Top Personal Development Books

One of the things that I have found to be helpful in creating a healthy, happy lifestyle, is taking the time to read books that are inspirational in nature. A daily dose of positive attitude to help get me through my day and keep me motivated to work on my goals. This post contains my top personal development books from what I have read in the last year or so.

Almost all the books that I read come from the library. If you don’t already have a library card to your local library- get one! It’s free, you can get books on just about anything you want there. And it’s also really a really great way to cut down on the cost to watch movies and tv shows- DVD’s and Blu Rays are all free as well.

Most libraries also have a way to check books out electronically- you can read them on your laptop, Kindle, tablet, or phone. If you’re in a hurry you can also reserve books online and then just run in and pick them up when they are ready for you. When I know a specific title or author, I go online and reserve my books.

Usually, though, I prefer to go into the library and spend some time browsing the self-help section. I have found the most amazing books this way that I never would have known existed. In fact, all the books on my top five list, except one, were found by aimlessly browsing the self-help books at my local library. The title, cover, or size of the books stood out to me so I took a chance on them, and whole heartedly recommend ALL of these!

So in no particular order- my TOP 5 motivational book recommendations. For more info on each, or a larger list of self-help/motivational books, check  lovinglifesimperfections.com

Note: If you prefer to own your self-help books, clicking on the picture for each book will link you to where you can purchase the book on Amazon*. While I usually pick up my books at the local library, sometimes I do purchase books so I can highlight my favorite parts. I also like to purchase books that I want to read more than once or share with my kids.

1)Make Your Bed by Admiral William McRaven

The full title of this book is “Make Your Bed. Little things that can change your life…and maybe the world.”

This book is an expansion of a graduation speech given by the Admiral to a group of college students. Ten life lessons he learned while in Navy Seal Training. The first piece of advice is to make your bed- every day. Even if you fail at everything else during that day, at least you were successful at completing that task.

The imagery in this book will stay with you long after you have finished reading it. If you decide to read this book, you will never think of the words “sugar cookie” in the same way again.

Ten short chapters, one for each life lesson. Fast, easy to read and totally relateable, even without a military background.

2)The Power of Significance by John Maxwell

OK, so John Maxwell is one of my all time favorite motivational book authors of all time. In the last year and a half I have probably read 5 or 6 of his books and have another three on my bookshelf still to read. You really can’t go wrong with a John Maxwell book. He writes about leadership, overcoming failure, teamwork, relationships, and having a positive attitude. He also writes books for teens.

This particular book made my top five list because it is a cute little book that easily fits into your purse or lunch bag- perfect for working moms who need a little self-care too. So you can take it on the go and read it wherever. The Power of Significance is about finding the significance or purpose in your life- the reason why you’re here and what you, specifically, have to offer the world.

When most people think of significance they tend to think of something big that brings fame & fortune, or makes you a household name. But that’s not really what John Maxwell refers to when he talks about significance in this book- he’s referring to what you have to offer the world to make it a better place. How can you help? What are your skills and interests that are unique to you that can make a difference in your community? It doesn’t have to be big or earth shattering, but everyone can make an impact for good and THAT is what this book is all about.

3)You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

This is the one book on my list that I actually went looking for by title. I had several people recommend this book to me and it took several weeks of waiting for it to be available for me at me library because of how popular it is.

The author, Jen Sincero, is a well-known life coach who gets paid to help people overcome obstacles and obtain their dream life. She is straight forward in letting us know that if you want to change your life, you have to take action- you can’t just say “that sounds good” and sit back and wait for it. She tells us that we need to go from wanting to change our life to deciding to change our life- go all in, do whatever it takes to make the change and get where you want to be. “Create the life you desire like your life depends on it because it does!”

Through encouragement, examples of where she’s been there and done that, and tips and tricks to help you along the way- this book is very useful. In the end she lists out some of her favorite resources and recommendations for continued reading and development.

My favorite part of this book is that she ends almost every chapter with the simple words- “Love yourself”. Even if you’re not where you want to be in your life right now- we all have a lot to learn, a lot to work on and a LONG way to go to reach our dreams and goals- even so, it is so very important to always love yourself wherever you are on your journey.

4)Drawing Out The Dragons by James Owen

While all of these books I would happily read over and over again, this book I have read three times since I discovered it. James Owen wrote this book particularly for a middle school audience. I have a 13 and 14 year old, so maybe that is part of why I was so drawn to this book.

James Owen tells his life story, trials he overcame, and inspiration he found along the way. Why does he focus this book towards middle school students? Because he was their age when he started following his dream that led him to where he is today.

James Owen tells these kids, and anyone else who reads this book, that even if nobody else believes in them, HE believes in them. “I believe in you. I will not let you fall.” He encourages us to go for our dreams, no matter what our age, even if we fail initially. If you keep trying and don’t give up, you will find a way. Age doesn’t limit us. Experience doesn’t limit us. The only thing that limits us is our ability to keep trying and never give up.

5)Amazing Things Will Happen by CC Chapman

This is another collection of Life Lessons. An easy read with short chapters and exercises to practice. CC Chapman has a unique point of view and keeps you laughing. While I don’t like to give much away in the books I recommend- they are best enjoyed in their entirety, here is just a taste of some chapter titles:

  • Chapter 1: How to Be A Passion Hit
  • Chapter 9: Simplify, Focus, and Attack
  • Chapter 12: Stop Talking; Start Doing
  • Chapter 15: Know What You Hate and Then Don’t Do It
  • Chapter 17: Life is Too Short for Bad Wine
  • Chapter 31: Don’t Let the Asshats and Ankle Biters Get You Down


So there are my top 5 recommended motivational/self-help books to get you started.

If you have any recommendations, please drop them in the comments below! I’m always looking for a good book!

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