The 16 Best Books For Becoming Awesome At Life

I have yet to meet a successful person who doesn’t read.  It’s the biggest difference between those who achieve and those who don’t.  Leaders are readers.  Period.

At this point in my life I’ve read over 1,000 books on psychology, personal development, motivation, business, marketing, nutrition, physical training, communication, leadership, and much more.  These 16 are what I consider the best books for maximum growth and peak performance in life and business.  From mindset to strategy to inspiration — it’s all here.

If you have different opinions I’d love to hear them in the comments below!

Without further ado; here are the 16 best books for becoming awesome at life:

1. Awaken The Giant Within, Anthony Robbins

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/awaken-the-giant.jpg” image_alignment=”left” headline=”” text=”This was the book that made me the man I am today.  When I was broke, homeless, sick, and depressed I bought this book out of pure desperation to try and turn my life around.  It worked. Better than I could have imagined.  It’s a huge book with countless tools and exercises for life change and a must read for everyone!” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

2. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/alchemist.jpg” image_alignment=”right” headline=”” text=”We all have a personal legend we should be following — but how many of us have the guts to do so?  This is a story that can be read in an afternoon and it will inspire, encourage, and motivate you to follow your dreams.  If I say too much it will ruin the story but trust me when I say this is an amazing book with some great lessons.” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

3. The Millionaire Fastlane, MJ DeMarco

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/millionaire-fastlane.jpg” image_alignment=”left” headline=”” text=”This is one of the best books on entrepreneurship ever written.  It slices and dices it’s way through the lies we’re told daily about achieving wealth — no, you’re not going to get rich in the stock market.  No, you’re not going to get rich buying Suzie Orman books.  And no, you’re not going to get rich working 40 hours a week for the rest of your life praying there’s a pension or social security to take care of you.  It’s an eye-opening dive into the real problems we face financially as well as the solutions to come out ahead!”  alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/rich-dad-poor-dad.jpg” image_alignment=”right” headline=”” text=”This was the second book I read after Awaken The Giant Within.  The guy is kind of a dick in real life but his books are pure genius.  So genius in fact, I read every single book in the ‘Rich Dad’ series (including all of his adviser’s books) as well as bought the $300 board game which is kind of like Monopoly on crack (also amazing).  If you’re just getting started this is a fantastic book for building your foundation in business!” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

5. Unlimited Power, Anthony Robbins

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/unlimited-power.jpg” image_alignment=”left” headline=”” text=”%3Cp%3EThis%20is%20another%20amazing%20book%20for%20life%20change%20–%20but%20it’s%20not%20for%20the%20feint%20of%20heart.%C2%A0%20Just%20as%20big%20as%20Awaken%20The%20Giant%20Within…%20but%20not%20quite%20as%20user%20friendly.%C2%A0%20If%20you%20have%20real%20interest%20in%20learning%20the%20basics%20of%20NLP%20and%20peak%20performance%20psychology%20%3Cem%3Eor%3C%2Fem%3E%20if%20you%20are%20wondering%20what%20that%20last%20%2210%25%22%20is%20that%20will%20make%20your%20life%20go%20–%20this%20book%20is%20for%20you.%C2%A0%20Not%20really%20recommended%20for%20beginners.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

6. Magic Of Thinking Big, David Schwartz

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/magic-of-thinking-big.jpg” image_alignment=”right” headline=”” text=”%3Cp%3EOur%20good%20buddy%20Brendon%20Burchard%20has%20a%20great%20saying%3B%20%22don’t%20let%20your%20small%20business%20make%20you%20small%20minded.%22%C2%A0%20This%20book%20embodies%20that%20in%20many%20ways.%C2%A0%20For%20the%20longest%20time%20I%20hated%20that%20I%20didn’t%20believe%20in%20myself%20enough%20to%20think%20bigger.%C2%A0%20Not%20having%20the%20confidence%20or%20the%20references%20to%20imagine%20I%20could%20ever%20do%20something%20of%20any%20real%20significance%20or%20importance.%C2%A0%20This%20book%20changed%20that.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

