My Top 5 Personal Development Book Recommendations for Success

I’m a huge advocate of continuous learning and part of that learning involves reading personal development books. The world is always evolving and changing and, if we want to stay ahead of the curve and at the top of our game, then we have to be committed to learning something new each and every day.

If you ever see my home office, you’ll find hundreds of books on a variety of different subjects. Reading—and applying what I read—has been a critical part of my success. I consider it one of my most important daily disciplines. I read for at least an hour a day—sometimes much more, like when I’m on a five-hour plane ride.

I’ve read over 3,000 personal development books throughout the course of my life, but these recommendations I’m about to give you are books that I consistently keep coming back to because they offer timeless insight into how we can grow as individuals in every area of our lives.

Here is my top 5 list of personal development books. the descriptions are from Amazon. For a review of each book watch my video above.

1) "The Compound Effect" by Darren Hardy


The Compound Effect is based on the principle that decisions shape your destiny. Little, everyday decisions will either take you to the life you desire or to disaster by default. Darren Hardy, publisher of Success Magazine, presents The Compound Effect, a distillation of the fundamental principles that have guided the most phenomenal achievements in business, relationships, and beyond. This easy-to-use, step-by-step operating system allows you to multiply your success, chart your progress, and achieve any desire.

If you’re serious about living an extraordinary life, use the power of The Compound Effect to create the success you want. You can get it here.

2) "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill


This is Napoleon Hill's definitive landmark book (revised and updated for the 21st century) on how to unleash your full potential and achieve guaranteed success in life and work, by following the principles outlined in this book.

This book will also teach you how to conquer many common fears, such as Poverty, Ill Health, Criticism, Loss of Love and Death. "Think and Grow Rich," indispensable reading for personal achievement. Find it here.

BONUS: "Think and Grow Rich: A Black Choice" by Dr. Dennis Kimbro


Author and entrepreneur Dennis Kimbro combines bestselling author Napolean Hill's law of success with his own vast knowledge of business, contemporary affairs, and the vibrant culture of Black America to teach you the secrets to success used by scores of black Americans, including: Spike Lee, Jesse Jackson, Dr. Selma Burke, Oprah Winfrey, and many others.

The result is inspiring, practical, clearly written, and totally workable. Use it to unlock the treasure you have always dreamed of--the treasure that at last is within your reach. Get your copy here.

3) "The ONE Thing" by Gary Keller


You want fewer distractions and less on your plate. The daily barrage of e-mails, texts, tweets, messages, and meetings distract you and stress you out. The simultaneous demands of work and family are taking a toll. And what's the cost? Second-rate work, missed deadlines, smaller paychecks, fewer promotions--and lots of stress. You want more productivity from your work and more income for a better lifestyle. You want more satisfaction from life, and more time for yourself, your family, and your friends.

Now you can have both. In The ONE Thing, you'll learn to cut through the clutter to achieve better results in less time and build momentum toward your goal. You will learn how to dial down the stress, overcome that overwhelmed feeling , revive your energy, stay on track, and master what matters to you. The ONE Thing delivers extraordinary results in every area of your life--work, personal, family, and spiritual. Get it here.

4) "The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich" by Timothy Ferriss


Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan–there is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint. You can get it here.

5) "The Biology of Belief" by Bruce H. Lipton


The Biology of Belief  is a groundbreaking work in the field of new biology, and it will forever change how you think about thinking. Through the research of Dr. Lipton and other leading-edge scientists, stunning new discoveries have been made about the interaction between your mind and body and the processes by which cells receive information. It shows that genes and DNA do not control our biology, that instead DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages emanating from our thoughts.

Using simple language, illustrations, humor, and everyday examples, he demonstrates how the new science of Epigenetics is revolutionizing our understanding of the link between mind and matter and the profound effects it has on our personal lives and the collective life of our species. Get your copy here.

So now that you know a few of my favorite personal development books, I’d love to hear some of yours!

I’m always looking for new reading material, so please share in the comments below at least one must-read book that’s helped change your life. Then share one book you plan to start reading this month to achieve your personal growth goals.

