Ask anybody about what they want from life and you’re likely to hear about improvements they want to make, goals to tackle, and dreams to reach. Ultimately, we’re all seeking success.
Whether we focus on our relationships, job, academics, physical fitness, diet, home, athletic endeavors, kids, artistic pursuits, or something else entirely, many of us are focused on doing our best, taking on new challenges, and reaching our potential. But what’s the best way to do it?
There are many strategies people use to boost success. These might include such things as using the pomodoro technique, creating to-do lists, brainstorming, making resolutions, hiring a coach, seeking out a mentor, or tapping into your willpower. Another great way to find the motivation and skills you need to reach your aspirations and live your life to the fullest is to read an inspiring—and helpful—success book.
However, with thousands of personal development books about success on the market, it can be a real challenge to pick the right New York Times bestselling author. So, how do you find the success book that will help you live the life of your dreams?
We’re here to help with this comprehensive guide to the best books for success. Simply read through our picks of books about being successful to find the one that will teach you a valuable lesson or two.
If you are looking for a book about being successful, it can get overwhelming really fast, as there are just so many options out there. We’ve taken the guesswork out of the equation by curating the best of the best. Any of these options is sure to give you the knowledge and encouragement you’re seeking. Of course, we have a separate list of motivational books here.
Some books offer general advice on how to achieve extraordinary success in just about any realm of life. Others hone in on one particular area, such as how to grow rich, how to succeed in business, how to find personal freedom or professional success, or how to improve your romantic and other interpersonal relationships.
The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit
Mel Robbins’ The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit offers the simple but brilliant guidance to become your own cheerleader. “It’s time to cheer for yourself” is the crux of this bestselling book. While the author’s previous book, The 5 Second Rule, showed readers how to refuel their personal motivation, this success book teaches you how to put the same encouragement and love into yourself that you’re probably already doing for everybody else you know. The High 5 Habit helps you learn to ignore your self-doubt and self-criticism and instead, tap in to your potential, successes, and what’s going right.
Choose to Win: Transform Your Life, One Simple Choice at a Time
Choose to Win: Transform Your Life, One Simple Choice at a Time, by Tom Ziglar, hinges on the belief that each singular choice will add up to big successes as long as each choice is the right one for you. So, you focus on these small incremental changes and decisions in order to work toward achieving your dreams. Ziglar shares the lessons he learned by overcoming his own personal challenges, ultimately creating a path toward success that anyone can follow.
Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!, by Robert Kiyosaki, is heralded by many as one of the best personal finance books of all time.
It teaches you all you need to know about money, sharing the secrets only the rich usually know. Beyond that, the book goes into the transformative power behind how you think about money and investing, too. It also brings home the point that you don’t need to be rich in order to make a lot of money—and explains how to shift from working for your paycheck to getting your money to work for you.
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, by James Clear, gives you a step-by-step approach to overhauling your habits to ensure success. The beauty of this book is that it’s message—and the tools to bring its lessons to life—are applicable in just about any situation.
So, you can apply the guidance from Atomic Habits to reach your goals in all areas of your professional and personal life, from losing weight or quitting smoking to improving your marriage or springboarding your company to the next level.
The Magic of Thinking Big
The Magic of Thinking Big, by David J. Schwartz, operates under the “go big or go home” principle. Schwartz argues that thinking like a success breeds success. The book details how to build your self-confidence, positivity, and big thinking in order to capitalize on the success within you.
The lessons of this book are applicable to helping you achieve your goals for your job, your marriage, your family, your friends, and really every other aspect of your life. Forbes magazine has called this one of the best self-help success books on the market.
Good to Great
As this success book’s title suggests, Jim Collins’ Good to Great explains how to go from doing okay or just fine to doing really phenomenally great. Collins offers key insights and practical suggestions on how to elevate your success in business to jump from an ordinary company to one of the greats. He evaluated how 28 companies excelled over multiple decades to create a blueprint to success that any company (or person) can follow with ease and great results.
You are a Badass
You are a Badass, by Jen Sincero, tells you how to silence your inner critic and listen to your inner badass instead. Sincero believes that the key to success is tuning into the parts of yourself that are ready to take on your goals. The award-winning personal development author helps you notice and nix the self-defeating thoughts, fears, and behaviors that are keeping you from success in all areas of your life.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Like the title of this book promises, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie teaches you how to maximize your interpersonal relationships. Carnegie’s classic self-help success book offers key insights into making friends in business and your personal life—and tells you how to cultivate success from those relationships.
Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change
Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change, by Beth Comstock with Tahl Raz, offers a deeply personal—but also practical—look at how to reinvent yourself and bring success your way. Self-permission, self-discovery, innovation, and storycraft create the framework for building a new mindset and “operating system” that will allow you to conquer your goals.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen R. Covey’s classic success tome, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, breaks down the top practices and strategies of highly successful people so that you can learn to embody these habits. No matter what your end goals are, this book will teach you how to get more organized, productive, and effective.
Creating Business Magic: How the Power of Magic Can Inspire, Innovate, and Revolutionize Your Business
Creating Business Magic: How the Power of Magic Can Inspire, Innovate, and Revolutionize Your Business, by David Morey, Eugene Burger, and John E. McLaughlin, shares how thinking like a magician can help you find success. Innovation, creativity, cleverness, quickness, and showmanship, these are all qualities of magic that can also translate into creating a successful business and life.
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive With the New Science of Success
Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive With the New Science of Success, by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, offers practical suggestions on how to achieve and sustain success. The book’s lessons are taught through uplifting and motivating stories about real world top performers, so you can see the principles and tips in action. And be inspired to implement these peak performance skills in your own life.
Invaluable: Master the 10 Skills You Need to Skyrocket Your Career
Invaluable: Master the 10 Skills You Need to Skyrocket Your Career, by Maya Grossman, details, in 10 steps, how to become an invaluable employee. Believing in yourself, setting yourself apart, and effective communication are key to making yourself indispensable—and setting yourself apart. Lots of relatable anecdotes help you understand how to put each strategy to use in the real world.
The Power of Positive Thinking
Dr. Normal Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking is based on the simple but profound premise that the secret to success—and really to everything—is simply believing in yourself and having a positive frame of mind. The compound effect of continual optimism feeds each new success, making the next one even more likely. And makes life much more enjoyable.
Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success
Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success, by Matthew Syed, takes the view that failure (and learning from mistakes) is the pathway to success. Embracing and learning from mistakes is at the heart of this book. According to Syed, “Only by redefining failure will we unleash progress, creativity, and resilience.”
Thinking Fast and Slow
The book Thinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman, breaks down our thoughts into two types of thinking—fast and slow. Fast thinking is made up of the reactive, emotional, and intuitive mindset, while the slow is more rational, practical, and logical. This book explains how to maximize these two ways of thinking for optimal success. Strategies include how to more effectively frame choices and understand loss aversion so that you can go after your goals.
The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success
Darren Hardy’s The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success explains how small decisions and tiny changes can snowball into huge successes. Hardy offers a step-by-step primer on how to use these daily choices to bring about the life and achievements you’re after.
Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell, chronicles the lives—and success secrets—of some of the world’s most successful people. Gladwell, who also wrote the bestselling The Tipping Point and Blink, looks for answers in what these high achievers have in common. Often he finds usual, innovative thinking or what he calls an outlier way of being. He then breaks down how to find success and offers guidance for those that would like to follow in their footsteps.
The Winner Within
Basketball legend Pat Riley teaches you how to unleash your inner champion in The Winner Within. One of the NBA’s winningest coaches, Riley shares how to succeed on and off the court in this wildly successful book about learning to challenge yourself and shine your brightest self. Riley breaks down how to strive for—and achieve—excellence in whatever it is you are going after.
Unlimited Power: the New Science of Personal Achievement
In Unlimited Power: the New Science of Personal Achievement, author Anthony Robbins explains his belief in the awesome power of transforming your thoughts and attitude—and also dives in to the science that backs up his claims. The book also focuses on the benefits of truly knowing exactly what you want to achieve.
Success Is for You: 25 Rules to Manage Money and Life With Success
Success Is for You: 25 Rules to Manage Money and Life With Success, by Faith F. Blake, tackles the important role that having the right mindset and optimism plays in managing your finances and finding success. Blake offers 25 guidelines to help you get your money—and your life—on track.
The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts
Elevate your romantic relationships with Gary Chapman’s bestselling The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. The hugely popular relationship success book translates the inner languages of love to help you relate more effectively and with more satisfaction. Ultimately, its transformative wisdom helps you unlock the key to understanding yourself—and your partner—so that you can connect on a whole new level.
Whether it’s learning a new philosophy for success or building small habits into your life to change it for the better, a self help book can also do great things for you. Choose one that highlights successful careers, or pathways to financial freedom. If you know what knowledge you’re looking for, you’ll be more likely to find it.
Once you make your pick, set aside time to not only read your book about success principles but also to really think about what it says. Finally, use the secrets to success that you learn to go after your dreams.
Remember, the hardest part is usually about believing in yourself and just getting started. The difference between those that succeed and those that don’t often really is simply about taking that first step—and sticking with it. Once you get going, you’ll be unstoppable.
Didn’t find what you need? Maybe you’ll find something great in our list of motivational books for women.