The 60 Best History Books of All Time (to Read at Any Age)

The Best History Books of All Time Cover

​“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” George Santayana wrote in 1905. As humans, we can only remember our own past, but we’ve also invented a mind-blowing technology: books. Because others wrote down their past right after it happened, we can “remember” a lot more than just what we’ve experienced ourselves. That’s why history books are some of the most interesting, important, and valuable reads of all — and if you’re here for an overview of the best ones, I say come in, take a seat, and get comfortable!

A good history book will transport you to a time and place in which you’ll never live and introduce you to people you’ll never get to meet. Best of all, it’ll drop you off back home safely and in time for dinner! Whether you’re curious, care about society and our planet, or want to be successful, you could do worse than to start with the history section in the library. Ray Dalio, CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund, credits studying history for his great understanding of macroeconomics — reading history books literally made him a billionaire!

So, if you’re ready to explore how humans came to be the dominating species, what pros and cons different political systems have, or which technological innovations have had the biggest impact on humanity, we’ve got just the curriculum for you. After summarizing over 1,000 books, we’ve hand-selected the absolute best titles in the history category for you.

 

In order to make this list easy to navigate, we’ve sorted the best history books into several groups:

  • Best History Books Overall
  • America and the United States
  • India, China, and the East
  • Europe
  • Food
  • Technology
  • Space, Time, and the Universe
  • The Evolution of Humans
  • Economics
  • Global Politics
  • Civilization and Society
  • Nation States and Political Systems
  • Ethics
  • The Evolution of Philosophy
  • Climate Change & Population Growth
  • Best History Books With a Self-Help Angle
  • Important People

For each book, we’ve included our favorite quote, a one-sentence-summary of the book, why you might want to read it, and three key takeaways. We’ve also added links to read the free summary of the book on Four Minute Books or buy a copy for yourself on Amazon. Just use the buttons below each title. Lastly, use the clickable table of contents below to quickly jump to any book or category. There should also be an arrow in the bottom right corner that you can use to come back up here at any time!

Alright, the class is in session! Let’s dive deep into the world’s best history books!


Best History Books Overall

1. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Best History Books #1: Sapiens

Favorite Quote

“History is something that very few people have been doing while everyone else was ploughing fields and carrying water buckets.” — Yuval Noah Harari

The Book in One Sentence

Sapiens is your guide to becoming an expert on the entire history of the human race as it reviews everything our species has been through from ancient ancestors to our dominating place in the world today.

Why should you read it?

This might be the most comprehensive, all-in-one history book out there. It is jam-packed with fascinating facts and details, making it an essential read for anyone interested in human history.

Key Takeaways

  1. The ability to think gave early humans language, which eventually led to agricultural advances allowing them to grow exponentially. 
  2. Improvements in trade were only possible with the invention of money and writing.
  3. With better economic and communication means, scientific progress gave our race the abilities necessary to get to where we are today.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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2. The Lessons of History by Will & Ariel Durant

Best History Books #2: The Lessons of History

Favorite Quote

“You can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.” — Will & Ariel Durant

The Book in One Sentence

The Lessons of History describes recurring themes and trends throughout 5,000 years of human history, viewed through the lenses of 12 different fields, aimed at explaining the present, the future, human nature, and the inner workings of states.

Why should you read it?

If you want a concise overview of the causes behind major events throughout history, read this book. It will change the way you view society, politics, culture, and even personal relationships. You’ll learn how to see the world through a different lens and finally understand why things happen as they do.

Key Takeaways

  1. Humans are unequal by nature, fighting that would mean giving up freedom.
  2. The evolution of humans was a social one, not a biological one.
  3. War is a more natural state than peace.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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3. The Dawn of Everything by David Graeber & David Wengrow

Best History Books #3: The Dawn of Everything

Favorite Quote

“We are projects of collective self-creation. What if we approached human history that way? What if we treat people, from the beginning, as imaginative, intelligent, playful creatures who deserve to be understood as such?” — David Graeber & David Wengrow

The Book in One Sentence

The Dawn of Everything uses archaeological evidence to argue the case that human history did not follow a linear path but emerged from a big, complex network of individual, decentralized communities.

Why should you read it?

This book puts history on its head, arguing against much of what is taken for granted in schools and universities across the globe. The last book written before Graeber’s sudden death in 2020, it will challenge your very understanding of history, thus making it a top read in the category.

Key Takeaways

  1. There is no single original form of human society; many different versions have developed independently over millennia.
  2. There are three ways to dominate in human societies: sovereignty, bureaucracy, and politics.
  3. Instead of complaining about inequality, we should ask ourselves how we lost the flexibility and political creativity we once used to have.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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4. The Evolution of Everything by Matt Ridley

Best History Books #4: The Evolution of Everything

Favorite Quote

“The things that go well are largely unintended; the things that go badly are largely intended.” — Matt Ridley

The Book in One Sentence

The Evolution of Everything compares creationist to evolutionist thinking, showing how the process of evolution we know from biology underlies and permeates the entire world, including society, morality, religion, culture, economics, money, innovation, and even the internet.

Why should you read it?

This could almost qualify as a self-help book. The distinction between creationist and evolutionist thinking, and learning how to spot them both everywhere, will change your life and allow you to make progress in almost any situation.

Key Takeaways

  1. Evolutionist and creationist thinking are two opposing views, and creationist thinking dominates the Western world.
  2. Culture, economics, and technology all progress through evolution.
  3. Money changed from evolutionist to creationist subject, and the same might happen with the internet.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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5. Factfulness by Hans Rosling

Best History Books #5: Factfulness

Favorite Quote

“There’s no room for facts when our minds are occupied by fear.” — Hans Rosling

The Book in One Sentence

Factfulness explains how our worldview has been distorted with the rise of new media, which ten human instincts cause erroneous thinking, and how we can learn to separate fact from fiction when forming our opinions.

Why should you read it?

This book will help you fight your many biases. Through easy-to-understand research and engaging examples, you’ll learn to see the truth rather than just the media’s spin on things. If Bill Gates can learn something from this book, I think so can you and I.

Key Takeaways

  1. There is no such thing as “the East and the West.” We only have one world.
  2. Population growth will eventually level off, despite our perception of increasing numbers.
  3. To see the world accurately, you always need multiple perspectives.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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6. Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

Best History Books #6: Enlightenment Now

Favorite Quote

“There can be no question of which was the greatest era for culture; the answer has to be today, until it is superseded by tomorrow.” — Steven Pinker

The Book in One Sentence

Enlightenment Now describes how the values of the Enlightenment — science, reason, humanism, and progress — keep improving our world today, making it a better place day by day, despite the negative news.

Why should you read it?

This book is a welcome antidote against fake news, media manipulation, and populism. If you need to regain your faith in humanity or want some hope, this title will show you that not everything is as bad as it seems to be in the news.

Key Takeaways

  1. Wealth has increased not just in the West but around the globe, all while decreasing poverty and inequality.
  2. The United Nations bring humanism to a global scale, which has made our lives safer than ever.
  3. We still have problems, such as AI, terrorism, and the environment, but we must face them with reason.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About America and the United States

7. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn 

Best History Books #7: A People's History of the United States

Favorite Quote

“The memory of oppressed people is one thing that cannot be taken away, and for such people, with such memories, revolt is always an inch below the surface.” — Howard Zinn

The Book in One Sentence

A People’s History of the United States will give you a better understanding of the true, sometimes shameful, sometimes inspiring, story of America’s rise to power.

Why should you read it?

Historically, the US has been terrible at being honest about how it got to where it is. Then again, so are most countries. History is written by the winners, as they say. That’s why it’s so important to get the other side of the story, and that’s what this book delivers. Just be careful not to let your anger keep you from focusing on a better future rather than the not-so-nice past.

Key Takeaways

  1. The founding fathers set up the US government to benefit wealthy landowners, who still have power today.
  2. The Civil War wasn’t as much about ending slavery as it was about advancing political interests.
  3. The US has repeatedly used war as a way to improve their economic situation.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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8. Common Sense by Thomas Paine 

Best History Books #8: Common Sense

Favorite Quote

“Time makes more converts than reason.” — Thomas Paine

The Book in One Sentence

Common Sense is a classic piece of US history that will show you the importance of societies coming together to form a fair governmental system, and how these ideas paved the way for the American revolution.

Why should you read it?

This book helped kickstart the American Revolution. If you want to know what it takes to write a compelling manifesto, this book is a great place to start. It’ll also show you how to collaborate well and lead great teams by getting people to rally around a shared cause.

Key Takeaways

  1. We depend on each other to survive and thrive, and this means that we need society and rules to guide us.
  2. Having kings and queens is a bad idea, it’s better to elect representatives to enact laws that the people want.
  3. Just like a teenager preparing to leave home, America came to a point where it had to separate from its mother country.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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9. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Best History Books #9: Team of Rivals

Favorite Quote

“A real democracy would be a meritocracy where those born in the lower ranks could rise as far as their natural talents and discipline might take them.” — Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Book in One Sentence

Team of Rivals explains why Abraham Lincoln rose above his political rivals despite their stronger reputations, and how he used empathy to unite not just his enemies but an entire country.

Why should you read it?

If you want to know more about how Abraham Lincoln managed to do what he did — see through the abolition of slavery — this book is a must. It’s also a good primer on how to work with your enemies rather than against them, something that’s especially needed in today’s times of division and extremism. Bill Gates thinks it’s the best book about leading a country there is.

Key Takeaways

  1. Lincoln’s many hardships as a child shaped his ambitions and strengthened his resolve to succeed as an adult.
  2. Due to his brief track record in politics, Lincoln was the most unlikely choice as a presidential candidate.
  3. After Lincoln’s assassination, both the North and South felt the country had suffered a tragic loss, since his leadership was extraordinary.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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10. The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Best History Books #10: The Warmth of Other Suns

Favorite Quote

“They did what human beings looking for freedom, throughout history, have often done. They left.” — Isabel Wilkerson

The Book in One Sentence

The Warmth of Other Suns is the story of how and why millions of Black Americans left the South between 1915 and 1970 to escape the brutality of the Jim Crow Laws and find safety, better pay, and more freedom thanks to what is known today as The Great Migration.

Why should you read it?

Through multiple stories from several perspectives, this book will teach you empathy and a better understanding of the history of Black people in America.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Great Migration happened for many different reasons, and people left from and went to diverse places throughout it.
  2. Ida Mae and her family were just one example of a Black family leaving the South to become safer and earn more money.
  3. Settling in Chicago, Ida Mae entered the workforce, but like many others, she didn’t see all of the benefits she had hoped moving would bring.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About India, China, and the East

11. Orientalism by Edward W. Said

Best History Books #11: Orientalism

Favorite Quote

“Our role is to widen the field of discussion, not to set limits in accord with the prevailing authority.” — Edward W. Said

The Book in One Sentence

Orientalism reveals why false Western assumptions about Eastern countries have prevailed for over 200 years, and how they still affect how we view the Eastern world today.

Why should you read it?

Asian cultures in Western countries are some of the most discriminated against minorities today, and if you care about racism, or rather, want to take a stand against it, this book will show you how to do that when it comes to the Eastern nations of the world.

Key Takeaways

  1. Western people fabricated views of Eastern nations, telling stories in ways that would benefit Western nations. 
  2. The inroads of Orientalism made it difficult for even those with a genuine interest in the East to see it truthfully.
  3. Although the name has faded, three key characteristics still govern modern Orientalism today.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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12. Restart by Mihir S. Sharma

Best History Books #12: Restart

Favorite Quote

“Better people are possible to create, even in Delhi.” — Mihir S. Sharma

The Book in One Sentence

Restart tells the story of India’s almost-leadership of the world’s economy, showing why and how it instead succumbed to problems from the past, how those problems still hold it back today, and what the country might do about them.

Why should you read it?

If you know little about India or want to learn more about your country’s history, this book is for you. It’s also a good read if you are or want to go into politics or economics.

Key Takeaways

  1. India struggles in part because of its inadequate infrastructure, which results from cultural beliefs affecting manufacturing practices.
  2. Unemployment is a big problem in India because there aren’t enough industrial jobs available, and farms are unprofitable.
  3. The government puts too much power in the private sector, but if they didn’t, things could improve.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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13. Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos

Best History Books #13: Age of Ambition

Favorite Quote

“Hope is like a path in the countryside: originally there was no path, but once people begin to pass, a way appears.” — Evan Osnos

The Book in One Sentence

Age of Ambition explains how China has gone from impoverished, developing country to a world superpower and economic powerhouse in just 30 years.

Why should you read it?

This book will get you up to speed on China, but it’ll also show you that normal people still have the power to make a big difference in and for their nation. If you’re fascinated with China’s rise to power, this is the book for you.

Key Takeaways

  1. Politics didn’t cause China’s rise to power, it was the average, everyday peasant class.
  2. The Chinese people are ambitious for success.
  3. Freedom of choice in China hasn’t always been strong, but the country’s increasing individuality is making it easier.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About Europe

14. Napoleon the Great by Andrew Roberts

Best History Books #14: Napoleon the Great

Favorite Quote

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” — Napoleon Bonaparte

The Book in One Sentence

Napoleon the Great is the definitive, modern biography of legendary leader, French idol, and European visionary Napoleon Bonaparte, detailing his life from his early years as an immigrant to his rise through the military ranks, all the way to his greatest battles, political achievements, and ultimate exile.

Why should you read it?

If you ever wanted to learn more about Napoleon Bonaparte and his life, look no further than this very detailed book. It is an easy read yet full of information, much better than reading his Wikipedia page. Plus, the book will show you that if you’re ambitious enough, you can achieve great things in life.

Key Takeaways

  1. Napoleon was (almost) an immigrant, which turned out to be a huge advantage.
  2. He had a truly Stoic philosophy about life.
  3. Like all great leaders, Napoleon was ahead of his time.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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15. The House of Rothschild by Niall Ferguson 

Best History Books #15: The House of Rothschild

Favorite Quote

“The most outstanding personal qualities may sometimes require exceptional circumstances and world-shattering events to come to fruition.” — Niall Ferguson

The Book in One Sentence

The House of Rothschild examines the facts and myths around the wealthiest family in the world in the 19th century, and how they managed to go from being outcast and isolated to building the biggest bank in the world.

Why should you read it?

One of the aspects of being good at making and handling money is knowing its history, but this book is for more than just investors. If you’re curious about the history of banking or want to break into an industry that’s hard to crack, this book is a must-read.

Key Takeaways

  1. In business, use whatever industry is available to you as a springboard into the next one.
  2. If the best solution isn’t good enough, build your own.
  3. Expect the 80/20 rule to apply, even in the most extreme cases.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About Food

16. A History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage

Best History Books #16: A History of the World in 6 Glasses

Favorite Quote

“Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.” — Tom Standage 

The Book in One Sentence

A History of the World in 6 Glasses will teach you the origins and impact of the world’s six favorite drinks: beer, wine, spirits, tea, coffee, and soda.

Why should you read it?

If you enjoy a good drink or “Feierabendbier,” as we call our post-work beer here in Germany, this book is for you. It’ll teach you more about the origins of your favorite beverage, as well as reveal how different drinks have become dominating forces in various cultures. Fascinating!

Key Takeaways

  1. Beer is much older than you might think and had a major part in the move of our ancestors to farming instead of hunting and gathering.
  2. The Middle Ages brought the existence of coffee, which was originally most useful for intellectuals like scientists.
  3. Coca-Cola’s original purpose was medicinal, but Americans began drinking it for pleasure and it quickly spread worldwide.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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17. Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky

Best History Books #17: Salt: A World History

Favorite Quote

“The Roman army required salt for its soldiers and for its horses and livestock. At times soldiers were even paid in salt, which was the origin of the word salary and the expression ‘worth his salt’ or ‘earning his salt.’” ― Mark Kurlansky

The Book in One Sentence

Salt: A World History explores how the everyday mineral we know as table salt has shaped human civilization for centuries, causing wars and even the rise and fall of entire empires.

Why should you read it?

If you’re the kind of person who tends to miss the obvious that’s right in front of them, this book is for you. It is a “well-seasoned,” riveting narrative about what seems to be a boring everyday product, showing how it lies at the heart of some of history’s biggest conflicts. Includes lots of illustrations too!

Key Takeaways

  1. One of the wealthiest, ancient, unknown people is the Celts, who built their empire on salt.
  2. The demand for salt fueled and escalated the conflict between young America and Great Britain into a full-blown revolutionary war.
  3. The salt industry has caused much environmental damage, but the tax levied on it has concentrated power in the hands of a few big players.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About Technology

18. Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari

Best History Books #18: Homo Deus

Favorite Quote

“This is the best reason to learn history: not in order to predict the future, but to free yourself of the past and imagine alternative destinies.” — Yuval Noah Hariri

The Book in One Sentence

Homo Deus illustrates the history of the human race from how we came to be the dominant species to what narratives are shaping our lives today, all the way to which obstacles we must overcome next to continue to thrive.

Why should you read it?

Sapiens is Harari’s take on the past — Homo Deus offers a glimpse into the future. If you care about where the world is headed and want to know which paths might spell our utopia or doom, this is a great read!

Key Takeaways

  1. Shared narratives are what allow us to collaborate at a large scale and, thus, dominate as a species.
  2. The most prevalent, current narrative is humanism.
  3. Algorithms could eventually replace us, depending on which future narrative takes over.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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19. How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson

Best History Books #19: How We Got to Now

Favorite Quote

“Sometimes the way a new technology breaks is almost as interesting as the way it works.” — Steven Johnson

The Book in One Sentence

How We Got to Now explores the history of innovation, how different inventions connect to one another, and what we can do to create an environment in which change and innovation blossom.

Why should you read it?

Innovation is a complex process, but this book makes it terrific fun to learn more about it. If you want a brief overview of history’s most important inventions or feel like you can’t change the world on your own, this book is a must-read.

Key Takeaways

  1. Innovations can create an environment for more change, rather than just a change on their own.
  2. One innovation can act as a springboard for another, unexpected one, and even change the legal situation.
  3. Some innovations highly depend on the person creating them and their rich background.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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20. The Third Wave by Steve Case

Best History Books #20: The Third Wave

Favorite Quote

“We’ll realize that what’s emerging is the much broader Internet of Everything.” — Steve Case

The Book in One Sentence

The Third Wave lays out the history of the internet, including why it’s about to permeate everything in our lives, as well as what it takes for entrepreneurs to make use of this mega-trend and thrive in an omni-connected, always-online world.

Why should you read it?

If you feel like you need to get up to speed with the internet (no judgements here), this book is for you. It’ll also show you the potential the internet (still) has, so if you want to build an online business, this is also a great read!

Key Takeaways

  1. The internet will soon permeate everything on this planet.
  2. You must embrace disruption to thrive in a Third Wave world.
  3. Cooperate with Second Wave incumbents to succeed.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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21. At Home by Bill Bryson 

The Best Books About History #21: At Home

Favorite Quote

“It is always quietly thrilling to find yourself looking at a world you know well but have never seen from such an angle before.” — Bill Bryson

The Book in One Sentence

At Home takes you on a tour of the modern home, reminiscing about the history and traditions of each room, thus revealing how the everyday amenities and comforts you now take for granted have come to be.

Why should you read it?

Everything we take for granted today was once a life-changing innovation. It’s important to not forget how hard-won the things we consider normal originally were. We’re all standing on the shoulders of giants, and this book will help you remember that.

Key Takeaways

  1. Fighting harder for longer: food didn’t come easily until very recently.
  2. Rodents and rings made sleep much less regenerative 100 years ago.
  3. There are two very different reasons why there’s a salt and a pepper shaker on every kitchen table.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About Space, Time, and the Universe

22. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

The Best Books About History #22: A Short History of Nearly Everything

Favorite Quote

“If you were to pick yourself apart with tweezers, one atom at a time, you would produce a mound of fine atomic dust, none of which had ever been alive but all of which had once been you.” — Bill Bryson

The Book in One Sentence

A Short History of Nearly Everything explains everything we’ve learned about our world and the universe so far, including how they formed, how we learned to make sense of time, space, and gravity, why it’s such a miracle that we’re alive, and how much of our planet is still a complete mystery to us.

Why should you read it?

This book will have you laughing out loud one minute and scratching your head in wonderment the next. If you don’t stop to realize that life is an amazing miracle at least once a week, I fully recommend this book to you!

Key Takeaways

  1. Most of the universe was created in a single, three-minute moment.
  2. Given the odds of a planet being livable, it’s a miracle we’re here at all.
  3. Every day that the world keeps turning is a gift, because there are many things that could potentially end it.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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23. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

The Best Books About History #23: A Brief History of Time

Favorite Quote

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” — Stephen Hawking

The Book in One Sentence

A Brief History of Time is Stephen Hawking’s simple way of explaining the most complex concepts and ideas of physics, such as space, time, black holes, planets, stars, and gravity, so that you and I can better understand where our planet came from, and where it’s going.

Why should you read it?

Stephen Hawking had one of the fastest-traveling minds of anyone who’s ever lived, and yet, he always managed to convey his incredibly complex insights in the simplest of words. Any minute spent reading a page of one of his books is a minute well spent.

Key Takeaways

  1. Theories can never be proven.
  2. Time is not fixed, due to the speed of light.
  3. There are three reasons why time can likely only move forward.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About the Evolution of Humans

24. The Double Helix by James D. Watson

The Best Books About History #24: The Double Helix

Favorite Quote

“One could not be a successful scientist without realizing that, in contrast to the popular conception supported by newspapers and mothers of scientists, a goodly number of scientists are not only narrow-minded and dull, but also just stupid.” — James D. Watson

The Book in One Sentence

The Double Helix tells the story of the discovery of the structure of DNA, one of the most significant scientific findings in all of history, by outlining the struggles and rivalries of the prideful scientific community, as well as other roadblocks James Watson faced en route to the breakthrough of a lifetime.

Why should you read it?

If you’re obsessed with something, be it art, business, or a mysterious natural phenomenon, this book is for you. That’s what James Watson and Francis Crick shared: an obsession with DNA. In this fascinating account of the discovery and analysis of the basic Lego block of life, you’ll be reassured that your passion can take you very far — if only you stick with it!

Key Takeaways

  1. Our recent advancements in our understanding of DNA began with a team of chemists in the 1950s.
  2. Things got tough as they competed with others who were also studying DNA.
  3. Through perseverance and errors of their competition, Watson and Crick made breakthroughs in the study of genetics that won them a Nobel Prize.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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25. The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

The Best Books About History #25: The Selfish Gene

Favorite Quote

“Let us understand what our own selfish genes are up to, because we may then at least have the chance to upset their designs, something that no other species has ever aspired to do.” — Richard Dawkins

The Book in One Sentence

The Selfish Gene explains the process of evolution from the perspective of genes, showing how they manifest in the form of organisms, what they do to ensure their own survival, how they program our brains, which of their strategies have worked best throughout history, and what makes humans so special in this context.

Why should you read it?

If you’ve ever wondered about whether we have free will, this book is for you. Beyond catching you up on everything important you missed while snoozing in biology class, it asserts a shocking theory: What if humans are just the “carriers” of genes, and it’s really the genes running the show? A trippy and yet extremely insight-dense book!

Key Takeaways

  1. Sometimes, mutually altruistic behaviors benefit the genes of two different organisms.
  2. Humans have managed to splice off culture with its own evolutionary process.
  3. Our ability to simulate and foresee allows us to overcome the downside of our selfish genes.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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26. Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan

The Best Books About History #26: Sex at Dawn

Favorite Quote

“The bigger the society is, the less functional shame becomes.” — Christopher Ryan

The Book in One Sentence

Sex at Dawn challenges all conventional views on sex at once by diving deep into our ancestor’s sexual history and the rise of monogamy, as well as delivering starting points for thinking over our understanding of what sex and relationships should really be like.

Why should you read it?

If you’re shy about sex or know that, deep down, you’re too uptight about it, this book will help. You’ll learn to not stress about sex so much, see it for the biological impulse that it is, and understand that it’s merely a remnant of our distant past, not to be worried about but to be enjoyed.

Key Takeaways

  1. Agriculture marked the beginning of monogamy, and not in a good way.
  2. Women want sex just as much as men but are conditioned to play it down.
  3. Our bodies have evolved to thrive in sexual competition.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About Economics

27. A Splendid Exchange by William J. Bernstein

The Best Books About History #27: A Splendid Exchange

Favorite Quote

“Few other historical inquiries tell us as much about the world we live in today as does the search for the origins of world trade.” — William J. Bernstein

The Book in One Sentence

A Splendid Exchange outlines the history of global trade, revealing how it has enabled the progress of civilization, and how it continues to change the world on a daily basis.

Why should you read it?

All day long, you’re trading. You’re trading your time for money, your money for goods and services, and goods and services for quality moments with your family. Getting better at transacting is something we can all benefit from, and so whether you want to improve your business, become a better investor, or spend money more meaningfully, this book lives up to its title: your time will be well spent in acquiring its knowledge.

Key Takeaways

  1. One of the earliest trades in history dealt with stones.
  2. You never just trade the items you exchange.
  3. Not all innovations that helped foster global trade were about transporting goods.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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28. Capitalism by James Fulcher

The Best Books About History #28: Capitalism

Favorite Quote

“Leisure as a distinct non-work time, whether in the form of the holiday, or evening, was a result of the disciplined and bounded work time created by capitalist production.” — James Fulcher 

The Book in One Sentence

Capitalism outlines the origins and future of the world’s most popular and, arguably, successful economic system to show you how money actually makes the world go ’round.

Why should you read it?

The first step to making more money is to understand the way it works, and this book is a great place to start. That said, if you want to know how money can corrupt and how it impacts countries at scale, this is also a good read.

Key Takeaways

  1. Using money to make more of it is the core of capitalism.
  2. Although it’s hard to pinpoint the exact birth of this system, the roots of it began in medieval Europe.
  3. One feature of capitalism is financial crises, and we need to fix this. 

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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29. Narrative Economics by Robert J. Shiller

The Best Books About History #29: Narrative Economics

Favorite Quote

“Trying to understand major economic events by looking only at data on changes in economic aggregates runs the risk of missing the underlying motivations for change. Doing so is like trying to understand a religious awakening by looking at the cost of printing religious tracts.” — Robert J. Shiller

The Book in One Sentence

Narrative Economics explains why stories have a massive influence on the way our economies operate, analyzing in particular the rise of Bitcoin, several stock market booms and busts, and the nature of epidemics.

Why should you read it?

If you’re a stay-in-the-loop kind of person, this book is for you. It’s also for you if you’re an investor or entrepreneur, as narratives dramatically shape our economic landscape all the time. To anyone who wants to learn why certain topics dominate our conversations where others don’t: read this book.

Key Takeaways

  1. Bitcoin is the perfect example of how stories affect economics.
  2. Epidemics and economic narratives have a lot in common.
  3. If we want to be ready for the future, we need to understand the narratives of the past.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About Global Politics

30. A World in Disarray by Richard Haass

The Best Books About History #30: A World in Disarray

Favorite Quote

“Managing a situation in a manner that fails to address core issues can be preferable to attempting to bring about a solution sure to be unacceptable to one or more of the parties.” — Richard Haass

The Book in One Sentence

A World in Disarray will open your mind to new ways of making the world a more peaceful place by guiding you through the major changes in global affairs since World War II.

Why should you read it?

If you’re a pacifist, chances are, this title is for you. If you want to know what it takes to keep world peace and where we’re about to fail to do so, read this book.

Key Takeaways

  1. Things have been relatively peaceful since World War II because of power balances, nuclear weapons, and economic agreements.
  2. New policies concerning intervention in international events were born when the world stood by during the tragedies in Rwanda. 
  3. The three major superpowers must thrive and cooperate if we want to have a peaceful world.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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31. Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall

The Best Books About History #31: Prisoners of Geography

Favorite Quote

“Why do you think your values would work in a culture you don’t understand?” — Tim Marshall

The Book in One Sentence

Prisoners of Geography explains how the location of a country dramatically affects its success and the amount of power it has in the world, as well as why and how geography has determined the outcomes of major world events for centuries.

Why should you read it?

This book will show you why the world is the way it is. Why is America so powerful and Africa so poor? Why is Russia always worried about war? A fascinating theory with really sound arguments.

Key Takeaways

  1. Russia could get invaded from the West; that’s why they have a strong presence in the Baltics. 
  2. The United States is nearly invulnerable because of where it’s located.
  3. Southern Europe suffers while its northern countries flourish, simply because of geography.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About Civilization and Society

32. The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell

The Best Books About History #32: The Power of Myth

Favorite Quote

“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.” — Joseph Campbell

The Book in One Sentence

The Power of Myth is a book based on Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyer’s popular 1988 documentary of the same name, explaining where myths come from, why they are so common in society, how they’ve evolved, and what important role they still play in our ever-changing world today.

