Lessons Learned From 50+ Bestselling Personal Development Books
‘Slow down, be more strategic, and say no more often.’ — Brendon Burchard in High-Performance Habits
This year, I don’t have any particular reading goal as I don’t feel like reading a lot itself could improve my life any further. It’s more about putting all my learnings into practice.
Honestly, not all of the books I’ve read were worth it. Some didn’t tell me anything new, and some just didn’t fit my current situation or my state.
That’s why I picked the most exciting and valuable ones to share with you.
I am sure that all of these can be a massive game-changer, so long as you don’t just skim through them, but put the information into action.
‘59 Seconds: Think a Little, Change a Lot’ by Richard Wiseman
“Happiness doesn’t just flow from success; it actually causes it.”
I still remember reading this book on New Year’s Eve last year. It was the first book I finished in 2019, and it was totally worth it.
It’s one of the books that is overloaded with post-its because there are so many incredibly valuable learnings inside.
I loved reading it, and I remember how I disturbed my boyfriend every few minutes because I had to tell him something new that I just discovered through this book.
If you are reading a tiny amount of books in 2020, please put this one on your reading list — it will be worth it.
‘Buy Experiences, not goods. Want to buy happiness? Then spend your hard-earned cash on experiences. Go out for a meal. Go to a concert, cinema or theatre. Go on holiday. Go and learn how to pole dance. Go paintballing. Go bungee jumping.
In fact, get involved in anything that provides an opportunity to do things with others, and then tell even more people about it afterwards.
When it comes to happiness, remember that it is experiences that represent really good value for money.’
‘High-Performance Habits’ by Brendon Burchard
“Be more intentional about who you want to become. Have vision beyond your current circumstances. Imagine your best future self, and start acting like that person today.”
This book is another highlight in my list, and if you ask me, it’s an absolute must-read for anyone who is working on personal development.
If I could, I’d probably force anyone to read this book.
I have been into personal growth for quite some time, and I’ve consumed lots of content, yet, High-Performance Habits surprised me in many significant ways.
It’s not an easy-to-read book, and it doesn’t really make sense to read this one without putting the lessons into action. However, if you take this book seriously, I sincerely believe it can change your life.
“Seek clarity. Generate energy. Raise necessity. Increase productivity. Develop Influence. Demonstrate Courage. These are the six habits that you need to adopt if you are to reach high performance in any situation.”
‘67 Morning Ritual Habits For Your Body, Mind And Spirit’ by Stefan James
Let’s stick with habits — here’s one more that I can advise.
‘Your morning ritual is what sets you up for having a successful day. It’s one of the most important habits to cultivate, as it’ll set the precedent of how your day will look. As the saying goes, “How you start the day is how you’ll end the day.”’
I genuinely believe in the power of a proper morning routine.
The saying ‘’Your morning determines your day’’ is absolutely accurate, and I am a huge fan of structured, powerful mornings.
In his book, Stefan James shares 67 ideas on how to start your day right. Some might sound repetitive, yet it is an excellent base for creating your own, great morning ritual and putting it into practice.
‘Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life’ by Hal Elrod
‘Love the life you have while you create the life of your dreams. Don’t think you have to choose one over the other.’
When talking about morning routines, I definitely can’t miss out on this one.
In fact, I’m not sure if you truly need to read the whole book. A good summary might be enough to get the key insights. Yet I believe that The Miracle Morning still serves as a complete guide for creating a life-changing morning routine.
According to Hal Elrod, your morning routine should consist of six components:
- Silence: Practice meditation, prayer or breathing exercises to calm your mind
- Affirmations: Encourage yourself through powerful words
- Visualization: Imagine yourself living your best life
- Exercise: Move your body right in the morning
- Reading: Get some inspiration and fill your brain with positivity
- Scribble: Practice journaling and write down your thoughts
‘Remember, the moment you accept total responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you claim the power to change anything in your life.’
‘The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World’s Most Successful People Launched Their Careers’ by Alex Banayan
The Third Door tells the story of an 18-year-old’s wild quest of interviewing many of the world’s most successful people to discover what it takes to get to the top.
Alex Banayan openly shares his story of meeting some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and what he learned from them.
Throughout his journey, Banayan talks with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Tim Ferriss, and many more inspiring and highly successful entrepreneurs.
‘Maybe the hardest part about taking a risk isn’t whether to take it, it’s when to take it. It’s never clear how much momentum is enough to justify leaving school. It’s never clear when it’s the right time to quit your job. Big decisions are rarely clear when you’re making them — they’re only clear looking back. The best you can do is take one careful step at a time.’
While this book is full of golden nuggets, it is also very nice to read as one can truly resonate with Banayan’s journey.
‘The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage’ by Mel Robbins
‘You can’t control how you feel. But you can always choose how you act.’
For those who don’t know her:
Mel Robbins, the author of the 5 Second Rule, is one of the best paid female motivational speakers. Through her TED talk, which summarizes her 5 Second Rule, she went viral and became known for her work.
I’ve known the 5 Second Rule and Mel Robbins long before I read the book, and I don’t think that you need to read the book to understand and use the concept. However, I believe the rule itself can be lifechanging; that’s why I put the book on this list.
In fact, the 5 Second Rule can be taught in a very short way: The moment you have an instinct to act on a goal you must count 5–4–3–2–1 and physically move or your brain will stop you.
Robbins teaches and empowers to take massive action, despite all the excuses you might find.
The 5 Second Rule is a great way to eliminate excuses and finally do all the things that you know you should be doing.
Even if I genuinely admire her work and the rule, I think that reading a brief summary or watching one of her videos is at least as powerful as reading the book. That’s mainly because a significant part of the book consists of success stories of her clients and readers, which is fantastic, yet it doesn’t teach you anything new.
