• Want to read self improvement and personal development books?
• Here are some general notes + a non-exhaustive list of the best!
• Have fun reading!
Why Read Personal Development Books?
Personal development is so great. It really is. It can take you places you never imagined and help you do things you only dreamed. It doesn't have to cost anything. Not a penny, not a dime.
However, it most likely will.
Attending self help seminars, following a spiritual teacher or getting the help of counselors, coaches and other professionals can be the equivalent to putting yourself on the fast track of personal development.
Some of these methods and good folks (including myself) can help you get a handle on who you are, what you can do and how you can best help yourself to live a better, more productive and ... most importantly of all ... a more happy life. Yes, siree, but there is a 'but' ...
It's no secret that self help seminars - and particularly one-on-one help - costs money. Some folks simply can't afford to pay for many of these services, not even coaching via e-mail, which is generally a bit cheaper than face-to-face coaching.
A Bit Shy?
Additionally, there is another obstacle, too:
Personal development tends to get REALLY ... well ... personal. We all have fears, issues and all sorts of other stuff. Some of us are embarrassed about that (we needn't be, though).
When we use a professional, we have to be honest and 'expose' ourselves to someone else. And while that in and of itself is GREAT for your personal development, it may also seem scary at first, and it is a barrier that some people just don't want to pass at first.
That's where self help books and personal development books enter the picture. Personal development books can be a great place to start your personal development process. It can also augment and enhance it when you've got it going.
Which Personal Development Books to Choose?
Every single human being on the face of the Earth is unique, so what appeals to you, and works for you is also unique for you. Fortunately, the vast array of books that are out there means that there is literally something for everyone.
That being said some personal development books are better than others. Just like some self help websites are better than others (hopefully your experience is that thePersonalDevelopmentGuy.com is better than most).
You'll be looking for something that will make you smile or laugh, offer you some compelling insights into the human condition (including body, ego and soul), life, the universe and everything.
In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite categories where many people need (self) help, as well as a few of the best of the general self help books for various aspects of personal development:
General Personal Development, Happiness and the Art of Living
Some personal development books have a broad scope and are general in nature. They are great to help you lead a happier and more fulfilling life. This is a list of a few of them:
• Conversations with God (a series of many books) - by Neale Donald Walsch
• The Four Agreements - by Don Miguel Ruiz
• Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway - by Susan Jeffers
• Happy for No Reason - by Marci Shimofff & Carol Kline
• Living in the Light: A Guide to Personal and Planetary Transformation - by Shakti Gawain
• The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - by Douglas Adams
Ha, ha, that last one is a bit of a joke, because it isn't really a personal development book, it is a number of crazy, funny science fiction novels compiled in one volume. I bought and read those novels many years ago, pretty much as they came out, then I bought and heard them as audio recordings, and guess what?
While the above mentioned volume may be one or the most irrelevant books ever written it DOES in fact contain some goundbreakingly great advice on life, the universe and everything. Cleverly disguised as wacky, zany, crazy fun. In other words: it is so completely and utterly irrelevant that it is in fact very relevant.
Books on Personal Development Methods
Several great systems or methods of self improvement exist. I know, because I have tried many of them. (And I have even developed my own method, the Let Go Method, too). A few of these methods stand out as extraordinary to me, so here are a few books that focus on some of those personal development methods:
• The Journey - by Brandon Bays
• Radical Honesty - by Brad Blanton
• Embracing Ourselves: The Voice Dialogue Manual - by Hal Stone and Sidra Stone
• The Wisdom of the Enneagram - by Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson
• Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life - by Byron Katie
• Happiness Is Free - and It's Easier Than You Think - by Lester Levenson & Hale Dwoskin
• Exploring the Afterlife Series (vol. 1 is Voyages into the Unknown) - by Bruce Moen
Plus, if you're into interesting self help methods and you feel up to it, you might want to read something a bit heavier, like:
• Psychology of the Future: Lessons from Modern Consciousness Research - by Stanislav Grof
That last one is nothing less than one of the most crucial books I have ever read. Also, it provided the scientific background for some of my own discoveries. Getting through it takes some effort and/or devotion, though.
Winning, Losing, Playing - or NOT Playing the Game
You won't believe the things you can accomplish. I mean that literally. You won't believe them and therefore you don't accomplish them either. Sorry.
The good news is that it's up to you. Of course, that's the bad news, too.
