10+1 Personal Development books

“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” 

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here I collected 10 +1 Must-Reads on Personal Development that personally helped me overhaul my mindset and thinking.

Reading and annotating may be best for your learning process and engagement levels, but reading it on a screen,  e-reader or listening to the audiobook version is awesome too.

Tim Ferris in a recent podcast stressed the importance for him of being a life-long reader. In his plea for literacy and learning he had two amazing guests, Anthony Robbins and Peter Diamandis who benefited greatly from reading books. Anthony Robbins supposedly read 700 books when in hermit mode, right before his rise to greatness.

1. The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle

Many a mind is tangled up in either the future or the past. Eckhart Tolle invites you into the Now, a realm of peace and power.  I read this while hitchhiking in Norway with a friend. We read it to each other. Listening to it and contemplating it was a profound gift, intellectually and spiritually. Even though I had come in contact with the basic concepts before, Eckhart managed to explain himself so cleanly, keeping it simple and therefore his message was a major expansion upon concepts like time, now, past, future enlightenment. Ideas that now have firmly taken root and now form part of the place I live from.

This is a great first read when you’re new to the whole self-development genre. Being in the “now” is a core concept in many teachings and quite essential to a satisfying life. Eckhart Tolle explains in clear language what being in the now and enlightenment is all about.

2. Conversations with God book series – Neale Donald Walsh

What is a soul, and are we all connected, or are we all individuals or both? Our universe is a curious one and the author shows how black is white, introducing the reader to something called a divine dichotomy, or paradox.

This is quite an eye-opening read for most people, including me. I got some really interesting ideas from it on important matters such as the nature of God, the soul, relationships. etc.  Very interesting if you’d like to read an inspiring, empowering way to see the world.

Personally, I know of people who have the paper form because they can devour it more fully. I contented myself listening the audiobook.

 “We become what we think about all day long.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


3. The Obstacle is the way – Ryan Holiday

The Obstacle is the Way is a not just a book, it’s more of an essay on life and overcoming obstacles. It’s also your roadmap into stoicism. It’s a very motivating, strengthening, empowering read for anyone wanting to succeed, persevere, overcome, achieve and reframe setbacks that will occur.

It’s also an invitation to give your greatest gifts to the world. To keep pushing yourself to greater nights, now wallowing in the shallow waters, the purgatory of the comfort zone where risk seems absent yet is present anyway, lurking in the morass.

A great return to the stoics. The wisdom of ancient times is so applicable to our modern every day lives. This book is all about overcoming difficulties, setbacks and using your problems as stepping stones instead of prisons.

4. The Perfect Health Diet – Shou-Ching Jaminet Ph.D, Paul Jaminet Ph.D

There are so many books that have been written about food, nutrition and health through widely varying ways of eating. This was one of the few books that did a good job at convincing me why certain foods were better than others to eat (toxicity). And it ended up being quite a mild diet, that was also satisfying. A craving-free diet, which also was healthy. Needless to say it met a lot of my requirements for what a good way of eating should look like.

As you can probably tell, this one is on food, good food. Recognising that in most foods, there are natural toxins,  Shou-Ching and Paul Jaminet endeavour to find a diet that is fine-tuned to longevity and health. They constructed a diet using scientific methods and research.



You are now, and you do become, what you think about.” 
― Earl NightingaleEarl Nightingale’s the Strangest Secret


5. The Way of the Peaceful Warrior – Dan Millman

This is an engaging read about a modern-day Socrates, called Socrates, and his pupil, Dan, who discovers this enigmatic person when he feels a little lost.  A movie has been made about this book.

Blending fact and fiction Dan Millman teaches and questions the reader. The main character takes you on an adventure of self-discovery and achievement.


6. Blue Truth – David Deida

Beautiful book on what it is to be open, vulnerable, alive. Beautifully written. Jack Peterson calls it his “Bible”. That has to count for something. From Deida’s website:

A Spiritual Guide to Life & Death and Love & Sex

“Have you ever looked closely at a flame? The reds and yellows are easy to see, but deep in the center of the flame is blue. You can easily avoid the blue, miss it altogether if you just look at the surface colors. But always blue is here, deeper than where your vision stops …”

You are deeper than your life shows, and you know it. You are more loving than your relationships allow, more brilliant than your career suggests. In your secret depth of being, you are infinite, creative, boundless—and utterly unable to press your full glory into the world. Or so it seems.

7. Zen and the Art of Happiness – Chris Prentiss

Cutting-edge science and spirituality tell us that what we believe, think, and feel actually determine the makeup of our body at the cellular level. In Zen and the Art of Happiness, you will learn how to think and feel so that what you think and feel creates happiness and vibrancy in your life rather than gloominess or depression. You ll learn how to adapt to life’s inevitable changes, how to deal with stress in a healthy way, and how to nurture a mindful happiness in your daily life. Most importantly, the gentle wisdom of Zen and the Art of Happiness will show you how to invite magnificent experiences into your life and create a personal philosophy that will sustain you through anything. A timeless work about the art of happiness, the way of happiness, the inner game of happiness

“Your world is a living expression of how you are using and have used your mind.” 
― Earl Nightingale



8. The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand

A moving story that carries you along with great ease, and in while at it, questions your own integrity, purpose and drive. This friction is created by the deep contrast in the book’s characters. This book is as entertaining as it is instructive. Many people say it’s supposed to be read in schools. Between the lines it speaks about the purpose a person can have, and follow, of integrity, of determination and perseverance. If nothing else Ayn Rand makes you think about these matters. Perhaps not something people like to do very often.

Pro tip: This is a recommended read for budding entrepreneurs.




9. The Way of the Superior Man – David Deida

An essential book for men and women who want to learn more about how to upgrade their relationships, with themselves, others and their significant other.

What is your true purpose in life? What do women really want? What makes a good lover? If you’re a man reading this, you’ve undoubtedly asked yourself these questions-but you may not have had much luck answering them. Until now.


10. The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason

In this somewhat ancient resource you can find the tales from ancient babylonians that  found their way to an abundant life, and how they did it. Turns out that the way money works hasn’t changed much over the millenia. Learn to build your fortune with this guidebook. It’s a very enjoyable read, and carries very useful concepts, especially when you actually carry them out.

Through ancient babylonian parables you’ll learn how to get on the path to prosperity. You’ll learn how to recognise good investments, how to increase your savings, and many more expensive lessons 😉

On to prosperity!

“Remember that money is of a prolific generating nature. Money can beget money, and its offspring can beget more.” – Benjamin Franklin

+1 . The $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau

A very instructive and useful read on how to start a business today, for under $100. A must-read for the beginning and intermediate entrepreneur. Even a seasoned CEO might strike up an idea or two from this essential guidebook.

This is a game-changer. It’s not some theoretical book about starting business, doing lots of idle talking. It’s an action-oriented book that includes worksheets and that lives its own message. It carries lots of stories from people who started with nothing but an idea and now run a successful business. Inspiring read which stimulates the entrepreneurial brain.

The list goes on and on and on… I used to reproach myself for always wanting to read the next book and consequently not taking enough action. Now I’ve embraced my lust for books and I also take the necessary actions. You are what you read about 5 years ago I’ve heard someone say. That struck a chord with me.

Thank you James M. Ranson for the editing, Jack Peterson making his website available and Thank you for your attention. You won’t regret reading these if you’re up to the challenge of giving, gaining and growing!

There is more… much more…

Don’t stop believing, and don’t stop reading! Let me know what you deem your most transformational books below, here in the comments.


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