6 Personal Growth Books to Develop Your Best Self

a stack of books with the top book fanned open

No matter where you’re at in life, there is always room for personal growth.

Whether you’re embarking on a new journey in a leadership role at work, taking more time to focus on yourself, or looking for ways to deepen your relationships, there’s a book that can help you achieve your goals.

At its core, personal growth is all about improving behaviors, habits, and outlooks. Those little tweaks to our daily lives or the way we perceive the world can have a big impact on us, but without a little guidance or advice it can be much more challenging to actually put those behavior and habits in place.

If you’ve landed here, you’re probably looking for a book that’ll help you make the day-to-day a little bit easier. Or maybe, you’re the type of person who’s always looking for a little inspiration on how to improve or enrich your life. Whatever the case, you’re sure to find a little wisdom in these pages.

You’ll learn how to make small changes, sit with sad times with grace, and harness the inner voice you might otherwise be silencing. 

Personal growth is, above all things, personal, so wade into these reads with an open mind. It’s the best way to find yourself and make changes that are worthwhile.

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhig 

Habits impact our life at every level, from relationships to our career. They can be some of the trickiest pieces of our lives to wrangle, too. Pulitzer Prize-winning business reporter Charles Duhig explores ways in which people can change their own lives through understanding and changing habits. 

The Power of Habit marries brilliant storytelling with scientific data and research to reveal the best ways to transform your daily life, whether it’s your diet, your business, or the way you interact with the people you love.

“Entertaining... enjoyable ...fascinating ... a serious look at the science of habit formation and change,” writes the The New York Times Book Review.

Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson 

The best part of personal growth is that you can find inspiration everywhere. In Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, the duo that created Basecamp talk business and what it took to build their smash success.

At its core, Rework shows anybody how to overcome their inner anxiety to get what they want. Though the book is framed by the entrepreneurial spirit, it’s all about how to actually walk the walk and stop just talking about it. 

If you’re looking for a read to give you a push toward taking a risk and feeling prepared for it, pick this one up.

“House-husband, housewife, Fortune 500 CEO, cab driver, restaurateur, venture capitalist — this is ’the book for you,’ a book of true wisdom, business wisdom, life wisdom,” says best selling leadership author Tom Peters. “The clarity, even genius, of this book actually brought me to near-tears on several occasions. Just bloody brilliant, that’s what!”

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May

There is grace in letting go and sitting with grief, though that can be an uncomfortable truth to embody. In Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times, author Katherine May takes readers on her own personal journeys of what she calls “wintering,” or periods of time when she hunkers down and lets the hard feelings be okay.

Sometimes personal growth is realizing that being present during the good times and the bad times is necessary. So while you may feel like you’re in a season of being stagnant, don’t fret. That’s a part of life and May has great words of wisdom on how to handle difficult chapters.

"Katherine May opens up exactly what I and so many need to hear but haven't known how to name," says author of On Being, Krista Tippett.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

With more than 1 million copies sold, Untamed by Glennon Doyle is a must-read for women everywhere. Simply put, Doyle — who is a favorite among Oprah, Reese Witherspoon’s book club, and some of the nation’s most notable book reviewers — is a guide to finding your inner voice and being brave. 

If empowerment, overcoming discontent, and showing the world your best self is on your list of personal growth goals, “Untamed” definitely makes the reading list, and it has the praise from some of our favorite authors. 

“Untamed will liberate women—emotionally, spiritually, and physically,” says Elizabeth Gilbert, author of City of Girls and Eat Pray Love. “It is phenomenal.”

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael Singer

It can be difficult to stay in the present moment. With so many life stressors and constant news and changing circumstances, even the idea of mindfulness and meditation can seem out of reach. In The Untethered Soul author Michael Singer answers: What would it be like to free yourself from limitations and soar beyond your boundaries? 

Singer, who has won a bevy of accolades, has decades of experience in the practice of yoga and meditation, making him a trusted expert on the topic around the world. The Untethered Soul has sold over a million copies and been translated into multiple languages. 

This book is the perfect way to wade into a more mindful existence and sort through stressful thoughts that can easily hijack our inner peace.

Weird But Normal by Mia Mercado

Nobody said personal growth had to be completely serious. Writer Mia Mercado (you may have read her in Bustle, the New York Times, or The New Yorker) focuses on all of the weird — but also normal — parts of being a millennial woman and does it with humor in Weird But Normal, her collection of essays on racial identity, gender roles, workplace dynamics, and beauty standards.

Sometimes simply being able to relate to another person is a good foundation for personal growth. Being reminded that we’re not alone in our anxieties and struggles can help us realize that growth is as much about the journey as it is about the destination.

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