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
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 (and now I work for the guy)! It’s a huge book with countless tools and exercises for life change and a must read for everyone.
2. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
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.
3. The Millionaire Fastlane, MJ DeMarco
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.
4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki
This was the second book I read after Awaken The Giant Within. Robert is 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!
5. Unlimited Power, Anthony Robbins
This is another amazing book for life change — but it’s not for the feint of heart. It’s Tony’s first book. It’s just as big as Awaken The Giant Within and he wrote it in 30 days(!). If you have real interest in learning the basics of NLP (NAC) and peak performance psychology and learning that last 20% that will make your life go — this is the book for you.
6. The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle
This is a fascinating book that really breaks down “talent” in a unique way. It starts by posing the question why are there so many Olympic athletes, extraordinary musicians, or other talented individuals that all seem to come from the same city? … and is there a way you and I could attain such talent? The short answer is yes. Read this book.
7. The Richest Man In Babylon, George S. Clason
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.
8. The 4 Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris
This is another book that dramatically altered the course of my life. When I originally wrote this post I was living in Riga, Latvia. If you find yourself asking “what and where the hell is Latvia?” — it’s the home of Dr. Doom and it’s on the border of Russia on the Baltic Sea. Since reading this I had transformed my businesses, traveled to 60 countries, massively increased my work output, and really ran with this idea of minimalism. Definitely a game-changer for me.
9. The Tao of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee
Call me biased but I believe everyone should practice some form of martial arts. Whether that’s fighting, yoga, parkour, dance — man or woman — if you aren’t expressing yourself physically, you are missing out on a huge part of life. Pushing your body to it’s limits builds character. Even if you aren’t interesting in the fighting aspect of Jeet Kune Do — Bruce shares tons of his physical training notes, exercises, and philosophies inside. Worth the read for anyone looking to improve their life.
10. Choose Yourself, James Altucher
I have a lot of respect for James. He tells it how it is. We all know how challenging life can get sometimes and if you’re ever feeling like it’s time to give up we could all use a reminder to choose ourselves.
Betting on myself has been (and continues to be) one of the best decisions of my life.
11. Relationship Breakthrough, Cloe Madanes
I started studying under Cloe right before I came to work for Tony. She’s the number one family therapist on the planet and she is absolutely incredible. Relationships are often the greatest source of joy and the greatest source of pain in the human experience. I’m sure every one of us can relate. Cloe does a an incredible job explaining practical ways to improve your relationships. It’s a must-read.
12. Money & You: Access to Cash, Dame DC Cordova
DC is another incredible woman. I doubt that you’ve heard of her and that’s a shame because she is responsible for a huge portion of entrepreneurs and thought leaders from around the world. Often behind-the-scenes she has been running an event called Money & You for decades. It’s about learning the strategies around handling money but more importantly your emotional challenges around wealth. Everything you learned in Rich Dad Poor Dad was training from her event. This short read will give you some incredible ways to become resourceful and abundant when it comes to money.
13. The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey
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.
14. The Seasons of Life, Jim Rohn
Jim Rohn was the original gangster of personal development. Funny, sincere, and pure genius. He was able to break down personal development into simple lessons and teach them like no one else.
This book is a great reminder that we all seem to forget: life has seasons. When life is bad we tend to think it will always be bad — but winter never lasts. There’s a purpose for all of life’s seasons and our lives can change depending on how we behave during those times.
15. The Five Major Pieces to the Life Puzzle, Jim Rohn
This is another fantastic book from Mr. Rohn. 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.
16. The 4 Hour Body, Tim Ferris
Tim Ferris rocked the world with the ‘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.
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. To follow that up, I read a recent study that said the top CEOs around the world attend 6 conferences per year and read 60 books per year… they also earn 317 times the average person. Coincidence? I think not.
4. 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.