‘What I Know for Sure’ by Oprah Winfrey
“What you believe has more power than what you dream or wish or hope for. You become what you believe.”
This is one of my absolute favourite books ever.
I genuinely admire Oprah and everything that she created despite the hard times she had to face at the beginning of her life. In What I Know For Sure, Oprah summarizes everything that she learned throughout her life.
Of course, you also get to read a few personal insights about her life, but the learnings shared are incredibly powerful and make it worth reading the whole book.
Oprah also unfolds all her values, beliefs, and everything that somehow influenced her life.
‘There is one irrefutable law of the universe: We are each responsible for our own life. If you’re holding anyone else accountable for your happiness, you’re wasting your time. You must be fearless enough to give yourself the love you didn’t receive’
This book is not only delightful to read but also packed with knowledge that can help you to change your life for the better and live more intentionally and happily.
‘You Were Born Rich: The Keys to Maximizing the Awesome Potential You Were Born With’ by Bob Proctor
‘Thoughts become things. If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand.’
Most people know Bob Proctor from the film The Secret.
However, this man might be a living legend as he has been studying the law of attraction and rules of success for more than 60 years. Bob Proctor is 85 years old and is still rocking stages worldwide through his seminars.
This book teaches you everything you need to know to put the law of attraction into practice in your own life.
What I liked most is that it’s written in a way that is very hands-on and practical. While Proctor talks about how the universe is always working in your favour, he also shares practical tips that you can immediately use to improve your life and wealth.
I’ve been following Bob Proctor for many years, yet this is the first book of his that I’ve read and I am highly looking forward to reading all his other books in 2020.
‘To believe in the things you can see and touch is no belief at all; but to believe in the unseen is a triumph and a blessing.’
(If you sign up for his newsletter, you can download the eBook for free.)
‘Law of Attraction: The Secret Power of The Universe — How to Visualize & Meditate for Manifesting Love, Money, Happiness & Success’ by Jenny Loveless
‘Believing is the key to everything in life. If you want to become a successful at anything, then you must absolutely believe and know for a fact that you will achieve it’
Matching the last book I mentioned, this one also teaches the law of attraction and how to manifest your wildest dreams into your reality.
The author doesn’t only teach universal laws like the law of attraction, but also shares practical tips on how to apply these laws every day.
If you haven’t done it so far, I strongly recommend learning about the law of attraction and practicing it in your everyday life. This book is a great place to start.
‘The sun is just close enough to the earth to sustain life and we have a moon, which gives us just enough light when the sun goes down. With all this perfection around us, what makes us think that God has made the world unfair? Actually, nothing is unfair at all.
This world was made completely and one hundred percent fair to everyone, just as it was made so that everything in it works together like the inside of an old grandfather clock.’
‘Build An Empire — How to Have it All’ by Elena Cardone
‘A Queen goes for what she wants and does not ask for permission.’
For a girl boss like me, this book was a must-read.
Elena and Grant Cardone are the ultimate power couple and are running a billion-dollar empire with several businesses. Thus, I thought I could learn a lot from her. And I did.
Yet, of course, a big part of the book is about her personal life. If you want to surprise a girl boss or get an insight into how the Cardones’ work and marriage life looks, you don’t have much to lose.
‘10 Simple Solutions for Building Self-Esteem: How to End Self-Doubt, Gain Confidence, & Create a Positive Self-Image’ by Glenn R. Schiraldi
‘Self-esteem is strongly associated with happiness, psychological resilience, and a motivation to live a productive and healthy life.’
I’ve also read a few books on confidence and self-esteem. This one is great for discovering practical ways of increasing your (or others’) self-esteem and confidence.
Before getting started, Schiraldi teaches what true self-esteem actually is, followed by great ways of building it.
‘Self-esteem is essential to our health, coping abilities, survival, and sense of well-being.’
These are the solutions to self-esteem suggested by the author:
- Know what self-esteem is
- Be mindful
- Clear away negative thoughts
- Become aware of your strengths
- Use mindful meditations
- Cultivate joy
- Appreciate your body
- Care for your mind by caring for your body
- Develop your character and spirituality
- Look ahead
‘365 Steps to Self-Confidence: A Complete Programme for Personal Transformation — In Just a Few Minutes a Day’ by David Lawrence Preston
‘Confidence is crucial to a happy and fulfilling life. It influences your success at work, your family life, relationships and leisure activities. It affects your performance in everything you do. A belief in oneself is without doubt the greatest asset of all.’
This book is an ultimate guide for building slow but lasting confidence. The author provides a complete program on personal transformation through just a few minutes of work each day.
The book is structured into 52 themes (chapters) and comes with tons of exercises that help you in strengthening your self-esteem.
‘People who lack confidence and self-belief always underachieve.’
‘100 Ways to Motivate Others — How Great Leaders Can Produce Insane Results Without Driving People Crazy’ by Scott Richardson & Steve Chandler
‘Achievement requires continuous feedback. And if you’re going to get the most out of your people, it’s imperative that you be the one who is the most up on what the numbers are and what they mean.’
In reading this book, I came to realize that sometimes it’s the small steps that matter. The authors provide 100 easily applicable strategies on how to motivate others and produce better results.
If you are currently building or leading a team, or if you want to improve the work produced by an existing team, this book might just be a golden nugget. You’ll learn how to focus on people’s strengths, hold them accountable, and cultivate the art of supportive confrontation.
‘Simplify. Focus on results. You will always get what you focus on. If you merely focus on activities, that’s what you’ll get…a whole lot of activities. But if you focus on results, that’s what you’ll get. A whole lot of results.’