7. The Richest Man In Babylon, George S. Clason

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/richest-man-in-babylon.jpg” image_alignment=”left” headline=”” text=”I loved this book.  In fact, I loved it so much I bought the audio version and listened to it over and over again in the car.  It’s a collection of stories set in ancient Babylon that teach financial advice.  The thing I loved so much were the characters who struggled to make it happen.  Slaves turned merchants — your classic rags to riches stories.  And since I was wearing rags at the time — I could relate to every one of them.” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

8. The 4 Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/4-hour-work-week.jpg” image_alignment=”right” headline=”” text=”%3Cp%3EThis%20was%20another%20book%20that%20dramatically%20altered%20my%20life.%C2%A0%20Because%20of%20this%20book%20for%20the%20past%204%20years%20I’ve%20been%20living%20out%20of%20my%20suitcase%20and%20traveling%20the%20world%20in%20one%20big%20adventure.%C2%A0%20I’m%20currently%20writing%20this%20from%20Latvia%20(and%20before%20you%20ask%20%22what%2Fwhere%20the%20heck%20is%20Latvia%3F%22%20it’s%20the%20home%20of%20Doctor%20Doom%2C%20of%20course.).%3C%2Fp%3E%0A” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

9. The Tao of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/tao-of-jeet-kune-do.jpg” image_alignment=”left” headline=”” text=”%3Cp%3EI%20don’t%20think%20you%20can%20become%20the%20best%20you%20without%20practicing%20some%20form%20of%20martial%20arts.%C2%A0%20Whether%20that’s%20fighting%2C%20yoga%2C%20parkour%2C%20or%20dance.%C2%A0%20Man%20or%20woman,%20if%20you%20aren’t%20expressing%20yourself%20physically%20you%20are%20missing%20out%20on%20a%20huge%20part%20of%20life.%C2%A0%20Pushing%20your%20body%20to%20it’s%20limits%20builds%20things%20inside%20of%20you%20that%20make%20you%20very%20tough%20mentally%20and%20emotionally.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A Even if you aren’t interested in the fighting aspect of Jeet Kune Do — Bruce shared tons of his physical training notes, exercises, and philosophies inside.  Worth the read for anyone.” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

10. Choose Yourself, James Altucher

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/choose-yourself.jpg” image_alignment=”right” headline=”” text=”%3Cp%3EI%20have%20a%20lot%20of%20respect%20for%20James.%C2%A0%20He%20tells%20it%20like%20it%20is.%C2%A0%20We%20all%20know%20how%20challenging%20life%20can%20get%20sometimes.%C2%A0%20And%20any%20time%20you’re%20feeling%20like%20it’s%20time%20to%20quit%20or%20give%20up%20we%20need%20to%20be%20reminded%20to%20choose%20ourselves.%C2%A0%20Betting%20on%20yourself%20will%20be%20one%20of%20the%20best%20decisions%20of%20your%20life.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

11. Relationship Breakthrough, Cloe Madanes

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/relationship-breakthrough.jpg” image_alignment=”left” headline=”” text=”%3Cdiv%20id%3D%22stcpDiv%22%3E%0A%3Cp%3EI%20started%20studying%20under%20Cloe%20at%20the%20Robbins-Madanes%20Training%20Center%20some%20time%20last%20year%20and%20she%20is%20absolutely%20incredible.%C2%A0%20One%20of%20the%20best%20family%20therapists%20on%20the%20planet%20and%20extremely%20down%20to%20earth.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A%3Cp%3EYou’d%20be%20surprised%20how%20often%20people%20come%20to%20me%20for%20motivation%20or%20strategies%20to%20get%20their%20business%20or%20health%20on%20track%20and%20after%20a%20little%20digging%20I%20find%20out%20the%20real%20reason%20they%20aren’t%20motivated%20or%20can’t%20get%20themselves%20to%20follow%20through%20is%20because%20of%20an%20unresolved%20issue%20with%20a%20family%20member%20or%20significant%20other.%C2%A0%20This%20book%20will%20show%20you%20real%20practical%20ways%20to%20tackle%20these%20things%20(even%20if%20you’re%20the%20manliest%20of%20men%20who%20would%20never%20admit%20to%20having%20emotions%20%3A-P).%3C%2Fp%3E%0A%3C%2Fdiv%3E%0A” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