Lay the foundation for a more joyful, abundant, and successful life by downloading the first 2 chapters of my New York Times Bestselling book The Success Principles. Discover how to produce only the outcomes you want to experience.



You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Jack Canfield, America's #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul®and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you're ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:

  • Jinhee Park

    "The Magic of Thinking Big" by David Schwartz

  • Adam

    The Success Principles and The Compound Effect are my two favorites

  • I rec recommend "The Laws and Secrets of Success"

    “Very, very highly recommend this UNIQUE book, it is the best book regarding how to be successful that I have ever read.” — Daisy S., TOP 10 AMAZON HALL OF FAME REVIEWER

    “The power of his intuitions is infectious.” — Grady Harp, TOP 50 AMAZON HALL OF FAME REVIEWER

    “This is one of those books where you will want to underline something important on each page.” — Rebecca of Amazon, TOP 100 AMAZON HALL OF FAME REVIEWER

  • Shyam Ramanathan

    Some of the best books are The magic of thinking Big, Success Principles, The power of Positive thinking, Maximum Achievement, The Achievement Habit, The Motivation Manifesto, Think and Grow Rich, Failing Forward,The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, Talent is Never Enough, Talent is Overrated, Mastery,10X Rule. I had to share all of these which have made an enormous impact on me,

  • The Surrender Experiment, My Journey Into Life's Perfection - Michael A. Singer speaks to the inner guidance that will guide us unerringly when we listen.

  • Kathy Raybould

    I recommend The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani. This young man is going to change the world, I think it is an absolute must read. I will add The four hour work week for my next week or maybe the Compound Affect or maybe both. Happy New Year everyone.

    • marie byggdin

      LOVE the book and his

      • Kathy Raybould

        Yes, the website and interaction is great. This will be another book I share and use over and over just like the Success Principles.

        • marie byggdin

          I will look for that book, thank you.

    • Oweeda Newton

      I too Love the work Vishen is contributing, Mind Valley Community is Outstanding!

    • Great suggestion, Kathy! Happy New Year to you!

  • Kathy Raybould

    I do want to mention the Success Principles, it is one of the books I go back to all the time. I also recommend to many. So if you have not read it, it is also a must. It is not just a book to read, it is a book to put into practice. Thank you, Jack!

  • Andrea von Roth

    Dear Jack, I suggest you to read the Bible, specially this part : 1 Thessalonians 5:3 "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction
    cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not
    escape." This is about to happens! so Pray and get close to The Lord!! Jesus Christ is coming for HIS Bride.

  • Oweeda Newton

    The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz was instrumental in helping me to simply release unnecessary energy and thoughts. Embracing the knowledge that what happens is not personal makes moving forward more simplified and less stressful. No attachments to limiting false belief (stuff made up in my mind) means no distraction. From the list provided (Thanks Mr. Canfield!), I will read, The ONE Thing by January 7, 2017, seeking to build momentum for my life purpose and reduce distractions 🙂 Infinite Blessing to everyone !

    • Thank you for the suggestion! Great goal setting, Oweeda!

  • Hussein Ali

    the two best Books I have ever read are the Success principles and think and Grow Rich which both has an enormous impact on my life

  • The Alchemist, How to Win Friends and Influence People and Behind the Cloud.

    The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho: I am a person who grew up without many resources, the Alchemist tells the tale of a young boy without many means who embarks upon a quest of personal discovery. I first read the Alchemist when I was 17 and have reread it 4 times since- at varying points in my own personal journey. What I love about this book is that it gives hope. It reinforces the notion that everything you need- everything you TRULY need, lies within. This book has uncovered a different personal truth every time I have read it. The author gave the world a true gift in writing this book. Hence the 65 million plus copies sold all over the world in 80 different languages. I am certainly glad that I picked it up when I did. It has made a profound impact on my development into adulthood and provided me with one of the necessary components in building a strong foundation for success... Belief!!

