My Top Personal Development Books

The conversation started about sleep.

“What should I do when I’m laying in bed and can’t get to sleep?”

After I suggested to read a little bit to focus the mind…

“What should I read?”

I asked about current interests. Personal development came up. This excited me. 

Other than fitness, I’ve probably spent more money, time and energy exploring personal development: traveling to seminars, watching webinars, reading, participating in workshops, listening to audiobooks, watching videos, engaging in conversations, etc. 

So what is personal development?

It is a process to discovering or uncovering who you are. We all have grown up in different circumstances and have experienced life in different ways. My perspective about fitness/love/life/money/etc is (most likely) different than yours because of this.

This is why understanding who you are, being self aware, knowing your purpose and realizing your strengths/weaknesses are fundamental for living a happy, successful and fulfilled life. 

The following books are the ones I recommend to anyone looking to explore themselves further. They were (and still are) very impactful in shaping the way I think, act and feel.

The Alchemist 

Paulo Coelho

This was one of those books that I had a hard time putting down when I first read it. It’s actually written as fiction, although the lessons really shine though. Start with this book, because it’s a quick and entertaining read filled with timeless wisdom and inspiration that you can apply to your life immediately. 

Some of my notable highlights:

  • “…when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”
  • “When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person to realize his dream.”

Manifesting Change: It Couldn’t Be Easier

Mike Dooley

What an impact this one has had. Mike’s written half a dozen books, but I find myself coming back to this one time and time again. When I first read it years ago, my head was spinning with the ideas and concepts he presents. It’s a fascinating read. 

Some of my notable highlights:

  • “Thinking big, but acting small is the same as thinking small.”
  • “Learn not to condition your behavior on the illusions of time, space and matter. At least not exclusively, as living in time and space clearly requires recognition of ‘what is’.”

The Music Lesson: A Spiritual Search For Growth Through Music

Victor L. Wooten

Seeing Victor play and listening to his music is an incredible experience in itself, but the most inspiring thing about him is the way he teaches and talks about music and life. This book isn’t a traditional music book; it’s written more as a guide to personal growth through music. I read/listen to this book every year. (I would actually recommend the audiobook, because of how well it’s produced with a soundtrack by Victor, his narration and an additional cast.) 

Some of my notable highlights:

  • “You risk missing much of the present experience by putting part of yourself in future or past experiences.”
  • “Beauty is something you experience, not something you prove. Beauty is invisible, individual, and intangible. Like music, it lives inside you and you impress its qualities on whatever you choose. Beauty is that in which the many, still seen as the many, become one.”

The subtle art of not giving a f*ck

Mark Manson

This book is well-written. Manson gets his points across clearly with interesting stories woven throughout. A lot of the concepts were familiar (through various other books and seminars I’ve done), although he has a unique perspective on things. There were plenty of passages that I kept rereading, thinking about and highlighting (I easily had over a 100 different highlights). Again, this is a great book. Read it.

Some of my notable highlights:

  • “What are you willing to struggle for?” Because that seems to be a greater determinant of how our lives turn out.”
  • “To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness is therefore a form of action; it’s an activity, not something that is passively bestowed upon you… True happiness occurs only when you find the problems you enjoy having and enjoy solving.”
  • “The more we choose to accept responsibility in our lives, the more power we will exercise over our lives. Accepting responsibility for our problems is thus the first step to solving them.”


Maxwell Maltz

I’m fascinated that this book was written in the 1960’s and not many people have even heard of it. Maxwell was one of the pioneers in the self-development industry and his ideas/concepts are still pillars today. This book gets more into the science and research than my previous ones. Its lessons are powerful for me in my own life and also as a coach.

Some of my notable highlights:

  • “Human beings always act and feel and perform in accordance with what they imagine to be true about themselves and their environment. This is a basic and fundamental law of mind.”
  • “A bicycle maintains its poise and equilibrium only so long as it is going forward towards something. You have a good bicycle. Your trouble is you are trying to maintain your balance sitting still, with no place to go.”


The books I presented are a small sample of the ones I’ve read on the subject, although I find myself coming back to these time and time again. There are many other great books on the topic of personal development, so my recommendation is to start with one or two from my list and then explore from there.

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’ve read any of the books above. I hope you get as much value from them as I have. Send me a short list of books that has had an impact on you and your life; I would love some recommendations. 

Expect Success,

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