The Best 6 Books on Personal Development

The Best 6 Books on Personal Development

With the current lockdown, this could be the perfect time for one to consider some personal development. For those with a reading culture, you could be wondering which books you could read or books you could add to your library or collection of books. The following are some recommended books that one can read which I have found to be quite insightful and knowledge enriching:


Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Now this book is not your typical rags to riches novel meant to entertain the reader but rather more of a textbook or form of instruction on how one can develop themselves. Others refer to this bestselling book as the “bible to success”. Napolean Hill offers thirteen steps to riches, which are outlined more like philosophies that can benefit any man or woman who is searching for a definite goal in life. Not only does this book describe ‘What to Do’ to succeed but outlines ‘How to do it’. Napolean Hill documents ideas and philosophies basing on the stories of over 100 men in America who had managed to successfully transform their lives and cumulate riches. This book as Napolean describes will make you realize that \"What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve\". This book is very easy to understand and breaks down the philosophy of self-help and success in 13 easy chapters. Therefore, if you are looking to learn about the science of success and accumulating riches or wealth, look no further and learn and apply principles in your life.


How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie


This book was first published in 1937 and is a self-help book on how one can succeed in forming networks or contacts in the business world. The author wrote this book after realizing the need for adults to be taught the fine art of getting along with people in everyday business and social contacts. The author had also realized that dealing with people is one of the biggest problems one will face when conducting business. This book educates you on how practicing good social skills can improve your life. The book is based on practical lessons that Carnegie learned as a salesperson, extensive research he conducted and lessons he drew from renowned businessmen of his time.

The author starts by entrusting us with 8 rules for getting the best out of the book, which seems to me to be highly relevant and applicable to any number of non-fiction books:

  1. I have a great desire for learning and applying the principles that drive communications and relationships between human beings.
  2. Read every chapter twice before going on to the next one.
  3. Interrupt our readings frequently to ask ourselves about our possibilities for applying every principle.
  4. Underline the important ideas.
  5. Re-read the book every month.
  6. Practice the principles whenever the opportunity presents itself.
  7. Transform the book into a fun game: ask our friends to pay a penalty whenever they surprise us by breaking the rules.
  8. Monitor the progress that we make each week. Ask ourselves what mistakes we have made, what progress we have made, what lessons we have learned.

Leaders like Warren Buffet swear by How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and the lessons of Carnegie have stood the test of time.

The following are 10 classic lessons that we can learn from the book:

  1. Do Not Criticize, Condemn or Complain- it takes character and self-control to be forgiving, this discipline will pay major dividends in your relationships with people.
  2. Be Generous with Praise- Carnegie uses Schwab as an example throughout the book, as someone who exemplifies all of the tenets Carnegie preaches. Schwab used to praise as the foundation of all of his relationships, \"In my wide association in life, meeting with many and great people in various parts of the world,\" Schwab declared, \"I have yet to find the person, however great or exalted in their station who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than they would ever do under a spirit of criticism.\"
  3. Remember Their Name- Carnegie writes, \"Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.\"
  4. Be Genuinely Interested In Other People – Carnegie writes, \"You make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.\" If you break it down, you should listen 75% and only speak 25% of the time.
  5. Know The Value Of Charm - A good resume may get you in the door, but charm, social skills, and talent keep you there, and people will normally pick someone they enjoy being around over a candidate they don't enjoy being around as much but is more talented.
  6. Be Quick To Acknowledge Your Own Mistakes - Having strong and stable personal and professional relationships relies on you taking responsibility for your actions, especially your mistakes. Nothing will help end tension or a disagreement more than a swift acknowledgment and apology on your part.
  7. Don't Attempt To \"Win\" An Argument- The best way to win any argument, Carnegie writes, is to avoid it.
  8. Begin On Common Ground- If you are disagreeing with someone, you start on common ground and ease your way into the difficult subjects.
  9. Have Others Believe Your Conclusion Is Their Own - Learn to plant the seed, and instead of telling people they're wrong, find the common ground and persuade them that what they want is your desired outcome.
  10. Make People Feel Important-Making people feel important will make it easier for you to form lasting connections with people.


Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

Awaken The Giant Within is the psychological blueprint you can follow to wake up and start taking control of your life, starting in your mind, spreading through your body and then through your relationships, work and finances until you’re the giant you were always meant to be. It’s undoubtedly a must-read book for anyone who likes to master their inner self and change their destiny. You’ll learn about the motivating forces of pain and pleasure, the importance of the questions you ask, and the necessity of clarifying and living by your values. Anthony Robbins provides a step-by-step program teaching the fundamental lessons of self-mastery that will enable you to discover your true purpose, take control of your life, and harness the forces that shape your destiny.


The Subtle Art of not giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

This book is another bestseller giving practical examples of how people can succeed in developing themselves. Chances are you know somebody in your life who, at one time or another, did not give a fuck and went on to accomplish amazing achievements. Perhaps there was a time in your life where you simply did not give a fuck and excelled in some extraordinary heights. Conventional self-help advice tells you to visualize success and think about the type of person you want to only reinforce the idea that you are not that thing. Everyone wants you to believe that the secret to a good life is to have a nicer job or a better car or a prettier girlfriend. The key to a good life is not giving caring about more; it’s caring about less, caring about only what is true and immediate and important. Manson uses many of his personal experiences to illustrate how life's struggles often give it more meaning, which, he argues, is a better approach than constantly trying to be happy. Manson's approach and writing style have been categorized by some as contrarian to the general self-help industry, using blunt honesty and profanity to illustrate his ideas.



The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

Millions of readers have acquired the secrets of success through The Magic of Thinking Big. Achieve everything you always wanted: financial security, power and influence, the ideal job, satisfying relationships, and rewarding, happy life. Millions of people throughout the world have improved their lives using The Magic of Thinking Big. Dr. David J. Schwartz, long regarded as one of the foremost experts on motivation, will help you sell better, manage better, earn more money, and most important of all—find greater happiness and peace of mind. Dr. Schwartz presents a carefully designed program for getting the most out of your job, your marriage and family life, and your community. He proves that you don’t need to be an intellectual or have innate talent to attain great success and satisfaction—but you do need to learn and understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that will get you there. He proves that you don't need to be an intellectual or have innate talent to attain great success and satisfaction, but you do need to learn and understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that will get you there.


The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason

This book is based on parables which are told by a fictional Babylonian character called Arkad, a poor scribe who became the \"richest man in Babylon\". Included in Arkad's advice are the \"Seven Cures\" (or how to generate money and wealth), and the \"Five Laws of Gold\" (or how to protect and invest wealth). A core part of Arkad's advice is around \"paying yourself first\", \"living within your means\", \"investing in what you know\", the importance of \"long-term saving\", and \"homeownership\". This book has been hailed as one of the best inspirational books on financial planning. The author’s goal, to provide insight into “those who are ambitious for financial success,” is achieved through simple storytelling. The book teaches straightforward lessons that aim to show that the secrets to wealth-building are unchanging and remain applicable throughout history. The common theme of the tales is that a person can work hard, learn from their mistakes, and become wealthy.


For many being at home, quarantined with nowhere to go can be boring, one can be wondering what else can I do, I have practically exhausted everything. Well, the above 6 books would be a great read (if you haven’t done so already). This time could be a great opportunity to gain new insights or new knowledge that could transform your working or business experience after the pandemic.


Tatenda Sayenda-Havire is a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone +263 (242) 481946-48/481950 or email: or visit our website at

Tatenda Sayenda
This article was written by Tatenda a Guest at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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