Why should you read it?

If you wonder why we’re here or what happens after death, read this book. It’ll show you that myths are useful beyond being good stories, and it’ll also teach you how to tell better stories yourself.

Key Takeaways

  1. Myths are stories that unite people in communities, identify the beginnings of cultures and giving people a common identity.
  2. As guidelines for community members, legends give a framework for people to think and act.
  3. The power of myth helps us make sense of life, appreciate it, and even prepare to die.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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33. The Republic by Plato

The Best Books About History #33: The Republic

Favorite Quote

“The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself.” — Plato

The Book in One Sentence

The Republic is one of the most important works about philosophy and politics in history, written by Plato, one of Socrates’ students in ancient Greece, as a dialogue about justice and political systems between Socrates and various Athenian citizens.

Why should you read it?

If you feel like your country’s judicial system isn’t working, this book is for you. It’ll also show you why it’s difficult to rule others, no matter what form that takes. Even a middle manager could benefit from reading this book. It’s hard to go wrong with such a classic.

Key Takeaways

  1. Justice must be looked at on an individual as well as a city level.
  2. Both cities and souls can be divided into three distinct parts.
  3. Philosophers trying to rule others justly will face lots of difficulty.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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34. Caste by Isabel Wilkerson

The Best Books About History #34: Caste

Favorite Quote

“The price of privilege is the moral duty to act when no one sees another person treated unfairly. And the least that a person in the dominant caste can do is not make the pain any worse.” — Isabel Wilkerson

The Book in One Sentence

Caste unveils the hidden cultural and societal rules of our class system, including where it comes from, why it’s so deeply entrenched in society, and how we can dismantle it forever to finally allow all people to have the equality they deserve.

Why should you read it?

Whether you believe you are suffering from the social class system, want to know more about it, or hope to understand what alternative structures society could use to function better, this is the book for you.

Key Takeaways

  1. There are eight foundational pillars of a caste system, and the first four are Divine Will and Laws of Nature, Heritability, Endogamy, and Purity vs Pollution.
  2. The last four pillars of the caste system deal with hierarchy, dehumanization, terror, and superiority.
  3. We can dismantle the caste with monuments and memorials and support all who try to break it down.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About Nation States and Political Systems

35. The Social Contract by Jean-Jaques Rousseau

The Best Books About History #35: The Social Contract

Favorite Quote

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” — Jean-Jacques Rousseau

The Book in One Sentence

The Social Contract is a political piece of writing that serves as a roadmap for the democracies of today, outlining the elements of a free state in which people agree to coexist with each other under the rules of a common body that represents the general will.

Why should you read it?

Most of us aspire to be sovereign citizens in a free state, but we have no idea what that even means. This all-time classic of philosophy will show you.

Key Takeaways

  1. A state becomes legitimate only if its citizens accept to live in it.
  2. The general will of the people should be the law of any legitimate state.
  3. People should meet often to express their will and communicate more for better governance.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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36. Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman

The Best Books About History #36: Capitalism and Freedom

Favorite Quote

“To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them.” — Milton Friedman

The Book in One Sentence

Capitalism and Freedom helps you understand some of the most important factors protecting your liberty by outlining the government’s role in economics and explaining how things go best when political entities are small and stay out of the flow of money in a country.

Why should you read it?

For better or for worse, capitalism is impossible to ignore or do away with in our current civilization. If you want to better understand free markets and the benefits and advantages of fully enabling those vs. going with more regulated, government-steered systems, this book is for you.

Key Takeaways

  1. Freedom, both political and economic, is healthier when government is small and decentralized.
  2. When the feds mess with the economy, things get worse even though politicians are trying to make them better.
  3. A negative income tax, among other measures, should replace the current inefficient social welfare systems.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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37. The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek 

The Best Books About History #37: The Road to Serfdom

Favorite Quote

“To act on behalf of a group seems to free people of many of the moral restraints which control their behavior as individuals within the group.” — Friedrich Hayek 

The Book in One Sentence

The Road to Serfdom makes a case for keeping our freedom and individuality by rejecting socialism, identifying its risks to turn into totalitarianism, and highlighting the socialist dynamics taking a hold in global politics after WWII.

Why should you read it?

This book will show you how much control a government should have — and what happens when it oversteps its boundaries. If you’re worried about various governments’ increasing interventions in our day-to-day lives, read this one.

Key Takeaways

  1. Socialism doesn’t enable personal freedom, it smothers it.
  2. Corrupt people end up in power in totalitarian, socialist systems.
  3. The socialist parts of the world struggled after World War II, but the freer countries thrived because of their freedom.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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38. Socialism by Michael W. Newman

The Best Books About History #38: Socialism

Favorite Quote

“Today’s utopia often becomes tomorrow’s reality.” — Michael W. Newman

The Book in One Sentence

Socialism outlines the history of the governmental theory that everything should be owned and controlled by the community as a whole, including how this idea has impacted the world in the last 200 years, how its original aims have been lost, and in what ways we might use it in the future.

Why should you read it?

If you feel like socialism might be the answer to all our problems, read this book. It’ll show you that it started from good intentions but later spiraled off the virtuous path — but also what we might be able to learn form and do with this system in the future.

Key Takeaways

  1. There might not be a single, simple definition of socialism, but the different forms it’s had over the years share common characteristics. 
  2. Nineteenth-century capitalism paved the way for socialism, and from there, it divided into two different schools of thought. 
  3. If we learn from the mistakes of the past, socialism can actually bring a promising future.
  4.  

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

                                                                                        _____


39. Fascism by Madeleine K. Albright

The Best Books About History #39: Fascism

Favorite Quote

“The real question is: who has the responsibility to uphold human rights? The answer to that is: everyone.” — Madeleine Albright

The Book in One Sentence

Fascism explores what lies behind its titular, far-right, authoritarian ideology, from how it can rise to power in uncertain times to why it still poses a serious threat against even our most established democratic systems today.

Why should you read it?

If you think a few skinheads here and there probably won’t be a big problem, read this book. It’s a fascinating account of how quickly extremism can spiral out of control if left unchecked, and what are the right ways to keep it in check without trying to choke it altogether and thus be as bad as outright fascists themselves.

Key Takeaways

  1. Authoritarian parties often rise to power through democratic means.
  2. We can always expect fascism to find its way back, history says.
  3. Democracy is fragile, and we should defend it.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

                                                                                    _____


40. On Liberty by John Stuart Mill

The Best Books About History #40: On Liberty

Favorite Quote

“One person with a belief is equal to a force of ninety-nine who have only interests.” — John Stuart Mill

The Book in One Sentence

On Liberty is a philosophy classic that laid the foundation of modern liberal politics, applying the concept of utilitarianism to societies and countries in order to create a working system between authority and liberty.

Why should you read it?

This is a classic but not easy to read, yet if you truly want to understand democracy and freedom, and why one doesn’t automatically lead to the other, this may be worth a few hours of concentrated studying.

Key Takeaways

  1. Democracy alone does not guarantee personal freedom.
  2. The only reason to limit liberty should be to save people from harm.
  3. False opinions are not only good, they’re important.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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41. How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky

The Most Interesting History Books #41: How Democracies DIe

Favorite Quote

“Democracies may die at the hands not of generals but of elected leaders — presidents or prime ministers who subvert the very process that brought them to power. Some of these leaders dismantle democracy quickly, as Hitler did. More often, though, democracies erode slowly, in barely visible steps.” — Steven Levitsky

The Book in One Sentence

How Democracies Die lays out the foundational principles of working democracies by looking at historical events, especially in Latin America, that show how democracies have failed in the past, how it could happen again, and how we can protect democracy from threats like bad leadership, inequality, and extremism.

Why should you read it?

If you live in a democratic country, you probably take your political process and inclusion for granted. This book shows that it can all end rather quickly, and before we know it, we won’t have a say at all. To learn more about the pitfalls of democracy and how we can avoid them, read this book.

Key Takeaways

  1. A democracy needs solid gatekeepers to protect it.
  2. With the arrival of Donald Trump in the political arena, the future of our democracy depends on our leadership. 
  3. We can resist authoritarianism by holding fast to democratic norms.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About Ethics

42. Discourses by Epictetus 

The Most Interesting History Books #42: Discourses

Favorite Quote

“What else is freedom but the power to live our life the way we want?” — Epictetus

The Book in One Sentence

Discourses is a transcription of the lectures of ancient philosopher Epictetus, resulting in a series of lessons and tales that help us make sense of what’s happening around and to us, including hardship, challenges, and life events that will ultimately make our character stronger.

Why should you read it?

This book will make you more resilient in the face of failure, rejection, and adversity. Written as mostly easily digestible, informal lectures Epictetus gave to his students, you’ll find plenty of little bits of inspiration in this classic.

Key Takeaways

  1. Without life’s challenges, we wouldn’t feel the need to grow and evolve. 
  2. Everything that is great in life takes time and effort to build.
  3. If you can’t control it, don’t stress over it.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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43. The Lucifer Effect by Philip Zimbardo

The Most Interesting History Books #43: The Lucifer Effect

Favorite Quote

“The line between good and evil is permeable and almost anyone can be induced to cross it when pressured by situational forces.” — Philip Zimbardo

The Book in One Sentence

The Lucifer Effect explains why you’re not always a good person, identifying the often misunderstood line between good and evil that we all walk by recounting the shocking results of the author’s Stanford Prison Experiment that show anyone can be made to do evil under the right (or wrong) circumstances.

Why should you read it?

Dividing the world into “good people” and “bad people” is easy. Realizing anyone has great capacity for both is hard — but it’s the truth we need, and that’s what this book is for. Shocking and much needed, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to be a good person or who’s curious as to why even some of the best people in the world turn evil.

Key Takeaways

  1. Your personality changes depending on the situation you’re in.
  2. The Stanford prison experiment is a shocking example of just how bad everyday people can get in the right, or wrong, circumstances.
  3. Don’t worry about being permanently evil; you can always choose to be a hero and act morally.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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44. The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker 

The Most Interesting History Books #44: The Better Angels of Our Nature

Favorite Quote

“As one becomes aware of the decline of violence, the world begins to look different. The past seems less innocent; the present less sinister.” — Steven Pinker

The Book in One Sentence

The Better Angels of Our Nature argues that we live in the most peaceful time in history by looking at what motivates us to behave violently, how these motivators are outweighed by our tendencies towards a peaceful life, and which major shifts in history caused this global reduction in crime and violence.

Why should you read it?

If you need a break from bad news and doombait, this is the one to grab. Well-researched and uplifting, it’ll show you that the world is better than it seems — and there’s always more we can do to make it even better!

Key Takeaways

  1. Ideologies always start out with good intentions but can quickly deteriorate into horrific proponents of violence.
  2. The Flynn effect increases our ability to reason over time, which makes us less violent.
  3. With the invention of the printing press, humanitarian philosophy could spread and further decrease violence across the board.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About the Evolution of Philosophy

45. Meditations on First Philosophy by René Descartes 

The Most Interesting History Books #45: Meditations on First Philosophy

Favorite Quote

“Dubium sapientiae initium — doubt is the origin of wisdom.” — René Descartes

The Book in One Sentence

Meditations on First Philosophy is the number one work of philosophy of the Western world, written by René Descartes in 1641, abandoning everything that can be doubted and then starting to reason his way from there.

Why should you read it?

If you often find yourself stricken with doubt and wish it weren’t so, this book is for you. It reveals the upside of doubt and how it can help us challenge our own assumptions and improve. This book will teach you to apply your knowledge in a scientific manner rather than just take things at face value. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Your senses don’t always tell the truth.
  2. The fact that you think proves that you exist.
  3. There are three levels of truth in the world.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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46. The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant

The Most Interesting History Books #46: The Story of Philosophy

Favorite Quote

“Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty, and dies with chaos.” — Will Durant

The Book in One Sentence

The Story of Philosophy profiles the lives of great Western philosophers such as Plato, Socrates, and Nietzsche, exploring their contemplations on governance, religion, the meaning of life, and other philosophic concepts from their individual lifetimes of research, thought, and diligent study.

Why should you read it?

If you want a comprehensive but quick overview of history’s most important philosophers and how their ideas shaped the world, read this book.

Key Takeaways

  1. Ancient Greek philosophers paved the way for philosophy, science, and a new form of governance.
  2. Philosopher Spinoza helped decipher the hidden meanings in religion.
  3. Voltaire was partially responsible for the French revolution and the improvement of political systems around the world.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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47. Lives of the Stoics by Ryan Holiday

The Most Interesting History Books #47: Lives of the Stoics

Favorite Quote

“There is no better definition of a Stoic: to have but not want, to enjoy without needing.” — Ryan Holiday

The Book in One Sentence

Lives of the Stoics is a deep dive into the experiences and beliefs of some of the earliest philosophers and followers of stoic virtues like justice, courage, and temperance.

Why should you read it?

This book covers both the tenets of Stoic philosophy itself as well as its most prominent proponents. The chapters are short and written in an easy-to-digest style, so for anyone looking to improve their lives, this is a good pick!

Key Takeaways

  1. Stoicism came about as a result of extreme hardship. 
  2. Not everyone who followed Stoicism lived up to its standards. 
  3. Marcus Aurelius was a Roman whose practice of Stoicism helped him lead with compassion and humility.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About Climate Change & Population Growth

48. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert

The Most Interesting History Books #48: The Sixth Extinction

Favorite Quote

“As soon as humans started using signs and symbols to represent the natural world, they pushed beyond the limits of that world.” — Elizabeth Kolbert

The Book in One Sentence

The Sixth Extinction summarizes how human activity has contributed to the mass extinction of species and points out ways to mitigate our biggest environmental problems.

Why should you read it?

Instead of just doling out more blame to humans for destroying the planet, this book focuses on facts, which makes it refreshing. If you want a book about the environment that makes you feel less guilty and more empowered to act, go for this one.

Key Takeaways

  1. There are several ways in which the human race is responsible for the sixth mass extinction.
  2. Homo sapiens has been encouraging the extinction of various species long before the industrial era.
  3. There are many ideas for what we can still do to save at least some species.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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49. The Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells

The Most Interesting History Books #49: The Uninhabitable Earth

Favorite Quote

“We think of climate change as slow, but it is unnervingly fast. We think of the technological change necessary to avert it as fast-arriving, but it is deceptively slow judged by how soon we need it.” — David Wallace-Wells

The Book in One Sentence

The Uninhabitable Earth explains how humanity’s complacency and negligence have put this world on a course to soon be unlivable unless we each do our small part to improve how we care for this beautiful planet we live on.

Why should you read it?

While I would recommend balancing this book with something a little less depressing, it provides a fantastic overview of all the factors contributing to global warming. So if you want to know where we can start digging in to save the planet and our future, this one’s for you!

Key Takeaways

  1. Even enacting all the policy changes agreed to in Paris, we will still exceed the threshold where climate disaster begins.
  2. Without emissions reduction, we will see our oceans rise to fatal levels, putting major cities underwater.
  3. Unless we change our ways, bacteria of ancient diseases in melting Arctic ice sheets will begin a global health crisis.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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50. Empty Planet by Darrell Bricker & John Ibbitson

The Most Interesting History Books #50: Empty Planet

Favorite Quote

“Will we struggle to preserve growth, or accept with grace a world in which people both thrive and strive less?” ― Darrell Bricker & John Ibbitson

The Book in One Sentence

Empty Planet explains why overpopulation alarmists are wrong, and how depopulation poses the more imminent threat to the happiness and success of humanity.

Why should you read it?

Whether you want to have kids or not, this book will change your perspective on the common notion that “there are already too many people on the planet,” showing that we might soon suffer from the opposite of this problem. An enlightening and contrarian read!

Key Takeaways

  1. The forces that cause fertility to drop, such as urbanization, education, and secularization, only increase.
  2. A falling population threatens human quality life in a variety of ways, both materially and culturally.
  3. Population decline is likely to happen even more quickly than predictions suggest.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books With a Self-Help Angle

51. The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli 

The Most Interesting History Books #51: The Prince

Favorite Quote

“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are.” — Niccolò Machiavelli

The Book in One Sentence

The Prince is a 16th century political treatise, famous for condoning, even encouraging evil behavior amongst political rulers in order for them to stay in power.

Why should you read it?

If you secretly lust for power, this book is for you. It’ll show you how to get and keep that power, sure, but also how to use it well and how to avoid becoming a “Machiavellian prince” who gets completely consumed by their own desire for more.

Key Takeaways

  1. Countries can be easy to conquer but hard to rule or vice versa – and markets are the same.
  2. To protect a country it needs its own army, not mercenaries. The same holds true for businesses.
  3. If you want to run a business, you have to assemble your advisors and know when to listen to them.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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52. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

The Most Interesting History Books #52: Man's Search for Meaning

Favorite Quote

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” — Viktor Frankl

The Book in One Sentence

Man’s Search for Meaning details holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s horrifying experiences in Nazi concentration camps, along with his psychological approach of logotherapy, which is also what helped him survive and shows you how you can – and must – find meaning in your life.

Why should you read it?

If you’ve ever felt hopelessness and despair, this book is for you. It’ll show you that there’s a way out of any situation, no matter how grim — even if that way is just accepting the situation as it is and waiting for it to pass. A must-read for almost anyone.

Key Takeaways

  1. Sometimes the only way to survive is to surrender to death.
  2. Your life has its own meaning, and it’s up to you to find it.
  3. Use paradoxical intention to make your fears go away.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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53. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

The Most Interesting History Books #53: The 48 Laws of Power

Favorite Quote

“Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.” — Robert Greene

The Book in One Sentence

The 48 Laws of Power draws on many of history’s most famous power quarrels to show you what power looks like, how you can get it, what to do to defend yourself against the power of others, and, most importantly, how to keep it and use it well.

Why should you read it?

This book will show you how to get ahead in life thanks to some uncomfortable but important truths. Each law comes with a short story about an interesting person, so it’s a nice pastime book as well.

Key Takeaways

  1. Always make superiors look smarter than you.
  2. Confuse competitors by acting unpredictably.
  3. Don’t force others to do what you want, seduce them instead.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best History Books About Important People

54. Alexander the Great by Philip Freeman

The Most Interesting History Books #54: Alexander the Great

Favorite Quote

“There is nothing impossible to him who will try.” — Alexander the Great

The Book in One Sentence

Alexander the Great is the definitive biography of the life of the ancient Macedonian king, who would extend his empire from a little slide of land in Greece through Persia, Egypt, and all the way to India, forming the greatest empire the ancient world had ever seen.

Why should you read it?

Whether you’re looking to fill a gap in your knowledge or just want an absolutely epic story, this book will deliver both. It’ll reveal the origins of Christianity as well as detail one young man’s dramatic conquest of the world, and you’ll feel both entertained and informed.

Key Takeaways

  1. Bundle your energy.
  2. Always do the unexpected.
  3. Without Alexander the Great, Christianity wouldn’t exist.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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55. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson

The Most Interesting History Books #55: Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Favorite Quote

“Knowledge is obtained rather by the use of the ear than of the tongue.” — Benjamin Franklin

The Book in One Sentence

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life takes a thorough look at the life of one of the most influential humans who ever lived and explains how he could achieve such greatness in so many different fields and areas.

Why should you read it?

Walter Isaacson might be the best biographer alive today, and any book of his feels more like a novel than a boring list of accomplishments. Whether you want to be creative, succeed in business, or learn more about the history of the US and its important people, this book is a great place to start!

Key Takeaways

  1. Benjamin Franklin was a self-improvement nerd.
  2. If you really want to learn something, you’ll find a way.
  3. Don’t be afraid to be 20 years ahead of your time.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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56. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X

The Most Interesting History Books #56: The Autobiography of Malcolm X

Favorite Quote

“The ability to read awoke inside of me some long dormant craving to be mentally alive.” — Malcolm X

The Book in One Sentence

The Autobiography of Malcolm X chronicles the life and work of one of the most influential members of the civil rights movement in the United States, Malcolm Little, aka Malcolm X.

Why should you read it?

If you want to get a real sense of how difficult it was for the civil rights movement to succeed, and what it truly takes to bring about change in the world, you’ll love this book.

Key Takeaways

  1. What happens in your childhood will leave a mark on you for life.
  2. Sometimes, you have to get totally lost to find yourself.
  3. Even the best of us can get it wrong.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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57. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

The Most Interesting History Books #57: Steve Jobs

Favorite Quote

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” — Steve Jobs

The Book in One Sentence

Steve Jobs is the most detailed and accurate account of the life of the man who created Apple, the most valuable technology company in the world.

Why should you read it?

Do you want to build a business? Create great technology? Change the world? Look no further. Jobs’ story has it all, and, given how recently it all happened, this is one of the most relevant biographies to read in the 21st century.

Key Takeaways

  1. Steve Jobs’s team invented a name for his most important skill, the reality distortion field.
  2. The Apple name was chosen for a very specific reason.
  3. Apple didn’t make Steve Jobs a billionaire, Pixar did.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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58. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Most Interesting History Books #58: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Favorite Quote

“Henrietta’s were different: They became the first immortal human cells ever grown in a laboratory.” — Rebecca Skloot

The Book in One Sentence

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks reveals the previously unknown story of a woman with extraordinary cells that still live today, and how they have contributed to dozens of medical breakthroughs.

Why should you read it?

If you want to better understand how consent works in healthcare while discovering the inspiring story of a forgotten but extremely impactful individual, this is the one to grab off the shelf.

Key Takeaways

  1. Henrietta Lacks was a poor Black woman who died of aggressive cervical cancer at a young age, but her immortal cells lived on. 
  2. Even though her cells were famous, most people didn’t know of Henrietta and her family until recently. 
  3. The use of Hela cells has raised questions about privacy and ethics in cell donation.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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59. A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell

The Most Interesting History Books #59: A Woman of No Importance

Favorite Quote

“Valor rarely reaps the dividends it should.” — Sonia Purnell

The Book in One Sentence

A Woman of No Importance tells the fascinating story of Virginia Hall, an American who became one of the best spies for the Allies in World War II, thus significantly contributing to the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Why should you read it?

This book will make you feel empowered to choose your own way in life. Hall’s life reads like a movie, and if you hear the call to adventure but are hesitant to follow it, this might be the little push you need to live your best life despite all the difficulties it might bring.

Key Takeaways

  1. Too independent to marry, Hall went on to study in Europe and pursue a political career even though she lost a leg in a terrible accident.
  2. After multiple failed attempts to join the war efforts, she finally became a member of the Special Operations Executive, or SOE, almost by accident. 
  3. Virginia’s work helped in many different ways during World War II, including the vital preparations for D-Day.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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60. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela

The Most Interesting History Books #60: Long Walk to Freedom

Favorite Quote

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” — Nelson Mandela

The Book in One Sentence

Long Walk to Freedom is the autobiography of Nelson Mandela, South African anti-apartheid activist, national icon, and the first Black South African president, elected in the first fully democratic election in the country.

Why should you read it?

If you’ve ever wondered how someone might survive more than 20 years in a tiny jail cell without going insane, make this your next read. Mandela’s story is one of the most inspiring ones I’ve ever learned about, and I’m sure his story will make you feel stronger and more courageous too.

Key Takeaways

  1. Your best bet at finding true freedom is education.
  2. If you want to be remembered, you must learn to challenge authority.
  3. It’s most important that you don’t give up right after your biggest setback.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Conclusion

That concludes our list of the best history books. Don’t let its size intimidate you. History is a large field, and you just have to start somewhere that interests you! Pick the first book that jumps out at you, read its free summary on Four Minute Books, and then perhaps order a copy for yourself to dive in deeper later.

There is nothing new under the sun — but if we don’t study past sunrises and sunsets, we won’t see what’s coming, and everything, from pandemics to recessions to political tensions, will shock us into paralysis. When we study history, we are always prepared, even for the unexpected. Understand the past, master the future. That’s how it works — there’s no better day to start than today.


Other Book Lists by Topic

Looking for more of the best books on various topics? Here are all the book lists we’ve made for you so far:


Other Book Lists by Author

Looking for more books by the world’s most celebrated authors? Here are all of the book lists by the author we’ve curated for you:


The 30 Most Life-Changing Books That Will Shift Your Perspective & Stay With You Forever

The 30 Most Life-Changing Books Cover

Have you ever read a book that changed your entire perspective forever? A book that has stayed with you ever since and that, every time you remember it, makes that powerful feeling come alive again? If so, congratulations! You’ve experienced what might be the biggest benefit of reading: a lasting perspective shift that altered the course of your life forever. That’s why we read, and that’s what life-changing books are for!

If you’re looking for more of these books, the kind that makes you stop and wonder yet feel incredibly inspired at the same time, you’ve come to the right place. At Four Minute Books, we’ve summarized over 1,000 books, and while any book has the potential to change your life, some just hit harder than others. Today, we want to share the ones with you that swept us off our feet and made us think and reflect like few others.

 

To make this list easy to navigate, we’ve sorted it into various categories, starting with the most life-changing books overall, then going into different sections like mindset, relationships, work, money, and even fiction. For each book, we’ve included our favorite quote, a one-sentence-summary of the book, why you might want to read it, and three key takeaways. To keep things fun, we’ve also dug out some books that are powerful but that you likely won’t have heard of or seen on other, similar lists before! Finally, the clickable table of contents below will make it easy for you to jump to any book or category.

Alright, let’s not waste any more time, shall we? Let’s jump right into the world’s most life-changing books!


The Most Life-Changing Books Overall

1. Finite and Infinite Games by James P. Carse

The Most Life-Changing Books #1: Finite and Infinite Games

Favorite Quote

“Finite players play within boundaries; infinite players play with boundaries.” — James Carse

The Book in One Sentence

Finite and Infinite Games offers the theory that we play many different games in life, showing you that work and relationships are long-term endeavors and how to play them in order to win.

Why should you read it?

This book will forever change your perspective on business, politics, relationships, and pretty much everything else that’s going on in the world, allowing you to see where people play with a short-term view (which is almost everywhere and most of the time), vs. where they take a long-term, generational approach. Plus, you’ll find good reasons and inspirations to think more ahead yourself and understand why, most often, it makes a lasting, positive difference.

Key Takeaways

    1. Finite games are played for the sake of ending them, but infinite games are played simply for the sake of playing.
    2. No one can force you to play a game, and winning isn’t everything.
    3. Everything in life can (and should) be viewed as a game.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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2. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Most Life-Changing Books #2: The Alchemist

Favorite Quote

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” — Paulo Coelho

The Book in One Sentence

The Alchemist is a classic novel in which a boy named Santiago embarks on a journey seeking treasure in the Egyptian pyramids after having a recurring dream about it and on the way meets mentors, falls in love, and most importantly, learns the true importance of who he is and how to improve himself and focus on what really matters in life.

Why should you read it?

This book speaks to your curiosity on every page, yet somehow never makes you feel overwhelmed. It’s nearly impossible to put down, but thankfully, it’s also short, and you’ll probably read it in just a few sittings. The book’s core theme is big — destiny — but Coelho uses language so simple, anyone can understand it. As a result, you’ll be filled with both a sense of wonder and of deep gratitude, all while itching to start exploring your destiny. A must-read.

Key Takeaways

    1. You have a Personal Legend that you must follow if you want to be happy and fulfilled.
    2. Your fear is holding you back more than anything else.
    3. “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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3. Principles by Ray Dalio

The Most Life-Changing Books #3: Principles

Favorite Quote

“If you’re not failing, you’re not pushing your limits, and if you’re not pushing your limits, you’re not maximizing your potential.” — Ray Dalio

The Book in One Sentence

Principles holds the set of rules for work and life billionaire investor and CEO of the most successful fund in history, Ray Dalio, has acquired through his 40-year career in finance.

Why should you read it?

A great example of how a book allows you to digest a human lifetime worth of lessons in just a few hours, this book will teach you how one of the world’s kindest, smartest, and most successful people learned how to think the way he thinks. Dalio first tells you about his personal journey, then the life lessons he took away from it thus far, and, finally, reveals everything he knows about doing great work and cooperating with others. If you wish for a personal mentor to inspire and guide you, read this book, and if you want to discover more of his work, check out our full list of Ray Dalio books.

Key Takeaways

  1. Principles are powerful weapons in the fight against flawed thinking.
  2. Radical truth and transparency are two of Ray’s most important ideas.
  3. Great businesses use principles to create environments where the best ideas win.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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4. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

The Most Life-Changing Books #4: Sapiens

Favorite Quote

“We study history not to know the future but to widen our horizons, to understand that our present situation is neither natural nor inevitable, and that we consequently have many more possibilities before us than we imagine.” — Yuval Noah Harari

The Book in One Sentence

Sapiens is your guide to becoming an expert on the entire history of the human race as it reviews everything our species has been through from ancient ancestors to our dominating place in the world today.

