Online Business Today


3. Think And Grow Rich


Think and grow rich is another gem from Napoleon Hill. Much of this book is about your self-confidence and self-esteem. It’s also about taking risks and trusting in the universe to work in your favor if you do the work and believe and most of all… TAKE ACTION.

There are so many laws and steps that are an absolute must do in here. When you apply even just some of the steps in this book, you will be much much more successful. The goal should be to try and do them all. Definitely one of the best personal development books. It really is about developing yourself, the core of who you are.

Napoleon Hill quote lifestyle guerilla

In other words, doing things like making your bed, and brushing your teeth are as important as the big things. Because they’re all related.

Make sure to buy or read the 1937 unabridged original version.


4. The Short And Tragic Life Of Robert Peace


This book is not a self-help book at all. It’s the story of a young black man from East Orange, New Jersey, who grew up in the hood, broke, graduated from Yale, and met a tragic fate. This book was written by his college roommate Jeff Hobbs, and is told from his perspective with the blanks filled in by Robert’s mother, friends, and family. This is one of those life-changing books because it really highlights what NOT to do.

Many books are excellent for providing guidance and instruction about action to take. This one shows what actions should be avoided. It also highlights socio-economic problems (problems that creative people can help solve).  A brilliant mind who was really ahead of his time (you’ll see why when you read it) was born in the wrong neighborhood and in the wrong era. His actions and vices also led him down a dark road.

I can’t recommend it enough. It could be a case study in human psychology.


5. The Law Of Success In 16 Lessons


This book is really a collection of codes and commandments to live by that ensure your success if you live by them. It’s the self-help and self-improvement bible. A few laws in here I really love just to show you some examples.

The Habit of doing more than paid for 
for is one of the most important lessons of 
the Law of Success course.


ACCURATE THINKING is one of the 
important foundation stones of all enduring 
success. This lesson teaches you how to 
separate "facts" from mere "information.

Accurate thinking is one of my favorites because it’s so relevant right now. In a world of half-cocked responses and fake news, it’s never been more important. Doing more than paid for is another. Go above and beyond. Sometimes it’s really hard. We’re tired, overworked, and sometimes going above and beyond seems like it’s not worth it. It is, it always is.

This book is the best of all worlds combined into one.


6. 12 Rules For Life : An Antidote To Chaos


This self-development book is by controversial clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson. Jordan highlights 12 rules of life that are contextualized by great examples like personal stories, and even the cycles of nature. This book accomplishes its goal by really hammering each rule into your head.

He provides many many examples of Rule #2, chaos and order. Which is a metaphor for masculine and feminine, yin and yang. And why these two energies exist and what each purpose is. Some might find this type of thinking sexist (and they do). But his point is every balance has a counterbalance and that’s how synchronicity is achieved (regardless of all else).

I do have a small gripe with this book though. It is very wordy. I do think the book could be condensed to some degree. Still one of the best self-development books available and absolutely one of the handful of great ones released this century.

7. How To Win Friends And Influence People


This classic is by self-help guru Dale Carnegie and is all about social skills. This one is especially needed in this modern era of social media and superficial encounters.

Dale talks about ways to get people to like you, genuinely. It’s about forming a certain outlook and approach to engaging with others. Smile, be direct, be interested in what someone has to say. These are social skills that appear to be losing ground to narcissism and attention seeking.

Think about a time where you’ve talked to someone, and they couldn’t stop talking about themselves, and when you got a few words in, they referred to a similar situation they encountered. Pretty bad feeling right?  Those types of people don’t bring out the best in others, often they’re avoided unless they have some power that gives them that kind of leeway with people.

8. Deep Work: Rules For Focused Success In A Distracted World


Cal Newport’s first book is all about getting away from modern world distractions like social media, smartphones, and gives you hacks and advice on how to combat it. Some of the tenets can be found in How To Conquer Anxiety Naturally and How To Break Free From Social Media’s Grip  where I highlight some of the same issues. Cal Newport takes everything much much further by giving you specific rules and guidelines that help break that grip.

The core of the purpose for these guidelines is to be more productive. More productive at work and in life in general. Even productive “downtime” can be productive and stress free. Also check out Cal’s other book too. Well worth it.


9. The Four Agreements


This is a simple, breezy, spiritual read was gifted to me by a friend years ago. Miguel Ruiz gives us four basic step by step fundamental rules that speak to being accountable for yourself. Not blaming others, parents, friends,  for your condition. Not being upset by perspectives that conflict with your own. The four agreements is magnificent for its simplicity. This is a book that you read after the heavier stuff.

The best thing I love about it is how each agreement builds on the previous one. And the overall tone and writing voice is very caring, as if coming from a wise grandparent.


10.The Sixteenth Round: From Number 1 Contender to Number 45472

This is the autobiography of Middleweight Champion Boxer Ruben “The Hurricane” Carter and his challenging life. The movie portrayal of Ruben was by Denzel Washington in the movie “The Hurricane”, but this autobiography has information and perspective directly from the horse’s mouth.
Growing up in Paterson, NJ Ruben was fighting an uphill battle vs poverty, vs being a black boy in pre-civil rights Paterson. He scraped his way through childhood and into adulthood, and once at the pinnacle of his weight division, had to fight another campaign. A campaign against a corrupt judicial system and police department.
This is the type of story that you read and think, if he did allll that, well I can definitely do (Insert less challenging task) and don’t have any excuses either.

Bonus : The Aries Challenge – 3 Weeks To Success


The self-improvement sections of the book stores are loaded with books. Why? Because people are in search of real ways to improve their lives.

Often these books leave people with some great thoughts, interesting ideas, and no plan or course of action. So maybe you feel good after reading them, but lack the results you’re looking for.

I’m a results-oriented person. My Mercury is in Capricorn, and admittedly, if something I read doesn’t have something I can apply to reality, it doesn’t necessarily pique my curiosity.

I write most of my work the same way. I want you to be able to apply knowledge and make your life better and greater.

That’s a brief synopsis of the book. I added this at the end because it is one of my books.  It is based in astrological principles but the application is practical and easy to do.




These 11 books cover the entire spectrum of life and all have their own unique merits and benefits. So I recommend all of them at some point in your life (preferably sooner rather than later). Because if it’s one thing I’ve learned from a number of these books is time is our most valuable commodity. The time wasted by NOT taking advantage of all the knowledge that is already available to us is costly.

Your life is valuable, your time is limited, no better time to start your journey than right now.


top 10 Self Improvement Books List

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