Top 5 Motivational Books You Should Have In Your Library

There are countless books out there that are dedicated to helping people find motivation and become inspired to pursue their dreams and accomplish their goals. So many, in fact, that people often have no real idea which ones are most effective and which ones are more suited to their specific needs. With that in mind, we set out to make a short list of the most frequently recommended motivational books that you are likely to come across when looking for such reading material. The following selections appear on many different lists for recommended reading (though not always in the same order of importance or effectiveness), and they are all excellent choices for you to find the motivation you seek in order to accomplish your goals.

1. The Art of War – Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu’s The Art of War is likely one of the most widely read books in modern literature. Although written as a study on the strategy of warfare, the book has found a popular following among military leaders, businessmen, and politicians alike. In the book, Tzu stresses three key components that one must follow in order to achieve victory over conflict: strategy, preparedness, and taking advantage of opportunity.

Tzu breaks down complex strategies of warfare into simple truisms that can be applied to any number of situations in modern life. For example, “In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity,” may speak directly to warfare on Tzu’s end, but a marketing strategist might use this as motivation to take a failed marketing campaign(s), figure out what exactly what wasn’t working with these strategies, and come up with a new, and hopefully more successful strategy for effectively marketing the particular product or service involved.

2. How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie’s self-help guide has reached and inspired millions of people since it was first published in 1936. The book covers various methods for improving one’s ability to effectively interact with and lead people to one’s way of thinking. These are examined in six different sections (four if you read the 1981 reissue) that include techniques for handling people, ways for making people like you, how to make people come around to your way of thinking, how to lead people, how to write effective letters (excluded from the 1981 edition), and rules for maintaining a happy household (also now excluded).

Perhaps the fundamental idea behind the book can be found within its own pages: “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.” Carnegie makes a note of stressing to the reader that self-fulfillment can only really be determined by the individual.

3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey

Stephen Covey’s bestselling book on “highly effective people” has remained as one of the best motivational books since it was first published in 1989. Breaking away from social norms and popular trends, Covey outlines 7 basic principles people live by that will help them achieve success and accomplish their goals. These include staying proactive, planning, prioritizing, positive thinking, comprehension/competency, synergy/cooperation, and self-improvement.

Covey’s approach has been highly praised by critics and readers across a vast variety of fields, including business, education, law, and many more. At the heart of his writing, Covey emphasizes the importance of self-improvement as the key to becoming a highly effective individual. “If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control – myself.” Ultimately we could all do with a little motivation from time to time, but if we cannot effectively change ourselves, then we can never expect to effect change in others or accomplish the goals that we have set for ourselves.

4. Awaken the Giant Within – Anthony Robbins

Tony Robbins is perhaps the most popular motivational speaker around today. His book Awaken the Giant Within, originally published in 1991, provides a practical and encouraging approach to taking control of your health, finances, and personal and professional goals. Robbins uses basic observations to show readers how they can drastically change their situation by simply looking at the issue from another angle.

Robbins outlines several points to helping the reader reevaluate their situation and develop a more positive outlook on things. Along with staying positive and not complaining about everything all the time, he explains how thinking ahead, staying healthy, and not spending money on things you don’t need can help prepare you for the future you have always envisioned for yourself. All it takes is a little self-discipline, motivation, and patience.

5. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…And It’s All Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things From Taking Over Your Life – Richard Carlson

This book is part of a series by Dr. Richard Carlson, who shows you how to avoid being stressed out by the small, day-to-day hindrances of life. Modern society is already in a fast-paced race with itself without having to drive you up a wall worrying about bills and traffic and work. Carlson shows you how to remain calm and in the present moment, choosing your battles wisely and not getting so worked up with imperfections and “that’s life” situations. 

To effectively change your outlook on life, Dr. Carlson provides simple, intuitive ways of looking at life in a different light. Lessons you might expect to find in a children’s book like, “When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical,” and short (but clever) phrases like, “Choose to be kind over being right and you’ll be right every time,” are used to help you to develop a less stressful, and more objective mindset. At the end of the day, “Unhappiness is the result of struggling against the natural flow of experience.” We all suffer (in some way) at times, and we all find enjoyment in life at other times, but if we just keep your heads up and try to remain positive, we might just make it after all.