Why should you read it?

This is probably the best book about human history if you’re trying to get a full overview in just one title. It will tell you everything you need to know from the big bang to now, and you’ll learn how to put the events happening in the world every day into their historical context. This should be required reading in schools!

Key Takeaways

    1. The ability to think gave early humans language, which eventually led to agricultural advances allowing them to grow exponentially. 
    2. Improvements in trade were only possible with the invention of money and writing.
    3. With better economic and communication means, scientific progress gave our race the abilities necessary to get to where we are today.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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5. The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel

The Most Life-Changing Books #5: The Psychology of Money

Favorite Quote

“Planning is important, but the most important part of every plan is to plan on the plan not going according to plan.” — Morgan Housel

The Book in One Sentence

The Psychology of Money explores how money moves around in an economy and how personal biases and the emotional factor play an important role in our financial decisions, as well as how to think more rationally and make better decisions when it comes to money.

Why should you read it?

This is The Alchemist of finance books, not because of its inspiring stories (which it has) but because of its simple language, employed to help us grasp and master a complex topic. Housel’s examples are interesting, unconventional, and yet full of common sense. You can read this book quickly and easily, and when it comes to money, those are two rare occurrences. You’ll feel a lot more calm about your finances after reading this book, and, chances are, you’ll also make a lot more sound decisions.

Key Takeaways

    1. Being greedy can turn out to be the biggest financial mistake you’ll ever make.
    2. Envy has no place in the money market, as it can blur your thinking. 
    3. Our early experiences with money determine our financial decisions later on.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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6. Atomic Habits by James Clear

The Most Life-Changing Books #6: Atomic Habits

Favorite Quote

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.” — James Clear

The Book in One Sentence

Atomic Habits is the definitive guide to breaking bad behaviors and adopting good ones in four steps, showing you how small, incremental, everyday routines compound into massive, positive change over time.

Why should you read it?

This is the only book about habits you’ll ever have to read. Closing in on ten million copies sold in just four years, it is the perfect blueprint for learning how to change any behavior, improve yourself a little every day, and let the positive results compound over time.

Key Takeaways

    1. Every time we perform a habit, we execute a four-step pattern: cue, craving, response, reward.
    2. If we want to form new habits, we should make them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying.
    3. You can use a habit tracker as a fun way to measure your progress and make sure you don’t fall off the wagon.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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7. Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl

The Most Life-Changing Books #7: Man's Search for Meaning

Favorite Quote

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” — Viktor Frankl

The Book in One Sentence

Man’s Search For Meaning details holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s horrifying experiences in Nazi concentration camps, along with his psychological approach of logotherapy, which is also what helped him survive and shows you how you can – and must – find meaning in your life.

Why should you read it?

For most of us, the horrors of war, let alone concentration camps, are so far away as to being unimaginable. This book will not only offer a healthy dose of humility by sharing some of those experiences, which Frankl personally went through, but also add real, research-based insight into how they might shape one’s life. If you’re looking for more meaning and optimism in your life, read this book.

Key Takeaways

    1. Sometimes the only way to survive is to surrender to death.
    2. Your life has its own meaning and it’s up to you to find it.
    3. Use paradoxical intention to make your fears go away.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Most Life-Changing Fiction Books

8. Paris in the 20th Century by Jules Verne

The Most Life-Changing Books #8: Paris in the 20th Century

Favorite Quote

“I have a little money, and it I shall spend on books beginning with the great poets and illustrious authors of the last century. Each evening they will console me for the vexations of each day.” — Jules Verne

The Book in One Sentence

Paris in the 20th Century is a novel set 100 years in the future of its author, imagining an advanced, hyper-technological, yet somewhat dystopian society in 1960 France, and how a young artist tries to navigate it.

Why should you read it?

This book is fascinating not only for its story but for its foresight. The accuracy with which Jules Verne predicted some of the technological innovations that indeed became everyday standards by the time 1960 rolled around is mind-boggling. From cars to lanterns to elevators to typewriters to maglev trains, Verne saw it all — and it makes you think about what we — or at least our children and grandchildren — might one day witness, another 100 years from now. If you want to learn how to predict the future, read this book.

Key Takeaways

    1. Predicting the future does not take luck or a crazy mind but a little bit of research and imagination.
    2. A city without art is like a painting without color.
    3. When people stop thinking for themselves, they stop thinking altogether.

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

The Most Life-Changing Books #9: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Favorite Quote

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” — J.K. Rowling

The Book in One Sentence

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire documents Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts, in which he stumbles into the Triwizard Tournament and thus a series of challenges he is far from ready for, but by the end of which he must finally take responsibility not just for himself but for the entire wizarding world.

Why should you read it?

The reason I like this book most of all the Harry Potter books is that it’s the one in which Harry grows up — not by choice but by force. It’s a book about taking full responsibility for your life and learning to do what’s right, even if it comes at a price. If you want to be a good person and do your duty as best as you can while still having fun along the way, read this book.

Key Takeaways

    1. We don’t get to choose when we grow up, but we do get to decide how we’ll handle our responsibilities.
    2. “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”
    3. There are times in our lives when we must decide between what is right and what is easy.

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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10. The Why Cafe by John Strelecky

The Most Life-Changing Books #10: The Why Café

Favorite Quote

“Why is it that we spend so much of our time preparing for when we can do what we want, instead of just doing what we want right now?” — John Strelecky

The Book in One Sentence

The Why Cafe is a book about how to find your purpose and live the life you have imagined, based on a fictional encounter in a simple yet magical cafe.

Why should you read it?

This is an easy and fast read, but it might be just the right book at just the right time. Maybe you feel lost, like John, who ends up in a mysterious yet friendly café en route to his much needed vacation. Maybe you too are contemplating what you’re doing with your life — and why. And maybe, you too, like John, can benefit from the questions the friendly café staff dangles in front of him as he munches on a delicious piece of cake… If you want to feel a sense of purpose in your life, read this book.

Key Takeaways

    1. Material things can actually make us more unhappy in the end. 
    2. Find your purpose, and once you do, don’t let anyone stand in your way. 
    3. When you realize what you want out of life and manifest it, you’ll attract more luck.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Most Life-Changing Books for Personal Attitude & Mindset

11. Mindset by Carol Dweck

The Most Life-Changing Books #11: Mindset

Favorite Quote

“Becoming is better than being.” — Carol Dweck

The Book in One Sentence

Mindset explains the difference between having a fixed and a growth mindset, why one trumps the other, and what you can do to adopt the right one.

Why should you read it?

The concept of “fixed mindset” vs. “growth mindset” is an original idea, backed by Dweck’s research, and it’s simply a useful tool to carry in your pocket at all times. Learn to spot the differences between optimism and pessimism and resignation and resolution wherever you go, including in yourself. If you feel like you often give up too easily, this book is for you.

Key Takeaways

  1. The corporate world turns most of us into fixed-mindset drones.
  2. The growth mindset mostly stems from a strong, genuine desire to learn.
  3. We are all born with a growth mindset, and we can relearn it anytime.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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12. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson

The Most Life-Changing Books #12: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Favorite Quote

“The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.” — Mark Manson

The Book in One Sentence

The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck does away with the positive psychology craze to instead give you a Stoic, no bullshit approach to living a life that might not always be happy, but meaningful and centered only around what’s important to you.

Why should you read it?

Sometimes, you need a caring friend telling you some tough truths you need to hear while patting you on the back. That’s what Manson does in this book, and yes, he’s not holding back. If you can get over the fact that he uses swear words (and you should), you’ll find a ton of wisdom in this book, which balances a Stoic attitude with true, reality-based optimism. An absolutely enlightening read!

Key Takeaways

  1. Values you can’t control are bad values to follow.
  2. Don’t believe you know anything with certainty, for it keeps you from improving.
  3. Trying to leave a legacy might ruin your life.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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13. The 10X Rule by Grant Cardone

The Most Life-Changing Books #13: The 10X Rule

Favorite Quote

“As long as you are alive, you will either live to accomplish your own goals and dreams or be used as a resource to accomplish someone else’s.” — Grant Cardone

The Book in One Sentence

The 10X Rule will show you how to achieve extraordinary success by pointing out what’s wrong with shooting for average, why you should aim ten times higher when tackling your goals, and how to back up your new, bold targets with the right actions.

Why should you read it?

Yes, Cardone is a loud, salesy, abrasive and over-the-top person. That said, his heart is in the right place in encouraging you to think bigger. What if you asked for ten times the results and put in ten times the effort? The thought experiment alone will reveal: You’d approach your goals in an entirely different way — and that’s what this book is all about. If you want to succeed in anything, this book will hold some interesting ideas for you.

Key Takeaways

  1. The problem with average is that it may not last very long.
  2. The 10X Rule has two parts: outstanding effort and audacious goals.
  3. Most people know only three degrees of taking action, but there is a fourth one and it’s the best.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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14. The Little Book of Ikigai by Ken Mogi

The Most Life-Changing Books #14: The Little Book of Ikigai

Favorite Quote

“If you can make the process of making the effort your primary source of happiness, then you have succeeded in the most important challenge of your life.” — Ken Mogi

The Book in One Sentence

The Little Book of Ikigai will show you how to live a long, healthy, and happy life by revealing the five pillars of ikigai, the Japanese concept already helping millions every day find reasons to get out of bed in the morning.

Why should you read it?

Happiness is not a faraway, elusive state we’ll hopefully find one day and then stay in forever. It’s a daily practice and experience, and yes, it takes effort to achieve it. By giving us lots of simple yet inspiring examples of how we can add more joy to our lives with small, almost insignificant actions, Mogi turns our quest for happiness on its head. A wonderful book for anyone looking for inner peace and outer joy.

Key Takeaways

    1. The concept of ikigai is not any one thing. It comes in a million shapes and sizes.
    2. Ikigai can originate from one of five pillars — or all of them.
    3. Happiness can be found anywhere and everywhere, but almost always in the little things.

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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15. The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey

The Most Life-Changing Books #15: The Inner Game of Tennis

Favorite Quote

“The ability to focus the mind is the ability to not let it run away with you. It does not mean not to think — but to be the one who directs your own thinking.” — Tim Gallwey

The Book in One Sentence

The Inner Game of Tennis is about the mental state required to deliver peak performance and how you can cultivate that state in sports, work, and life.

Why should you read it?

Education is riddled with misinformation, outdated teaching models, and false promises. In this illuminating read from the former Harvard tennis team coach, you’ll see that you can learn almost anything without much instruction at all — as long as you user your powers of observation, imagination, and imitation. This book will forever change how you learn. It’s also one of Bill Gates’ all-time favorites.

Key Takeaways

    1. How our two inner selves interact decides how skilled we are on the outside.
    2. In order for our performance to flow effortlessly, we must calm Self 1 and have faith in Self 2.
    3. The inner game applies in all walks of life, not just tennis or even sports in general.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Most Life-Changing Productivity Books

16. Deep Work by Cal Newport

The Most Life-Changing Books #16: Deep Work

Favorite Quote

“Who you are, what you think, feel, and do, what you love — is the sum of what you focus on.” — Cal Newport

The Book in One Sentence

Deep Work proposes that we have lost our ability to focus deeply and immerse ourselves in a complex task, showing you how to cultivate this skill again and focus more than ever before with four simple rules.

Why should you read it?

In an age of constant distraction and instant gratification, we need to rethink how we work and try to get things done. Newport’s Deep Work model combines the ideas and tips that most of us know into a framework that makes them easy to remember and apply on an everyday basis. The different work modes he suggests will allow you to stay flexible and adjust based on the demands of the day without losing the most important thing: focus on the task that’s right in front of you. A seminal read on productivity.

Key Takeaways

  1. There are four strategies for deep work, all of which require intention.
  2. Productive meditation can help you work deeper, even while you’re taking a break.
  3. Stop working at the same time each day.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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17. Essentialism by Greg McKeown

The Most Life-Changing Books #17: Essentialism

Favorite Quote

“Remember that if you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.” — Greg McKeown

The Book in One Sentence

Essentialism shows you a new approach to productivity and life by allowing you to be extremely selective about the essential things in your life and then ruthlessly cutting out everything else.

Why should you read it?

Where Deep Work is concerned with how you operate at work on a daily basis, Essentialism leans a little more towards the big picture. While it’s important to get things done, it is even more important to work on the right things in the first place. This book will help you do just that while remembering its set of rules and principles as a holistic, encompassing philosophy. Worth a read for its few perspective-shifting graphics alone, reading both this and Deep Work will most likely cover all the productivity advice you’ll ever need.

Key Takeaways

  1. Doing nothing and doing everything are both signs of learned helplessness.
  2. Become the editor of your own life with the 90% rule.
  3. Always give yourself a buffer of 50%.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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The Most Life-Changing Books About Work

18. Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker

The Most Life-Changing Books #18: Managing Oneself

Favorite Quote

“Like so many brilliant people, he believes that ideas move mountains. But bulldozers move mountains; ideas show where the bulldozers should go to work.” — Peter Drucker

The Book in One Sentence

Managing Oneself is a guide to learning more about your strengths, weaknesses, inclinations, and how you collaborate with others, all while making yourself more knowledgeable about how to thrive in your career.

Why should you read it?

When I listened to this short book in audio-form on a long drive, it blew me away. Drucker’s ideas are so obvious yet so absent in most companies. He’ll show you that, more so than any particular set of skills, to succeed in your career, you’ll need self-awareness — and he’ll also deliver the exact questions you need to start unlocking it. An absolute gem for anyone who wants to accomplish big things in the workplace.

Key Takeaways

    1. Know your strengths and weaknesses by conducting a feedback analysis. 
    2. Understand your communication style and how you work with others.
    3. Work on your second career to keep yourself engaged and challenged in your working life.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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19. The Dip by Seth Godin

The Most Life-Changing Books #19: The Dip

Favorite Quote

“A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.” — Seth Godin

The Book in One Sentence

The Dip teaches us that, between starting and succeeding, there’s a time of struggle when we should either pursue excellence or quit strategically while helping us choose between the two.

Why should you read it?

This book will help you answer an important question you’ll face many times throughout your life: Should I quit, or should I keep going? Using data, anecdotes, and examples, Seth makes the point that few things are worth sticking with — but the things you do commit to, you should stick with all the way. After this short read, you’ll likely make a big change at work or in your personal life, and you’ll see “the dip” everywhere, which is what makes this such a useful little book.

Key Takeaways

    1. Whatever your goal, you’ll need to confront a dip to succeed. 
    2. The rewards for being first are huge and even unexpected, aim for them!
    3. If you want to be a winner in the long run, you’ll have to master the art of smart quitting.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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20. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

The Most Life-Changing Books #20: The War of Art

Favorite Quote

“Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.” — Steven Pressfield

The Book in One Sentence

The War Of Art brings some much needed tough love to all artists, business people, and creatives who spend more time battling the resistance against work than actually working, primarily by identifying the hidden forces behind procrastination and pulling out the rug from under their feet.

Why should you read it?

In order to overcome our challenges, we need to be able to talk about them, and that starts with naming them. By introducing his most important concept, Resistance, Steven Pressfield gives us a language to address procrastination, fear, and creative blockers with, and that makes all the difference. Plus, it’s a nice kick in the butt to get going and start making your art, whatever it may look like.

Key Takeaways

    1. You’re not alone, everyone struggles with Resistance.
    2. You have to treat your dream like a full-time job.
    3. Commit to a territory and you might change the world.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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21. Start With Why by Simon Sinek

The Most Life-Changing Books #21: Start With Why

Favorite Quote

“Working hard for something we do not care about is called stress, working hard for something we love is called passion.” — Simon Sinek

The Book in One Sentence

Start With Why is Simon Sinek’s mission to help others do work which inspires them, using real-world examples of great leaders to show you how they communicate and how you too can adapt their mindset to inspire others.

Why should you read it?

This book will help you discover your life purpose, but more so, it will show you how to communicate that purpose once you have it. Sinek’s book started from a TED talk and has since transformed the world of business, showing us that we need to talk less about what we do and more about why we do it. You’ll forever try to convince others differently after reading this. For more of his work, check out our full list of Simon Sinek books.

Key Takeaways

    1. If you want to inspire others, always communicate your why first.
    2. Excited employees are the best resource for any business.
    3. You don’t need sleazy sales tactics when you start with why.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Most Life-Changing Books About Relationships

22. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

The Most Life-Changing Books #22: The 5 Love Languages

Favorite Quote

“I am amazed by how many individuals mess up every new day with yesterday.” — Gary Chapman

The Book in One Sentence

The 5 Love Languages shows couples how to make their love last by learning to recognize the unique way their partner feels love.

Why should you read it?

The biggest issue in relationships is communication. When we can’t align our communication, we can’t agree or disagree, and that’s how resentment and other connection-destroying emotions begin to fester in our hearts. This book gives you not just one but five ways of distinctly showing love and affection to your partner and loved ones and, more importantly, reminds you that not everyone values them equally. If you’re looking for better ways to adjust to your and your partner’s differences, this is the book for you.

Key Takeaways

    1. As your relationship matures, communication is key.
    2. There are 5 different ways people give and show love.
    3. Identify your and your partner’s love language to deepen intimacy.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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23. Attached by Rachel Heller and Amir Levine

The Most Life-Changing Books #23: Attached

Favorite Quote

“Most people are only as needy as their unmet needs.” — Rachel Heller & Amir Levine

The Book in One Sentence

Attached delivers a scientific explanation why some relationships thrive and steer a clear path over a lifetime, while others crash and burn, based on the human need for attachment and the three different styles of it.

Why should you read it?

This is another book that adds language where there used to be none. Describing the three attachment styles of anxious, avoidant, and secure, it allows us to see how we (and others) try to secure our needs in human but specifically romantic relationships. If you’ve ever dated someone who behaved in an oddly distant way or was way too clingy, this book is a must read.

Key Takeaways

    1. Everyone needs attachment, it’s a prerequisite for a happy and healthy life.
    2. There are 3 different attachment styles, which one are you?
    3. Effective communication is the best way to guarantee your happiness in any relationship.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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24. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The Most Life-Changing Books #24: How to Win Friends and Influence People

Favorite Quote

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” — Dale Carnegie

The Book in One Sentence

How To Win Friends And Influence People teaches you countless principles to become a likable person, handle your relationships well, win others over, and help them change their behavior without being intrusive.

Why should you read it?

Life is easier when people like you. A friendly tone, good manners, and light compliments are the oil in the social machine, making our interactions with others smooth and efficient — especially the ones we don’t know that well or even at all. Full of practical tips and small habits you can practice daily, this book will help you get more done while having more fun, all by smiling, shaking hands, and saying a few simple words at the right time.

Key Takeaways

  1. You can make a great first impression just by smiling.
  2. To be interesting to others, talk about their favorite topic: themselves.
  3. If you want to convince people, get them to say yes a lot.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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The Most Life-Changing Books About Money

25. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

The Most Life-Changing Books #25: Rich Dad Poor Dad

Favorite Quote

“Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.” — Robert Kiyosaki

The Book in One Sentence

Rich Dad Poor Dad tells the story of a boy with two fathers, one rich, one poor, to help you develop the mindset and financial knowledge you need to build a life of wealth and freedom.

Why should you read it?

Humans learn through stories more so than instructions. This book has both. The story in the first half of the book really drives home everything you need to know about managing your finances well. The advice that follows is a nice add-on. It’s an absolute classic, and even though it keeps falling in and out of favor with the public, I think it’s a book worth reading for anyone who’s financially curious.

Key Takeaways

  1. Use your money to acquire assets, not liabilities.
  2. Manage risks instead of avoiding them.
  3. Work to learn, not to earn.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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26. The Almanack of Naval Ravikant by Eric Jorgenson

The Most Life-Changing Books #26: The Almanack of Naval Ravikant

Favorite Quote

“Earn with your mind, not your time.” — Naval Ravikant

The Book in One Sentence

The Almanack of Naval Ravikant compiles the valuable lessons of Naval Ravikant, who teaches people how to build wealth and achieve long-term happiness by working on a few essential skills, all while discovering the secrets of living a good life.

Why should you read it?

Starting from the bottom of the social hierarchy in India, Naval Ravikant has made it quite far. After moving to the US, getting a degree, and starting, growing, and selling an internet startup, he began investing in other companies. Uber, Twitter, I think you’ve heard of some of them. Nowadays, Naval spends most of his time thinking, and it shows: His takes on philosophy, wealth, life, and happiness are eloquent, elegant, and crystal clear. One of the great minds of our time worth learning from. The book is a compilation of Naval’s podcasts, interviews, and tweets, edited by Eric Jorgenson. You can download it for free on his website, but if you want a print copy, you’ll have to go through Amazon.

Key Takeaways

  1. Use the compounding rule to build the life you want.
  2. A good financial status can help you unlock new levels of freedom.
  3. Reacting with neutrality to certain events and staying quiet can enhance our happiness.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Most Life-Changing Books About Health, Mindfulness, and Wellbeing

27. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Most Life-Changing Books #27: The Power of Now

Favorite Quote

“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within; secondary reality without.” — Eckhart Tolle

The Book in One Sentence

The Power of Now shows you that every minute you spend worrying about the future or regretting the past is a minute lost, because really all you have is the present, the now, and gives you actionable strategies to start living every minute as it occurs.

Why should you read it?

This is one of those books that’ll either click with you or it won’t, but if it doesn’t, it’s probably just a matter of bad timing. Once you “get” that the only moment we really have is “right now,” everything in this book will make sense. It’s a huge perspective shift and, therefore, a book worth trying to read repeatedly until you find it flows and can digest it in just a few sittings.

Key Takeaways

  1. Life is just a series of present moments.
  2. All pain is a result of resistance to the things you cannot change.
  3. You can free yourself from pain by constantly observing your mind and not judging your thoughts.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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28. The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

The Most Life-Changing Books #28: The Miracle Morning

Favorite Quote

“Where you are is a result of who you were, but where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be, from this moment on.” — Hal Elrod

The Book in One Sentence

The Miracle Morning makes it clear that in order to become successful, you have to dedicate time to personal development each day, and then gives you a 6-step morning routine to create and shape that time.

Why should you read it?

The only way to have a good day is to have a good morning. This book will help you accomplish that. It’s the best book on morning routines out there, if you ask me. The six steps are completely customizable and cover everything you’d want to take care of to set yourself up for a great day, every day.

Key Takeaways

  1. Don’t isolate incidences in your life.
  2. You can get a good night’s sleep, even if it’s just 4 hours.
  3. Have a pre-morning routine to get out of bed faster.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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29. The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner

The Most Life-Changing Books #29: The Blue Zones Solution

Favorite Quote

“Knowing why we get up in the morning is one of the greatest antidotes to the downs in life.” — Dan Buettner

The Book in One Sentence

The Blue Zones Solution shows you how to adopt the lifestyle and mindset of the healthiest, longest-living people on the planet , based on research conducted in the five locations with the highest populations of people aged 100 and older.

Why should you read it?

Rather than doing everything from a ground-up, isolated, “this is what logic suggests” approach, this book simply looks at the oldest people in the world and asks them how they got there — literally. Buettner conducted many interviews and did on-site research, uncovering many findings about what it takes to live long and happily that no scientist in a lab in a highly developed yet unhealthy country could ever have found. This is the follow on to The Blue Zones, but it’s more practical, showing you how to emulate the world’s centenarians rather than just explaining why they lived for so long.

Key Takeaways

  1. A 2,500-year-old mantra from Okinawa reminds people to stop eating when they’re 80% full – and it’s a healthy idea.
  2. Beans, including fava, black, soy and lentil are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets.
  3. The world’s longest-lived communities live in environments that continuously nudge them into moving naturally.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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30. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant

The Most Life-Changing Books #30: Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It

Favorite Quote

“If I loved myself truly and deeply, would I let myself experience this?” — Kamal Ravikant

The Book in One Sentence

Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It is Kamal Ravikant’s story of overcoming professional and personal failure thanks to a vow he made to love himself, and how you too can use this simple technique of deep compassion and self-care to overcome adversity and find happiness.

Why should you read it?

It’s sad to say that loving yourself radically, consistently, and unapologetically is a rebellious, almost revolutionary idea, but it is. What should be obvious and taught to us in childhood is actually something we must completely, painstakingly learn from scratch as adults, and Kamal is the man to teach us. If you’re feeling down or out of luck, this book will change your life.

Key Takeaways

  1. Telling yourself you love yourself will work, even if, at first, you don’t believe it.
  2. Once your daily self-love practice kicks in, your life will seem to magically get better.
  3. Even after you’re happy and fulfilled, never stop loving yourself — it’s easy to lose the habit and slip back into negativity.

If you want to learn more, you can click below or get a copy for yourself.

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Conclusion

That concludes our list of the best life-changing books. We hope at least one of our picks speaks to you, exerting that mysterious, magnetic pull that, somehow, this is the right book at the right time. Whichever one does, either get started by reading our summary of it or ordering a copy for yourself!

Life is better when we read. It makes us think, learn, and consider other people’s perspective. Most of all, a good book can help us when we’re at a crossroads, unsure which path will be the best way forward. If you find yourself at such a crossroads right now, what are you waiting for? Grab a life-changing book and see where its insights will lead!


Other Book Lists by Topic

Looking for more of the best books on various topics? Here are all the book lists we’ve made for you so far:


Other Book Lists by Author

Looking for more books by the world’s most celebrated authors? Here are all of the book lists by the author we’ve curated for you:


The 20 Best Entrepreneurship Books to Start, Grow & Run a Successful Business

Best Books on Entrepreneurship Cover

Following your passion while making a profit – that is the dream. Every year, millions of people become entrepreneurs in hopes of getting paid to do what they love.

Unfortunately, around half of all newly minted business owners fail within the first five years. What’s more, at least one in four must fail before eventually succeeding, which takes at least three years on average. How can you make sure you make it the first time around?

Starting a business requires taking risk, staying grounded, and facing many challenges. It can be our biggest struggle, but seeing our products make the world a better place can also be our greatest reward.

At Four Minute Books, we’ve summarized over 1,000 books, hundreds of them about entrepreneurship. Along the way, we’ve learned a few lessons, and we’ve discovered which ones are most worth spending your precious time on.

Being an entrepreneur is not the easiest job in the world, but if you want to learn the secrets of being a great founder or successful self-employed freelancer, this list of the 20 best entrepreneurship books is a good start.

Each book in this list contains our favorite quote, three takeaways, and a one-sentence summary. Scroll down a bit more, and you’ll find our main argument for why and when you might want to read the book. Use the handy table of contents below to jump to any section or book that seems particularly interesting to you.

Let’s hop right into the secrets of entrepreneurship!


Best Books on Entrepreneurship Overall

1. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Best Entrepreneurship Books 1

Favorite Quote

“The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” — Eric Ries

The Book in One Sentence

The Lean Startup offers both entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs a semi-scientific, real-world approach to building a business by using validation, finding a profitable business model and creating a growth engine.

Why should you read it?

Are all start-ups prone to failure? Or are all the failures caused by some mistakes which can be easily prevented? According to Eric Ries, a startup deals with a wave of uncertainty, indeed, and business plans might not be the key to make things run smoothly. This book gives a scientific approach to the proper management of a startup, mostly by making use of innovation.

Key Takeaways

    1. Find a business model that works through validation.
    2. Use split-testing to tell value from waste.
    3. Never ever indulge in vanity metrics.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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2. Zero To One by Peter Thiel

Best Entrepreneurship Books 2

Favorite Quote

“Brilliant thinking is rare, but courage is in even shorter supply than genius.” — Peter Thiel

The Book in One Sentence

Zero To One is an inside look at Peter Thiel’s philosophy and strategy for making your startup a success by looking at the lessons he learned from founding and selling PayPal, investing in Facebook and becoming a billionaire in the process.< /em>

Why should you read it?

You might think that we know everything by now and that there isn’t much to create at this point. That all the greatest inventions have appeared by now. And this is where you might be wrong: entrepreneur Peter Thiel confirms that there are still countless ways for us to create something new. And all this can be done by making use of your power and asking the right questions in order to come up with the next innovation.

Key Takeaways

  1. The biggest leaps in progress are vertical, not horizontal.
  2. Monopolies are good, for both business and society.
  3. Founders need a vision to take their business from zero to one.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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3. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Best Entrepreneurship Books 3

Favorite Quote

“The only thing that prepares you to run a company is running a company” — Ben Horowitz

The Book in One Sentence

The Hard Thing About Hard Things is an inside look at the tough decisions and lonely times all CEOs face, before showing you what it takes to build a great organization and become a world-class leader.