    How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie: When I first embarked upon a career in Business, I quickly realized that the ability to communicate with other people effectively was pivotal. Dale introduces us to important concepts that help to shape the type of person others will see you as. Things like; How to make a good first impression, how to criticize (without putting people off), how to converse effectively and how to win others to your way of thinking when it matters. This book changed my life and continues to do so. The concepts seem so simple but yet many of us are guilty of communication sins. We don't even realize that what is coming out of our mouths is preventing us from success. This book reminds us that good intentions do not equal effective communication!

    Behind the Cloud, Marc Benioff: To round out my list, I introduce Behind the Cloud. One of my favorite books, written by one of my favorite people. Behind the Cloud points out that you can be successful in business by being smart, driven, different and socially minded. Benioff reminds us to think outside of the box, be creative, surround yourself with the best people and reach for the stars! For a socially responsible business person like myself, I also appreciate the clear and simple directive he offers to folks who want to be a change agent in their communities.... The 1:1:1 Model. The 1:1:1: model shows us how we can use Business as tool to do good in the world.

  • Yasser Dhouib

    Definitely I would opt for The Success Principles , thank you very much jack for this book I wish you a happy new year 2017

  • Tamzin Christiane

    Tough times never last, but tough people do. Robert H Schuller

  • Debby Powell

    I just got out of 2 years of classes in which the only thing I had time to read was assigned reading. Now I'm able to catch up on my personal reading list. I picked up your book "Dare to Win" - written in the 90's? I loved it! Many practical tips in there that I plan to implement. I'll be reading The Aladdin Factor next. You're #1 on my list of people to meet! I've also read all of Mike Dooley's books recently and enjoyed them as well. If you ever read fiction, I recommend anything by Peter Heller He's written "Kook", "The Painter" and "The Dog Stars" Happy 2017!

    • Glad to hear you'll have more time to read in 2017! You're right, late 90s, but lessons are just as important today as they were back then. Thank you for the suggestion, I will have to add Peter Keller to my list!

  • Ben Benita

    I love books, but some of the BEST advice I got for 2017:


    Success Principles is still my go to book!!!

    4 Hour Work Week - A must read

    Think and Grow Rich - Legendary

    Rich Dad Poor Dad, Retire Young Retire Rich - A MUST to understand cash flow

    Coming soon....MY BOOK on how to find and focus on YOUR moment!!!!

  • Walter Hunter

    Mr. Canfield, after a major depressive episode in November of 2011, my exploration in to the world of personal growth began with your book, "The Success Principles." It is well worn and in many ways still serves as my foundation. However, a book I read recently is now arguably the best book I have ever read in the field to this point in time. It is titled "The Tools: 5 Tools to Help You Find Courage, Creativity, and Willpower--and Inspire You to Live Life in Forward Motion" or more commonly just "The Tools." It's by Phil Stutz and Barry Michels, who are best known for their L.A.-based psychiatric practice where they treat high-level executives and Hollywood celebrities. What I love most about the book is there are only 5 tools that cover basically any issue imaginable and that they are tangible, action-oriented items rather than just abstract concepts. What is great, also, is that what I have learned from reading it has helped me to better understand the material in other personal growth books I have read, including yours. It is perhaps the greatest book I have ever read in my life, period! Read it and hopefully you will understand what I mean. All the best to you!

    • Thank you for the book recommendation, Walter! I will have to look into it. Positive thoughts~

  • Scott Sloan

    The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson, Maximum Achievement Brian Tracy, Platform by Michael Hyatt, the Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude by Napoleon Hill, The Alchemist, Mindset by Decker, What to Say When You Talk to Yourself Shad Helmstetter, The Magic of Thinking Big

  • Nicolas Rodriguez

    Hi Jack, thank you for this article. I wanted to say that I heard your "Maximum confidence" seminar through audible and I loved it, it was a great seminar and was great to hear your performance in seminars, it was fun! I love book recommendations. I have read the first three: I started Tim Ferriss 4-hour Workweek in 2013 and still haven´t finished it, for some reason. I put it as the success book of August on my planner, to get on with it! The last one is the first time I hear of it but coming from you most likely is a great book. I wish you the best.