20 Self Improvement Books That Will Fill Your Life with Courage

Struggles are a part of daily life now. Fears and insecurities often stop us from being all that we want to be. But, we need to remember that success and achievement are not destinations, but ongoing journeys. Self-improvement is the key to find solutions, think differently, act boldly and live a fuller life. Here is a list of 20 self-improvement books that will give you a fair share of courage, hope, inspiration and comfort, when you need the most.

20. The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne

​First Published: 2006

What It’s About:

The hope, the courage lies within you. You are a being of incredible power, and your existence and destiny lies in your hands. The book introduces to the insurmountable and infallible power of the ‘law of attraction’. The book is compelling in its simplicity, and key message that urges you to be active rather than passive, to attract, think and make happen all the things you want to is motivational.

Why You Should Read It:

The life transforming realization, that, within you lies unmatched and great potential to achieve all that you have ever wanted to- wealth, mental strength (to overcome any obstacle), companionship and ‘eternal happiness’. This is the best self-improvement book you can lay your hands on to believe and achieve all that you aspire to.

Best Quote:

‘There is no such thing as a hopeless situation. Every single circumstance of your life can change!’

19. The Prophet, by Kahil Gibran

First Published: 1923

What It’s About:

Probably one of the greatest books of our century, ‘The Prophet’ is a collection of 26 prose poetry essays that has been translated in 40 different languages, has sold over nine million copies in America alone. The nuances of the heart and mind are captured and portrayed beautifully in this collection of poetic essays. It takes the reader on a journey of enlightenment, hope and gratitude for all things we live, feel, and witness, from love, marriage, crime, pleasure, beauty, pain, freedom, joy, sorrow and so much more.

Why You Should Read It:

Somewhere this book will infuse in you a sense of gratitude and respect for all things. When that kind of enlightenment takes over, positivity and hope is everywhere. You will see that a new found courage accompanied with a calm acceptance (of the beauty and sorrows of life) will help you lead a motivated and fulfilling life. And as Gibran tells you, you will not forget again ‘that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair’ Hope and happiness will fill your heart.

Best Quote:

‘Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.’

18. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

​First Published: 1969

What It’s About:

This is a book of pain and power. A black woman’s struggle, fall, and rise against all obstacles is the modern day bible of hope and colossal courage. This book in its poetic rendition urges you to be brave, look beyond tragedy, and quest for independence and elevation of the soul. A hymn for your flagging spirit, it will teach you to endure the wounds that life inflicts, and to heal them as well with faith and childlike optimism in face of darkness and disappointment.

Why You Should Read It:

The betrayals, the dread and terror Maya describes will keep you immersed, and in discomfort even after the book is over, but what will strike through the darkness and the violent corridors of her childhood will be her indomitable spirit that overcomes deep pain and anguish through unparalleled courage. Hope and courage will be your constant companions once you have met Angelou’s caged bird.

Best Quote:

‘They don’t really hate us. They don’t know us. How can they hate us? They mostly scared.’

17. Change Your Thoughts-Change Your Life:Living the Wisdom of the Tao, by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

First Published: July 31st, 2007

What It’s About:

In ancient China, five hundred years ago, there was a godly man called Lao-tzu. He had written 81 verses which are regarded the pinnacle of understanding of human nature and existence. The classic text of these 81 verses is called the Tao Te Ching or the Great Way. Dr. Dyer writes a crisp and concise amalgamation of the Great Way in this book and delivers the infinite wisdom of Lao-tzu in 81 distinct essays. As one reads the book, the reader too becomes a more aware and complete individual, who starts experiencing peace, and gratefulness in all aspects of life.

Why You Should Read It:

The key message of the book is simple- it reinforces the power of self in you. When you believe you are the best and greatest, wonders start happening, confidence rises, optimism and hope become your guiding angels and courage your call- to- action. Wayne delivers a powerful guide to self-improvement.

Best Quote:

‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’

16. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money, by Robert. T. Kiyosaki

First Published: April 1, 2000

What It’s About:

This New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller is the best metaphor for undying hope and courage in the face of myriad failures. Kiyosaki’s faith and determination is witnessed in the fact that he went on to self-publish this book in 1997 after being rejected by several publishers. Today it is a household name and a much-revered book.