Why should you read it?

It’s great to have your own business, indeed. Truth be told, though, it is rather hard to have a business and run it properly. Ben Horowitz provides us with key anecdotes in this book, derived from his success – which was not as easy to obtain, as people might think. Getting straight to the point, this book will answer all the questions you might have, no matter if you already have a business of your own or if you are thinking about starting one.

Key Takeaways

  1. The CEO should be the first one to shout when shit hits the fan.
  2. There are 2 types of CEOs.
  3. Great CEOs must learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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4. The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau

Best Entrepreneurship Books The $100 Startup Cover

Favorite Quote

“Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.” — Chris Guillebeau

The Book in One Sentence

The $100 Startup shows you how to break free from the shackles of 9 to 5 by combining your passion and skills into your own microbusiness, which you can start for $100 or less, yet still turn into a full time income, thanks to the power of the internet.

Why should you read it?

It’s important nowadays to live a life full of meaning and purpose, but what is also important is to earn a good living. This book is filled with key principles that will help you figure out exactly what it is that you have to do to live your life the way you want. And the best part about it is that it doesn’t get lost in generalities which might not give you the insight you need.

Key Takeaways

  1. Passion is only 1/3 of the equation, you also need skills and customers.
  2. If you want your passion to be more than a hobby, focus on income and costs.
  3. Keep your plans simple, because action beats them every time.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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5. The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber

Best Entrepreneurship Books 5

Favorite Quote

“If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business – you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!” — Michael E. Gerber

The Book in One Sentence

The E-Myth Revisited explains why 80% of small businesses fail, and how to ensure yours isn’t among those by building a company that’s based on systems and not on the work of a single individual.

Why should you read it?

Do you want to know how to grow your business productively? Michael Gerber has the answer for you in this book and walks you through all the steps you need to take in a business. And it is all sharp insight from his own experience, which will help you deconstruct all the myths regarding the way one should work when it comes to business.

Key Takeaways

  1. Having great technical skills does not mean you know how to run a business.
  2. Imagine your business as a nationwide franchise from day one, then build the first store.
  3. The franchise approach makes sure you build a business based on systems, not people.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Books on Entrepreneurship for Beginners

6. Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk

Best Entrepreneurship Books 7

Favorite Quote

“There no longer has to be a difference between who you are and what you do.” ― Gary Vaynerchuk

The Book in One Sentence

Crush It is the blueprint you need to turn your passion into your profession and will give you the tools to turn yourself into a brand, leverage social media, produce great content and reap the financial benefits of it.

Why should you read it?

What would you do if you could transform your dream or hobby into something that could earn you money? This book gives you valuable insight into how you can turn your interests into a successful business, just by making use of the power of the Internet. And all of this by taking it step by step, in a world where both the Internet and the technological aspects are a very important part of our lives.

Key Takeaways

  1. In order to profit from your passion, you have to turn yourself into a brand.
  2. Pick a medium that fits you to tell stories people want to hear.
  3. Always be authentic in your content.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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7. The Art Of The Start by Guy Kawasaki

Best Entrepreneurship Books 11

Favorite Quote

“Positioning should be about what you do for your customers – not about what you want to become.” — Guy Kawasaki

The Book in One Sentence

The Art Of The Start is your guide to beginning a company and explains everything from getting the right people on board to writing a winning business plan and building your brand.

Why should you read it?

Sometimes, it just takes an idea to put together something new – and that requires having enough will to keep going, against all odds. If you feel like your idea might be hard to be transformed into action, this book will provide you with all the advice you need to keep going, all of it coming from nearly two decades of the author’s experience.

Key Takeaways

  1. Your first goal as an entrepreneur must be to create meaning, not make money.
  2. Prepare your Milestones, Assumptions, and Tasks to have direction and purpose right from the start.
  3. Set yourself up for success by creating a business plan.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Books on Entrepreneurship With Minimal Resources

8. The Power Of Broke by Daymond John

Best Entrepreneurship Books 14

Favorite Quote

“Being broke is temporary but poverty of mind is permanent.” — Daymond John

The Book in One Sentence

The Power Of Broke shows you how to leverage having no money into an advantage in business by compensating it with creativity, passion and authenticity.

Why should you read it?

If desperate minds mean desperate measures, then innovation should also be added – because this is exactly what Daymond John did. What started as being a simple idea, ended up becoming a global phenomenon, and all of this while he was broke. This book tells you that sometimes, you just need to have a little bit of hope and to do your best to achieve success – who knows when the perfect opportunity might come knocking.

Key Takeaways

  1. If you have no money, you’ll automatically find resources others don’t look for.
  2. The power of broke helps in all four stages of growing a business.
  3. Starting a business gets easier by the day, so start now.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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9. Rework by Jason Fried

Best Entrepreneurship Books 6

Favorite Quote

“When you don’t know what you believe, everything becomes an argument. Everything is debatable. But when you stand for something, decisions are obvious.” — Jason Fried

The Book in One Sentence

Rework shows you that you need less than you think to start a business – way less – by explaining why plans are actually harmful, how productivity isn’t a result from working long hours and why hiring and seeking investors should be your absolute last resort.

Why should you read it?

Do you feel like all the old advice business books give you is not really what you need to kickstart your own business? What if there was an easier and better way to succeed in business, that didn’t involve writing down endless business plans, for example? This book makes use of an easy way to understand the approach and shows you the way towards not only productivity but also inspiration. Are you up for the challenge?

Key Takeaways

  1. Take a stand for something you believe in and then pick a fight with an incumbent.
  2. Screw big corporate marketing, stay honest, personal and nimble.
  3. Don’t let long hours and meetings prevail, they actually hurt productivity.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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10. Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk

Best Entrepreneurship Books 9

Favorite Quote

“If you’re not 100 percent happy with your life today, it is never a waste of time to try something that could get you there.” — Gary Vaynerchuk

The Book in One Sentence

Crushing It is Gary Vaynerchuk’s follow-up to his personal branding manifesto Crush It, in which he reiterates the importance of a personal brand and shows you the endless possibilities that come with building one today.

Why should you read it?

Your brand is important nowadays, and you have to make use of that to be successful. And you can do that by making use of social media – Gary introduces us to those secrets in this practical guide, where he put together several experiences of people who have followed their dream and got exactly where they wanted to be.

Key Takeaways

  1. You don’t need a product to monetize a personal brand.
  2. A solid social media presence is built on seven principles.
  3. Don’t overthink creating content, just document your journey.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Books on Entrepreneurship Strategy

11. Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur

Best Entrepreneurship Books 19

Favorite Quote

“Companies should focus on one of three value disciplines: operational excellence, product leadership, or customer intimacy.” — by Alexander Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur

The Book in One Sentence

Business Model Generation teaches you how to start your own company by explaining the details of matching your customer’s needs with your product’s capabilities, managing finances, and everything else involved in the planning stages of entrepreneurship.

Why should you read it?

How would you describe your thinking when it comes to how businesses should be handled? Are you more oriented towards the “traditional” way or are you seeking modern solutions? This book makes use of practical examples that will help anyone in terms of improving their business models, regardless of their approach.

Key Takeaways

  1. Market channels, value propositions, and customer groups are the basis for a good business model.
  2. You need to know your customer’s relationship with you, how money is coming in, and what physical things that you need to run your company.
  3. Plan for what you’ll do from day to day, who you’re going to work with, and what your cost structure will be.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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12. The Four Steps To The Epiphany by Steve Blank

Best Entrepreneurship Books 13

Favorite Quote

“All new companies and new products begin with an almost mythological vision – a hope of what could be, with a goal few others can see.” — Steve Blank

The Book in One Sentence

The Four Steps To The Epiphany shows startups how to plan for and achieve success by giving examples of companies that failed and outlining the path they need to take to flourish.

Why should you read it?

Do you want a book that gives you simple, yet concrete examples in regards to how businesses work? Not all startups become successful immediately – and this book proves it. This simple, step-by-step guide could become essential to you, as it gives you useful insight into how you should organize all parts of your business for your startup to succeed, rather than fail.

Key Takeaways

  1. Don’t fall into the trap of treating your startup like you would a big business.
  2. Find your market type first, then base your strategy around it.
  3. Early adopters are more important to consider when designing your product than the mainstream market.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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13. Built To Sell by John Warrillow

Best Entrepreneurship Books 17

Favorite Quote

“Don’t be afraid to say no to projects. Prove that you’re serious about specialization by turning down work that falls outside your area of expertise. The more people you say no to, the more referrals you’ll get to people who need your product or service.” — John Warrillow

The Book in One Sentence

Built To Sell shows you how to become a successful entrepreneur by explaining the steps necessary to grow a small service company and one day sell it.

Why should you read it?

Is there any mistake entrepreneurs make when they start their business? According to John Warrillow, there is one mistake that might cost them more than they could ever imagine, and he presents this mistake under the form of a fictional small business, which has to be sold. Are you curious to see what happens to the business? You should probably find the nearest library and check it out!

Key Takeaways

  1. You will be more successful in business if you specialize in one service.
  2. If you’d like to one day sell your company, you as a founder need to work to make sure that you’re replaceable.
  3. Don’t rely on one big client, it’s risky and makes your business less attractive to those that may buy it.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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14. Business Adventures by John Brooks

Best Entrepreneurship Books 20

Favorite Quote

“I don’t think money makes much difference, as long as you have enough.” — John Brooks

The Book in One Sentence

Business Adventures will teach you how to run a company, invest in the stock market, change jobs, and many other things by sharing some of the most interesting experiences that big companies and their leaders have had over the last century.

Why should you read it?

How do you run a company? If all businesses are different, why are some things so similar? Making use of stories about Wall Street, John Brooks has put together a reportage that looks at the history of some of the biggest disasters that have taken place on the American market. Is history bound to repeat itself, if people don’t learn from their mistakes?

Key Takeaways

  1. The three-day stock market crash and recovery of 1962 showed the world how irrational and unpredictable it is.
  2. If you want to know how not to launch a product, look to the example of the Ford Edsel.
  3. Having trade secrets doesn’t make it impossible for you to get a new job thanks to Donald Wohlgemuth.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Books on Entrepreneurship Culture

15. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey

Best Entrepreneurship Books 15

Favorite Quote

“If you as a leader allow people to halfway do their jobs and don’t demand excellence as a prerequisite to keeping their job, you will create a culture of mediocrity.” — Dave Ramsey

The Book in One Sentence

EntreLeadership provides you with a path to becoming a great leader in your company by identifying the necessary management and entrepreneurial skills.

Why should you read it?

We have all heard of a successful business that started in a garage or in a rather normal place. This informative guide gives you access to exactly that kind of story: from just a card table to a multimillion-dollar company. The advice in this book will get you even through the toughest of times, for both businesses and their leaders.

Key Takeaways

  1. The most successful heads of new companies combine the skills of an entrepreneur and a leader.
  2. To create a lucrative business, work on your marketing strategy.
  3. You get hardworking and loyal employees when you give generous salaries and bonuses.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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16. Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas

Best Entrepreneurship Books 16

Favorite Quote

“There is no denying that today’s elite may be among the more socially concerned elites in the history. But it is also, by the cold logic of numbers, among the more predatory in history.” — Anand Giridharadas

The Book in One Sentence

Winners Take All helps you see the ultra-rich in a more accurate light by identifying their shady strategies, including using the idea of “making the world a better place” as a front that only serves as a way to solidify their wealth and power.

Why should you read it?

What does social justice have to do with entrepreneurs? Anand Giridharadas surprises us with this challenging book, by putting into perspective how improvements are not accessible to everyone. Small businesses end up fighting against monopolies and have to deal with a system where it might just be easier to deny certain benefits. So, how do we make the world a better place, for businesses and people?

Key Takeaways

  1. The elite control social progress, which we think is happening for our benefit but really only benefits them.
  2. Inequality is rampant because the “win-win” attitude of the ultra-rich is actually a lie to cover up their plans to only look out for themselves.
  3. Powerful people often deny their influence, which ironically just cements their status even further.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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17. Founders At Work by Jessica Livingston

Best Entrepreneurship Books 10

Favorite Quote

“I’d say determination is the single most important quality in a startup founder. If the founders I spoke with were superhuman in any way, it was in their perseverance.” — Jessica Livingston

The Book in One Sentence

Founders At Work shows you how to start a successful business based on the principles of the founders of some of the world’s most famous and accomplished startups.

Why should you read it?

If you are looking for a book that is not necessarily a guide, then this book might just be what you are looking for. Containing a collection of interviews with people who are currently living their dream, this book answers all the questions one might have: how it all started and how it is all going. Are you curious to see what makes a startup successful?

Key Takeaways

  1. Starting with an idea is good, but having a talented team is best.
  2. Too much investor money can actually hurt a startup initiative.
  3. Creating something of real value to others requires listening to your customers.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Books on Entrepreneurship Motivation

18. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Best Entrepreneurship Books 8

Favorite Quote

“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.” — Napoleon Hill

The Book in One Sentence

Think and Grow Rich is a curation of the 13 most common habits of wealthy and successful people, distilled from studying over 500 individuals over the course of 20 years.

Why should you read it?

A worldwide bestseller, this book is not just about ways in which you can become rich, as the title would suggest. It is about learning that each day is a new opportunity and both success and abundance come from how you think. If you want to learn about the ropes of success, this might just be the book for you.

Key Takeaways

  1. Use autosuggestion to build an unshakable belief in yourself.
  2. Be stubborn and always stick to your decisions.
  3. Join a Mastermind group to cut the learning curve.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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19. Arise, Awake by Rashmi Bansal

Best Entrepreneurship Books 18

Favorite Quote

“In any line of business, there is a steep learning curve. Like a pilgrim, you must climb that mountain with faith and fortitude – there is no ‘helicopter’ service.” — Rashmi Bansal

The Book in One Sentence

Arise, Awake will inspire you to move forward with your entrepreneurial dreams by sharing the inspirational stories of six Indian entrepreneurs and the lessons they learned on the path to success.

Why should you read it?

What would you say is the perfect age to start your own business? Should you be older, or younger? If you are still not convinced about your answer, then this book might give you a little bit of clarity, by presenting you with the stories of six entrepreneurs who have gone against the odds and started something of their own.

Key Takeaways

  1. Pay attention to serendipitous experiences, they are great sources for your entrepreneurial desires to flourish.
  2. If your first business idea fails, don’t give up, your experience is vital to making your next venture succeed.
  3. Determination combined with thinking outside of the box will help you start your business even when it seems impossible to do.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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20. Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

Best Entrepreneurship Books 12

Favorite Quote

“Most “necessary evils” are far more evil than necessary.” — Richard Branson

The Book in One Sentence

Losing My Virginity details Richard Branson’s meteoric rise to success and digs into what made him the adventurous, fun-loving, daring entrepreneur he is today and what lessons you can learn about business from him.

Why should you read it?

If you are interested in an autobiography, then Richard Branson has written the perfect book for you. A very unusual approach to business has brought Richard a success that many might have doubted: whenever someone said “don’t do it”, he would do it. Filled with major lessons, this book will keep you going, even when things seem impossible to deal with.

Key Takeaways

  1. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t been born and bred as an entrepreneur.
  2. Always look out for the next thing, but take it one adventure at a time.
  3. The number one skill you should practice is creativity.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Conclusion

We believe that these 20 titles are the best books about entrepreneurship. Start by reading the one most relevant to you, then go from there. 

Most of us dream about living a life in which we make our own rules. But are we ready to take responsibility for the things that will go wrong along the way? When you’re an entrepreneur, the buck stops with you. Ultimately, you’re the one in charge. You’ll need commitment and perseverance to make things happen, but even if the road will be rocky in the beginning, that doesn’t mean you should give up.

Do you have what it takes? Whatever you feel might be missing, discover it in one of the books on our list. Learn how to be an entrepreneur, and make your dreams come true!


Other Book Lists by Topic

Looking for more of the best books on various topics? Here are all the book lists we’ve made for you so far:


Other Book Lists by Author

Looking for more books by the world’s most celebrated authors? Here are all of the book lists by the author we’ve curated for you:


The 34 Best Psychology Books That Will Make You Smarter and Happier

Best Psychology Books

Psychology is a broad and diverse field that concentrates on studying how people, including you, behave and think. It covers emotions, personality, and so much more.

When you understand psychology, you will understand yourself and the people around you.

You’ll also make better decisions, handle tough situations more easily, and get closer to reaching your full potential much faster than you could have ever imagined.

This fascinating science will even help you understand why you and those you’re closest to act the way you do and how you can change for the better.

Our over 1,000 summaries here at Four Minute Books include hundreds about psychology. We’ve hand-picked our top 34 favorite ones for this list so that you can learn from them and understand yourself better so you can take advantage of the power of your own mind.

 

If you want to discover new levels of productivity, mental toughness, happiness, and so much more, these books are just what you’ve been looking for.


Best Books on Psychology Overall

1. Thinking Fast And Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking Fast and Slow Book Cover (Best Psychology Books Overall)

Favorite Quote

”Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it.” — Daniel Kahneman

The Book in One Sentence

Thinking Fast And Slow shows you how two systems in your brain are constantly fighting over control of your behavior and actions, and teaches you the many ways in which this leads to errors in memory, judgment and decisions, and what you can do about it.

Why should you read it?

Our minds are driven by two systems that influence the way we think. One system is fast and works on the emotional side, while the other one is a tad slower and makes more use of logic. These two systems work together to shape the way we think and to influence our decisions and Kahneman wants to reveal in this book how to cope with our brain.

Key Takeaways

    1. Your behavior is determined by 2 systems in your mind – one conscious and the other automatic.
    2. Your brain is lazy and thus keeps you from using the full power of your intelligence.
    3. When you’re making decisions about money, leave your emotions at home.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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2. Drive by Daniel Pink

Drive Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.” — Daniel Pink

The Book in One Sentence

Drive explores what has motivated humans throughout history and explains how we shifted from mere survival to the carrot and stick approach that’s still practiced today – and why it’s outdated.

Why should you read it?

There are many ways out there to make use of when motivating ourselves, but some of them might just be wrong. Daniel Pink has put together this persuasive book to help us figure out how to be high performers in any field of our lives, by making use of the need to direct our lives. This book will help you change your perspectives on motivation.

Key Takeaways

    1. The carrot and stick approach is dead.
    2. Extrinsic motivation destroys intrinsic motivation.
    3. Strive for the flow state in everything you do.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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3. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Predictably Irrational Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“The danger of expecting nothing is that, in the end, it might be all we’ll get.” — Dan Ariely

The Book in One Sentence

Predictably Irrational explains the hidden forces that really drive how we make decisions, which are far less rational than we think, but can help us stay on top of our finances, interact better with others and live happier lives, once we know about them.

Why should you read it?

We make decisions daily and sometimes, we might not even think about the mechanism behind them. Humans are considered rational beings, but certain behaviours might end up making them… irrational, but in a predictable way, according to Ariely. This book will help you better understand your patterns of thought and who knows, maybe even break them.

Key Takeaways

  1. We compare whatever we can, so give others easy comparisons to pick you.
  2. Free is really just another price, but a powerful one.
  3. You overvalue what you own.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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4. Everything Is F*cked by Mark Manson

Everything is F*cked Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Hopelessness is the root of anxiety, mental illness and depression. It is the source of all misery and the cause of all addiction.” — Mark Manson

The Book in One Sentence

Everything Is F*cked explains what’s wrong with our approach towards happiness and gives philosophical suggestions that help us make our lives worth living.

Why should you read it?

Even though we seem to have everything nowadays, from freedom to amazing technological discoveries, more and more people seem to drown in a feeling of hopelessness. A book concentrating on everything that is surrounding us, by putting things into perspective in a sharp, yet humorous way, it will make you consider things that you probably never even thought about before.

Key Takeaways

  1. Pure logic won’t help you make the best decisions, a balanced brain will.
  2. Hope won’t solve your problems, it takes acceptance and principles to do that.
  3. The solution to mental illnesses is not chasing happiness, it is to attain true freedom from our addictions and dependencies.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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5. The Wisdom Of Insecurity by Alan Watts

The Wisdom of Insecurity Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live.” — Alan Watts

The Book in One Sentence

The Wisdom of Insecurity is a self-help classic that breaks down our psychological need for stability and explains how it’s led us right into consumerism, why that won’t solve our problem and how we can really calm our anxiety.

Why should you read it?

You would think that this age offers enough stability to human beings, but it sometimes seems to be exactly the opposite: we live in an age where things seem rather unstable and vulnerable. Alan Watts has put together this book where we put into perspective the idea that as much as we want to reach a perfect level of psychological security, many things make us go towards psychological insecurity.

Key Takeaways

  1. Without religion to tell us it’ll be okay, life can become very uncertain, and that’s terrifying.
  2. The happiness consumerism promises us is really just emptiness in a pretty wrapper.
  3. Pleasure and pain always come in one package, and embracing that will make you less anxious.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Books on Psychology For Beginners

6. Do What You Are by Paul Tieger, Barbara Barron, & Kelly Tieger

Do What You Are Book Cover (Best Books on Psychology For Beginners)

Favorite Quote

“The right job enhances your life. It is personally fulfilling because it nourishes the most important aspects of your personality..” — Paul Tieger, Barbara Barron, & Kelly Tieger

The Book in One Sentence

Do What You Are will help you discover your personality type and how it can lead you to a more satisfying career that corresponds to your talents and interests..

Why should you read it?

Your perfect career is a… personality type away. This book will help you figure out what exactly it is that you are good at – by figuring out what your personality type is and which occupation is the best one for you, according to your result. By using different exercises and examples, this book will help you determine what path you need to follow to be satisfied with your life and career.

Key Takeaways

  1. Notice the ways you connect with the world to identify your personality type.
  2. Discover your optimal career path by considering your identity and what interests you.
  3. No matter how old you are you can always change your occupation to something more satisfying.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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7. The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

The Happiness Hypothesis Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Love and work are to people what water and sunshine are to plants.” — Jonathan Haidt

The Book in One Sentence

The Happiness Hypothesis is the most thorough analysis of how you can find happiness in our modern society, backed by plenty of scientific research, real-life examples and even a formula for happiness.

Why should you read it?

If you want to understand happiness, but you are not sure where to start, this could represent a good starting point. There are many sayings out there regarding happiness that we might have used naturally, but are they still available today? Haidt’s book is provocative and puts under analysis the way traditional wisdom interacts with the modern world.

Key Takeaways

  1. Surround yourself with the people you love the most and live in accordance with reciprocity.
  2. Do work that matters to you.
  3. Find a partner who will stand by your side through sunshine and rain and allow yourself to be part of something greater.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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8. Influence by Robert Cialdini

Influence Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Our best evidence of what people truly feel and believe comes less from their words than from their deeds.” — Robert Cialdini

The Book in One Sentence

Influence has been the go-to book for marketers since its release in 1984, which delivers six key principles behind human influence and explains them with countless practical examples.

Why should you read it?

Why do you, and other people, say ‘yes’? Is it because someone is persuading you or is there another reason? Robert Cialdini explains in this book six principles that will help us not only become better persuaders but also understand the psychology behind this act. These principles will also help you figure out what you need in order to achieve success.

Key Takeaways

  1. You can use the reciprocity bias to build up a massive good karma account.
  2. The scarcity bias works, because we hate to miss opportunities.
  3. Make a small commitment to trigger your consistency bias and reach your goal.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Psychology Books For Sales And Marketing

9. The Psychology Of Selling by Brian Tracy

The Psychology of Selling Book Cover (Best Books on Psychology For Sales And Marketing)

Favorite Quote

“Help yourself warm up and prepare mentally by repeating, ‘I feel happy! I feel healthy! I feel terrific!’ It is not possible for you to talk positively to yourself, using words like this, without immediately feeling happier and more confident.” ― Brian Tracy

The Book in One Sentence

The Psychology Of Selling motivates you to work on your self-image and how you relate to customers so that you can close more deals.

Why should you read it?

How do you sell more? If this is a question that you still haven’t found an answer to, this book might be of good help, as it will provide you with enough ideas, strategies, and techniques to make you sell faster and more, all in a more efficient way.

Key Takeaways

  1. Utilize the power of your subconscious to become more successful.
  2. You will get more motivation and passion if you learn from the right people.
  3. Questions are the holy grail of unearthing customers’ needs and they will help you make more sales.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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10. The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

The Tipping Point Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.” — Malcolm Gladwell

The Book in One Sentence

The Tipping Point explains how ideas spread like epidemics and which few elements need to come together to help an idea reach the point of critical mass, where its viral effect becomes unstoppable.

Why should you read it?

It takes a tipping point to start something big, something that is rapidly adopted by people. Something that is an idea or a trend that spreads to the masses. And Malcolm Gladwell explains this idea in this bestseller, by analyzing diverse ideas and trends, to figure out what makes them so interesting, that people just seem to dive into them instantly.

Key Takeaways

  1. Once an idea reaches the tipping point, it spreads like fire.
  2. Three kinds of people are responsible for getting ideas to tip.
  3. Without stickiness, no idea will ever tip.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Psychology Books About Emotions

11. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Emotional Intelligence Book Cover (Best Books on Psychology About Emotions)

Favorite Quote

“In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels.” — Daniel Goleman

The Book in One Sentence

Emotional Intelligence explains the importance of emotions in your life, how they help and hurt your ability to navigate the world, followed by practical advice on how to improve your own emotional intelligence and why that is the key to leading a successful life.

Why should you read it?

Does having a high IQ give you a guarantee that you are going to be successful? According to Daniel Goleman, it takes a bit more to get to the highest point of success, by looking at how the two sides of our brain work together – the rational and the emotional. This book shows us how emotional intelligence determines various aspects of our lives and how it is also a way of being smart.

Key Takeaways

  1. Emotional intelligence rests on self-awareness and self-regulation.
  2. A high EQ makes you healthier and more successful.
  3. You can boost your EQ by mirroring other people’s body language and thinking optimistically.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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12. Descartes’ Error by Antonio R. Damasio

Descartes' Error Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Willpower is just another name for the idea of choosing long-term outcomes rather than short-term ones.” — Antonio R. Damasio

The Book in One Sentence

Descartes’ Error will help you understand why the argument that the mind and body are disconnected is false by using neuroscience and interesting case studies to identify how the body and our emotions play a vital role in logical thinking.

Why should you read it?

“I think therefore I am” can be easily considered one of Descartes’ most famous proclamations. But since its appearance, it has made science concentrate more on the cognitive side of things, rather than the emotional one. Antonio R. Damasio has written a provocative book that makes use of case studies, to demonstrate that we need emotions not only for being rational but also for our behavior.

Key Takeaways

  1. Brain damage, like what Phineas Gage experienced when a rod went through his head, gives us clues about how the mind really works with the body.
  2. Emotions are vital to our mind’s ability to function properly and think logically.
  3. Your brain uses feelings from past experiences to construct somatic markers which help it make decisions faster.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Psychology Books About Love And Relationships

13. Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray

Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus Book Cover (Best Books on Psychology About Love And Relationships)

Favorite Quote

“When men and women are able to respect and accept their differences, then love has a chance to blossom.” — John Gray

The Book in One Sentence

Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus helps you improve your relationships by identifying the key differences between men and women.

Why should you read it?

Men and women have different ways to communicate, even though they are both human beings. This book is based on years of successful counselling and can help you figure out how to communicate with the man or woman sitting beside you, without turning everything into a conflict. Is it all just about accepting each other’s differences? Let’s find out!

Key Takeaways

  1. Women want men to listen to them while men desire solutions to problems.
  2. Men are motivated when they feel useful, women are inspired when they feel loved.
  3. Women and men communicate differently and assign separate meanings to the same words.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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14. Attached by Dr. Amir Levine

Attached Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Most people are only as needy as their unmet needs.” —Dr. Amir Levine

The Book in One Sentence

Attached delivers a scientific explanation why some relationships thrive and steer a clear path over a lifetime, while others crash and burn, based on the human need for attachment and the three different styles of it.

Why should you read it?

What would you say is your attachment style, based on how you feel towards your partner? This book helps us understand our attachment style, giving us a little bit of insight into the science behind love. Understanding your behavior in relation to the other will help you build a stronger and more satisfactory bond with your significant other.