If you can dream it, you can quite likely do it. But will you? Depending on how you look at it the trick is to always do your very best while being open, going with the flow and trusting life - or the trick is to manage your time and your skills, fighting hard plus believing in your abilities.
Arghh, so many possibilities.
Perhaps it helps if I tell you that seen from a certain angle life is just a game.
So what if you have a little trouble feeling special or loved or worthy, and so what if you tend to choke in your end game? That's not at all uncommon.
In fact, some of us not only fear losing we also fear winning, and we even feel a little nervous about participating at all. So we may - as the saying goes - shoot ourselves in the foot when it comes to the end run. Or even before we start, just to make sure we don't start at all.
A few of the following personal development books may help you to understand a little better why you are nervous about succeeding or not succeeding - or even why you may not want to play the game at all:
• If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules - by Cherie Carter-Scott
• Busting Loose from the Money Game - by Robert Scheinfeld
• Using Your Brain for a Change - by Richard Bandler
• The Prince - by Niccolo Machiavelli (a classic)
• The Art of War - by Sun Tzu (another classic)
• Think And Grow Rich: The Secret to Wealth - by Napoleon Hill (yet another classic)
• The Psychology of Winning - by Denis Waitley
• The 48 Laws of Power - by Robert Greene
• The Power of Flow - by Charlene Belitz and Meg Lundstrom
Personal Development Books on Self Awareness (Spiritual Books)
Spirituality and sense of self has a lot to do with how you see and perceive yourself, other people and life itself. Finding inner peace equally so.
(You can read more on the pages Self Concept, Identity and Letting Go).
Getting in touch with who you really are and all the things that you can do is a huge part of succeeding in the game of life (whatever success might mean to you). And as far as happiness is and transcending your fear, your ego and your problems are concerned, well, nothing beats knowing who you really are.
Here are some spiritual books to make you think on that:
• The Power of Now - by Eckhart Tolle
• A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose - by Eckhart Tolle
• Awareness - by Anthony De Mello
• The Way to Love: The Last Meditations of Anthony de Mello - by Anthony de Mello
• Power vs. Force - by David Hawkins
• Bridging Heaven & Earth - by Leonard Jacobson
• The Diamond in Your Pocket: Discovering Your True Radiance - by Gangaji
• The Dark Side of the Light Chasers - by Debbie Ford
• Seven Spiritual Laws of Success - by Deepak Chopra
Managing Your Time and Efforts
Show me one person who has never had trouble managing their time ... and I'll show you someone who has a personal assistant and an appointment secretary. ;-)
Time management is something that we're all going to have problems with once in a while. Or, maybe even most of the time. It's also something that can be learned. And learning it may take a little outside help. Personal development books that can help you in this area include those listed below:
• Organizing From the Inside Out - by Julie Morgenstern
• The Power of Less - by Leo Babauta
• 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - by Stephen Covey
• Maximum Achievement and Time Power - by Brian Tracy
• Discover Your Strengths - by Marcus Buckingham
• The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich - by Timothy Ferriss
A Few Slightly Skewed Personal Development Books
Then there are those personal development books which are just a tad skewed but still contain some elements of truth. Personally, I would include books like these in that collection:
• The Disappearance of the Universe - by Gary Renard
• Bringers of the Dawn - by Barbara Marciniak
• Earth: Pleiadian Keys to the Living Library - by Barbara Marciniak
And then there is one last one, which I am going to toss in just because it's different. As with any other kind of reading, personal development books have a few that are just truly odd and deserving of a second look for that very reason. Every once in a while one of these volumes can't even be described as odd - they go far further, but they just might be worth taking a look at - for fun, or just so you can say you did it:
• Cosmic Trigger - by Robert Anton Wilson
Final Words on Personal Development Books
There are some wonderful, helpful personal development books, some real gems out there, just as there are some real stinkers that are worth precious little in the overall scheme of things. Telling one type from the other and picking and choosing between them can be a challenge, but here are a few tips:
- if the book makes you feel good, e.g. happy, valuable and empowered, it is probably good for you
- if the book consistently makes you feel fear, guilt or shame it is probably not good for you
- no matter what you read and no matter who wrote it take it with several grains of salt
So, now that you've got the list of personal development books which are all pretty neat, go get them, read them, and then start climbing those metaphorical mountains. :-)
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• You might also like to read something related at the page Happiness Research: Books on Happiness, or something kind of related at the page The Personal Development Guy's Empowerment Theory, or something else that's kind of related at the page The Enneagram
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