11 Books to Read for Self Improvement

I love to read pretty much anything but my favorite books are always the ones that help me learn or grow in some way. I wanted to share a few of my favorites here. Most of them delve into psychology, temperaments and personality types and will help you understand yourself and others better. Let me know if you have read any of these!

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1. The Wisdom of the Enneagram

One of most important parts of self improvement is self discovery. Understanding who you are and why you do things a certain way is so eye opening. It’s also really helpful in relationships to know each others types. If there is an area of your relationship that you butt heads or annoy each other, it will likely be explained when you read more about each others type. This is by far the best book out there on the enneagram. It has a comprehensive chapter for each type and plenty of tests to find out which one you are.

2. Grit

This was one of the best books I read this year. It talks a lot about what exactly makes someone successful. She argues that it isn’t talent but hard work and persistence. There is a mix of scientific studies, anecdotes and personal stories which make it an interesting and easy read. I found it super encouraging for myself to read and it helped me discover what I love and what I want to spend my time and ultimately my life on. Whether you are on the career track of your dream or floating through life unsure, this is a great book.

3. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Okay this one is a little different than all the others but I’m including it because cleaning and decluttering is an important step in improving yourself. I’m pretty sure everyone has read this book at this point but just in case you haven’t, you must. The takeaway is to get rid of the things that don’t serve you or bring you joy. It’s amazing how much getting rid of things will change the way you feel and your productivity level.

4. Willpower

This is a great book to read to understand why we make decisions or lack self control in certain areas of our lives. The authors say that willpower has a limit and gets burned throughout the day through different activities and decisions. It’s really interesting to understand the psychology behind it and get some helpful tools to conserve your willpower. It doesn’t matter what area of your life you need more willpower, this book will help you find it.

5. The Worry Trick

If you struggle with anxiety or worry this is the book for you. I worry about ridiculous things and this book helped me so much. The best thing I learned was when you’re feeling anxious and your thoughts are getting out of control, you should change “what if” to “let’s pretend” it reminds your brain that the scenario isn’t real and makes it less threatening. I can’t tell you how much it has helped me.

6. Presence

I bought this book after watching her Ted Talk and both are amazing. If you haven’t watched her Ted talk, you can watch it here. The point is that body language matters. She tells you how to present confidence with your body language and that even if you don’t feel confident, if you show it with your body language, the feelings of confidence will follow.

7. How to Win Friends and Influence People

And oldie but goodie. This book has been around forever (it was originally published in 1936!) but is a gold mine if you want to learn how to deal with and get along better with people. Everyone should read it.

8. Quiet

If you’re an introvert like me this book will give you so much helpful information about why you are the way that you are. My husband didn’t even know he was an introvert until he read this book! If you’re not an introvert but you have a relationship with one, this book will really help your relationship and help you understand your spouse/partner/friend on a deeper level.

9. The Upside of your Dark Side

I really enjoyed this book. It was a change from a lot of stuff out there that says you should always have a positive attitude. It actually encourages you to feel every emotion, even the ones we consider “bad” and explains with studies why they are a good thing.

10. The Highly Sensitive Person

No sensitive doesn’t mean emotional, it means your brain takes in and processes more than the rest of the population so you get over stimulated easily. If you’re highly sensitive then loud noises, movie theaters, bright lights, lots of tasks, vacations with extended family, people touching you or even uncomfortable clothing can be really overwhelming to you. If you relate to that, you need to read this book.

11. Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type

This is all about the Meyer Briggs types. There are 16 types in total and everyone has one, if you don’t know yours yet you should find it out because it will help you understand yourself so much better. This book has a chapter for each type and it’s really helpful and fun to read.


Have you read any of these? Or do you have any suggestions for other self improvement books?