Key Takeaways

  1. Everyone needs attachment, it’s a prerequisite for a happy and healthy life.
  2. There are 3 different attachment styles, which one are you?
  3. Effective communication is the best way to guarantee your happiness in any relationship.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Psychology Books About Personality

15. Personality Isn’t Permanent by Benjamin Hardy

Personality Isn't Permanent (Best Books on Psychology About Personality)

Favorite Quote

“The only thing ‘special’ about those who transform themselves and their lives is their view of their own future. The refuse to be defined by the past. They see something different and more meaningful and they never stop fueling that vision.” — Benjamin Hardy

The Book in One Sentence

Personality Isn’t Permanent will shatter your long-held beliefs that you’re stuck as yourself, flaws and all, by identifying why the person you are is changeable and giving you specific and actionable steps to change.

Why should you read it?

Do people change their attitudes and behaviors throughout their lives or do they constantly stay the same? According to psychologist Benjamin Hardy, the idea that people never change is rather wrong and it keeps us away from being who we need to be. Offering practical advice and basing everything on science, this book will certainly catch your attention.

Key Takeaways

  1. There are five destructive myths about personality that lead to mediocrity and support the fixed mindset that holds you back.
  2. Your goals determine your personality and are the tool you need to change your identity.
  3. No matter who you’ve been in the past or who you are now, you can upgrade how you see yourself and transform your future.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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16. The Personality Brokers by Merve Emre

The Personality Brokers Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“To investigate the history of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the most popular personality inventory in the world, is to court a kind of low-level paranoia. Files disappear. Tapes are erased. People begin to watch you.” — Merve Emre

The Book in One Sentence

The Personality Brokers uncovers the true, yet un-scientific origins of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test.

Why should you read it?

There is a test out there that is used almost everywhere when it comes to determining someone’s personality – and that is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This book concentrates on figuring out how a personality indicator became such a huge success, while also trying to put into perspective all the things that could influence us to be ourselves.

Key Takeaways

  1. Katherine Briggs-Myers and her daughter Isabel Myers based their personality test on the questionable principles of Carl Jung.
  2. Briggs created her first personality test at a time when Americans were ready to receive it, thus beginning the era of self-help writing.
  3. Although scientifically unsound, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator does have it’s benefits and uses.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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17. The Road Back To You by Ian Morgan Cron

The Road Back to You Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“The Enneagram doesn’t put you in a box. It shows you the box you’re already in and how to get out of it.” — Ian Morgan Cron

The Book in One Sentence

The Road Back To You will teach you more about what kind of person you are by identifying the pros and cons of each personality type within the Enneagram test.

Why should you read it?

Human beings are all wired differently, but at the same, they all have positive and negative traits. This book concentrates on the Enneagram, which is an ancient personality typing system and can help you learn more about yourself. Filled with stories, this book will help you figure out how to get to a deeper knowledge of who we are as people, by diving into the spiritual side of things.

Key Takeaways

  1. There are nine personality types in the Enneagram.
  2. You might feel that your personal traits fall into multiple types, and that’s why the test has what are known as wing numbers to give you additional clarity.
  3. Each number in the test has corresponding stress and security numbers to help you better understand how you react in different circumstances.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Psychology Books About Anxiety And Depression

18. My Age Of Anxiety by Scott Stossel

My Age of Anxiety Book Cover (Best Books on Psychology About Anxiety And Depression)

Favorite Quote

“It is a fact – I say this from experience – that being severly anxious is depressing. Anxiety can impede your relationships, impair your performance, constrict your life, and limit your possibilities.” — Scott Stossel

The Book in One Sentence

My Age Of Anxiety is your guide to understanding an aspect of mental illness that most of us don’t realize is so severe, showing it’s biological and environmental origins and ways to treat it.

Why should you read it?

When would you say that you heard the term ‘anxiety’ for the first time? You might get to the conclusion that thirty-something years ago, this was not considered a diagnostic, while nowadays, it has become one of the most common mental illness diagnostics. Stossel gives us a bit of insight into how anxiety affects people and how to control it at the same time.

Key Takeaways

  1. This disease can make life difficult and embarrassing.
  2. Anxiety comes from evolution but is also a result of our experiences in childhood.
  3. To treat this form of mental illness, you can use drugs and therapy.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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19. Lost Connections by Johann Hari

Lost Connections Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“The more you think life is about having stuff and superiority and showing it off, the more unhappy, and the more depressed and anxious, you will be.” — Johann Hari

The Book in One Sentence

Lost Connections explains why depression affects so many people and that improving our relationships, not taking medication, is the way to beat our mental health problems.

Why should you read it?

One of today’s most common mental illnesses is depression. Even though there are many people out there suffering from depression, it is still rather unclear what causes it: is it a chemical imbalance or is it the way we live today? Lost Connections shares different stories, from different groups to help us have a better understanding of how depression works and how we can fight against it.

Key Takeaways

  1. Depression is not the result of a chemical imbalance.
  2. There are nine main causes of depression, and they all have to do with difficult life circumstances.
  3. Social prescriptions help people feel valued and connected while medication does not.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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20. Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Reasons to Stay Alive Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“The world is increasingly designed to depress us. Happiness isn’t very good for the economy. If we were happy with what we had, why would we need more?” — Matt Haig

The Book in One Sentence

Reasons To Stay Alive shows you the dangers and difficulties surrounding mental illness, uncovers the stigma around it, and identifies how to recover from it by sharing the story of Matt Haig’s recovery after an awful panic attack and subsequent battle with depression and anxiety.

Why should you read it?

There is always a light at the end of the tunnel – or at least, this is one of the most important things that people have to understand. Living with depression is not an easy thing to do, whether it is you that is affected or someone close to you – and Matt Haig knows that, as he also suffers from depression. He has written this frank, yet encouraging book that reminds us that the little things do count and that life should be lived, for the better or the worse.

Key Takeaways

  1. If you’re depressed, reading books to get out of your own head can help.
  2. There are some benefits to mental illness, which even some of the world’s greatest leaders experienced.
  3. Recovery won’t be as straightforward as you think, but it is possible.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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21. A First Rate Madness by S. Nassir Ghaemi

A First Rate Madness Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“In times of crisis, we are better off being led by mentally ill leaders than by mentally normal ones.” — Cal Newport

The Book in One Sentence

A First-Rate Madness shares the stories of many world leaders and explains how they prevailed despite their mental illnesses and struggles, showing you how to turn your psychological disadvantages into leadership strengths.

Why should you read it?

The world has had many notable leaders up to this point – but what do they all have in common when there is a critical moment unfolding? Analyzing leaders such as Gandhi, Churchill, or JFK – and not only – Ghaemi has figured out that what is seen as a mood disorder can be a very important quality for a leader. Are you curious to find out more regarding this subject?

Key Takeaways

  1. Depression and bipolar disorder have benefits that may be helpful in leadership positions.
  2. Historical leaders like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Winston Churchill, and JFK had disorders that helped them make better decisions..
  3. Knowing the upside of mental illness can help us remove the stigma around it.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Psychology Books About Society

22. Social by Matthew D. Lieberman

Social Book Cover (Best Psychology Books About Society)

Favorite Quote

“It’s hard to find meaning in what we do if at some level it doesn’t help someone else or make someone happier.” Matthew D. Lieberman

The Book in One Sentence

Social explains how our innate drive to build social connections is the primary driver behind our behavior and explores ways we can use this knowledge to our advantage.

Why should you read it?

Human beings are social creatures, and that is a well-known fact. But what is a less known fact is to what extent we can be considered “social”. According to Matthew Lieberman, the need for humans to connect seems to be even more fundamental than the need we have for shelter or food. If you want to find out more about our need to be social and connect with other people, this book could be the best for you.

Key Takeaways

  1. We were programmed to connect socially, which is why social pain hurts so much.
  2. The ability to understand the feelings and thoughts of others helps us succeed in life.
  3. Kindness, not money, will buy you happiness and health.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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23. The Social Animal by David Brooks

The Social Animal Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“People who succeed tend to find one goal in the distant future and then chase it through thick and thin. School asks students to be good at a range of subjects, but life asks people to find one passion that they will follow forever.” — David Brooks

The Book in One Sentence

The Social Animal weaves social science research into the story of a fictional couple to shed light on the decision-making power of our unconscious minds.

Why should you read it?

What would you say about a blend of fiction and non-fiction? Because that is exactly what David Brooks is doing in this book: he creates a couple that lives their lives to the fullest. By making use of diverse scientific references, Brooks analyses the traits of both characters and puts into perspective the elements that made them who they are and what drove them towards it.

Key Takeaways

  1. Learning is not linear, it is a process of forward, backward, and side steps.
  2. Changing your environment is more effective than willpower when cultivating new habits and behaviors.
  3. Humans follow seven unconscious structures, so-called if/then rules, when framing a decision.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Psychology Books About Language

24. Words Can Change Your Brain by Andrew B. Newberg

Words Can Change Your Brain Book Cover (Best Psychology Books About Language)

Favorite Quote

“Choose your words wisely, because they will influence your happiness, your relationships, and your personal wealth.” — Andrew B. Newberg

The Book in One Sentence

Words Can Change Your Brain is the ultimate guide to becoming an expert communicator, teaching you how to use psychology to your advantage to express yourself better, listen more, and create an environment of trust with anyone you speak with.

Why should you read it?

People spend a lot of time with other people, daily. But that does not necessarily make them the best communicators, as there is always something more to learn about how we can get our points across. This book will help you improve your communication skills, in order to be happy and successful, no matter which environment you have to use them.

Key Takeaways

  1. If you want to connect with others better when talking, make sure that your mind is relaxed, present, and quiet.
  2. Utilize the power of happy memories to get your smile just right.
  3. You must listen well, speak slower, and even say less to understand others better and have them understand you.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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25. The Secret Life of Pronouns by James W. Pennebaker

The Secret Life of Pronouns Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“If you want to find your true love, compare the ways you use function words with that of your prospective partners..” — James W. Pennebaker

The Book in One Sentence

The Secret Life of Pronouns is a collection of research and case studies explaining what our use of pronouns, articles, and other style words can reveal about ourselves.

Why should you read it?

The way we talk gives a bit of insight into who we are and how we think. Or at least, that’s what Pennebaker has found out in his research – the words we use have a deeper meaning and can carry enough meaning to let us dive into the feelings we have and not only. If you are curious to figure out how the words we use are related to our ways of thinking, The Secret Life of Pronouns could help you out.

Key Takeaways

  1. The manner in which you use style words reveals a lot about your social skills.
  2. Your choice of pronouns reflects your upbringing and ways of thinking.
  3. Examining function words can tell whether people are compatible with one another.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Psychology Books About Happiness

26. Stumbling On Happiness by Dan Gilbert

Stumbling on Happiness Book Cover (Best Psychology Books About Happiness)

Favorite Quote

“The secret of happiness is variety, but the secret of variety, like the secret of all spices, is knowing when to use it.” — Dan Gilbert

The Book in One Sentence

Stumbling On Happiness examines the capacity of our brains to fill in gaps and simulate experiences, shows how our lack of awareness of these powers sometimes leads us to wrong decisions, and how we can change our behavior to synthesize our own happiness.

Why should you read it?

We imagine a lot of things daily, but we mostly imagine the future – creating scenarios, mostly. Using the latest discoveries in psychology, economics, and cognitive neuroscience, Daniel Gilbert provides us not only with a brilliant but also accessible book that will put into perspective the fact that we tend to know very little about us and the people surrounding us.

Key Takeaways

  1. Your brain is really bad at filling in the blanks, but it keeps on trying.
  2. You should always compare products based on value, never on past price.
  3. Bad experiences are better than no experiences.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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27. Flourish by Martin Seligman

Flourish Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“I’m trying to broaden the scope of positive psychology well beyond the smiley face. Happiness is just one-fifth of what human beings choose to do.” — Martin Seligman

The Book in One Sentence

Flourish establishes a new model for well-being, rooted in positive psychology, building on five key pillars to help you create a happy life through the power of simple exercises.

Why should you read it?

How can you flourish? Well, the answers you are looking for might be right in the pages of this book, written by Martin Seligman, a founding father of what is called “the happiness research”. Concentrating on positive psychology, this book will help you realise that psychology is more than helping people with their suffering – it is a tool to help you build your life for the better.

Key Takeaways

  1. Seligman’s PERMA model for happiness is the key to a life of profound fulfillment.
  2. Simple positivity exercises can have life-changing effects, like these two.
  3. IQ isn’t everything – success is based on character traits, not just intelligence.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Psychology Books About Decision-Making

28. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

Blink Book Cover (Best Psychology Books About Decision-Making)

Favorite Quote

“The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.” — Malcolm Gladwell

The Book in One Sentence

Blink explains what happens when you listen to your gut feeling, why these snap judgments are often much more efficient than conscious deliberating, and how to avoid your intuition leading you to wrong assumptions.

Why should you read it?

What is behind every decision that we make? Why do some people choose something in the blink of an eye, while others spend a lot of time figuring out what to choose? Blink helps us understand the mechanism behind decision-making and the decisions themselves. If you want to have a better understanding of your mind and mechanisms, Malcolm Gladwell’s book will help you out.

Key Takeaways

  1. Your unconscious is the world’s fastest filter of information.
  2. Stress can lead your gut astray.
  3. Put up screens in situations where you can’t trust your intuition.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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29. The Paradox Of Choice by Barry Schwartz

The Paradox of Choice Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“The secret to happiness is low expectations.” – Barry Schwartz

The Book in One Sentence

The Paradox Of Choice shows you how today’s vast amount of choice makes you frustrated, less likely to choose, more likely to mess up, and less happy overall, before giving you concrete strategies and tips to ease the burden of decision-making.

Why should you read it?

We live in a world where choice is no longer a problem: at least from the perspective of quantity. And that is where it gets tricky: this abundance of choice can make us feel overwhelmed and can even lead to anxiety. So, how do we end up making the right choices? Barry Schwartz offers us practical advice that not only will help us make the right choice, but also be happy about the choices we made.

Key Takeaways

  1. The more options you have, the harder it gets to decide, and to decide well.
  2. The more options you have, the less happy you will be, no matter what you decide on.
  3. Good enough is the best – become a satisficer.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Psychology Books About Human Behavior And Cognitive Biases

30. Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me by Carol Tavris
Mistakes Were Made Book Cover (Best Psychology Books About Human Behavior And Cognitive Biases)

Favorite Quote

“History is written by the victors, but it’s victims who write the memoirs.” — Carol Tavris

The Book in One Sentence

Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me takes you on a journey of famous examples and areas of life where mistakes are hushed up instead of admitted, showing you along the way how this hinders progress, why we do it in the first place, and what you can do to start honestly admitting your own.

Why should you read it?

Ever since we are young, the one thing we do is hide. Of course, it’s not just about the hide and seek game, but the hiding of mistakes. Even as adults, we hate admitting that we have made a mistake. But the question is why do we act like this? This book will take you through the mechanisms in our brains that make us not admit our mistakes and provides enough advice to help you man up and admit your mistakes.

Key Takeaways

  1. You make up self-justifications to deal with the cognitive dissonance your mistakes create.
  2. Confirmation bias can lead you to change your entire morals.
  3. Stop thinking you’re stupid for making mistakes.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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31. The Honest Truth About Dishonesty by Dan Ariely

The Honest Truth About Dishonesty Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“The more cashless our society becomes, the more our moral compass slips.” — Dan Ariely

The Book in One Sentence

The Honest Truth About Dishonesty reveals our motivation behind cheating, why it’s not entirely rational, and, based on many experiments, what we can do to lessen the conflict between wanting to get ahead and being good people.

Why should you read it?

Are people 100% honest or do they all have at least a bit of a tendency to cheat? Dishonesty is this book’s main concern and according to bestselling author Dan Ariely, there is some motivation behind cheating and it is sometimes not rational. Fascinated by how human beings make decisions, Ariely has once again looked into how irrationality might influence what we do, even in terms of cheating.

Key Takeaways

  1. You don’t decide to cheat based on rational thinking.
  2. You’re more likely to cheat when there’s a psychological distance between you and cheating.
  3. Don’t wear fake designer clothes. Ever.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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32. Switch by Chip & Dan Heath

Switch Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Knowledge does not change behavior. We have all encountered crazy shrinks and obese doctors and divorced marriage counselors.” — Chip & Dan Heath

The Book in One Sentence

Switch is about how you can lead and encourage changes of human behavior, both in yourself and in your organization, by focusing on the three forces that influence it: the rider, the elephant and the path.

Why should you read it?

Change might not be the easiest thing to do. Sometimes we cannot do it, because it’s not something depending on us, while other times we refuse to do it because we are scared of the outcome. Chip and Dan Heath have written this book that addresses exactly that challenge: the one of changing, and they want to help us understand what we can do when change is hard, in an entertaining and engaging way.

Key Takeaways

  1. Focus on one specific, critical aspect of the change, so the rider doesn’t have to decide.
  2. Get the elephant moving with a powerful emotion.
  3. Make the path of change easy to follow, because human behavior is highly situational.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Psychology Books About Negative Thinking

33. The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman

The Antidote Book Cover (Best Psychology Books About Negative Thinking)

Favorite Quote

“The effort to feel happy is often precisely the thing that makes us miserable. Constant efforts to eliminate the negative, that is what causes us to feel so insecure, anxious, uncertain or unhappy.” — Oliver Burkeman

The Book in One Sentence

The Antidote will explain everything that’s wrong with positivity-based self-help advice and what you should do instead to feel, live, and be happier.

Why should you read it?

How happy would you say you are right now? How happy would you be if it started raining or snowing? These two questions are just two examples from a long line of questions regarding happiness – we are all looking for it, but it seems to be quite a hard thing to achieve. And according to Oliver Burkeman, positive thinking might not always be the answer. Are you ready to try some of the unconventional methods this book proposes?

Key Takeaways

  1. Thinking explicitly about happiness and pursuing it directly are actually counterproductive.
  2. Imagining the worst-case scenario makes you resilient, not depressed.
  3. Setting goals is just as likely to lead us into misery as it is to bring happiness.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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34. The Upside Of Your Dark Side by Todd Kashdan

The Upside of Your Dark Side Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“When we are open to new possibilities, we find them. Be open and skeptical of everything.” — Todd Kashdan

The Book in One Sentence

The Upside Of Your Dark Side takes a look at our darkest emotions, like anxiety or anger, and shows you there are real benefits that follow them and their underlying character traits, such as narcissism or psychopathy.

Why should you read it?

Are the positive things happening in your life the only ones meant to take you far and help you live a better life? Or is it necessary for us to also go through negative emotions and learn how to embrace our sadness or anger? Making use of years of research, this book helps us understand that the full range of emotions can help us change our lives.

Key Takeaways

  1. Happiness can interfere with your performance.
  2. Guilt is good, shame is shit.
  3. Mindfulness takes a toll on you.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Conclusion

We love psychology because it is one of the most practical fields you can study. Human relationships live entirely in the realm of psychology. Therefore, everything you learn about it will help you deal better with other people and yourself. Our lives have changed for the better after studying these books. We know yours will too.

It’s not easy to understand your thoughts and emotions. But when you do, you unlock a new potential for better living that you never imagined possible. The more you learn about psychology, the better you’ll get at recognizing the thoughts and feelings that pull you down so you can learn how to overcome them and live happier and healthier.

What would be the first thing one should know in terms of psychology and how would it benefit themselves and others? Let us know!


Other Book Lists by Topic

Looking for more of the best books on various topics? Here are all the book lists we’ve made for you so far:


Other Book Lists by Author

Looking for more books by the world’s most celebrated authors? Here are all of the book lists by the author we’ve curated for you:


The 33 Best Self-Help Books of All Time to Read at Any Age

Best Self Help Books

Self-help books are all about change. A change of habits, character traits, or your physical appearance – you name it. The thing is, you have to make the change yourself.

Every New Year’s Eve, you commit to another version of “new year, new me.” But how does it look a few months later? Has it ever happened to you that you ended up resolving to make the same changes again the next year? Two years, three years, four years in a row? Inevitably, we’ll ask ourselves: How many times do I have to try this to succeed?

The honest answer is “Forever” – because there’ll always be new changes you want to make, a new person you’ll want to become. That’s perfectly okay. Growth is what life is all about. When it comes to making a certain set of new habits stick, however, there are proven methods, tools, tips, and tactics you can use. That way, you won’t get stuck trying to make a single transformation over and over again.

At Four Minute Books, we’ve summarized over 1,000 books, most of them in the self-improvement category. In the process, we’ve learned a thing or two about habits, and we’ve also discovered which books are most efficient at helping us adjust our behaviors to better serve our goals.

 

All in all, we’ve found 33 books that’ll support you in making the changes you want to make and achieving your full potential. In this list, we’ve curated them all – the 33 best self-help books of all time. These are the hardest hitters. They’ll drastically improve your life, no matter how old you are.

Self-help can be a tricky thing initially, but if you embrace it and stick with the process for the long run, it’ll yield great rewards. Changing yourself is a never-ending process. The books in our list will be a great starting point for your journey.

If you want to live your best life and become your most powerful self, here are the 33 best books you should dive into. Discover their secrets and make it happen!


Best Books on Self-Help Overall

1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist Book Cover (Best Self-Help Books)

Favorite Quote

“When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it.” — Paulo Coelho

The Book in One Sentence

The Alchemist is a classic novel in which a boy named Santiago embarks on a journey seeking treasure in the Egyptian pyramids after having a recurring dream about it and on the way meets mentors, falls in love, and most importantly, learns the true importance of who he is and how to improve himself and focus on what really matters in life.

Why should you read it?

This novel presents a simple story, yet filled with wisdom. Concentrating on the theme of destiny and integrating mysterious characters, as well as important lessons, it compels the reader to wonder constantly and to come to the conclusion that destiny is what we make of it.

Key Takeaways

  1. Listen to your heart if you want your dreams to come true.
  2. Your fear is holding you back more than anything else.
  3. “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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2. Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.” — James Clear

The Book in One Sentence

Atomic Habits is the definitive guide to breaking bad behaviors and adopting good ones in four steps, showing you how small, incremental, everyday routines compound into massive, positive change over time.

Why should you read it?

What does it take to form a habit? There is a lot of information out there in regards to this, but sometimes you might just not have the time to go through all of it. James Clear has put together this useful and practical book, for you to achieve more good habits and avoid the bad ones.

Key Takeaways

    1. Every time we perform a habit, we execute a four-step pattern: cue, craving, response, reward.
    2. If we want to form new habits, we should make them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying.
    3. You can use a habit tracker as a fun way to measure your progress and make sure you don’t fall off the wagon.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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3. Thinking Fast And Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking Fast and Slow Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Nothing in life is as important as you think it is, while you are thinking about it” — Daniel Kahneman

The Book in One Sentence

Thinking Fast and Slow shows you how two systems in your brain are constantly fighting over control of your behavior and actions, and teaches you the many ways in which this leads to errors in memory, judgment and decisions, and what you can do about it. /em>

Why should you read it?

The human mind is a wonderful, yet still undiscovered place. But what Kahneman can tell you is that two systems form our thinking. If you are looking for a curious conversation about the human mind, this book will not only get you thinking but also transform the way you think.

Key Takeaways

  1. The biggest leaps in progress are vertical, not horizontal.
  2. Your brain is lazy and thus keeps you from using the full power of your intelligence.
  3. When you’re making decisions about money, leave your emotions at home.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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4. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

The Four Agreements Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Death is not the biggest fear we have; our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive – the risk to be alive and express what we really are…” — Don Miguel Ruiz

The Book in One Sentence

The Four Agreements draws on the long tradition of the Toltecs, an ancient, indigenous people of Mexico, to show you that we have been domesticated from childhood, how these internal, guiding rules hurt us and what we can do to break and replace them with a new set of agreements with ourselves.

Why should you read it?

Our lives are usually conducted by a set of beliefs, and they can sometimes limit us and keep us away from our true calling. According to Don Miguel Ruiz, four agreements could help us transform the way we live our lives and experience its joys to the fullest. And if you are passionate about ancient wisdom, then this book might just be what you need.

Key Takeaways

  1. We’re domesticated from a young age and it leaves us living by a set of rules we haven’t chosen ourselves.
  2. What people say and do to you is a reflection on them, not you. Know who you are and you won’t take things personally.
  3. There are three ways to break your old agreements and live with new ones you choose yourself.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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5. The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” — Stephen R. Covey

The Book in One Sentence

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People teaches you both personal and professional effectiveness by changing your view of how the world works and giving you 7 habits, which, if adopted well, will lead you to immense success.

Why should you read it?

Taking control of your life might seem like a difficult thing to do without the proper advice. But Covey has put together a few pieces of advice to help people achieve exactly what they want, from proactivity to success in both their professional and personal lives.

Key Takeaways

  1. Do the funeral test.
  2. Learn how to say no.
  3. Practice active listening.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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6. Best Self by Mike Bayer

Best Self Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“It’s not selfish to take care of yourself.” — Mike Bayer

The Book in One Sentence

Best Self will help you become the hero you’ve always wanted to be by teaching you how to be honest with yourself about what you desire, identify your toxic anti-self, and discover the traits of the greatest possible version of you that you can imagine.

Why should you read it?

Do people change in order to become happier? If you are unsure how to answer this question, Coach Mike’s book might be a good starting point, as it will help you put into perspective where exactly your life is. Knowing where you stand can show you what you need to do and where to head to live a better life. Has this book made it to your “must-read” list yet?

Key Takeaways

  1. Don’t worry if you never learned how to reach your full potential, simply start now by defining the version of yourself that would make you happiest.
  2. Don’t worry if you never learned how to reach your full potential, simply start now by defining the version of yourself that would make you happiest.
  3. Help yourself first so you can take great care of other people.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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7. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for” — Mark Manson

The Book in One Sentence

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck does away with the positive psychology craze to instead give you a Stoic, no bullshit approach to living a life that might not always be happy, but meaningful and centered only around what’s important to you.

Why should you read it?

Nowadays, wherever you turn your head, you hear that positivity is the key to living a happy and fulfilled life. But according to Mark Manson, this might be a flawed way of thinking and he will tell you that in a raw voice that will make you rethink all that you know about living a happy life.

Key Takeaways

  1. Values you can’t control are bad values to follow.
  2. Don’t believe you know anything with certainty, for it keeps you from improving.
  3. Trying to leave a legacy might ruin your life.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Self Help Books for Women

8. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis

Girl, Wash Your Face (Best Self Help Books for Women)

Favorite Quote

“You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for who you become and how happy you are.” — Rachel Hollis

The Book in One Sentence

Girl, Wash Your Face inspires women to take their lives into their own hands and make their dreams happen, no matter how discouraged they may feel at the moment.

Why should you read it?

Women deal with a lot of things that might not be visible to other people. In this book, Hollis makes use of a soft, yet empowering tone that helps women remove themselves from any mentality that might destroy their self-confidence and helps them stay on top of things, even when they seem to crumble. A book that is filled with honesty and humor, as well as precious advice.

Key Takeaways

  1. Build the habit of keeping your promises to yourself because breaking them pulls you down.
  2. Rather than fighting the river of chaotic home life, learn to embrace it.
  3. Visualize your dreams and focus on them in detail to stay motivated to make them happen.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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9. You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

You Are a Badass Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“You are responsible for what you say and do. You are not responsible for whether or not people freak out about it.” ― Jen Sincero

The Book in One Sentence

You Are A Badass helps you become self-aware, figure out what you want in life and then summon the guts to not worry about the how, kick others’ opinions to the curb and focus your life on the thing that will make you happy.

Why should you read it?

Improving your life might sound like a tedious thing to do, but it doesn’t always have to be like that. Jen Sincero has written this book exactly for those people – the ones who want to change their lives, but not in a hard way. Making use of stories and pieces of advice, as well as easy exercises, this book promises to be a good starting point in your life-changing journey.

Key Takeaways

  1. Decide you’ll stop caring what other people think. Right. now.
  2. Figure out what you want but don’t obsess about how you’ll get there.
  3. If your habits, surroundings and friends don’t support you, it’s time to change them.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Self Help Books for Men

10. 12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson

12 Rules For Life (Best Self Help Books for Men)

Favorite Quote

“It’s all very well to think the meaning of life is happiness, but what happens when you’re unhappy? Happiness is a great side effect. When it comes, accept it gratefully. But it’s fleeting and unpredictable.” — Jordan Peterson

The Book in One Sentence

12 Rules For Life is a stern, story-based, and entertaining self-help manual for young people that lays out a set of simple principles that can help us become more disciplined, behave better, act with integrity, and balance our lives while enjoying them as much as we can.

Why should you read it?

Sometimes, life can get rather chaotic and some things just don’t seem to make sense. Not to mention those burning questions that nobody seems to have an answer to. But according to Dr. Peterson, there are some things everybody should know and he explains them in a humorous and informative way in this stunning book.

