The 10 Best Books to Help You Level Up & Achieve Your Goals
September 5, 2023
A good motivational book can help you make significant progress in your life.
Finding great value in these types of books, I focus on non-fiction reading of personal development, faith or business books. Here are my top 10 favorite books that have helped me become a better person and achieve my personal development goals.
Want to watch these mini-book reviews? Scroll to the end of the article for a video.
The Best Book for Personal Development
10. Napoleon Hill's Master Course
A wonderful book if you're looking for general principles to drive you forward in life.
Arguably America's first self-help and motivational guru, Napoleon Hill is very focused on the power of one's thoughts and expectations. He is best known for his book Think and Grow Rich which is also fantastic and one the best-selling self-help books of all time.
One of the themes of the book is knowing your "definiteness of purpose," which Hill calls "the starting point of all achievement." Your whole life should be devoted to carrying out your major purpose in life.
"Any dominating idea, plan, or purpose held in the mind through repetition of thought and emotion, allied with a burning desire for its realization, is taken over by the subconscious section of the mind and is acted upon through whatever natural and logical means that may be available."
…in other words, If you want the mind to pick up an idea and form a habit so that the mind will automatically act upon that idea, you’ve got to tell your mind what you want over and over again.
This book is unique in that it's actually edited transcripts of lectures Hill gave for his Master Course in 1954.
I always take notes when I read or listen to a book. After just the first few pages, I already had dozens of notes. It's that good. But be warned: it's also very long.
Get a copy of Napoleon Hill's Master Course.
The Best Book to Increase Gratitude in the Workplace
9. The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace
In this book, author Gary Chapman explains that not everyone values the same type of acknowledgment. Each person in your organization is different, and some forms of appreciation may be much more valued by an individual than others.
If you express appreciation in ways that aren’t meaningful to your team members, they may not feel valued. This is because you and your coworkers are likely speaking different languages.
For instance, some people are motivated by words of encouragement. Giving this type of person an extra day of PTO may make his manager feel like he’s done a great act of kindness, but it won’t make him feel particularly appreciated. Taking this person aside and genuinely praising him for the amazing job that has been done will give him a deep feeling of appreciation.
Understanding how each individual in your organization feels most appreciated is important for those who truly desire an incredible office culture.
It's an important concept, not just for the workplace but for all relationships (there's also a great version of the book for marriages). It's a fantastic read that will help you better appreciate and be appreciated.
The Top Book for Business Owners to Take Their Business to the Next Level
If you're a leader looking to lead in a strong and positive way, Dave Ramsey's book EntreLeadership is a must-read. In it, Ramsey shares insights from his own journey of building and growing his multi-million dollar company. He covers everything from leading teams and managing email to creating a positive workplace culture.
I found Ramsey's thoughts on gossip particularly helpful. He argues that gossip is toxic to any team and that it's essential for leaders to create a culture where gossip is not tolerated. This advice inspired our no gossip policy at Blue Compass.
It's a practical guide for any leader who wants to create a successful and thriving team. I highly recommend it.
Get a copy of Entreleadership.
The Best Book to Help You Take Control of Your Life
Any confusion of responsibility and ownership in our lives is a problem of boundaries. This is an amazing book that helps give you clarity in all areas of your life.
As author Dr. Henry Cloud states, "Just as homeowners set physical property lines around their land, we need to set mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual boundaries for our lives to help us distinguish what is our responsibility and what isn’t."
It's a really incredible read that can improve your family life, work life and social life. Knowing what you own and take responsibility for will give you freedom
Get your copy of Boundaries.
The Best Book for Improving Your Workplace
6. The Best Place to Work
Here's a wonderful read for anyone wanting to improve their workplace. I've read this multiple times as I'm extremely focused on workplace culture.
Author Ron Friedman focuses on a different topic each chapter, including one's office surroundings, creating a sense of community, happiness at work, leadership, benefits, persuading others, and more. Friedman cites impressive amounts of studies; everything is incredibly well researched. Much of the info in this book has inspired our culture philosophy at Blue Compass and my book on company culture, RETAIN.
It's an extremely effective guide for understanding and improving how humans work together.
