Do self improvement books actually work? Well, I fell in love recently with a podcast episode Ryan (my husband and co-producer of this blog) recommended to me that discusses success, mindset, and what a person needs to accomplish it all. “Order of Man” is a podcast that is really geared toward men (fine), but it’s first episode features a cool millionaire named Austin that Ryan thought would pique my interest. Well, it did! Austin’s path to millions is a little different than most. He didn’t start life with a predisposition to be wealthy. He worked his a$$ off for it and knew he wanted it for a long time. And, he credits reading as one of the biggest reasons he is so successful. I immediately thought, this is a guy I respect!
I don’t know enough people who credit the books they read for their ultimate success. But, books are critical to our path to becoming our true selves. Now, whether self improvement books work is one of the most common questions that I see swirling around on business forums and communities. If you’re one of these people who isn’t convinced, then maybe it’s time to reconsider. I have two theories about why getting behind self-improvement books does work, which I’ll go into later in this blog. Then, I’ll share some of the top rated self improvement books with you based on this podcast and other reviews around the web. Plus, I’ll share what we’re reading and up to next!
Step 1: Becoming a Reader and Lover of Literature
First, let me start here by saying I don’t care what you’re reading, as long as you are reading. As a three-year-old, I fell madly in love with books. I still remember sitting on my parent’s bed with books laid out all around me. I can see myself flipping page to page taking in the story with the wonder of a young child. Yes, I was reading at the age of three! It’s no wonder that now, my favorite place to be is in a book store surrounded by the delicious smell of paper and ink.
No, not everyone has this same passion for reading. Yes, it’s a good habit. I also know it’s a hobby that some just can’t pick up. But, if I had to give you one piece of advice for completely changing your life, it would be to become a reader.
Finding a book that matters to you isn’t going to be easy. Maybe you don’t know what type of books you like yet. It could be non-fiction historical books. Maybe, you like classic literature. Perhaps, young adult fantasy novels are more your thing. Either way, your first step to becoming better at reading and learning is to jump into something you love. Start with a topic that interests you. Buy your first used book, and find a coffee shop with a quiet corner.
This is your first step in the transformation.
Step 2: The Two Benefits of Reading and Learning New Things
Let’s break this down into the two simple ways I believe books are going to impact your life. One, there is indeed wisdom within the pages of a good book. No matter the genre, a well-written book has the power to make a big impact on someone’s life. Two, there is power in exercising your brain with reading. Let’s dive deeper into these two benefits.
The Wisdom Books Offer
Honestly, do I really need to explain more about why there is wisdom within a good book? Authors do a lot of research. They spend sometimes years aggregating information, data, and research to find facts. The best non-fiction authors will lay it out in a way that’s easy to read and easy to comprehend. You will learn a lot from picking up a book! The internet and all its pages are not the only source of information. Books still hold the keys to our civilization, our culture, our history, and even our greatest technologies.
But, non-fiction isn’t the only place with knowledge. You can pick up a classic lit novel and discover so much about a culture or time period that you never knew about before. A young adult novel could teach you a moral lesson you maybe hadn’t considered recently. Books open up your mind to experience and understand things differently. If for anything, a good book can alter your mindset, opening up new possibilities for your life.
The Exercise Books Offer
Also, how often have you read something and sent your mind on a journey of critical thinking. This was perhaps my favorite part about reading in school. Not only did I get to slip into another world filled with new characters and new experiences, but I was also then asked to discuss.
How often do you sit and wonder, asking yourself why something exists, how something exists or what the meaning of it is? Books do this for us. They start those questions, sometimes providing very viable reasoning, or sometimes leaving it up to us to continue discovering. Books prompt you to think bigger.
If you’re interested multiplying your wealth, being more successful, and finding more meaning in your life, then start reading. Exercise your mind and get your brain asking critical questions. As an entrepreneur or a leader in your work, you should consistently nurture an environment filled with critical thinking and problem solving. So, grow your mind and you could grow in every other facet of your life.
Step 3: Discovering Your Purpose for Reading Self Improvement Books
Self improvement books: Are they a scam? Do they really help me be better? What should I read first and put into action? Truthfully, I don’t know what books are the perfect ones to read for you, how they will help you or if they will even make a difference in your life. I guess, it’s up to you.
What you get out of reading a self improvement book is really based on what you are open to experiencing. Go into your next read with a purpose for getting a particular skill or a goal out of it. Personally, a good self improvement book changes my ambition. I always go into a new read with the desire to come out more excited for my future. In addition, I try to pin point one area of my life I want the book to help with, such as finance, leadership, managerial skills, positive outlook, or even being more spiritual.
Usually, self improvement books take the form of mastering leadership skills or discovering new business techniques. But, they can also touch on changing mindset, thinking more positively, finding a higher power or finding meaning in life. This list of 7 Best Self Improvement Books of All Time has a good mix of these types of books and is a good start for this path.
Honestly, I believe self improvement books take more forms than just those topics though. For instance, a good non-fiction historical novel that details the strategic war decisions a prominent general made can serve to improve your knowledge about leadership decisions. Well, isn’t reading this book going to improve your life? Yes! While a book like this may not be considered self improvement, it’s your perspective that places it in this category.
What are you looking to get out of the book? What’s your purpose for reading? After making this decision, and only after, can you read it with the correct intent and truly learn something.
Amy & Ryan’s Top Self Improvement Books
Here we go, the moment you’ve been waiting for. These are some of the best books to get you started on the self improvement reading wagon. My favorites are marked with a star and are ones that I often read again to get more out of each time.
Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason*
Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaiki
Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times by Donald T. Phillips*
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Our next book to read is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. As Ryan and I adventure into the next chapter of our life – the roaring 30s as I like to call them – we are on a mission to learn and build wealth. In particular, we’ll be blogging more about the riches of time freedom without children and how we’re working to achieve our goals through what we’re reading and listening to daily.
Follow our journey and keep reading. We’ll be beefing up our new category of Business and Education with all the things we’re learning. We hope this will inspire you to live a focused and fulfilled life.
Listen to the podcast mentioned in this blog on Spotify here.