Key Takeaways

  1. Sweep in front of your own door before pointing out the street is dirty.
  2. Treat yourself like a child you’re responsible for.
  3. Aim to do what is meaningful, not convenient.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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11. The 48 Laws Of Power by Robert Greene

The 48 Laws of Power Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.” — Robert Greene

The Book in One Sentence

The 48 Laws Of Power draws on many of history’s most famous power quarrels to show you what power looks like, how you can get it, what to do to defend yourself against the power of others and, most importantly, how to use it well and keep it.

Why should you read it?

What constitutes power? Is it a set of black and white moral views? Or is it a set of gray moral views, the ones that some people never really talk about? This challenging book puts into perspective a synthesis of philosophies and historical legacies that might be surprising to the reader. Are you curious yet?

Key Takeaways

  1. Always make superiors look smarter than you.
  2. Confuse competitors by acting unpredictably.
  3. Don’t force others to do what you want, seduce them instead.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Self Help Books for 20-Somethings

12. The Courage To Be Disliked by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga

The Courage to Be Disliked (Best Self Help Books for 20-Somethings)

Favorite Quote

“The courage to be happy also includes the courage to be disliked. When you have gained that courage, your interpersonal relationships will all at once change into things of lightness.” — Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga

The Book in One Sentence

The Courage to be Disliked is a Japanese analysis of the work of 19th-century psychologist Alfred Adler, who established that happiness lies in the hands of each human individual and does not depend on past traumas.

Why should you read it?

Is it that easy to liberate our real selves and be happy, despite past experiences and doubts that might have shaped us differently? This book offers precious insight in terms of what we need to do to let go of any burdens that might keep us away from who we truly are.

Key Takeaways

  1. It’s dangerous to believe that your past determines your future.
  2. If you focus on what’s wrong with you, you might be looking for reasons to hate yourself on purpose.
  3. Most of what we think of as competition is just made up and hurting our happiness.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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13. Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man's Search For Meaning Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” — Viktor Frankl

The Book in One Sentence

Man’s Search For Meaning details holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s horrifying experiences in Nazi concentration camps, along with his psychological approach of logotherapy, which is also what helped him survive and shows you how you can – and must – find meaning in your life.

Why should you read it?

Do you ever wonder what is exactly that people are pursuing? Could it be anything we find meaningful or is it just something that brings us happiness and pleasure? Written by a psychiatrist, this book wants to inspire us to find something meaningful not just when it comes to things, but when it comes to your life.

Key Takeaways

  1. Sometimes the only way to survive is to surrender to death..
  2. Your life has its own meaning and it’s up to you to find it.
  3. Use paradoxical intention to make your fears go away.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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14. How To Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Let’s not allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. Remember: Life is too short to be little.” — Dale Carnegie

The Book in One Sentence

How To Stop Worrying And Start Living is a self-help classic which addresses one of the leading causes of physical illness, worry, by showing you simple and actionable techniques to eliminate it from your life.

Why should you read it?

Do you feel like you are constantly worrying and that this is taking its toll on you? This book might help you cope with those feelings, by making use of simple, yet effective techniques that can bring you peace. You might also find out the golden rule for conquering any kind of worry – but that will not be spoiled here.

Key Takeaways

  1. Use a 3-step approach to deal with confusion and you’ll eliminate the worry caused by it.
  2. Put a stop-loss on stress and grief.
  3. Take criticism as compliments.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Self Help Books for Self Esteem

15. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Daring Greatly Book Cover (Best Self Help Books for Self Esteem)

Favorite Quote

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” — Brene Brown

The Book in One Sentence

Daring Greatly is a book about having the courage to be vulnerable in a world where everyone wants to appear strong, confident and like they know what they’re doing.

Why should you read it?

Embracing our vulnerabilities can be a difficult thing to do, but once we learn how to do that, we find out that we can dare to do anything. Dr. Brene Brown has come up with a powerful vision that encourages us to do exactly that: overcome our insecurities and learn how to live our lives fearlessly.

Key Takeaways

  1. Vulnerability means strength, not weakness.
  2. Understand and verbalize your shame to make it go away.
  3. Children can only become who you are, so be a role model.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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16. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“It seems to me that the less I fight my fear, the less it fights back. If I can relax, fear relaxes, too.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

The Book in One Sentence

Big Magic is the book that’ll give you the courage you need to pursue your creative interests by showing you how to deal with your fears, notice ideas and act on them and take the stress out of creation.

Why should you read it?

Inspiration is a mysterious thing, but that’s what makes it so interesting. And Elizabeth Gilbert knows that, which is why she has written this book. In Big Magic, she tries to show us how to embrace who we are and to find those hidden things inside us, which can help us accomplish wonderful and unimaginable things. Filled with wonder and with a sense of joy, this book might be what you need to let go of your fears and live in a way that inspires you to change.

Key Takeaways

  1. Let your fears coexist with your passions.
  2. Give yourself permission to create.
  3. Keep your day job to fuel your creative affair.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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17. Quiet by Susan Cain

Quiet Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.” — Susan Cain

The Book in One Sentence

Quiet shows the slow rise of the extrovert ideal for success throughout the 20th century, while making a case for the underappreciated power of introverts and showing up new ways for both forces to cooperate.

Why should you read it?

There are people in the world who prefer to listen, rather than talk. Or people who have greater results on their own, rather than inside a team. And those people are most likely introverts. Susan Cain presents us in this book with stories about those quiet people and promises to give us a different perspective in regards to how we perceive these quiet people.

Key Takeaways

  1. Whether you like small talk or not is part of your personality type.
  2. Western cultures portray extroversion as the ideal of success.
  3. Companies need to adjust their workplaces to introverts as well.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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18. The Magic Of Thinking Big by David Joseph Schwartz

The Magic of Thinking Big Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Do what you fear and fear disappears.” — David Joseph Schwartz

The Book in One Sentence

The Magic Of Thinking Big gives you several starting points to develop and strengthen the most important trait of successful people: believing in yourself.

Why should you read it?

What do you need in order to become successful? Is it talent or intellect or is it just a habit of thinking in such a way that all you’ve ever wanted will be sitting right in front of you? Dr. Schwartz has put together a few useful methods to achieve all those things you want but never dared to get: from a good job to a good life.

Key Takeaways

  1. Always be open to new ideas.
  2. Learn something new whenever you can.
  3. Ask yourself “How can I do a better job today?” every day.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Self Help Books About Relationships

19. How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People (Best Self Help Books About Relationships)

Favorite Quote

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” — Dale Carnegie

The Book in One Sentence

How To Win Friends And Influence People teaches you countless principles to become a likable person, handle your relationships well, win others over and help them change their behavior without being intrusive.

Why should you read it?

Making things work to your advantage doesn’t have to be just a dream. All the things you have in mind can happen and all you need is to follow the solid advice Dale Carnegie has to offer in this bestseller. How to make friends, how to win people by making use of the way you think. and how to change people – these are all things you will encounter in this book.

Key Takeaways

  1. You can make a great first impression just by smiling.
  2. To be interesting to others, talk about their favorite topic: themselves.
  3. If you want to convince people, get them to say yes a lot.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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20. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

The 5 Love Languages Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“True love cannot beging until the “in love” experience has run its course” — Gary Chapman

The Book in One Sentence

The 5 Love Languages shows couples how to make their love last by learning to recognize the unique way their partner feels love.

Why should you read it?

Love is a curious thing, and it can even be deemed as challenging sometimes. But there is a secret to keep things going and this book contains it. Filled with practical examples, Dr. Chapman’s approach will help you experience a deeper connection with your partner and also discover the love language of both you and your partner, through a Couple’s Personal Profile assessment.

Key Takeaways

  1. As your relationship matures, communication is key.
  2. There are 5 different ways people give and show love.
  3. Identify your and your partner’s love language to deepen intimacy.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Self Help Books About Productivity

21. Deep Work by Cal Newport

Deep Work Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“If you don’t produce, you won’t thrive – no matter how skilled or talented you are.” — Cal Newport

The Book in One Sentence

Deep Work proposes that we have lost our ability to focus deeply and immerse ourselves in a complex task, showing you how to cultivate this skill again and focus more than ever before with four simple rules.

Why should you read it?

There is a valuable skill out there that could you get the best results in whatever you do. Being able to focus without being distracted can seem like a difficult thing to do, but it is a very powerful skill that could help you achieve your goals and unexpected results. If you want to find out more about this skill, Cal Newport’s book might be a good starting point.

Key Takeaways

  1. There are four strategies for deep work, all of which require intention.
  2. Productive meditation can help you work deeper, even while you’re taking a break.
  3. Stop working at the same time each day.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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22. Getting Things Done by David Allen

Getting Things Done Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” — David Allen

The Book in One Sentence

Getting Things Done is a manual for stress-free productivity, which helps you set up a system of lists, reminders and weekly reviews, in order to free your mind from having to remember tasks and to-dos and instead let it work at full focus on the task at hand.

Why should you read it?

Things change daily and that can sometimes become overwhelming and even frustrating. But that doesn’t always have to be the case, as David Allen depicts. Filled with methods that will help our productivity reach its peak, even in the case of stressful situations, this book will help you get things done, under any circumstances.

Key Takeaways

  1. Use a “collection bucket” to store things outside your mind and stay focused.
  2. Create a “next actions” list for all your projects to avoid thinking in the moment.
  3. Do a weekly review of everything, or else!

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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23. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” — Spencer Johnson

The Book in One Sentence

Who Moved My Cheese tells a parable, which you can directly apply to your own life, in order to stop fearing what lies ahead and instead thrive in an environment of change and uncertainty.

Why should you read it?

This is not your usual guide, but rather an amusing story that will put things into perspective. You are in a maze and there’s a block of cheese in front of you. Your life is the maze and the cheese is the prize, but there is a tricky thing about it – you constantly have to chase it. Just as it is in life, this story puts into perspective the challenges we have to deal with in order to reach our goals. But what’s the moral of the story? You’ll discover it when you read this book!

Key Takeaways

  1. Thinking too much about your cheese might paralyze you, so just start looking.
  2. Nothing lasts forever, so keep your eyes open for approaching changes.
  3. You can always find new cheese, and the minute you start moving things will get better.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Self Help Books About Money

24. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad (Best Self Help Books About Money)

Favorite Quote

“The main reason that over 90 percent of the American public struggles financially is because they play not to lose. They don’t play to win.” — Robert T. Kiyosaki

The Book in One Sentence

Rich Dad Poor Dad tells the story of a boy with two fathers, one rich, one poor, to help you develop the mindset and financial knowledge you need to build a life of wealth and freedom.

Why should you read it?

As a child, growing up, your views and thoughts are usually shaped by your parents. And in this book, Robert tells the story of how his views about money and how they were shaped by his two dads, one of them being his real father and the other one, his best friend’s father. Money makes the world go round, but how do you deal with them? Read this book to find out.

Key Takeaways

  1. Get a real financial education if you ever want to exit the “rat race” and stop living paycheck to paycheck.
  2. Stop saying “I can’t afford it” and instead focus all your energy on answering the question “how can I afford it?”
  3. Get more assets, which are anything that brings in more money, and pay off all liabilities, which are anything that takes your money away.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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25. Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.” — Napoleon Hill

The Book in One Sentence

Think And Grow Rich is a curation of the 13 most common habits of wealthy and successful people, distilled from studying over 500 individuals over the course of 20 years.

Why should you read it?

In life, you have to take certain steps to achieve your goals and there is also a point where you have to avoid certain steps to be successful. Filled with timeless information and pieces of advice that might take you far, this book is a must-read for your personal development.

Key Takeaways

  1. Use autosuggestion to build an unshakable belief in yourself.
  2. Be stubborn and always stick to your decisions.
  3. Join a Mastermind group to cut the learning curve.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Self Help Books for Business

26. The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek Book Cover (Best Self Help Books for Business)

Favorite Quote

“Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.” — Tim Ferriss

The Book in One Sentence

The 4-Hour Workweek is the step-by-step blueprint to free yourself from the shackles of a corporate job, create a business to fund the lifestyle of your dreams, and live life like a millionaire, without actually having to be one.

Why should you read it?

The world keeps changing, but some things seem to always stay the same. If you feel that your business is trapping you in a life that is not the best for you or if you just feel overworked, while other people seem to be doing very little and are living their lives to the fullest, you might want to dive into this book and find out exactly what you might be doing wrong.

Key Takeaways

  1. Be effective, not efficient.
  2. Validate all of your business ideas.
  3. Charge a premium to make your life easier.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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27. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Who we are cannot be separated from where we’re from” — Malcolm Gladwell

The Book in One Sentence

Outliers explains why “the self-made man” is a myth and what truly lies behind the success of the best people in their field, which is often a series of lucky events, rare opportunities and other external factors, which are out of our control.

Why should you read it?

Are those considered high achievers different from the rest of the world? Malcolm Gladwell answers this question and not only, in a book that puts into perspective the background of those high achieving people. According to him, being that kind of person is not just about what you are like, but so much more. Are you curious to find out the secrets of all these great people?

Key Takeaways

  1. After you cross a certain skill threshold, your abilities won’t help you.
  2. The month you’re born in matters.
  3. Asians are good at math, because where you come from matters.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Self Help Books for Positive Thinking

28. The Power Of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

The Power of Positive Thinking Book Cover (Best Self Help Books for Positive Thinking)

Favorite Quote

“The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised.” — Norman Vincent Peale

The Book in One Sentence

The Power of Positive Thinking will show you that the roots of success lie in the mind and teach you how to believe in yourself, break the habit of worrying, and take control of your life by taking control of your thoughts and changing your attitude.

Why should you read it?

You usually hear people saying that you should have faith in yourself, and that alone will bring you to the point you want to reach. But what if you had more faith in action? Filled with practical advice, this book will help you clear your mind and realize that sometimes, you just have to let yourself believe.

Key Takeaways

  1. Start with confidence and watch your problems shrink.
  2. Your world is nothing more than the thoughts you have about your experiences.
  3. In order to live worry-free, first imagine a worry-free life.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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29. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

The Secret Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“Ninety-nine percent of who you are is invisible and untouchable.” — Rhonda Byrne

The Book in One Sentence

The Secret explains how the law of attraction governs your thinking and actions, and how you can use it to achieve whatever you desire in life.

Why should you read it?

The world is a magical place and it is filled with secrets that can make us understand our power and how to properly use it. All these secrets form what is called The Secret, which contains words of wisdom and powerful wisdom which will help you overcome any difficulties you might encounter in your life.

Key Takeaways

  1. The law of attraction is one of the most prevalent principles in the world.
  2. To use the law of attraction, you must think about what you want, not what you want to avoid.
  3. The three steps of the law of attraction are asking, believing, and receiving.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Self Help Books About Stoicism

30. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Meditations Book Cover (Best Self Help Books About Stoicism)

Favorite Quote

“Put an end once for all to this discussion of what a good man should be, and be one.” — Marcus Aurelius

The Book in One Sentence

Meditations is a collection of 12 books written by Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, who’ll introduce you to Stoic philosophy, the concept of logic, self-discipline and give you faith that the course the world runs is a good one.

Why should you read it?

A remarkable collection of personal writings by Marcus Aurelius, this book will help you realize that simple and true ideas might be the most important things to live life to the fullest extent. Things are temporary, and so are people and their feelings, but what is not temporary is the work we put into developing ourselves. An enlightening read, this book will provide you with some challenging beliefs.

Key Takeaways

  1. Logic doesn’t always make sense, but everything happens for a reason.
  2. Life is too short to complain.
  3. The only pain you suffer is the one you create yourself.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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31. The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday

The Obstacle is the Way Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“There is no good or bad without us, there is only perception. There is the event itself and the story we tell ourselves about what it means.” — Ryan Holiday

The Book in One Sentence

The Obstacle Is The Way is a modern take on the ancient philosophy of Stoicism, which helps you endure the struggles of life with grace and resilience by drawing lessons from ancient heroes, former presidents, modern actors, athletes, and how they turned adversity into success, thanks to the power of perception, action and will.

Why should you read it?

You might ask yourself, is there a way to transform obstacles into actual opportunities? Ryan Holiday shows us in this book that there is a way for us to turn different situations into victories, as impossible as they might seem at the beginning. And all of this, by making use of different philosophical principles.

Key Takeaways

  1. Imagine you’re advising yourself as a friend to keep an objective perspective.
  2. Large obstacles have large weaknesses – identify them and use them against them.
  3. Use your will to accept what you cannot change and change the things you can.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Self Help Books About Mindfulness

32. The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now Book Cover (Best Self Help Books About Mindfulness)

Favorite Quote

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” — Eckhart Tolle

The Book in One Sentence

The Power of Now shows you that every minute you spend worrying about the future or regretting the past is a minute lost, because really all you have to live in is the present, the now, and gives you actionable strategies to start living every minute as it occurs.

Why should you read it?

Is living in the present moment the key to a happy life? According to Eckhart Tolle, this might just be what we need – to be conscious and to live in the moment. Employing useful information and ideas which prove to be inspirational, this guidebook will inspire you to change your life for the better. < h3>Key Takeaways

  1. Life is just a series of present moments.
  2. All pain is a result of resistance to the things you cannot change.
  3. You can free yourself from pain by constantly observing your mind and not judging your thoughts.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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33. The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Book Cover

Favorite Quote

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” — Marie Kondo

The Book in One Sentence

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up takes you through the process of simplifying, organizing and storing your belongings step by step, to make your home a place of peace and clarity.

Why should you read it?

Your environment dictates your mood. And it also applies to your home – if your home is cluttered with all sorts of things, your mood might be affected by it. Tidying up your house might help you reach a feeling of calmness and to change your mindset – all for the better.

Key Takeaways

  1. Move from easy to hard items when considering what to keep.
  2. YODO – you only declutter once (if you do it right).
  3. Ask yourself a few simple questions for each item.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Conclusion

That concludes our list of the best self-improvement books. We hope we managed to give you a bit of insight into what self help means and how to do it right. We’re confident that these 33 books will help you figure out where to start and how to become the person you want to be.

Letting go of certain beliefs or ideas might be scary, but when you take a leap, you’ll discover parts of yourself you never knew existed. Knowing yourself and changing yourself is not a piece of cake, but it will bring out your most remarkable sides.

What idea spoke most to you in our list? Which book presented it the best? Take that idea and put it into practice, and you’ll find yourself improving immediately!


Other Book Lists by Topic

Looking for more of the best books on various topics? Here are all the book lists we’ve made for you so far:


Other Book Lists by Author

Looking for more books by the world’s most celebrated authors? Here are all of the book lists by the author we’ve curated for you:


The 21 Best Habit Books of All Time to Change Any Behavior

Best Habit Books Cover Image Social Media Sharing

Habits. Such a simple yet powerful word. It contains all the behaviors we perform without giving them too much thought. Our actions and decisions, all mixed in a specific ritual.

The most interesting part about habits is how different they all are for every single one of us. Habits can refer to anything; from reaching for your toothpaste and toothbrush each morning to what you eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Forming a specific habit means associating a specific thing or action with another one. Making the right associations can drastically improve your life from all perspectives: work, psychology, health, and even money.

Here at Four Minute Books, we’ve summarized over 1,000 books. It’s quite a number, and it has provided us with a bit of knowledge regarding habits. We’ve discovered the best books on creating better habits, breaking bad ones, and even using the concept of habits itself to your advantage. If you manage them well, your habits will guide you to success and happiness – seemingly on autopilot!

 

If you want to dive into the world of habits, regardless of the field, consider the following 21 books. We’ve sorted them by various categories. Each section includes our favorite quote, a one-sentence-summary of the book, and three key takeaways. As a bonus, you can also find some reasons why you might want to read the book. The clickable table of contents below will allow you to jump to any of the books or categories.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the 21 best habit books of all time!


Best Books on Habits Overall

1. Atomic Habits by James Clear

Best Habit Books 1

Favorite Quote

“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.” — James Clear

The Book in One Sentence

Atomic Habits is the definitive guide to breaking bad behaviors and adopting good ones in four steps, showing you how small, incremental, everyday routines compound into massive, positive change over time.

Why should you read it?

You want to be better, but you don’t know where to start. Can you think of any good habits you might want to form and any bad habits you might want to get rid of? If the answer is yes, then this book is the right one for you, as it contains quite an impressive number of both examples and steps you can take when it comes to building habits. Giving even that 1% each day is important, or at least that’s what James tells us. And it doesn’t matter if we’re talking about reducing stress, losing weight, or winning a championship – Atomic Habits is the solution that will answer all of your questions.

Key Takeaways

    1. Every time we perform a habit, we execute a four-step pattern: cue, craving, response, reward.
    2. If we want to form new habits, we should make them obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying.
    3. You can use a habit tracker as a fun way to measure your progress and make sure you don’t fall off the wagon.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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2. The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Best Habit Books 2

Favorite Quote

“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” — Stephen R. Covey

The Book in One Sentence

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People teaches you both personal and professional effectiveness by changing your view of how the world works and giving you 7 habits, which, if adopted well, will lead you to immense success.

Why should you read it?

Life can sometimes become a rollercoaster and the simplest things tend to be overlooked. Things seem complicated when they are really not. And that is exactly what Stephen is telling us: the basic things might just be our key to success. Just to get you hooked on the book, I will give you one spoiler: prioritization is crucial. Sounds complicated, right? You might want to read the book to see how easy it actually is!

Key Takeaways

  1. Do the funeral test.
  2. Learn how to say no.
  3. Practice active listening.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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3. The Habit Blueprint by Patrik Edblad

Best Books on Habits 3

Favorite Quote

“Since you’re the biggest expert in the world on your behavior, I encourage you to take on the roles of both scientist and subject from this point forward. Let life become your experiment and the world your lab.” — Patrik Edblad

The Book in One Sentence

The Habit Blueprint strips down behavior change to its very core, giving you the ultimate, research-backed recipe for cultivating the habits you desire, with plenty of backup steps you can take to maximize your chances of success.

Why should you read it?

If you consider yourself the type of person that really needs a “how-to” kind of strategy, then this is the book for you. Times change and so do people, but in order to keep things running smoothly, people need to decide that they want to change and actually start doing it. Which can become overwhelming at times. Written by a certified mental trainer, this book is a quick and easy read that will determine you to actually jump from thought to action.

Key Takeaways

  1. Get a head start on your habit changes by picking a keystone habit first.
  2. Avoid fluctuating willpower by starting ridiculously small.
  3. Use the sunk cost fallacy to your advantage by building a chain of check-ins.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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4. Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin

Best Books About Habits 4

Favorite Quote

“What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” — Gretchen Rubin

The Book in One Sentence

Better Than Before breaks down the latest research on how to break bad habits and develop good ones, in order to help you find your habit tendency and give you a few simple tools to start improving your own habits.

Why should you read it?

Nowadays, one of the most asked questions is related to change. And this New York Times bestseller is trying to answer that exact question with a very simple answer. The way in which we spend our time basically dictates how our lives flow. And maybe even those daily habits you might not necessarily take into consideration have a bigger impact than you might think. If you need doable approaches or concepts that can take you a long way, this book can help you achieve that.

Key Takeaways

  1. There are 4 different habit tendencies: Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, and Rebel.
  2. Track and plan your habits with two simple tools to make sure you follow through: a calendar and a habit tracker.
  3. Make good habits easy to do and bad ones unattractive.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Books About Habits for Beginners

5. The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Best Habit Books 5

Favorite Quote

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.” — Charles Duhigg

The Book in One Sentence

The Power Of Habit helps you understand why habits are at the core of everything you do, how you can change them, and what impact that will have on your life, your business and society.

Why should you read it?

Human nature might be difficult to understand sometimes and scientific discoveries regarding it never ceases to amaze us. If you are looking for an enjoyable book, that gives you a bit of insight into how exactly habits work and how they can be changed, then this book might be your winner. Habits govern our life, whether they’re good or bad. Starting or breaking a habit might be difficult, but knowing exactly how and why they are formed can save us a lot of time and give us a lot of control.

Key Takeaways

  1. Habits work in 3-step loops: cue, routine, reward.
  2. You can change your habits by substituting just one part of the loop, the routine.
  3. Willpower is the most important habit, and you can strengthen it over time with 3 things.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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6. Tiny Habits by B.J. Fogg

Best Habit Books 6

Favorite Quote

“After you put your feet on the floor in the morning, immediately say this phrase, ‘It’s going to be a great day.’ As you say these seven words, try to feel optimistic and positive.” ― B.J. Fogg

The Book in One Sentence

Tiny Habits shows you the power of applying small changes to your routine to unleash the full power that habits have to make your life better.

Why should you read it?

Times sometimes get really chaotic and have a greater effect than imagined on us. And at one point, we can all agree that change is not the easiest process out there, as it has a lot of elements that form it. The world’s leading expert B.J. Fogg agrees with this idea, which is why the main focus is on breaking a “habit” into a set of “little habits”, which can allow you to make small, but sure changes. If taking things step by step is your way to go, then this book should be all yours.

Key Takeaways

  1. Starting embarrassingly small is the secret to keep you going through the boring days and beyond to finally reach your goals.
  2. Motivation doesn’t work for long-term growth, you need to tap into the potential of behavior.
  3. To unlock the power of action, connect your habits with prompts that are already in your daily routine.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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7. Mini Habits by Stephen Guise

Best Books on Habits 7

Favorite Quote

“Be the person with embarrassing goals and impressive results instead of one of the many people with impressive goals and embarrassing results.” ― Stephen Guise

The Book in One Sentence

Mini Habits explains how you can get the most out of the fact that 45% of your behavior happens on autopilot by setting ridiculously small goals, relying on willpower instead of motivation and tracking your progress to live a life that’s full of good mini habits.

Why should you read it?

This book dives into the idea that you can change and make these changes last. Do you want a motivating, but rather quick read? Hop right on, but don’t go too fast. Keeping a rather lower profile and going slower might be the key elements to success. Also, if you want a bit of the author’s personal touch, a book that will make you think: “That makes so much sense and it is exactly what I was thinking!,” then you might have made an important discovery with this title.

Key Takeaways

  1. Set a super easy goal to start, because chances are you’ll keep going once you’re off.
  2. Use some kind of system to track your habits and progress.
  3. When you beat your goal, don’t increase the standard, or you’ll fall off the wagon.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Books About Habits for Work

8. The Achievement Habit by Bernard Roth

Best Habit Books 8

Favorite Quote

“We don’t realize how many of our fixed views of the world are based on limited samples of reality.” — Bernard Roth

The Book in One Sentence

The Achievement Habit shows you that being an achiever can be learned, by using the principles of design thinking to walk you through several stories and exercises, which will get you to stop wishing and start doing.

Why should you read it?

Written by the Academic Director at the Stanford d. School, this book dives into the powerful methods of design thinking. Do you usually find yourself stuck in situations or moments in which you shouldn’t be? This book offers enough tips to help you remove yourself from such a situation by rewiring the way in which you think about a problem. And the best part about this book? You can find quite a few strategies that are not only creative but will also help you when you feel like you are stuck.

Key Takeaways

  1. Stop giving reasons, they’re just another form of excuses.
  2. Swap “but” for “and” in everything you say.
  3. Don’t network, make real friends instead.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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9. The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp

Best Books on Habits 9

Favorite Quote

“I read for growth, firmly believing that what you are today and what you will be in five years depends on two things: the people you meet and the books you read.” — Twyla Tharp

The Book in One Sentence

The Creative Habit is a dancer’s blueprint to making creativity a habit, which she’s successfully done for over 50 years in the entertainment industry.

Why should you read it?

Creativity is often seen as a gift, as something magical, a spark some people are born with, while others without. But what if it’s all about effort and construction? This book is not your usual “manual” or practical kind of book – it is more an insight into how Twyla Tharp stays on top of her game. If you are looking for strategies that could be considered rather high-level and could help you be the most creative person out there, this would be a great starting point.

Key Takeaways

  1. Design a starting ritual for your creative process.
  2. Use a project box to prepare your work and ground yourself.
  3. Always end right in the middle of work for an easy entry the next day.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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10. The 8th Habit by Stephen R. Covey

Best Habit Books 10

Favorite Quote

“People simply feel better about themselves when they’re good at something.” — Stephen R. Covey

The Book in One Sentence

The 8th Habit is about finding your voice and helping others discover their own, in order to thrive at work in the Information Age, where interdependence is more important than independence.

Why should you read it?

A sequel to his previous book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this one challenges readers to put everything they have learned so far in the proper perspective and flourish from there. If you are on the lookout for simple, yet useful insights to help you be more effective, Stephen has them for you. And one of the best parts is that these principles can be integrated into any part of your life – be it private or public life, all in order to make a difference.