Why You Should Read It:

The freshness and novelty of approach towards looking at financial success and independence will encourage the flames of entrepreneurship and innovation in you and make you looks at investments and numbers in a whole new light. Besides when a book has Oprah Winfrey as a fan, you should know there is some great inspiration lurking in those pages.

Best Quote:

‘Winners are not afraid of failing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.’

15. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

​First Published: 1988

What It’s About:

An inspirational fable, a stirring tale of self-discovery, you find a part of yourself in every page. The Alchemist shapes dreams, awakens you to your true purpose, introduces you to the unending power of your mind and heart and soul, and compels you to pursue your heart’s desires and lead more satisfying and inspired lives. This book also tells us why curiosity and fearlessness are such integral concepts of a life well-lived.

Why You Should Read It:

The simplicity and naivety of the shepherd boy, Santiago and the kindness, knowledge, and humanity soaked in every page of the novel. What stays with you is the journey, and the trials and tribulations of young Santiago, and how through faith, hope and a latent courage he overcomes every hurdle, and finds the greatest treasure and purpose of life. Read it to tap into your latent courage and power to take that feared step and climb those distant mountains that look impossible to tread.

Best Quote:

‘And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.’

14. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

First Published: December 19, 1843

What It’s About:

Dickens had a way of weaving magic with words. A Christmas Carol was no exception. But what makes this classic exceptional is the joy, love, hope and compassion it reverberates to its readers through the protagonist-cum-antagonist Ebenzer Scrooge. It is inspirational, humane, real and beautiful all at the same time. Tell me you didn’t fall in love with life again while reading this book!

Why You Should Read It:

A rekindled affiliation is to hope, faith, and human love. Ebenzer Scrooge’s transformation from a bitter, greedy and miserly man to a man with a big heart, treating his fellow men with respect, generosity and kindness will stay with you, drop a smile on your lips and make you stop and rethink every time you feel cynical, unhappy or guilty.

Best Quote:

‘There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.’

13. The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living, by Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler

First Published: 1998

What It’s About:

Contemporary psychological analysis and age-old Buddhist wisdom come together in this book by the Great Lama. Insightful and delightful, The Art of Happiness equips you with a different perspective towards things It concentrates on your inner wisdom and light, and takes you on a journey where you explore and unravel a deep-rooted compassion for the universe, seek and receive happiness, control your emotions and see positivity in everything that you encounter.

Why You Should Read It:

Read this book to know the Lama and why he is so revered. The nuances, the wisdom, the wit and stoicism, everything in the book makes a lasting impact on you and makes you a more hopeful, happy, and content person while facing the turbulences of life. Hope and happiness is synonymous to human nature and Lama in his own poetic and spiritual way teaches you to embrace both unconditionally and lead a more fulfilled and joyful life.

Best Quote:

‘If there is a solution to the problem, there is no need to worry. If there is no solution, there is no sense in worrying either.’

12. The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller

​First Published: 1902

What It’s About:

Helen Keller’s autobiography is all about hope and courage. The book is her record of the myriad times she fell, only to stand up stronger. It is a reminder that every struggle is a victory and efforts in the right direction persistently and consistently will lead tot he sweet heaven of success.

Why You Should Read It:

Impossible is nothing. The darkest of clouds have a silver lining, and all of us no matter what our shortcomings or how well bestowed can live a better, fuller and more meaningful life if we have the courage, grit and determination to dream and chase our dreams.

Best Quote:

‘One can never consent to creep, when one feels an impulse to soar.’

11. The Soul of a Butterfly: Reflections on Life’s Journey, by Muhammad Ali

​First Published: November 16, 2003

What It’s About:

The Soul of a Butterfly is a heartfelt book that is about acceptance, faith, belief in the Almighty and perennial hope. The intensity and melancholy, the gripping honesty and the compelling narrative makes you look at the legend in a whole different life. ​It’s about his journey beyond winning in the boxing ring, meeting the Lama, clinging to hope, faith and courage in the darkest of hours and facing challenges like a true brave-heart.

