5 Must Read Self Development Books

Hey everyone, Alex here from Alex and Books and these are my top 5 must read self development books of all time.


Having read 35 books last year and about 30 books the year before, it’s safe to say I spend a lot of my time reading. The reason for doing so is because I always want to improve and become a better person. It is for this reason that a lot of the books I’ve read are self development books.


No one is perfect and no one will ever be perfect, but it’s my goal to strive to be better than the person I was yesterday. And I’d like to ask everyone reading this to do the same. If everyone works on making themselves better, we will in time, make the lives of those around us better and maybe even make the world better.


If you don’t know which self development books are worth reading, don’t fret, here is my list of 5 must read self development books (in no particular order).


Must Read Self Development Books #5: “The ONE Thing” By Gary Keller & Jay Papasan

must read self development books

When I first heard of this book I hesitated to buy it because of its clickbait sounding title, but then a friend recommended it to me so I decided to get a copy and give it a shot. I’m glad I did. This book provides a lot of value and teaches readers how to be more productive in their career and their personal life.


This book helps readers discover their most important goal and gives them tools for managing time to be as efficient and effective as possible. It also disproves common work-related myths such as multi-tasking and provides a new set of guidelines to follow. At the end of each chapter, the authors restate key information and give actionable insight to readers.


The book is filled with advice, backed by scientific studies. It also teaches how to prioritize tasks, manage time, build good habits, use willpower properly, and goal setting. The authors also provide readers will additional tools and information at their website here. I highly recommend reading this book if you want to be more productive and improve your quality of life.


“The ONE Thing” book summary & lessons learned can be found here.


Must Read Self Development Books #4:“No More Mr. Nice Guy” by Dr. Robert Glover

must read self development books

This is another book that I didn’t buy at first because I judged it by its cover, but upon doing research into books on self-development and relationships, this book kept popping up. Given that the book was written by a psychiatrist with a Ph.D., I decided to pull the trigger and order a copy.


It turned out to be the right decision. This book completely opened up my eyes to how the male/female relationship works and why some men try the failed strategy of being nice to attract women.


Dr. Glover explains the traits of ‘Nice Guy Syndrome’ and provides examples of how men can change for the better. Each chapter has a “Breaking Free: Activity” to help men go from a Nice Guy to a good guy. A few of the important lessons readers learn from this book is how to: set boundaries, build meaningful relationships, express their feelings, deal with problems, and accept themselves.


This book provides a treasure trove of information and is less than 200 pages long. It will change your perspective on life and help you become a better person in relationships and beyond. If you’ve been called a Nice Guy before or are stuck in the friend zone, definitely give this book a chance.


“No More Mr. Nice Guy” book summary & lessons learned can be found here.


Must Read Self Development Books #3: “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

must read self development books

This book is written by two Navy SEALs (arguably the most elite soldiers in the world) who led the most highly decorated special operation unit of the Iraq war. They now run a leadership consulting firm that teaches people how to apply powerful leadership principles from the battlefield to business and life.


The title of the book, “Extreme Ownership,” refers to one of the most important things that the authors learned from their 33 years of combined military experience.


They found that the key trait that made great leaders was taking extreme ownership of their job. That meant being responsible for everything related to their mission. These leaders didn’t cast blame or make excuses if something went wrong, they owned it all. This is the mindset leaders must have to lead their team and achieve success.


This book will truly change your perspective on what it means to lead and manage well. And this isn’t only for people at the top of organizations, it will teach management both up and down the chain of command.


Also, by developing yourself as a better leader, you can implement the same lessons to your team or company to take everyone’s performance to the next level. Plus this book has some cool war stories so it’s the perfect mix of war, leadership, and business.


“Extreme Ownership” book summary & lessons learned can be found here.


Must Read Self Development Books #2: “Make Your Bed” by William McRaven

must read self development books

The author of this book, William McRaven, is also a Navy SEAL and spent almost four decades in the military.


The book is a collection of McRaven’s ten most valuable lessons he learned from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S). This training is often described as one of the most mentally challenging and physically demanding trainings in the world.


McRaven talks about how he applied the lessons he learned from BUD/S to achieve success in his professional and personal life. The book is based on McRaven’s now viral commencement speech at the University of Texas.


At 130 pages, the book is quite short and can be read in under three hours. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for some inspiration or need guidance in life.


“Make Your Bed” book summary & lessons learned can be found here.


Must Read Self Development Books #1: “12 Rules for Life” by Jordan Peterson

must read self development books

Jordan B. Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology. He has taught at Harvard and the University of Toronto. Dr. Peterson specializes in personality psychology with a particular interest in the psychology of religious and ideological beliefs. He’s published more than a hundred scientific papers, transforming the modern understanding of personality, while his textbook, Maps of Meaning, revolutionized the psychology of religion.


In his book, 12 Rules for Life, Peterson discusses discipline, courage, and the necessity of clear, truthful thinking in order to live properly within the order and chaos of our lives. The book teaches these lesson by examining psychology, philosophy, personality, religion and personal stories.


This book is a long but each chapter is packed with so many gold nuggets that I would still buy it even if it cost $100. Go into this book with an open-mind, take your time reading it to truly absorb the information and highlight or write notes on the text as you read through it.


“12 Rules for Life” book summary & lessons learned can be found here.


Thank you for reading. If you’re interested in getting any of the books on this list, click below!


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About Alex Wiec
must read self development books


Alex Wiec is a writer, student, and blogger who founded alexandbooks.com in March 2017. His mission is to inspire people to start reading, improve their lives, and share important knowledge with other people to make everyone’s life a little bit better. Visit his website for more information: http://alexandbooks.com

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Check out my guest post on alexandbooks.com here. You’ll learn about my 5 Must-Read Books For Entrepreneurs.