Get a copy of The Best Place to Work.
The Best Book for Boosting Self-Confidence
5. The Power of Self-Confidence
An incredible expert on motivation, personal development and sales, Brian Tracy is one of my favorite thought leaders. He's written many books, but this is my favorite.
The thesis of the book is that foundation of success is one thing above all else: healthy self confidence. The foundation of self-confidence is to live your life consistently with your inter-most values and principles. Tracy encourages you to decide upon your values, then organize your life to reflect these value.
The book also focuses on the importance of goals and how incredible they can be when coupled with confidence.
Tracy has great wisdom. You'll find this book helpful in nearly every area of your life.
Get a copy of The Power of Self-Confidence.
The Best Book to Help You Stop Worrying
4. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
I struggled with worry for a long time, especially during my early years as a young business owner.
This book nearly eliminated that anxiety.
In this book, Dale Carnegie shares stories and practical formulas to help readers overcome worry and anxiety and embrace a happier life. He covers topics such as combatting worries at your job, reducing financial stress, how to be more optimistic, how to add one hour a day to your life, and more.
Carnegie argues that worry is a waste of time and energy, and that it can actually make our problems worse. He offers a variety of techniques to help readers manage their worry and anxiety.
Many years ago, this book helped me realize I wasn't playing to win, I was playing not to loose. It quite simply improved the quality of my life.
How to Stop Worrying and Start Living is a classic self-help book that has helped millions of people overcome worry and live happier lives. It's a fairly long read, written many years ago, but I think you'll love it.
Get a copy of How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
The Best Book to Help You End Anxiety
3. The Happiness Trap
While How to Stop Worrying and Start Living helped me overcome anxiety in my early years as a professional, The Happiness Trap helped me keep the anxiety away in recent years.
Author Russ Harris teaches how to handle your thoughts and not let them control you. It focuses on various principals, including mindfulness, which is the practice of paying attention to the present moment without judgment. When you have a questionable thought, you can ask yourself, "Is this thought helpful?" If the thought is not helpful, Harris shares ways to deal with it.
The book also teaches you that you are not your thoughts. Thoughts are just words and images that appear in your head. They are not always true, and you don't have to believe them. Just because you have a negative thought doesn't mean you have to entertain it.
I read this book in 2020, and I found the teachings to be extremely helpful in dealing with the fear and negativity that was sadly so prevalent during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you're dealing with any time of worry, stress or anxiety - get this book! It will be an incredible blessing for you.
Get a copy of The Happiness Trap.
The Best Book to Help You Take Control of Your Thoughts
2. As a Man Thinketh
The shortest book on my list, but don't let that fool you. It's packed with incredible value.
Written all the way back in 1903 by James Allen, As a Man Thinketh argues that our thoughts have a profound impact on our lives. He writes, "A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts."
Allen's book is based on the biblical verse Proverbs 23:7, which says, "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." This verse suggests that our thoughts are not just fleeting ideas, but they have the power to shape our character and destiny.
Put simply: you become what you think about.
Allen believes that we can improve our lives by taking control of our thoughts. He provides guidance on how to be more effective in your thought life. He also emphasizes the importance of having a strong purpose in life.
Allen's book is a powerful and inspiring message about the power of thought. It is a book that can help you to improve yourself and live happier, more fulfilling lives.
Get a copy of As a Man Thinketh.
The Best Book to Answer Life's Questions
1. The Bible
It's the best selling book of all time for a reason.
The Bible will provide you with answers, purpose and hope.
It's actually not just one book, but a compilation of 66 books written by 40 different authors who didn't collaborate with one another, over a series of 1,500 years on three different continents in three different languages. And yet, it has one consistent message that points to one person: Jesus.
The Bible is also the best motivational and personal improvement book ever written. Proverbs (a small book in the Old Testament of the Bible), for instance, shares more wisdom than any other book I’ve read. It’s awesome.
If you’re looking for a more successful, I highly encourage you to check out not just the book of Proverbs, but the Bible itself. Many people start with the book of Genesis (the first book in the Bible), but the book of John is also a great place to start.
Get a printed copy here or a free online version here.