Five Best books on personal development

Vimal Kumar
13 Min Read
Five Best books on personal development

What we think, we become — a wisdom shared by Buddha was eternal wisdom for the people of the planet. On the similar line, we can say, “We are what we ponder upon and allow that thought to make home in our mind”. So, the question comes — how we become what we really want to be?  How allowing relevant thoughts to make home in our mind or force certain thoughts to dwell in mind help to achieve our goal?

It can be natural process, or it can be forcefully forced upon process. But the thought must live in our mind, and we must believe in that belief and thoughts. It is also perceived and often believed that our belief, thought, and action are reflection of our own conditioning. If we have been through situation which does not allow us to think in certain way, how to think in that way? There is some degree of truth in such belief system; however, there is great degree of element of myth. Our conditioning does define our belief system, but it can be changed by seeing, reading, and thinking on different horizon, just by forgetting own reality for a moment. In this article, let us focus on reading aspects and how certain books can change the way, we think. Here are Five Best books on personal development which have potential to change the way you are thinking:

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
How to Win Friends and Influence People
How to Win Friends and Influence People

Legendary Author Dale Carnegie (24 November 1888 – 1 November 1955) had authored this book in 1936, almost a century ago. He is also known as Dale Breckenridge Carnegie, an American writer and lecturer and the developer of famous courses in self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training, public speaking, and interpersonal skills.

This book was way ahead of its time in many ways. Having friends, keeping relationships is the core of the human civilization and innate nature of human; however, the title has covered interesting observation and how those can be utilised for self and collective gains. It can help to apply six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to win people, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.

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Since its release in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People is sold more than 15 million copies.

As relevant as ever before, Dale Carnegie’s principles endure, and will help you achieve your maximum potential in the complex and competitive modern age.  Here are few insightful quotes from How to Win Friends and Influence People: 

Criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home.

The rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage.

A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is second book in the list of five Best books on personal development. It was authored by Stephen R. Covey (24 October 1932 – 16 July 2012). Apart from this, he had authored many other books — “First Things First”, “The 8th Habit”, and “The Leader in Me—How Schools and Parents Around the World Are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time”.

The book was first published in 1988 and instantaneously attracted attention because it connected well with the people in the corporate world. The title is sold more than 25 million copies so far. It is translated in 40 languages worldwide. In August 2011 Time listed the book as one of “The 25 Most Influential Business Management Books“.

The book covers seven habits — 1) Be Proactive, 2) Begin with the End in Mind, 3) Put First Things First, 4) Think Win-Win, 5) Seek First to Understand, 6) Synergize, 7) Sharpen the Saw. Covey introduces the concept of change in thinking and helps the reader understand that different perspectives exist, i.e. that two people can see the same thing and yet differ from each other.

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The Author defines various aspects like abundance mentality, adaptation, solution where everyone wins, and effectiveness as the balance of obtaining desirable results with caring for that which produces those results. There are also many celebrated quotes in the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Here are two quotes which I like most:

Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.

Five Recommended books on Time Management

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
The Power of Habit
The Power of Habit

The book The Power of Habit is written by Pulitzer-prize winning reporter and the author Charles Duhigg. Another book of the author is Smarter Faster Better. He was awarded Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting in 2013.

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The Power of Habit is all about the science of habit formation in our lives, companies, and societies. The Author sees that some of companies struggle to change in the way, they work; however, some can change without any hinderance. The title explore how habit is created, erased, and remade. The Author visited laboratories where neuroscientists explore how habits work and where, exactly, they live in our brains. He discussed how the right habits were crucial to the success. He shared many examples of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, and civil-rights hero Martin Luther King, Jr.  Key of the message — how keystone habits can earn billions and mean the difference between failure and success, life and death. Here are some of important quotes from The Power of Habit:

There’s a natural instinct embedded in friendship; a sympathy that makes us willing to fight for someone we like when they are treated unjustly.

Willpower isn’t just a skill. It’s a muscle, like the muscles in your arms or legs, and it gets tired as it works harder, so there’s less power left over for other things.

When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision making. It stops working so hard or diverts focus to other tasks. So, unless you deliberately fight a habit—unless you find new routines—the pattern will unfold automatically.

Think and Grow Rich by Stephen Napoleon Hill
Think and Grow Rich
Think and Grow Rich

The book Think and Grow Rich is fourth book in the list of five Best books on personal development. Napoleon Hill (26 October 1883 – 08 November 1970) is the author of the book. Apart from this, he had authored many other books — “Outwitting the Devil: The Secret to Freedom and Success”, “Law of Success “, and “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude”.

The book was first published in 1937 and remain similar, in form of its context, as the originally written.  The title is sold more than 15 million copies so far.

Think and Grow Rich is based on Hill’s earlier work The Law of Success and is the result of more than twenty years of study of many individuals who had amassed personal fortunes. He interviewed over 500 of the most affluent men and women of his time, he uncovered the secret to great wealth based on the notion that if we can learn to think like the rich, we can start to behave like them. By understanding and applying the thirteen simple steps that constitute Hill’s formula, you can achieve your goals, change your life, and join the ranks of the rich and successful.

There are also many famous quotes in the Think and Grow Rich. Here are few quotes:

The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.

You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.

When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.

You may share what you have liked in the book.

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Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Thinking, Fast and Slow

The book Thinking, Fast and Slow is fifth book in the list of five Best books on personal development. Daniel Kahneman (Born on 05 March 1934) authored it. Apart from this, he had authored many other books — “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment “, “Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and Biases”, and “Attention And Effort”.

Daniel Kahneman is an Israeli American psychologist and winner of the 2002 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, notable for his work on behavioural finance and hedonic psychology.

The book was first published in 2011 and incredible book of the today’s world.  More than 1.5 million copies have been sold so far.

The book’s main thesis is differentiation between two modes of thought: “System 1” is fast, instinctive, and emotional; “System 2” is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. The book separates rational and non-rational motivations or triggers associated with each type of thinking process, and how they complement each other, starting with Kahneman’s own research on loss aversion. Other themes of books are heuristics/ biases, Anchoring, Availability, optimism and loss aversion, framing, sunken cost fallacy, and overconfidence.

There are also many magnificent quotes in the book Thinking, Fast and Slow. Here are few quotes:

Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it

If you care about being thought credible and intelligent, do not use complex language where simpler language will do.

The idea that the future is unpredictable is undermined every day by the ease with which the past is explained.

Intelligence is not only the ability to reason; it is also the ability to find relevant material in memory and to deploy attention when needed.

If you are looking for books on time management, here are list of five books on Time Management.

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Vimal Kumar is Naval Architect by profession and an education enthusiast. He is attempting to make knowledge accessible beyond the boundary of societal barriers. He also strives to pen down the untangled whirlwind of mind. He can be contacted on email: