Personal development books

You are looking for personal development books. The reason why I am sharing these (e)books with you is because I want to have a positive influence on your personal growth. I have read every book on this list and I have only added books that had a major impact on the way I think and the way I carry myself. I read these five books when I just got interested in creating a better future for myself. After the list of five self development books, I will share another list of other books that I have read later when I already established what I wanted to do in life.

1. Rich dad, poor dad – Robert Kiyosaki

In my opinion this is the crown of the personal development books. Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad is an investor, entrepreneur and educator. His perspectives on making money and investments do not align with conventional wisdom. However, he has virtually single-handedly challenged the mindset of tens of millions of people across the globe.

About the book

In the book Mr. Kiyosaki describes several life-lessons that you learned from his ‘rich dad’ and from his biological dad who he described as ‘Poor dad’. His rich dad did not have a degree and became wealthy through his own ventures. His poor dad has an impressive degree and worked as a teacher. He also writes about educative situations that he learned from in his life. This book truly changed the way I think about money to this day.

Besides that he also explains his point of view on why the ‘old’ advice (get a job, save money, get out of debt, invest for the long term, and diversify) is flawed advice.

About the author

After graduating from college in New York, Robert joined the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam as an officer and helicopter gunship pilot. Following the war, Robert went to work in sales for Xerox Corporation and, in 1977, started a company that brought the first nylon and Velcro ‘surfer wallets’ to market.

Personal Development Books by Robert Kiyosaki
Personal Development Books by Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad, Poor Dad ranks as one of the longest-running bestsellers on all four of the lists that report to The New York Times, Business Week, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Besides that, the book was referred to as “USA Today’s #1 Money Book” two years in a row.

The book is translated into 51 languages and available in over 100 countries. The book’s series has sold over 27 million copies worldwide. Not to mention that in 2005, Mr. Kiyosaki was introduced into Hall of Fame as one of that bookseller’s Top 25 Authors.


2. The Virgin way – Sir Richard Branson

‘The Virgin way’ is is always dubbed with a wink by the employees at Virgin Group. The reason why I think this belongs perfectly amongst the personal development books for beginners, is because it’s written in a very easy and fun way. When you read this book you’ll notice how you fly through it even if you’re a slow reader like myself!

About the book

While building the Virgin Group for over forty years, Sir Richard Branson has never shied away from seemingly outlandish challenges that realistic-thinking people considered sheer lunacy.

This book starts with an intro written by Sir Branson’s mother. The way she described him was quite surreal for me. It felt like the words on the page were describing me! She mentioned how Sir Branson would always be busy coming up with ideas how he was going to change the world. It was the way she told the stories of what he was like growing up that inspired and motivated me.

Besides that the book is full of stories about Sir Branson’s personal experiences in business. I have learned a lot about leadership and business from this book. Sir Branson also writes about stories of how people in his company continue to challenge modern day’s status quo in business.

About the author

The unique perspective on leadership in this book comes from a man who dropped out of school at sixteen. Besides that he also suffers from dyslexia and has never worked for anyone but himself.
Personal Development Books by Richard Branson
Personal Development Books by Richard Branson

Branson expressed his desire to become an entrepreneur at a young age. At the age of sixteen his first company was a magazine called Student. In 1970, he set up a mail-order record business. He opened a change of record stores in 1972 named Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores. Branson’s Virgin brand grew quickly during the 1980s, as he set up the Virgin Atlantic airline and expanded the Virgin Records music label.


Branson was knighted at Buckingham Palace in 2000 for “services to entrepreneurship”. For his work in retail, music and transport, his taste for adventure, and for his humanitarian work, he became a prominent figure. In March 2017, Forbes listed Branson’s estimated net worth at $5 billion.


3. Start with Why – Simon Sinek

A perfect fit in the list of personal development books for beginners. Simon had a massive inpact on the way I look at leadership. I also watched many of his TED Talks after reading the book. His perspective on leadership is truly inspiring to me. Simon Sinek’s mission to help others do work, which inspires them. In his book he uses real-world examples of great leaders and shows you how they communicate. But also gives advice about how you can adopt their mindset to inspire yourself and others.

About the book

In this book simon explains his concept named ‘The golden circle’. I won’t go into much detail about this concept but it basically explain that starting with why, before ‘how’ and ‘what’ is the best way to inspire others. Mr. Sinek gives the example of why Apple Inc. is so successful. And how most companies only talk about what they do and how they do it, but fail to communicatie why they do it!

If you would like to read about a concept in the book first. I wrote an article about the infinite game. Another one of Simon’s Theories that he explains in the book.

About the author

Simon Sinek is a determined optimist. He believes in a bright future and our ability to build it together. Mr. Sinek is often described as “a visionary thinker”. Mr. Sinek teaches organizations and leaders how to inspire people. His goal is to help create a world where most people get home from work every day feeling satisfied by their work. Mr. Sinek is the leader in this movement to inspire people to do the things that inspire them.

Personal Development Books by Simon Sinek
Personal Development Books by Simon Sinek

Simon is fascinated by companies and leaders that make an impact within their organizations and the world around them. In short: he is inspired by those with the capacity to inspire. In his research, Mr. Sinek has found extraordinary patterns about how these leaders think, act and communcate. And which environments support the people to operate as the best version of themselves. He has devoted his life to sharing his thinking in order to help other leaders and organizations inspire action.


Mr. Sinek has written multiple personal development books. Another title is ‘Why leaders eat last’. Another great book about (personal) leadership, but more on that later!

4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey

Stephen Covey is a very well-known writer of personal development books. Covey defines effectiveness as balancing obtaining the desirable results with caring for that which produces the desirable results. He describes this by referring to the fable of the “Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs”.

About the book

The book was first published in 1988. it is seen as a business and self-help book. Covey writes about a timeless approach to being more effective in attaining goals. In the book Covey writes about seven habits that are common amongst highly effective people. The seven habits are:

1 Be proactive.
2 Begin with the end in mind.
3 Put first things first.
4 Think win-win.
5 Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
6 Synergize.
7 Sharpen the saw.

About the author

Mr. Covey was (co-)founder of the Franklin Covey Company. This was a large provider of training and consulting solutions with approximately 3.000 employees. In the last 30 years, Mr. Covey provided training services to many leading international organizations himself. Covey’s best-known book has sold more than 25 million copies across the globe since its first publication in 1989.

Personal Development Books by Stephen Covey
Personal Development Books by Stephen Covey

5. How to win friends and influence people – Dale Carnegie

This book by Dale Carnegie helped me in many different aspects. This is actually one of the most recent personal development books that I have read. I noticed that during and after reading this book I started looking from other people’s perspectives before doing something. If you read this book you will start to notice that you become a lot more thoughtful about your actions and words.

About the book

How to win friends & influence people is a great way to get started with becoming more thoughtful. Any true gentleman should read this book in my opinion.

In the book Carnegie explains several fundamentals such as:

1 Fundamental techniques in handling people.
2 Six ways to make people like you.
3 Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking.
Be a Leader: How to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment.
Letters That Produced Miraculous Results

To anyone that is interested in personal development, get this book asap!


About the author

Dale Carnegie was a writer and lecturer. He developed several famous courses in personal development, sales, public speaking and corperate training.
Personal Development Books by Dale Carnegie
Personal Development Books by Dale Carnegie

Born into poverty on a farm in Missouri, Mr. Carnegie was the author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, a bestseller that remains popular today. He also wrote How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948) and several other books.






Five advanced personal development books

1. Think and grow rich


How did you get started with your personal development?

I used to be a terrible student, never paying attention at school. I was always busy playing video games. If you want to read more in-depth about what truly changed me I recommend reading my article about personal development.

One day I just told myself that it was enough! The first thing I was going to change was losing all of the weight that I acquired through the years of rigouros gaming, so I did. I did not start immediately by reading books about personal development, I started with taking action. Never will I gain this much weight again!

After I lost weight (approximately six months of going to the gym seven days per week later) I got involved at an internship that gave me a very inspiring second chance. My internship coach truly motivated me to do more with my life and that is when I started reading books such as Rich dad, poor dad.

Changing your life does not happen over-night!

If you are currently trying to change your life or get rid of bad habits I recommend finding someone you look up to and getting the motivation from them. Once you are motivated, then I recommend reading personal development books. Only then you will really do something with the information. If you’re not motivated to learn or do something, you just get distracted.

Changing your life takes focus, experimentation and determination. It doesn’t happen over-night, and don’t expect it to! This may sound hard but believe me when I say, IT WILL BE WORTH IT!