12. The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/greatest-salesman.jpg” image_alignment=”right” headline=”” text=”%3Cp%3ESometimes%20you%20just%20need%20a%20little%20motivation%20and%20inspiration.%C2%A0%20This%20is%20one%20of%20those%20great%20short%20little%20stories%20that%20will%20pump%20you%20up%20and%20keep%20you%20going%20–%20especially%20when%20you’ve%20had%20a%20rough%20week.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

13. The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/7-habits.jpg” image_alignment=”left” headline=”” text=”Probably the greatest book on personal development ever created (and I’m not just saying that because we share an awesome name).  It’s one of those books that you’ll read several times and learn something new every time.  The information is so densely packed and so well thought out you’re bound to miss a lot of it on the first read through.  Don’t worry — it was still happening to me after the 3rd read-through.  I’d recommend the audio version but Stephen’s voice is so soft and soothing it will put you to sleep unless you’re doing something.  But whatever you do, don’t skip this book.” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

14. The Seasons of Life, Jim Rohn

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/seasons-of-life1.jpg” image_alignment=”right” headline=”” text=”%3Cp%3EJim%20Rohn%20was%20the%20%22original%20gangster%22%20of%20personal%20development.%C2%A0%20Funny%2C%20sincere%2C%20and%20a%20pure%20genius.%C2%A0%20He%20was%20able%20to%20break%20down%20personal%20development%20and%20financial%20ideas%20to%20their%20most%20simple%20form%20and%20teach%20them%20like%20no%20one%20else.%C2%A0%20This%20book%20is%20a%20great%20reminder%20that%20was%20all%20seem%20to%20forget%20–%20life%20has%20seasons.%C2%A0%20Many%20times%20we%20seem%20to%20think%20winter%20will%20last%20forever%20–%20life%20will%20never%20get%20better.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

15. The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle, Jim Rohn

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/five-pieces.jpg” image_alignment=”left” headline=”” text=”%3Cp%3EThis%20is%20another%20fantastic%20book%20form%20Mr.%20Rohn.%3C%2Fp%3E%0A It makes personal development and growth simple to understand and simple to implement.  This is another one of my absolute favorites.  The audio course is another one that I have listened to more times than I can count.” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

16. The 4 Hour Body, Tim Ferris

[img_text_aside style=”2″ image=”http://stephenhilgart.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/4-hour-body.jpg” image_alignment=”right” headline=”” text=”Tim Ferris rocked the world with his ‘4 hour work week’ but this book takes how we look at the body to a whole new level.  I’ve had a dozen friends I can name off the top of my head that have lost 30-100 pounds with the ‘Slow Carb Diet’ and dozens more that have benefited from the entire book.  It takes a very scientific look at the body and how we can manipulate it to achieve our goals in a very safe and counter-intuitive way.  A must read for anyone interested in transforming their body.” alignment=”left”][/img_text_aside]

A Couple Final Thoughts:

1. I hated reading in school.  I still don’t know how you should kill a mocking bird (I wrote “shotgun” on that quiz… not sure why I failed).  If you’re not a reader it’s time to pick up a book and get to it.  Start with this list and explore from there.  Yes, out of a thousand some books, the majority of them sucked — but if you can learn just ONE thing from it — it was worth it.

2. Years ago they made a study of the highest paid people across several different industries to see if they shared similar traits.  They all had different beliefs, family lives, circumstances, and backgrounds but there was one common theme that stood out: every single one of them shared the habit of reading something on their industry for a minimum of 20 minutes per day.

3. If you want the ability to debate the major life topics (and look really smart at cocktail parties) you’ll need to be well read.

4. Reading is sexy.

What are your thoughts here?  What books would you add to this list?  What books would you take out?  What are the books that have made the biggest impact on your life?

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Hey, I'm Stephen. I believe that we are in control of our destiny and we can choose to create the life of our dreams. As the National Trainer for Tony Robbins I advise and consult with Fortune 500 companies, executives, managers and professionals in the areas of peak performance, leadership, organizational behavior, psychology of achievement, and sales.

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