Why You Should Read It:

The book arms you with a higher awareness of life. It talks of compassion, help, spirituality, and power of beliefs. It makes you realize innumerable things, and among them what ranks powerfully is a responsibility that the world needs you, your compassion, generosity and understanding. It teaches you empathy and tells you failure and adversity is necessary in the quest of greatness. Losing hope and giving up is never and option.

Best Quote:

‘If my mind can conceive it, and my heart can believe it-then I can achieve it.’

10. Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?: And Other Provocations, 2006-2012, by Seth Godin

First Published: 2006

What It’s About:

Want to achieve greatness? But scared to tread into the unknown? Here is the toughest taskmaster that you will ever have- a book that asks the difficult questions of life, pushes you into your non-comfort zone, and thrusts you towards success and courage. Pick this one when you need some daunting but true life advice and impossible to ignore call-to-action.

Why You Should Read It:

Because Seth Godin is the undisputed champion of spreading unconventional ideas and turning regular individuals into ambitious and super successful leaders. This book will push you till the edge, till you don’t start seeing multiple possibilities before you. It will force you to challenge yourself, think more intelligently and dream bigger.

Best Quote:

‘Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.’

9. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey

​First Published: 1990

What It’s About:

Stephen Covey does not simplify things for the readers. But what he delivers through the book is a powerful and gripping message to undergo a ‘paradigm shift’ – a fundamental change in our thoughts and perceptions of ourselves and the world. Packed with spiritual wisdom, ruthless honesty, sharp insights and an overwhelming element of care and compassion, this masterpiece is for the eternal learner who seeks to get better with each passing day.

Why You Should Read It:

When we learn to view situations, people and ourselves differently, we grow infinitely. Success and accomplishment comes to us when we manage to strike a balance between professional goals and personal desires and responsibilities. Aspire to be the best and compel others around you to achieve their best too. Unlimited happiness and recurring achievement will be yours.

Best Quote:

‘It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.’

8. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, by Brian Tracy

First Published: January 1, 2001

What It’s About:

This book is all about breaking the perennial curse of procrastination and getting things done, without wasting away precious chunks of our life. It lays down twenty-one great ways to overcome internal resistance and finish the tasks we dread and postpone the most, in a timely manner and consequently lead a guilt-free, stress-free, and enriched life.

Why You Should Read It:

This book is about tackling the toughest tasks first head-on. It motivates you and tells you the numerous benefits you can reap by tackling the difficult without delay. Pay attention to your surroundings, realize the forces holding you back, eliminate them, utilize your full potential, be creative in your approach, defeat procrastination, enhance your management skills and increase your efficiency. Wondering if one book can make you do all of this. Grab a copy, read on and get ready to get surprised, and inspired.

Best Quote:

‘…you cannot eat every tadpole and frog in the pond, but you can eat the biggest and ugliest one, and that will be enough, at least for the time being.’

7. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

First Published: October 1936

What It’s About:

The original self-improvement contains ageless wisdom, and compelling guidance that will help you through all life situations and become a person who gets his or her way while appreciating the goodness and kindness in people. A bible of simple techniques, this helps you do exactly what the title suggests, win friends and influence people. Both these things come together to make you immensely successful and popular.

Why You Should Read It:

All of us yearn to be appreciated and recognized. This book yields you the power to tap this innate human need and use it to build strong relationships, influence people and infuse happiness wherever you go. The only catch is to follow the guidance and implement it with genuineness and warmth, not be fake and a flatterer.

Best Quote:

‘Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.’

6. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class, by Steve Siebold

First Published: 2005

What It’s About:

It takes a lot to be world-class. Unfailing self-discipline, and extreme mental control figure high rank high in the World class. This book assimilates and states the mental traits of individuals who have become greats and champions in their own rights, and are an inspiration to many. It contains gems of self-development, motivation and positive thinking.

Why You Should Read It:

This book instills that infallible confidence in you to turn every situation to your advantage, and look at every circumstance with possibility, no matter how grim it looks. Read it to overcome the urge to think negatively, imbibe discipline and determination and inculcate invincible mental strength. It makes you understand that through boldness and courage you can achieve all your goals, positive thinking is a powerful instrument and strength of character will help you chart your path to greatness.

