In the business world of today, it is being taught more widely that a key to success is one’s self-improvement, or personal development. Your business can only grow as much as you do. If you stop growing, so does your business. One of the best ways to cultivate that growth is through reading. Less than 100 years ago, personal development was almost unheard of. Today, however, there are thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of personal development books available to us at the touch of a button or at our favorite local book stores. In fact, it isn’t uncommon to feel overwhelmed by the wealth of knowledge circulating out there. On the other hand, some of us might be wondering which of those books are even worth looking into. To aid you in your overwhelm or discernment (or both), here is a short list of books that, frankly, changed my life–or helped me change it; maybe they’ll do the same for you.
What are You Waiting for? It’s Your Life!: Proven Principles for Creating the Life of Your Dreams
“It’s not only reasonable, but mentally healthy for you to direct your own life.”
Jim Donovan first acquaints us with how he started out: a broke, friendless, aimless alcoholic with cockroaches for roommates. He does this to allay any thoughts of, “And who are you to tell me I can change my life?” that we might arise when we first encounter him. Through the short sections that make up the focused chapters of his book, Donovan will show you that you should have belief in your dreams, eliminate the beliefs that are holding you back, make decision, get excited, get past fear, take action, and take control of your life! This book is great for people who are at a loss for what to do and are just starting in personal development and business, or for people who need a refresher in the basics.
How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling
“Whatever you do after you leave here, for heaven’s sake, wake yourself up, and put some enthusiasm into your work!”
There is a lot of impetus for success packed into this 70-year-old gem. Bettger, with the aid of his personal story, teaches much more than the steps that go into making a sale. Bettger started out as a poor, fatherless, insecure young man. Now, he is known as one of the most successful salesmen in American history. Through anecdotes and recalled conversations between him and his clients, he teaches everything from how to be enthusiastic, to gaining the confidence of others and creating lasting friendships, to keeping records (because what gets measured gets improved!). If you’ve found yourself at a loss because you keep getting lost or stuck, Bettger can help. This is one sales/personal development book that you shouldn’t take for granted!
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
“Giants are not what we think they are. The same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of great weakness.”
Prepare to see struggle in a whole new light the minute you start to read this unique work by Malcolm Gladwell. He uses the analogy of the ancient battle between David and Goliath from the Old Testament of the Bible to explain how we often overestimate the problems we face or go through. Gladwell is the son of psychotherapist and a maths and engineering professor, so it must have looked like a setback when he wasn’t accepted into graduate school on account of his poor grades. Instead of modeling either of his parents’ careers, Gladwell went on to do something very different: he became a journalist, and it wasn’t long before he became famous for his thought-provoking, research-driven, best-sellings books.
All three of these books are good places to start. Collectively, they cover the basics of personal development and force you to stretch beyond your mental and physical habits so that you can enjoy the best of success.