What to read for personal development?

Self-development allows us to move forward, change our lives, acquire new useful knowledge and skills. And on the path of self-improvement, many are wondering what books can become helpers, what to read. This article will tell about it.

Directions of books for self-improvement of the individual

Reading books for people who choose the path of continuous improvement of themselves is an integral part of life. Reading develops in itself, enriches the inner world of a person. It is suitable for everyone, even those who for some reason cannot enroll in courses, attend classes, schools or use webinars.

The modern book industry is trying to fully satisfy the need of readers for literature for self-improvement. In bookstores, in online libraries, there are special sections «Self-development», which contain relevant literature and manuals. But not always the books found in these sections will be able to fully satisfy readers. Behind such a purpose are often hidden «dummies» — books that do not carry any benefit, as well as literature that can be interpreted as sectarian.

Unfortunately, not a single library or store will tell you how to choose books that will really help and become desktop for you.

Conditionally books for self-improvement can be divided into motivational, practical guides, biographies and fiction. Motivational and practical books are valuable if they are written by practicing psychologists, psychotherapists, trainers of world renown. They present author’s techniques, useful tips, exercises that will help the reader to master new techniques.

Biographies and memoirs most often tell about people whose life itself is an example to follow. They are a symbol of struggle, inner strength. Some are written by the characters themselves, some are written by biographers. Fiction for self-development is the most controversial issue. For some, the classics are closer to the soul, for some — psychological dramas or detective stories. It all depends on what areas of self-development a person has designated as priorities for himself.

How to choose?

There is a lot of interesting fiction and scientific literature. It all depends on how useful the book is for you. And therefore First, determine in which direction you intend to develop. If a girl or woman thinks about the reasons for the failures in her personal life, she will need only books. If a person is determined to overcome his natural shyness and learn to communicate interestingly, he will need other literature.

There are books that cover as many areas of our life as possible, mainly these are manuals for those who intend to understand themselves, their psychology, the reasons for their actions and their consequences. Make a list of topics that interest you and try to select books so that they fully cover the area of ​​\u200b\u200blife in which you are determined to put things in order — relationships, professional growth, communication, health, intellectual development, etc.

The best literature for self-development

For your convenience, we have compiled our own rating of books for self-development by directions and goals. It includes bestsellers and the most discussed works, classical psychology and examples from emerging talented authors.

Most of the presented books have no age limits, they include teenagers, people from 30-35 years old, and those who are already over 50 years old, will find a lot of interesting things for themselves.

To develop business thinking

Books in this category will not only help you run your business more efficiently, but also provide basic skills, useful tips that will be useful in any professional activity. A distinctive feature of this literature is that it is written mainly by talented entrepreneurs on the basis of their personal experience and the mistakes they themselves made.

  • «Rich Dad Poor Dad» by R. T. Kiyosaki. Robert Kiyosaki, a native of Japan, has done a successful business in the US. In the process of creating his business, he applied several laws and rules that apply to money. It is ignorance of these laws, Robert believes, that leads people to a constant unsuccessful race for financial well-being. The described rules were told to Robert by his own dad, who was an ordinary civil servant. Kiyosaki adopted a lot by observation from the father of his friend, a successful entrepreneur.

After comparing the two models, the author chose the second one, and already at a young age, having built his financial empire, he was able to escape from the race for money and devote himself to educating others.

  • «Think and get rich!» N. Hill. Psychologist and journalist Napoleon Hill first ventured into publishing his book in 1937. The author does not teach effective investment schemes, believing that wealth begins in a change in a person’s way of thinking. All successful people, in his opinion, have common features of thinking, which ultimately lead them to prosperity. Apply the advice Hill offered not only to obtain financial well-being, but also to achieve success in other areas of human life. Tens of millions of volumes have already been distributed around the world, and the book was even nominated for the title of the main book of the past century, given the huge interest in it from readers.

  • «Who stole my cheese?» S. Johnson. Reading this book will not take much time, usually it can be read in half an hour. A small parable was told by Spencer Jones for the sole purpose of stimulating people to initiate internal changes in themselves. The book will be especially useful for those who are “stuck” in a problem, cannot leave their personal comfort zone, and cannot cope with the situation.

Just half an hour will help you find the source of inner strength for positive and inevitable changes.

For the development of memory and speed reading

Books in this category will be useful to people of any age and occupation, since both teenagers who are going to have intensive training and retirees, who intend to maintain the clarity of their thinking for many years, need to apply certain exercises.

  • «Improve your memory» T. Buzan. Tony Buzan created his own technique, which says that memory is capable of self-expansion. In the book, he presents effective techniques for learning to quickly memorize any complex texts, talks about the principles of creating images that help memorize information for a long time. Additionally, the reader will be able to get acquainted with the unusual and amazing phenomena of human memory.