Key Takeaways

  1. Your freedom to choose is the biggest gift you were born with.
  2. Build trust by being friendly, knowing when to say sorry and following through on your promises.
  3. Empower others by giving up control and handing them responsibility.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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11. The Now Habit by Neil Fiore

Best Habit Books 11

Favorite Quote

“The choice is not working or not working, but which type of work; even feeling guilty because of procrastinating takes some effort.” — Neil Fiore

The Book in One Sentence

The Now Habit is a strategic program to help you eliminate procrastination from your life, bring fun and motivation back to your work and enjoy your well-earned spare time without feeling guilty.

Why should you read it?

Having sold over 100.000 copies, this book tackles the idea of overcoming procrastination through a comprehensive plan. There are quite a few books on the market that usually tell you that procrastination can be overcome if you make a list or just… start working. But this book does not give you those reasons over and over again. It starts by explaining why people procrastinate and as you might have guessed it, it is not because they’re lazy. But not to give any spoilers, information is key in this book and it opens the lock to all your time barriers.

Key Takeaways

  1. Procrastination is trained into us.
  2. Try to unschedule your life.
  3. Record your distractions to block them.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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12. Switch  by Chip & Dan Heath

Best Books About Habits 12

Favorite Quote

“Knowledge does not change behavior. We have all encountered crazy shrinks and obese doctors and divorced marriage counselors.” — Chip & Dan Heath

The Book in One Sentence

Switch is about how you can lead and encourage changes of human behavior, both in yourself and in your organization, by focusing on the three forces that influence it: the rider, the elephant and the path.

Why should you read it?

Best-selling authors of Made to Stick, Chip and Dan Heath have returned with a delicate subject: how do you change when it’s not so easy to do so? Are you also looking for complex subjects explained in a simple manner? This book comprises a metaphorical sense that helps with all the concepts that are presented. Changing is not an easy task, but knowing exactly how to kickstart the mechanics behind change can help you achieve quite a lot. And it might never be the easy way out, but it will definitely be the best way out.

Key Takeaways

  1. Focus on one specific, critical aspect of the change, so the rider doesn’t have to decide.
  2. Get the elephant moving with a powerful emotion.
  3. Make the path of change easy to follow, because human behavior is highly situational.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Habit Books About Money

13. Millionaire Success Habits by Dean Graziosi

Best Habit Books 13

Favorite Quote

“It doesn’t matter where you come from. It only matters where you are and where you want to go.” — Dean Grazios

The Book in One Sentence

Millionaire Success Habits will teach you the habits you need to become financially successful and make a big difference in the world along the way.

Why should you read it?

Where could you situate yourself in life as we speak and where do you want to end up? This book might just have the answer you are looking for. Informative and impressive – these are probably the best words to describe this book. And sometimes, the smallest shifts can produce the biggest effects. And that, no matter the circumstances you find yourself in. It just takes a bit of courage to apply any of the wisdom shared in this book.

Key Takeaways

  1. Find your why by doing the seven levels deep exercise and your motivation and energy will skyrocket.
  2. Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses, if you want to be happier and more productive.”
  3. Wake up the hero inside of you and let them take charge of your life.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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14. Dollars And Sense by Dan Ariely & Jeff Kreisler

Best Books About Habits 14

Favorite Quote

“Thinking a lot about money would be fine if by thinking more about it we were able to make better decisions.” — Dan Ariely & Jeff Kreisler

The Book in One Sentence

Dollars And Sense explains why it’s so hard to manage money and teaches you how to combat false cues and natural desires so you can manage your dollars in better ways.

Why should you read it?

Money is just a collection of numbers, or so we think, but sometimes, we judge these numbers with our hearts, and not our heads. How would you describe your relationship with money and how would you describe your spending habits? Behavioural economist, Dan Ariely has partnered up with writer Jeff Kreisler to explain how instincts work in our relationship with money. Knowing exactly how and when certain behaviours are instilled can help us reconsider our daily financial decisions. You might be surprised to find out that a lot of our money-related decisions are actually just a bias.

Key Takeaways

  1. Fundamental human characteristics make it hard to manage our money.
  2. Use emotional connections and “Ulysses Contracts” to boost your self-control.
  3. Get rid of your complex budget and make a simple one.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Habit Books for Health

15. Rewire by Richard O’Connor

Best Habit Books 15

Favorite Quote

“You know very well what the right choice is, yet you keep making the wrong one.” — Richard O’Connor

The Book in One Sentence

Rewire explains why we keep engaging in addictive and self-destructive behavior, how our brains justify it and where you can get started on breaking your bad habits by becoming more mindful and disciplined.

Why should you read it?

Written by a psychotherapist, this book gives you a number of tools that will help you not only understand those bad behaviours you might have but also change them. People have a tendency to “repeat mistakes”, which might just be bad habits that die hard. This book will also go deeper into the roots of a certain problem, in order to put things into a certain perspective and will help you overcome any destructive behaviour with the help of exercise. A short book, but packed with a lot of valuable information!

Key Takeaways

  1. You have two selves that influence your actions – a conscious one and an automatic one.
  2. Repressing your emotions can cause you to become self-destructive.
  3. You can start breaking your bad habits by faking it and training mindfulness.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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16. You Are Not Your Brain by Jeffrey M. Schwartz

Best Habit Books 16

Favorite Quote

“Your mind is your biggest ally” — Jeffrey M. Schwartz

The Book in One Sentence

You Are Not Your Brain educates you about the science behind bad habits and breaking them, giving you an actionable 4-step framework you can use to stop listening to your brain’s deceptive messages.

Why should you read it?

This 4 – Step Method book, written by two neuroscience experts can help you change those bad habits once and for all. More and more people seem to dive into an unhealthy way of thinking, which affects them from every perspective. But this can be overcome, as it is explained in this book. Your brain might push you into thinking in a certain way, but your mind can become your biggest ally against destructive thoughts or actions.

Key Takeaways

  1. Self-directed neuroplasticity is your go-to weapon to change your habits.
  2. Hebb’s law and the quantum zeno effect.
  3. There are 4 steps you can take to break a bad habit.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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17. The Joy Of Movement by Kelly McGonigal

Best Habit Books 17

Favorite Quote

“The right playlist can transform your experience of exercise.” — by Kelly McGonigal

The Book in One Sentence

The Joy Of Movement is just what you need to finally find the motivation to get out and exercise more often by teaching you the scientific reasons why it’s good for you and why your body is designed to enjoy it.

Why should you read it?

Many books will tell you why you should get up and start moving around in your house. Dance, sing, jump – do whatever your body tells you to. Now, do you feel all pumped up? Because this book will have you all pumped up as well and it will show you how to start enjoying moving around! If you want to have a better understanding of the science behind movement and how it makes us feel all better, you might want to run to the nearest store and find this book.

Key Takeaways

  1. The “runner’s high” comes with any type of physical exertion, is a protection against anxiety and depression, and can even make you more social.
  2. Exercise can give you a hit like drugs would, but with a whole lot of positive side-effects instead of the negative ones that come from substance abuse.
  3. If you don’t like the idea of steroids but want to enhance your performance, use music to reach your peak state while exercising.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Habit Books on Psychology

18. Willpower by Roy Baumeister

Best Habit Books 18

Favorite Quote

“For most of us, the problem is not a lack of goals but rather too many of them” — Roy Baumeister

The Book in One Sentence

Willpower is a blend of practical tips and the latest scientific research on self-control, explaining how willpower works, what you can do to improve it, how to optimize it and which steps to take when it fails you.

Why should you read it?

Roy F. Baumeister, an influential psychologist, teamed up with a science writer, John Tierney, in the writing of this book. And what did they find out? That self-control might be a well-kept secret for a better and successful life and that this secret can be easily mastered. This book is filled with tips and different techniques that can help you build a better life, without using too much magic.

Key Takeaways

  1. Your willpower works like a muscle – if you exercise it too much, it gets worn out.
  2. Willpower begets willpower, so you can train it by using it.
  3. Set compatible and clear goals, but leave leeway for your willpower.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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19. Drive by Daniel Pink

Best Habit Books 19

Favorite Quote

“Control leads to compliance; autonomy leads to engagement.” — Daniel Pink

The Book in One Sentence

Drive explores what has motivated humans throughout history and explains how we shifted from mere survival to the carrot and stick approach that’s still practiced today – and why it’s outdated.

Why should you read it?

This New York Times bestseller surprises readers with a new view in regards to motivation. An easy read, that gets straight to the point and allows the readers to aim not only for self but also for business improvement. Times change and things evolve, and so do we – so how do we reach that point of true motivation? This unique book will provide you with clever and simple techniques that will take you far.

Key Takeaways

  1. The carrot and stick approach is dead.
  2. Extrinsic motivation destroys intrinsic motivation.
  3. Strive for the flow state in everything you do.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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20. Habits Of A Happy Brain by Loretta Breuning

Best Habit Books 20

Favorite Quote

“You can increase your pleasure if you’re willing to do things that don’t feel good at first.” — Loretta Breuning

The Book in One Sentence

Habits Of A Happy Brain explains the four neurotransmitters in your brain that create happiness, why you can’t be happy all the time, and how you can rewire your brain by taking responsibility for your own hormones and thus, happiness.

Why should you read it?

Is it revolutionary if I tell you that this book will help you boost your happiness in just… 45 days? Our brain makes use of four neurotransmitters in order to create happiness and these happy chemicals can be released with just a few activities, presented in this book. This pleasant read will help you retrain your brain in order to live a more fulfilled life.

Key Takeaways

  1. Unhappy chemicals are just as important as happy ones.
  2. Nothing will make you happy forever.
  3. To live means to choose constantly, so it’s important that you do.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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21. The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal

Best Habit Books 21

Favorite Quote

“Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort.” — Kelly McGonigal

The Book in One Sentence

The Willpower Instinct breaks down willpower into 3 categories, and gives you science-backed systems to improve your self-control, break bad habits and choose long-term goals over instant gratification.

Why should you read it?

Written by a health psychologist, this book concentrated on self-control and how we can use it to the fullest in order to improve our lives. Based on recent research and making use of precious insights from psychology, neuroscience, and not only, this book concentrates on breaking down willpower and giving an answer to all the questions surrounding it: what, why, and how.

Key Takeaways

  1. Willpower comes in 3 different shapes and sizes.
  2. Your willpower instinct can also be called the pause-and-plan-response.
  3. Don’t let past good behavior be an excuse for present bad behavior.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Conclusion

So far, we’ve summarized more than 1,000 books. As depicted above, quite a few are about habits and how they affect our lives. We believe that these are the best books about habits that you can read this year.

We all have this desire for a better life, but our busy schedules and the way we think might sometimes get in the way of that. Learning how to deal with self-control, understanding our spending habits, and starting with the simple things are just a few of the numerous tips these books have for us. Figuring out which ones work for you will definitely lead you on the path to a better and calmer life.

Habits define us. But we can also define them. What’s your habit… or book of choice today?


Other Book Lists by Topic

Looking for more of the best books on various topics? Here are all the book lists we’ve made for you so far:


Other Book Lists by Author

Looking for more books by the world’s most celebrated authors? Here are all of the book lists by the author we’ve curated for you:


The 33 Best Happiness Books of All Time That Everyone Should Read

Best Books on Happiness Cover

Each year, a group of experts gathers to assess the global state of happiness. The result, the World Happiness Report, is released on March 20, the International Day of Happiness.

This sounds like a positive thing, but, since 2005, overall happiness is decreasing while negative feelings like sadness and anger are on the rise. What’s worse is the trend of more young people experiencing mental illness, addictions, and their consequences. To an extent, this is understandable.

It’s tough to stay afloat mentally with everything going on in the world these days. No wonder we can crack at the slightest problem. But then we feel bad for not knowing how to handle it all and slip even deeper into unhappiness.

How do we stop this spiral? How can we actively combat our common enemy? What do we need to stop doing? And which habits will allow us to harness the power of happiness?

Dozens of books can help educate ourselves about happiness from a multitude of perspectives. We can take the view of science, of history, of philosophy, mindfulness, and spirituality.

At Four Minute Books, we’ve hand-summarized over 1,000 books. In the course of doing so, we’ve learned a thing or two about happiness, and we recorded which experts and books have the most potential to add more joy to your life.

 

If you want to be happier, consider the following 33 books, sorted by category. For each one, we’ve included our favorite quote, a one-sentence-summary, our three key takeaways, and a few points on why you might want to read it. Use the clickable table of contents below to jump to any book or category.

Here are the 33 best happiness books of all time – they’ll change your life forever!


Best Happiness Books Overall

1. Solve For Happy by Mo Gawdat

Best Books On Happiness 1

Favorite Quote

“If you can afford the brain cycles to worry about the future, then by definition you have nothing to worry about right now. Right now, you’re okay.” — Mo Gawdat

The Book in One Sentence

Solve For Happy lays out a former Google engineers formula for happiness, which shows you that it’s our default state and how to overcome the obstacles we face in remaining in it.

Why should you read it?

Sometimes, it takes a tragedy to understand happiness is a choice. Mo Gawdat knows. He lost his 21-year-old son Ali. He taught himself to choose happiness instead of sadness regardless. What made Gawdat’s choice an obvious one was the formula that he and Ali had been working on for years: “Happiness is equal to or greater than the events of your life minus your expectation of how life should be.” This incredible book shows you why your perspective, more than anything else, determines your happiness.

Key Takeaways

  1. Your inner voice is not the real you.
  2. Many cognitive filters prevent you from seeing the whole world around you.
  3. No matter if life is good or bad, staying in the present always makes you feel more content with it.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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2. Stumbling On Happiness by Dan Gilbert

Best Books On Happiness 2

Favorite Quote

“The secret of happiness is variety, but the secret of variety, like the secret of all spices, is knowing when to use it.” — Dan Gilbert

The Book in One Sentence

Stumbling On Happiness examines the capacity of our brains to fill in gaps and simulate experiences, shows how our lack of awareness of these powers sometimes leads us to wrong decisions, and how we can change our behavior to synthesize our own happiness.

Why should you read it?

This book examines how your brain tries to lie to you, specifically about what will happen in the future. Dan Gilbert’s years of research show just how our minds trick us into worrying, which makes us unhappy with our decisions even before we make them. It turns out that a big key to happiness is figuring out how to tell the difference between fact and fiction!

Key Takeaways

  1. Your brain is really bad at filling in the blanks, but it keeps on trying.
  2. You should always compare products based on value, never on price.
  3. Bad experiences are better than no experiences.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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3. The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

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Favorite Quote

“I could care less about whether it’s half full or half empty — as long as I can fill it up.” — Shawn Achor

The Book in One Sentence

The Happiness Advantage turns the tables on happiness by proving it is a tool for success rather than of the result of it, sharing seven actionable principles you can use to increase both.

Why should you read it?

Shawn Achor’s research reveals the lies in the conventional idea that hard work and success lead to happiness. He’s identified, with science, that happiness comes first, then you will become successful. This book points to several ways that you can start being happier right now.

Key Takeaways

  1. Happiness comes before success, not after it.
  2. You can train yourself to be optimistic with the “Tetris Effect.”
  3. Fall up instead of down.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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4. The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

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Favorite Quote

“Love and work are to people what water and sunshine are to plants.” — Jonathan Haidt

The Book in One Sentence

The Happiness Hypothesis is the most thorough analysis of how you can find happiness in our modern society, backed by plenty of scientific research, real-life examples, and even a literal formula for happiness.

Why should you read it?

This book dives into the neurological aspects that contribute to happiness with a twist. Instead of getting lost in medical terms, Haidt employs the memorable analogy of a rider on an elephant. The metaphor shows how we can harness our brains to make us happy. More importantly, you’ll learn how to build thinking and relationship habits that will lead to long-term happiness.

Key Takeaways

  1. Surround yourself with the people you love the most and live in accordance with reciprocity
  2. Do work that matters to you.
  3. Find a partner who will stand by your side through sunshine and rain.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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5. Flourish by Martin Seligman

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Favorite Quote

“I’m trying to broaden the scope of positive psychology well beyond the smiley face. Happiness is just one-fifth of what human beings choose to do.” — Martin Seligman

The Book in One Sentence

Flourish establishes a new model for well-being rooted in positive psychology, building on five key pillars to help you create a happy life through the power of simple exercises.

Why should you read it?

Martin Seligman is the father of positive psychology. Prior to his work, brain science was based solely on the problems with the mind. Seligman changed that with his research. He is one of the best sources for beating dysfunctional thinking patterns. This book stands out with simple but powerful exercises you can do immediately to improve your happiness.

Key Takeaways

  1. A life of profound fulfillment is built on the acronym PERMA.
  2. Simple positivity exercises can have life-changing effects.
  3. IQ isn’t everything — success is based on character traits, not just intelligence.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Books about Happiness for Beginners

6. The Power Of No by James Altucher

The Best Books On Happiness 6

Favorite Quote

“When you get in the mud with a pig, you get dirty and the pig gets happy.” — James Altucher

The Book in One Sentence

The Power Of No is an encompassing instruction manual on using the power of a little word to get healthy, rid yourself of bad relationships, embrace abundance, and ultimately say yes to yourself.

Why should you read it?

Ultimately, this book is not about saying no, although you’ll get a lot of tips on how to do that. The benefit of this book lies in learning to eliminate unnecessary things from your life so that you can say yes to yourself. It’s packed with practical tips for ridding your life of that which pulls you down, which will make you feel freer and happier.

Key Takeaways

  1. Rate your regulars to say no to the wrong people.
  2. Stop doing things you don’t like, and everyone will be better off.
  3. Say no to scarcity to go beyond “glass half full.”

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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7. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson

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Favorite Quote

“Success is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness.” — Richard Carlson

The Book in One Sentence

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff (… And It’s All Small Stuff) will keep you from letting the little things drive you insane, like your email inbox, rushing to trains, and annoying co-workers, and help you find peace and calm in a stressful world.

Why should you read it?

This book spent 100 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. If you’ve ever rushed in traffic only to end up next to the same person you passed a couple of miles back, this book might change your life. It’ll open your mind to the idea of letting go of the unimportant things that society has trained us to think of as vital. The author left a great legacy that lives on in this good book.

Key Takeaways

  1. Remember that your life isn’t an emergency.
  2. Give others a break, especially when they don’t deserve it.
  3. Don’t procrastinate on relaxing.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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8. Happier At Home by Gretchen Rubin

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Favorite Quote

“I am living my real life, this is it. Now is now and if I waited to be happier, waited to have fun, waited to do the things that I know I ought to do, I might never get the chance.” — Gretchen Rubin

The Book in One Sentence

Happier At Home is an instruction manual to transform your home into a castle of happiness by figuring out what needs to be changed, what needs to stay the same, and embracing the gift of family.

Why should you read it?

This book is a result of the author feeling homesick while standing in her own kitchen. Knowing it was time to make some changes, she worked hard for the next nine months to improve her home and family life. She investigates four themes that make for a happy home: time, possessions, parenthood, and marriage and family. Reading this book will help you feel happy at home.

Key Takeaways

  1. Get rid of clutter.
  2. Underreact to problems.
  3. Meet your neighbors.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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9. How To Stop Worrying And Start Living by Dale Carnegie

Best Books On Happiness 9

Favorite Quote

“Let’s not allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. Remember: life’s too short to be little.” — Dale Carnegie

The Book in One Sentence

How To Stop Worrying And Start Living is a self-help classic that addresses one of the leading causes of physical illness - worry - by showing you simple and actionable techniques to eliminate it from your life.

Why should you read it?

This book is a classic in identifying roadblocks to happiness and how to eliminate them. Nobody likes worrying, it’s a killer of joy, but it has several different causes. Having sold six million copies, this book can help you deal with all kinds of negative emotions like confusion, stress, grief, and criticism.

Key Takeaways

  1. Use a 3-step approach to deal with confusion, and you’ll eliminate the worry caused by it.
  2. Put a stop-loss on stress and grief.
  3. Take criticism as compliments.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Books about Happiness for Advanced Learners

10. Happiness by Richard Layard

Best Books On Happiness 10

Favorite Quote

“Competition for status is a zero sum game.” — Richard Layard

The Book in One Sentence

Happiness will teach you how our desire for it developed, what its benefits are, why money actually hurts our happiness and where it really comes from, and how Western countries could easily increase their happiness with a few changes.

Why should you read it?

The author of this book has researched happiness for almost 50 years. He takes a holistic approach to this emotion we all seek. You’ll learn the history of happiness in mankind, what money has to do with it, and why higher taxes might, counterintuitively, be a good thing.

Key Takeaways

  1. Our capability to feel happiness is a result of evolution, we weren’t always able to feel happy.
  2. More money actually makes you less happy, unless you live in poverty.
  3. One of the simplest ways for Western countries to increase happiness would be to raise taxes.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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11. Everything Is F*cked by Mark Manson

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Favorite Quote

“Hopelessness is the root of anxiety, mental illness and depression. It is the source of all misery and the cause of all addiction.” — Mark Manson

The Book in One Sentence

Everything Is F*cked explains what’s wrong with our approach towards happiness, providing philosophical suggestions that make our lives worth living.

Why should you read it?

Despite the clickbait title, Mark Manson delivers on his promise. This is “a book about hope.” Manson argues trying to avoid pain and discomfort makes us more unhappy than simply accepting and dealing with the negatives in our lives. He shows us it’s okay for not everything to be awesome all the time, and that having a more detached attitude will make us happy without depending so much on externals.

Key Takeaways

  1. Pure logic won’t help you make the best decisions, a balanced brain will.
  2. Hope won’t solve your problems, it takes acceptance and principles to do that.
  3. The solution to mental illnesses is not chasing happiness, it is to attain true freedom from our addictions and dependencies.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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12. If You’re So Smart Why Aren’t You Happy by Dr. Raj Raghunathan

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Favorite Quote

“Although happiness is a very important goal for most people, they also seem to devalue it as they go about their lives. That is, people seem to routinely sacrifice happiness for the sake of other goals.” — Dr. Raj Raghunathan

The Book in One Sentence

If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy walks you through the seven deadly sins of unhappiness, which will show you how small the correlation between success and happiness truly is and help you avoid chasing the wrong things in your short time here on earth.

Why should you read it?

This book follows the most popular course on the online learning platform Coursera in 2015. The author, Dr. Rajagopal Raghunathan, went on a quest to find out why so many of his intelligent friends were unhappy. He found out that we must not de-prioritize happiness, but that we also can’t be too desperate in chasing it. This book sums up his insights and findings.

Key Takeaways

  1. The first step on the path to happiness is not devaluing it.
  2. Don’t be desperate in your quest for love and strong relationships.
  3. Happiness is knowing what you want yet being okay with not getting it for a while.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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13. A Guide To The Good Life by William B. Irvine

Best Books On Happiness 13

Favorite Quote

“The easiest way for us to gain happiness is to learn how to want the things we already have.” — William B. Irvine

The Book in One Sentence

A Guide To The Good Life is a roadmap for Stoicism, showing you how to cultivate this ancient philosophy, why it’s useful, and what Stoics are really about.

Why should you read it?

We’re not the first humans to think about what it takes to be happy, and we certainly won’t be the last. This book dives into the ancient philosophy of Stoicism and how it can help us live better. The author gives many firsthand examples on how these principles are improving his life, and in practicing it for several years, both Luke and I have found the same.

Key Takeaways

  1. The two primary values of Stoicism are virtue and tranquility.
  2. Learn to want what you already have.
  3. Immediately accept things that are outside of your control and focus on what you can do.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Happiness Books (Positive Thinking)

14. The Power Of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

Best Books On Happiness 14

Favorite Quote

“The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget yourself, think of others. Try this for a week. You will be surprised.” — Norman Vincent Peale

The Book in One Sentence

The Power Of Positive Thinking will teach you how to believe in yourself, break the habit of worrying, and take control of your life by mastering your thoughts and changing your attitude.

Why should you read it?

This book was on the New York Times bestsellers list for 186 weeks. For 48 of them, it held the top spot. It was translated into 40 languages and has sold five million copies. Peale uses affirmation and visualization to develop a positive mental attitude, practices which are just as sound today as they were in 1952, the book’s original year of publication. An “old but gold” read.

Key Takeaways

  1. Start with confidence and watch your problems shrink.
  2. Your world is nothing more than the thoughts you have about your experiences.
  3. In order to live worry-free, first, imagine a worry-free life.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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15. Loving What Is by Byron Katie

Best Books On Happiness 15

Favorite Quote

“I am a lover of what is, not because I’m a spiritual person, but because it hurts when I argue with reality.” — Byron Katie

The Book in One Sentence

Loving What Is gives you four simple questions to turn negative thoughts around, change how you react to the events and people that stress you out, and learn to love reality as it is.

Why should you read it?

Byron Katie had a powerful realization at 43 years old. She’d been battling mental illness and anger issues for 10 years. One morning, she woke up and asked: What if I didn’t believe my own, negative thoughts? With a few simple questions, like “Is this thought true?” and “Who would I be without this thought?” she completely turned her life around. After she gave up destructive thinking patterns, all that was left was joy and gratitude to be alive. A powerful case study and proof that we can all change — even in a single day.

Key Takeaways

  1. You can overcome stress by dissecting your thoughts with four simple questions.
  2. Give yourself more options to think differently by turning thoughts around.
  3. You can’t change reality by being frustrated about it.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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16. Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson

Best Books On Happiness 16

Favorite Quote

“By taking just a few extra seconds to stay with a positive experience — even the comfort in a single breath — you’ll turn a passing mental state into lasting neural structure.” — Rick Hanson

The Book in One Sentence

Hardwiring Happiness tells you what you can do to overcome your negativity bias  – focusing on and exaggerating negative events  – by relishing, extending, and prioritizing the good things in your life to become happier.

Why should you read it?

It’s easy to obsess over the negative. If you assess what’s going on in your mind right now, you’ll quickly find several things that are “not working.” In identifying why we linger on bad events and feelings so much, Hanson helps us change these patterns. He suggests our brains are like velcro for bad experiences and like teflon for good ones. His tips will make your happy memories stick, with negative ones sliding away like water off a duck’s back.

Key Takeaways

  1. The reason you react stronger to bad things is that you (might) have a “sad amygdala.”
  2. Start a “Good Year Box” to remind yourself of positive events all the time.
  3. Create an infinite stream of positivity from your memories, small details, and being generous.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Books on Happiness (Psychology)

17. The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha

Best Books On Happiness 17

Favorite Quote

“Motivation doesn’t cause action. Action causes motivation.” — Neil Pasricha

The Book in One Sentence

The Happiness Equation reveals nine scientifically backed secrets to happiness to show you that by wanting nothing and doing anything, you can have everything.

Why should you read it?

This book does away with unimportant factors of life that we think are vital. Pasricha teaches us to love the little things in life that have big potential to make us happy. In total, it includes nine different tips to help you become happier. Some you might have heard of before, but their unique delivery makes even those a good reminder.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Germans invented retirement, and the Japanese found a cure for it: ikigai.
  2. Take something called “the Saturday Morning Test” to fix the relationship with the most important person in your life: you.
  3. Ignore most advice, including that from this book.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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18. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

Best Books On Happiness 18

Favorite Quote

“The days are long, but the years are short.” — Gretchen Rubin

The Book in One Sentence

The Happiness Project will show you how to change your life without uprooting it, thanks to the findings of modern science, ancient history, and popular culture, which the author tested for a year.

Why should you read it?

One day, Rubin realized she was working hard but not on what would ultimately matter to her at the end of her life. She hit pause and did happiness experiments for a year. The result is this amazing book full of practical advice.

Key Takeaways

  1. Clean up your house and your brain, because all clutter wears us down.
  2. Accept that you can only change yourself and that what you do every day matters most to build better relationships.
  3. Money is like health — it doesn’t guarantee you’ll be happy but not having to worry about it makes your life a lot easier.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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19. The Little Book Of Hygge by Meik Wiking

Best Books On Happiness 19

Favorite Quote

“To paraphrase one of the greatest philosophers of our time, Winnie the Pooh, when asked how to spell a certain emotion: ‘You don’t spell it, you feel it.’” — Meik Wiking

The Book in One Sentence

The Little Book Of Hygge is about how you can cultivate the hard-to-describe, yet powerful Danish attitude towards life, which consistently helps the country rank among the happiest in the world.

Why should you read it?

Meik Wiking is the CEO of The Happiness Research Institute. He’s also from Denmark, which ranked #1 in the World Happiness Report from 2013–2016. Hygge might sound strange, but this noun, adjective, and verb represents a way of life for the Danish — or, rather, a way of happiness. Wiking takes us through all the meanings behind this word and explains how Danish culture has made it the happiest place on earth.