Best Quote:

‘Amateur performers operate from delusion; pros operate from objective reality. The great ones’ habits, actions, and behaviors are totally congruent with the size and scope of their ultimate vision. That’s why we call them champions.’

5. The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch

First Published: April 8, 2008

What It’s About:

The Last Lecture is one of those books that you will never want to part with. In it you will find an understanding friend, and a sincere guide who with humor and tenderness fills your life with silent courage, goodness, and compassion. After reading this book, you will ardently desire to make every day and every moment better than the one gone by.

Why You Should Read It:

The Last Lecture is one that many recommend and read. It fills you with energy and positivity and an ardent desire to go and achieve something, do something great every day, chase your dreams and live life like it was your last day. It is a book that will teach you to be a doer and a listener, overcome hurdles, help others realize their hopes and dreams, and seize every moment. It is a book that will teach you to live life to the fullest.

Best Quote:

‘It’s not about the cards you’re dealt, but how you play the hand.’

4. Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It, by Kamal Ravikant

First Published: 2012

What It’s About:

Ravikant’s book is an honest take on life and all the limitations that we are made up of. An assertion of self-love, a commitment to self-improvement, and a healthy dose of self-belief can help us wade through life when everything is falling apart. Self-improvement is deeply rooted in self-love and this book takes you on a journey of loving yourself, believing you are worthy and deserving and can do all that you set your heart and mind to. It is a straightforward and no-nonsense guide to standing up every day to the demons and struggles that you face daily and emerging out of success and failures with equal hope and knowledge.

Why You Should Read It:

It pushes you to go out there and make your dreams come true. It’s very easy to love yourself when you are doing well. This book teaches you to love yourself even during failures. It tells you and guides you to love yourself like your life itself depends on it and always carry a positive self-image.

Best Quote:

‘The truth is to love yourself with the same intensity you would use to pull yourself up if you were hanging off a cliff with your fingers.’

3. Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown

First Published: September 11, 2012

What It’s About:

A self-improvement book like no other, this book encourages you to be yourself always, not hide your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, but in fact draw strength from them. A beautiful page-turner, this is book that will give you courage to show your true magnificent self to the world and fill you with a hope that you can achieve great things without pretense and falsehood.

Why You Should Read It:

Finally comes a book that is real, conversational and almost like living room talks, but only with the wit, warmth, and humor of Brown also comes engaging and life-transforming advice. Have you dared to move beyond your comfort zone, speak the uncomfortable truth, do the never attempted before? This book if read and followed will make you do that, leave shame, anxiety, fear somewhere in the dumps and dare to something that is totally completely you, because only when you are unabashedly and honestly yourself do you live completely and achieve the amazing treasures of life.

Best Quote:

‘Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.’

​2. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, by Susan Cain

​​First Published: January 24th, 2012

What It’s About:

An insightful, delightfully penned book that challenges and breaks the myth that only extroverts are successful. It names and celebrates highly successful and creative individuals who are self-proclaimed introverts. A must-have self-improvement and motivation guide in the library of introverts.

Why You Should Read It:

Success and accomplishment has nothing to do with you being an extrovert or introvert. Don’t be apologetic or conscious of your introvert nature, be proud of it and continue on the path of self-growth and myriad achievements.

Best Quote:

‘There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.’​

1. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, by David Burns

​First Published: 1980

What It’s About:

Burns’ book reveals the recurring key characteristics that leads to destructive and self-harming thoughts and emotions. It explores and answers troubling questions like, ‘why do we judge ourselves so harshly?’, ‘which thoughts are essential in setting depression and approval’ and why quest for perfection can hamper rather than promote your self-development.

Why You Should Read It:

This is a book that contains practicable and scientifically proven techniques to help you repel and shatter negative character traits and habits like cynicism, low self-esteem, anxiety, guilt, fear of failure and need for external approval. It’s a sincere attempt by Burns that will help you love and value yourself more, nip negativity in the bud and live a liberated and happy life.

Best Quote:

‘Achievements can bring you satisfaction but not happiness.’

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To Conclude

Hope these self-improvement books have been helpful to you and will take you towards a life full of hope, courage, confidence and happiness. Pick one of these up today, and unleash the latent power of thoughts and action within you.

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