  • «Technique of fast reading» O. Andreev. This book can rightfully be called a fundamental textbook for speed reading. The author Oleg Andreev cites common techniques, and also shares his personal experience. You can get discs for books, which will facilitate the practical part of the classes.

Communication, leadership

Leadership development is necessary not only for those who hold leadership positions or are just planning to take them. In any activity, in communication outside of work, in life, the principles of effective communication will be useful, which will be taught in the following books.

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People. D. Carnegie. The book is a set of practical tips for every day that will help the reader to relax, learn how to communicate interestingly, acquire useful and pleasant acquaintances. The book will help to overcome the existing complexes, uncertainty. Long decades, during which the book remains a desktop for tens of millions of readers, have shown that Dale Carnegie’s advice «works» not only in terms of communication and relationships, but also help people change their lives, earn more, acquire new good habits.

  • «The Personality of a Leader» B. Tracy. Brian Tracy conducted a personal large-scale study of the characters of the most successful and effective people whose names the whole world knows. He drew attention to the events of their lives, the decisions that they made in certain situations. It turned out to be an interesting work, in which Tracy added personal methods for achieving success.

  • “Recognize a liar by facial expression” P. Ekman. Paul Ekman is well known to fans of the film Lie Theory. The author will teach the reader to recognize deception by facial expressions, facial expressions and gestures of the interlocutor. Also, the reader will be able to train in observation and concentration of attention, since the methodology of the psychologist Ekman is based on the utmost concentration and attention to detail.

  • «Games that people play» E. Bern. A great admirer of psychoanalysis, Eric Berne discovers the psychological problems of relationships between people.

The book will be of interest to those who intend to solve problems with family and friends, build positive relationships with spouses, children, their own parents, friends.

Development of creativity

Books in this category are useful for those who intend to expand and develop their creative thinking, for people of creative professions and those who need creativity in thinking.

  • «Lateral Marketing: A Technology for Searching for Revolutionary Ideas» F. Kotler, F. Trias De Bes. The book presents an amazing technique of lateral thinking, which will teach you to see the unusual, creative in the ordinary. Many of the principles of this work have become the basis of today’s trainings to stimulate creative thinking.

  • «Six hats of thinking» E. De Bono. The author’s approach of Edward De Bono will help awaken the basics of creative thinking in every person. Six ways of thinking are presented by the author in detail, ways of working with each of the types are described.

  • «Tricks of the tongue — changing beliefs with the help of NLP» R. Dilts. Robert Dilts is one of the most famous NLP practitioners in the world. He created his own methodology, which will help not only develop communication, but also form a sense of inner harmony by revising the usual «braking» attitudes that absolutely every person has.


Classical literature will also be useful for self-development, for example, “The Master and Margarita” by M. Bulgakov, “The Little Prince” by Exupery, “Atlas Shrugged” by Ayn Rand, “Lord of the Flies” by Golding, “451 degrees Fahrenheit” by Bradberry. Psychologists recommend re-reading books that were loved in childhood. Often a second or third reading reveals something new and interesting in a familiar work, something that the reader has not seen before.


Modern authors offer many interesting, fresh ideas and their own views on self-development. The following books will help you with this.

  • «100 ways to change life» L. Parfentiev. Larisa Parfentyeva is widely known to the Internet community. She herself changed her life dramatically, after which she became the author of amazing stories based on real events told by users. An amazing motivating book will help you find a way out of any difficult situation.

  • “This year I…” M. J. Ryan. The book is intended for those who are already fully aware of their negative habits and blocks that hinder development. She will teach you to change habits, always keep your promises to yourself and achieve your cherished goals.

  • «Between need and want» E. Luna. The book will help you find your true purpose in life, reveal your dreams, desires and begin to follow the voice of intuition and soul.

For spiritual growth

For spiritual growth, all the books of the psychotherapist Valery Sinelnikov, books by Louise Hay will be useful. They teach positive thinking as a way to raise one’s own «I» to a higher level of development, at which the Universe itself will begin to help a person become healthier, happier. Also check out these books.

  • «Get out of your comfort zone» B. Tracy.

  • «The monk who sold his Ferrari» R. Sharma.

  • «On the limit» by E. Larssen.

How to read?

Don’t read self-help books the way you do fiction. Do not rush, follow these recommendations.

  • Take notes in the margins and refer back to them often.

  • After reading the chapter, you should stop and try the proposed methods in practice.

  • Keep a record of your own observations and changes. This will help you not to “swallow” hundreds of unnecessary and ineffective volumes for you, choosing only those books that actually have a positive effect.

  • Find like-minded people with whom you can discuss what you read. If there are no such people in the environment, you can chat with other readers on thematic forums on the Internet.

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