Key Takeaways

  1. Hygge is a special approach to happiness: a mood, a feeling, an activity even.
  2. Atmosphere is a big part of hygge, so you should make a conscious effort to create the right environment for it.
  3. You can live and experience hygge anywhere and anytime, it is unlimited.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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20. Habits Of A Happy Brain by Loretta Graziano Breuning

Best Books On Happiness 20

Favorite Quote

“You can increase your pleasure if you’re willing to do things that don’t feel good at first.” — Loretta Breuning

The Book in One Sentence

Habits Of A Happy Brain explains the four neurotransmitters in your brain that create happiness, why you can’t be happy all the time, and how you can rewire your brain by taking responsibility for your own hormones.

Why should you read it?

Endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin. These are the four chemicals that regulate our moods and greatly contribute (or detract from) our happiness. This book does explains them in a way we can understand them and, more importantly, use them to become happier.

Key Takeaways

  1. Unhappy chemicals are just as important as happy ones.
  2. Nothing will make you happy forever.
  3. To live means to constantly choose, so it’s important that you do it deliberately.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Happiness Books (Work)

21. The Happiness Of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau

Best Books On Happiness 21

Favorite Quote

“It’s your life, so why not be intentional about it?” — Chris Guillebeau

The Book in One Sentence

The Happiness Of Pursuit is a call to take control of your life by going on a quest which will fill your life with meaning, purpose, and a whole lot of adventure.

Why should you read it?

Chris Guillebeau wrote this book after visiting every country in the world. Can you imagine how much you’d learn on such a journey? Guillebeau made note of the people he met that were on a mission of their own. After his return, he wrote this book to help you find yours and become happier by doing so.

Key Takeaways

  1. When the world calls out to you, listen.
  2. Adjust your life to accommodate your quest.
  3. Your quest will give you purpose because it is a reward in and of itself.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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22. Ikigai by Hector Garcia & Francesc Miralles

Best Books On Happiness 22

Favorite Quote

“Essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.” — Hector Garcia Puigcerver

The Book in One Sentence

Ikigai explains how you can live a longer and happier life by having a purpose, eating healthy, and not retiring in a traditional sense.

Why should you read it?

The book identifies how Japanese people use the principles of ikigai to build happy lives through purpose and health. What’s remarkable is that some of the oldest people in the world never retired. Instead, they built healthy habits, good relationships, and a meaningful career. This book explains how to start doing the same with a few simple questions.

Key Takeaways

  1. Having a purpose is a vital component of longevity and happiness.
  2. If you want to live a long life, follow the advice of some of the oldest people in the world.
  3. To stay healthy throughout your life, make sure you are moving enough.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Books on Happiness (Mindfulness)

23. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma

Best Books On Happiness 23

Favorite Quote

“Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.” — Robin S. Sharma

The Book in One Sentence

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is a self-help classic telling the story of fictional lawyer Julian Mantle, who sold his mansion and Ferrari to study the seven virtues of the Sages of Sivana in the Himalayan mountains.

Why should you read it?

After fictional lawyer Julian Mantle has a stress-induced heart attack, he realizes he doesn’t need his Ferrari and sells it. Instead of pursuing worldly possessions, he begins seeking wisdom. What he eventually learns can teach us how to live happier lives by changing our focus to what really matters. As of 2013, this book had sold over three million copies.

Key Takeaways

  1. Use the “Heart of the Rose” exercise to guard your mind against unwanted thoughts.
  2. Develop a simple 10-step morning routine with the “Ten Rituals of Radiant Living.”
  3. Selflessly serving others counterintuitively leaves you better off too.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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24. The Miracle Of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh

Best Books On Happiness 24

Favorite Quote

“In mindfulness, one is not only restful and happy but alert and awake. Meditation is not evasion; it is a serene encounter with reality.” — Thich Nhat Hanh

The Book in One Sentence

The Miracle of Mindfulness teaches the ancient Buddhist practice of mindfulness and how living in the present will make you happier.

Why should you read it?

Depression is living in the past. Anxiety is living in the future. Peace, then, is living in the present. This great book is a helpful introduction to the world of mindfulness and the huge impact it can have on your happiness. The author is a world-famous Vietnamese monk and zen master. You’ll learn straight from the master of mindfulness himself.

Key Takeaways

  1. Learn how to breathe correctly to begin practicing mindfulness.
  2. Set aside one day each week to be mindful the entire day.
  3. Mindfulness is more than mere resting; to reap its full benefits, it requires the same attention as driving a car.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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25. The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Best Books On Happiness 25

Favorite Quote

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.” — Eckhart Tolle

The Book in One Sentence

The Power of Now shows you that every minute you spend worrying about the future or regretting the past is a minute lost because we can only live in the present and act in every moment as it occurs.

Why should you read it?

One late night, Tolle had deeply depressing thoughts, wondering what made his life so difficult. In a lightbulb moment, he realized the answer was in his “I” — the picture of himself that his brain had created. When he woke up the next day, he felt reborn. He’d finally let go. His advice on how to better focus on the present is contained in this multi-million-copy bestseller.

Key Takeaways

  1. Life is just a series of present moments.
  2. All pain is a result of resistance to the things you cannot change.
  3. You can free yourself from pain by constantly observing your mind and not judging your thoughts.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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26. Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn

Best Books On Happiness 26

Favorite Quote

“Meditation is the only intentional, systematic human activity, which at bottom is not about trying to improve yourself or get anywhere else but simply to realize where you already are.” — Jon Kabat-Zinn

The Book in One Sentence

Wherever You Go, There You Are explains what mindfulness is and why it’s not reserved for zen practitioners and Buddhist monks, giving you simple ways to practice it in everyday life, both formally and informally, while helping you avoid the obstacles on your way to a more aware self.

Why should you read it?

Jon Kabat-Zinn is a legend in the mindfulness space. He studied under other experts, like Thich Nhat Hanh. As zen and intriguing as the title sounds, the book connects the power of mindfulness to science. The advice in it is simple and powerful and easy to implement immediately.

Key Takeaways

  1. Deliberately ignore your phone.
  2. If someone takes something from you, don’t let them take your mind too.
  3. Focus on your body and senses during automatic behaviors.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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27. 10% Happier by Dan Harris

Best Books On Happiness 27

Favorite Quote

“There’s no point in being unhappy about things you can’t change and no point being unhappy about things you can.” — Dan Harris

The Book in One Sentence

10% Happier gives skeptics an easy “in” to meditation by taking a very non-fluffy approach to the science behind this mindfulness practice and showing you how and why letting go of your ego is important to living a stress-free life.

Why should you read it?

Former ABC News correspondent Dan Harris snapped under the pressure of his job. After having a panic attack on live television, he looked into what was really important. The Westerner thoroughly investigated mindfulness and then reported on useful ways even skeptics can embrace it to be happier.

Key Takeaways

  1. The problem with your ego is that it’s never satisfied.
  2. Be simple, not a simpleton — why letting go of your ego won’t make you a pushover.
  3. Meditation increases your mindfulness and compassion by giving you a fourth habitual response – non-judgment.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Books on Happiness (Spirituality)

28. The Art Of Happiness by HH Dalai Lama

Best Books On Happiness 28

Favorite Quote

“My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” — Dalai Lama

The Book in One Sentence

The Art Of Happiness is the result of a psychiatrist interviewing the Dalai Lama on how he personally achieved inner peace, calmness, and happiness.

Why should you read it?

According to one of the world’s most celebrated leaders, the Dalai Lama, happiness comes from training our minds and hearts to respond appropriately to the experiences we have. This book is the kind of message that anyone can learn from, religious or not.

Key Takeaways

  1. You don’t have to be religious to be spiritual.
  2. The only constant thing is change.
  3. Know your limits.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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29. Trying Not To Try by Edward Slingerland

Best Books On Happiness 29

Favorite Quote

“The conscious mind, ungrounded by the wisdom of the body, is remarkably incapable of taking care of business.” — Edward Slingerland

The Book in One Sentence

Trying Not To Try explores ancient, Chinese philosophy to break down the art of being spontaneous, which will help you unite your mind and body, reach a state of flow, and breeze through life like a leaf in a river.

Why should you read it?

Sometimes, it feels like you’re hacking at the branches of a problem instead of getting at the root. When it comes to happiness, there are a lot of “hacks” that only work at a surface level. This book takes a deeper approach to analyze which philosophy will make us the happiest. It’s not the end of the journey but a useful first domino in a long chain of events that’ll make us happy.

Key Takeaways

  1. The concept of “flow” has long existed in traditional Chinese philosophy, and is called “wu-wei.”
  2. Wu-wei is directly connected to “de,” and, together, the two can lead you towards a good life.
  3. To attain wu-wei, you must be honest, especially with yourself, and then relentlessly act on it.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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30. Buddha’s Brain by Rick Hanson

Best Books On Happiness 30

Favorite Quote

“Only we humans worry about the future, regret the past, and blame ourselves for the present.” — Rick Hanson

The Book in One Sentence

Buddha’s Brain explains how world-changing leaders like Moses, Mohammed, Jesus, Gandhi, and the Buddha used the power of their minds to become more positive, resilient, mindful, and happy people and how you can do the same.

Why should you read it?

This book combines thinking tactics, mindfulness techniques, spirituality, and neuroscience. It includes something for everyone, whether you’re deep into mindfulness already or don’t like meditating. Most of all, this book will give you permission to catch your breath and not worry so much. It’ll free space in your life so you finally have some room for peace and happiness.

Key Takeaways

  1. Stop throwing “second darts” by not dwelling on your pain.
  2. Practice composure to not live in a state of constant desire.
  3. Don’t identify with so many things to reduce your suffering.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Happiness Books (Minimalism)

31. The More Of Less by Joshua Becker

Best Books On Happiness 31

Favorite Quote

“Our excessive possessions are not making us happy. Even worse, they take us away from the things that do. Once we let go of the things that don’t matter, we are free to pursue all the things that really do matter.” — Joshua Becker

The Book in One Sentence

The More Of Less teaches you how to declutter your time, mind, and physical spaces to give more attention to the people and experiences that matter most.

Why should you read it?

The premise of this book is simple: You own too much stuff. That stuff makes you unhappy. Get rid of it, and you’ll become happier. Going further, the book explains how to get out of our consumerist habits and why doing so will give us the space we crave to deal with the things that really matter to us.

Key Takeaways

  1. Minimalism is about getting rid of the things that get in the way of what’s important.
  2. Advertisements have a powerful effect on our spending habits.
  3. We can reject endless consumerism by donating our unwanted stuff, which will make us happy.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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32. Minimalism by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

Best Books On Happiness 32

Favorite Quote

“You needn’t settle for a mediocre life just because the people around you did.” – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus

The Book in One Sentence

Minimalism is an instructive guide to the philosophy of less, explaining how it helped two guys who had achieved the American dream let go of their possessions and the depressions that came with them.

Why should you read it?

Ryan and Josh worked hard for their nice jobs, cars, and houses. None of it made them happy. Instead, the debt burden crushed them. As a challenge, they changed their lifestyle, got rid of the stuff that held them back, and became happier. This book is the result. It’ll help you follow in their steps to live better.

Key Takeaways

  1. Debt goes first. Get rid of your financial crutches to finally feel free.
  2. Use the Tolerate-Accept-Respect-Appreciate (TARA) method to become more accepting of other people in your life.
  3. You are not your job. Don’t let your work define you.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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33. The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Best Books On Happiness 33

Favorite Quote

“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” — Marie Kondo

The Book in One Sentence

The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up takes you through the process of simplifying, organizing, and storing your belongings step by step to make your home a place of peace and clarity.

Why should you read it?

Konmari’s mega-bestseller has sold over six million copies world-wide and led to her own TV show. The power of behind this global phenomenon lies in the simplicity of its mantra: “Does this spark joy?” According to Marie Kondo, this single question can greatly improve our lives and homes.

Key Takeaways

  1. Move from easy to hard items when considering what to keep.
  2. YODO — you only declutter once (if you do it right).
  3. Ask yourself a few simple questions, like “Does this spark joy?” for each item you consider throwing away.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Conclusion

We’ve summarized over 1,000 books to date, many of them about happiness. In our opinion, these are the best happiness books to read this year.

Let go of material possessions, focus on the people around you, learn the science of happiness, and practice some of the tips from these books. In finding out which ones work for you and which ones don’t, you’ll be well on your way to a happier life.

Don’t wait. Happiness is an urgent matter. Start reading some of the best books on happiness today!

“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.” — Dalai Lama XIV


Other Book Lists by Topic

Looking for more of the best books on various topics? Here are all the book lists we’ve made for you so far:


Other Book Lists by Author

Looking for more books by the world’s most celebrated authors? Here are all of the book lists by the author we’ve curated for you:


The 14 Best Finance Books of All Time

Best Finance Books Cover

In 2022, a study found that 56% of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings in the bank. It gets worse: Over half of those people don’t have enough money to cover a $1,000 expense at all. They’d have to borrow the money. That’s bad.

It’s not bad because “you should save money,” but because having no emergency fund puts you in a vulnerable position. What if someone crashes into your car? What if you break a few bones? Things outside of our control can force us to pay up. You don’t want to come up short when that happens.

That’s just the most pressing example of why you should learn to manage your finances. There are others: Retiring in peace without stressing about money, having enough to invest in a new venture, giving freely to friends, family, and charity — money does make our lives easier up to a certain degree.

Thankfully, there are a lot of good books to help us become financially smart. At Four Minute Books, we’ve reviewed and summarized over 1,000 books to date, and we think the best finance books come down to three things:

  1. Practical advice. Money is a tangible thing, so whatever tips authors give should be easy to implement for you right away.
  2. Relevant information. Depending on your situation and goals, you might need a beginner’s book or a more advanced one.
  3. Inspiring stories. If a book is boring, it won’t motivate you to take action. The easiest way to change is to listen to a good story.

Based on these three criteria, we’ve selected the 14 best finance books for you to read. If you want to become savvy with your finances, be smarter in how you spend and save, and learn to invest your money to build freedom, consider these books.

Our list includes our favorite quote, a short summary, three key lessons, and few arguments for why you may want to read each book in question. Each of them is available on Four Minute Books, so you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

 

To make navigating this page easier for you, we broke the list down into different categories and created a table of contents. You can also jump back up here with the little arrow in the bottom right corner of the page.

Whether you’ve been unlucky, have bad financial habits, or just aren’t good at math, these books may finally change your financial life for the better. Here are the best finance books!


Best Finance Books Overall

1. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Best Finance Books Rich Dad Poor Dad

Favorite Quote

“The main reason that over 90 percent of the American public struggles financially is because they play not to lose. They don’t play to win.” — Robert T. Kiyosaki

The Book in One Sentence

Rich Dad Poor Dad tells the story of a boy with two fathers, one rich, one poor, to help you develop the mindset and financial knowledge you need to build a life of wealth and freedom.

Why should you read it?

This book is controversial, but in getting you to actually do something, it just works. It’s based partially on Kiyosaki’s life, who learned two different ways of handling money from his dad and that of his best friend. The lessons are a mix of how to approach money as a concept, basic knowledge of accounting, budgeting, and investing, and how to manage your money so it works for you. By the time you’re done with the story, you’ll enjoy implementing the tips.

Key Takeaways

  1. Use your money to acquire assets, not liabilities.
  2. Manage risks instead of avoiding them.
  3. Work to learn, not to earn.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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2. Money: Master The Game by Tony Robbins

Best Finance Books Money Tony Robbins

Favorite Quote

“You either master money, or, on some level, money masters you!” — Tony Robbins

The Book in One Sentence

Money: Master The Game lays out seven simple steps to financial freedom, based on the advice of the world’s best billionaire investors, interviewed by Tony Robbins.

Why should you read it?

Tony Robbins dedicated ten years of research to this book. After the financial crisis of 2008, he decided to help average people secure a good future. After interviewing several billionaire financial legends, such as Ray Dalio, Warren Buffett, Jack Bogle, he put together their best strategies. The book contains everything from mindset changes to saving tips to asset allocation. The transcripts of the interviews are worth the price of the book alone.

Key Takeaways

  1. Never underestimate the exponential power of compounding interest.
  2. Pick one of three financial goals to show yourself that financial freedom is within reach: basic expenses, basic + fun, or financial independence.
  3. Diversify your investments by using a 3-bucket system: A security bucket, a growth bucket, and a dream bucket.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Finance Books For Beginners

3. The Barefoot Investor by Scott Pape

Best Finance Books The Barefoot Investor

Favorite Quote

“You can continue living in the past, beating yourself up about the money mistakes you made when you were younger, telling yourself you’ve left it too late…or you can rise up and make yourself proud.” — Scott Pape

The Book in One Sentence

The Barefoot Investor is an Australian farm boy’s no-BS guide to taking charge of your personal finances with a simple system to eliminate debt, live in the now, and still retire in peace.

Why should you read it?

Scott Pape is Australia’s most trusted personal finance expert. His book has sold over 1,000,000 copies. Despite growing up on a farm, Pape wanted to get rich by trading stocks. That didn’t work out. He went back to his farm and now uses the simple life as a metaphor for managing your money. The book helps you take control in three phases: plant, grow, then harvest your money. He balances easy tips with radical advice. A great book for beginners.

Key Takeaways

  1. Simplify your money management by using different bank accounts.
  2. Shred your credit cards first, then start paying off your debt.
  3. Automate some of your retirement planning with index funds.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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4. The One-Page Financial Plan by Carl Richards

Best Finance Books The One-Page Financial Plan

Favorite Quote

“People who understand interest earn it. People who don’t pay it.” — Carl Richards

The Book in One Sentence

The One-Page Financial Plan makes financial planning stop feeling like a burden for the less disciplined by helping you plan your entire financial future on a single page.

Why should you read it?

Carl Richards has spent more than 40,000 hours over the last 20 years as a financial advisor, working at Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch and others. Some of his sketches he shares on Instagram went viral. They illustrate the ideas that helped him and his wife plan their finances on just one piece of paper. His book shows you how to do the same.

Key Takeaways

  1. Set some goals but stay flexible and fine-tune along the way.
  2. Turn budgeting into a game to make saving fun.
  3. View paying off debt as an investment in your future.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Finance Books For Investors

5. The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham

Best Finance Books The Intelligent Investor

Favorite Quote

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — Benjamin Graham

The Book in One Sentence

The Intelligent Investor explains value investing, which is focused on generating steady, long-term profits by ignoring the current market and picking companies with high intrinsic value.

Why should you read it?

Warren Buffett says this is the single greatest book on investing ever written. It’s based on Benjamin Graham’s classes, which Warren Buffett took as a young student. Value investors find companies with great fundamentals and buy their shares at a discounted price. After that, all they have to do is wait. Eventually, their real value will unlock. A true, timeless classic.

Key Takeaways

  1. There are 3 principles to intelligent investing: analyze for the long term, protect yourself from losses, and don’t go for crazy profits.
  2. Never trust Mr. Market, he can be very irrational in the short and medium term.
  3. Stick to a strict formula by which you make all your investments, and you’ll do fine.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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6. The Little Book That Beats The Market by Joel Greenblatt

Best Finance Books The Little Book That Still Beats The Market

Favorite Quote

“Choosing individual stocks without any idea of what you’re looking for is like running through a dynamite factory with a burning match. You may live, but you’re still an idiot.” — Joel Greenblatt

The Book in One Sentence

The Little Book That (Still) Beats The Market is a step-by-step tutorial to implement a simple, mathematical formula when buying stocks which guarantees long-term profits.

Why should you read it?

Joel Greenblatt is an investing legend. His investment company Gotham Funds had an annual return of over 40% for 20 years, from 1986 to 2006. With his simple formula, Joel has managed to turn Benjamin Graham’s value investing approach into a system that only needs to be updated once a year. In 2005, he wrote it down to pass it on to his children. If you’re looking for a specific, low-hassle investment approach, this is your best bet.

Key Takeaways

  1. Look at earnings yield and return on capital to evaluate stocks.
  2. Rank and combine these two factors to find winning companies.
  3. Be patient, it’s what makes this formula unpopular, but effective.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Finance Books For Entrepreneurs

7. The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco

Best Finance Books The Millionaire Fastlane

Favorite Quote

“Many people want to change their life, but they are not willing to change their choices, and ultimately this changes nothing.” — MJ DeMarco

The Book in One Sentence

The Millionaire Fastlane points out what’s wrong with the old “get a degree, get a job, work hard, retire rich” model, defines wealth in a new way, and shows you the path to retiring young.

Why should you read it?

This book must have the world’s most misleading title. It’s not a get-rich-quick-scheme at all. Instead, it’s a story of persistence, boldness, risk-taking, and unconventional thinking. After seeing a man in a Lamborghini when he was a teenager, MJ DeMarco knew he wanted to be rich, but he didn’t want to slave away for 40 years to get there. After launching, selling, and re-buying his own company, he retired at age 33 as a multi-millionaire. An inspiring read!

Key Takeaways

  1. Wealth stands for 3 things — and money isn’t one of them: health, relationships, and freedom are what truly matters.
  2. At some point, you must make your income independent of your time.
  3. Think like a producer, not like a consumer.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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8. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Best Finance Books Think and Grow Rich

Favorite Quote

“The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat.” — Napoleon Hill

The Book in One Sentence

Think and Grow Rich is a curation of the 13 most common habits of wealthy and successful people, distilled from studying over 500 individuals over the course of 20 years.

Why should you read it?

This might be the most popular book about success in the world. After steel magnate Andrew Carnegie himself put him on to the task, Napoleon Hill interviewed successful individuals for 20 years. The result, was published in 1937 and has sold 70 million copies. It’s a book about thinking, vision, and doing what it takes to succeed. If you’re a young entrepreneur, this is for you.

Key Takeaways

  1. Use autosuggestion to build an unshakeable belief in yourself.
  2. Be stubborn and always stick to your decisions.
  3. Join a Mastermind group to cut your learning curve.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Finance Books For Saving Money

9. I Will Teach You To Be Rich by Ramit Sethi

Best Finance Books I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Favorite Quote

“Getting started is more important than becoming an expert.” — Ramit Sethi

The Book in One Sentence

I Will Teach You To Be Rich helps you save money on autopilot while allowing yourself to spend guilt-free on the things you enjoy.

Why should you read it?

Ramit Sethi’s blog started in his dorm room in 2004. After selling an ebook for a few dollars and seeing the magic of earning online, he doubled down. 15 years later, GrowthLab makes millions in annual revenue with online courses. His New York Times bestseller will help you cut costs in every area of life, splurge on the things you enjoy, and automate your retirement planning. A down-to-earth perspective from someone who’s done it.

Key Takeaways

  1. You’re the only one responsible for your financial problems.
  2. Know how much money you have coming in and then automatically direct it where you want it to end up.
  3. Start investing today, even if it’s just $1.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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10. The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

Best Finance Books The Total Money Makeover

Favorite Quote

“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” — Dave Ramsey

The Book in One Sentence

The Total Money Makeover shows you how to stop accepting debt as normal, eliminate it forever in small increments, and build the financial future you deserve in seven steps.

Why should you read it?

The Dave Ramsey Show is one of USA’s most popular radio shows ever. Ramsey helps people become debt-free, at which point they go on his show to talk about the experience. He also helps them with the emotional issues of tackling money and goes beyond mere mathematical tips. Ramsey encourages you to tackle your debts from small to large, then slowly start saving, and only invest after you’ve covered the basics. A rock-solid approach to finance.

Key Takeaways

  1. Before you do anything else, put away $1,000 in an emergency fund.
  2. Start paying down your debts, beginning with the smallest.
  3. Grow your emergency fund until you have at least a three-month buffer.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Finance Books For Retirement

11. The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach

Best Finance Books The Automatic Millionaire

Favorite Quote

“The fact is, none of us really has a choice: We are all playing the money game whether we want to or not. The only question is: Are we winning?” — David Bach

The Book in One Sentence

The Automatic Millionaire is an actionable, step-by-step plan for building wealth without being disciplined by relying on fixed percentages, small payments, and automated transactions.

Why should you read it?

When he was seven years old, his grandma took David Bach to McDonald’s. Over lunch, she told him there are three types of people in the world: those who eat at McDonald’s, those who work at McDonald’s, and those who invest in McDonald’s. Wow! Later, Bach became a vice president at Morgan Stanley. Today, he runs a consultancy and publishes books. 7 of 12 are New York Times bestsellers, and this one is his most practical template for building wealth.

Key Takeaways

  1. Saving a little every day will go a long way.
  2. Pay yourself first to take care of your financial future.
  3. Automatic payments allow you to invest in a disciplined manner without being disciplined yourself.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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12. The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley

Best Finance Books The Millionaire Next Door

Favorite Quote

“Whatever your income, always live below your means.” — Thomas J. Stanley

The Book in One Sentence

The Millionaire Next Door shows you the simple spending and saving habits that lead to more cash in the bank than most people earn in their life while helping you avoid critical mistakes on your way to financial independence.

Why should you read it?

Stanley and his co-author William Danko studied people with normal incomes and high net worths for decades. The book helps you avoid becoming a UAW — an under-accumulator of wealth. Most people could save half their income. This book shows you why that’s worth the effort in the long run.

Key Takeaways

  1. Save responsibly from the moment you first start earning more than you need to live.
  2. Use a simple net worth formula to calculate if you’re falling short of your financial potential.
  3. Avoid economic outpatient care — spending too much money supporting others — to reach your goal.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Best Finance Books For Financial Freedom

13. Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker

Best Finance Books Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind

Favorite Quote

“If you want to change the fruits, you will first have to change the roots. If you want to change the visible, you must first change the invisible.” — T. Harv Eker

The Book in One Sentence

Secrets Of The Millionaire Mind suggests our financial success is not determined from birth and shows us what to do to break through mental barriers and acquire the habits and thinking of the rich.

Why should you read it?

After an absolute rollercoaster of building, selling, losing, and failing at over a dozen businesses, T. Harv Eker analyzed his own relationship with money. He found he’d just emulated his parents’ financial strategies, and so do most of us. This book will help you undo the damaging aspects of that wiring and replace it with solid financial thinking and habits.

Key Takeaways

  1. You naturally tend to replicate your parents’ income strategies.
  2. If you want to control your finances, you first have to realize you’re the one at the wheel.
  3. Don’t despise rich people or you’ll never become rich yourself.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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14. The Richest Man In Babylon by George Clason

Best Finance Books The Richest Man In Babylon

Favorite Quote

“Advice is one thing that is freely given away, but watch that you only take what is worth having.” — George S. Clason

The Book in One Sentence

The Richest Man In Babylon gives common-sense financial advice which you can apply today, told through tales and parables from the times of ancient Babylon.

Why should you read it?

George S. Clason, a soldier, businessman, and writer, was smart when he published this book in 1926. Instead of giving boring advice without any credibility, he wrapped his lessons into stories from the Babylonians. Generally believed to be an astonishing people, they lent George the power to transfer these lessons to us. The advice is as sound today as it was back then.

Key Takeaways

  1. Live below your means.
  2. Learn how to be lucky.
  3. Never take on debt.

If you want to learn more, you can read our free four-minute summary or get a copy for yourself.

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Conclusion

We’ve summarized over 1,000 books to date, many of them about money. In our opinion, these are the best finance books of all time to start mastering money in your life.

Whether you’re recovering from an unlucky turn of events, suffering from bad financial habits picked up in childhood, or just not good at math, after diving into these books, you’ll soon create more financial breathing room in your life.

Improve your financial knowledge, reduce your spending, start saving and investing, and you’ll be well on your way to financial independence.

When it comes to taking control of your finances, the most important part is to start today.

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin


Other Book Lists by Topic

Looking for more of the best books on various topics? Here are all the book lists we’ve made for you so far:


Other Book Lists by Author

Looking for more books by the world’s most celebrated authors? Here are all of the book lists by the author we’ve curated for you:


The 7 Best Inspirational Books That Will Light Your Inner Fire

Inspirational Books Header

Here’s why we read:

“What we call following our gut is really us being subconsciously guided by every piece of information we’ve ever consumed, shaping our instincts and ideas and forming us.” 

Joan Westenberg


Besides reading to feel, most of us read to learn. We want to know what we need to know when we need it, and so we keep pushing the number of books. Higher. One more. Just one more.

We read books recommended by billionaires, books validated by bestseller status and books our idols tell us to read.

I didn’t read 365 books last year. But I learned from 365 different ones. After around 250, one thing became very clear:

“I don’t need more information. I need to do more stuff.”

It’s an all too familiar face on our list of end-of-year regrets: “I wish I’d read more books.” But it’s never first on that list. It doesn’t come before “I wish I’d started that company” or “I wish I’d written that book” or “I wish I’d told her I loved her.”

Our top regret always