11 Inspirational Self-Help Books that Will Ignite Changes in Life

11 Inspirational Self-Help Books that Will Ignite Changes in Life

With so many self-help books out there, it can be hard to know where to get started.  At Lifehack, we believe that changing your life starts at the root, which is changing how you think about things.  With our rapidly evolving society, new ways and methods are being introduced all the time that improve upon old formulas.  At the same time, there are time-tested frameworks that work whether it was for 15 years ago or for today.

Here is a collection of 11 self-help books that cover the basics of thinking – adapting these as a foundation will help you in multiple aspects of life, be it productivity, relationships, career, or other life goals.  We keep it updated to include some of the freshest ideas while retaining the mindset gems that have managed to stay evergreen.

    The Art of Thinking Clearly

    by Dobelli, Rolf

    Hitting the No. 1 of Germany’s Der Spiegel Bestseller list and later catching the world’s attention, The Art of Thinking Clearly is an internationally bestselling non-fiction written by the world-class thinker and entrepreneur, Rolf Dobelli. The Art of Thinking Clearly exposes humans’ everyday logical fallacy based on theories from psychology and economics. Divided into 99 chapters with each no longer than 3 pages, this book is condensed, well-organized, especially reader-friendly to busy modern readers. The though-provoking insights of this book will definitely sharpen readers’ ability to spot simples errors made in everyday thinking, and to eventually make better, more logical, and more efficient decision.

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      The Lost Art of Listening: How Learning to Listen Can Improve Relationships

      by Nichols, Michael P.
      The notion that listening is lubricant in relationships is such a cliche that is heard again and again. Unfortunately, from time to time, we can’t help forgetting this foremost rule in relationship.

      Arguing that there is always room for people to improve listening, the experienced professor of psychology and well-known therapist, Michael Nichols distills years of clinical wisdoms into practical advice about improving interpersonal communication. By weaving professional theories and vivd examples, Nichols clarifies the “proper” listening process among relationships, eventually enabling readers to improve their relationships through better communication.

      Ultimately, The Lost Art of Listening is suitable for anyone who wants to be listened or needs to listen. And that is basically every one of us!

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        Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise

        by Ericsson, K. Anders

        Though it is deep-rooted in many people’s minds that innate talent is needed to learn any expertise, Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise belies this notion and proves we are all born with the seeds of excellence.


        Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, a non-fiction written by the eminent scholar Anders Ericsson, condenses three hundred years of psychological research to introduce an incredibly powerful approach to learning. Devoted to helping readers build fundamental skills essential to self-learning such as goal setting and self-motivation, this book will promisingly assist readers learning any expertise like a natural. For readers like you who wish to excel in various disciplines, Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise is your brightful start.


          Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

          by Gladwell, Malcolm
          The best-selling author of The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell has again translated the research of his specialized areas into a fantastic story-telling in his new book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. By incorporating ideas from a wide variety of professions, in Blink, Gladwell reveals the mystery of snap judgement — the decision we make in a blink of time. Gladwell argues that great decision makers are not the ones who process the most information, but the ones who master the art of “thin-slicing”, an ability to filter factors which matter from an overwhelming number of variables.

          In this book, readers will be guaranteed a revolutionary insight to the mysterious world of human subconscious mind, which helps readers gradually become a clever decision maker.


            Mindfire: Big Ideas for Curious Minds

            by Berkun, Scott

            A book should be informative, for sure; but a great book apart from being abundant in information reminds its readers of the things that are important. In that sense, Mindfire: Big Ideas for Curious Minds is a well-written book.

            Written by Scott Berkun, the best-selling author of six other books, Mindfire is a collection selecting some of Berkun’s best essays. These essays make insightful observation and discussion on questions that curious minds are hungry to know the answers of. Each essay of Mindfire, short in its length though, is sufficient to push you to think and expands your perspective. It is promised Mindfire would be an pleasurable reading for all curious minds.


              The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

              by Duhigg, Charles

              Certainly there are things you want to achieve in life, which may be building attractive body shape, raising a smart child, or excelling in a career. Achieving is great, but how to achieve is the big question. The secret to achieving success, as The Power of Habit argues, lies in the action of forming habits.


              Written by the award-winning New York Times business reporter, Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit explains the formation of human habits from the eyes of scientists. Scientific and precise as the content is, with penetrating intelligence Duhigg successfully distills the vast amount of information into a simplistic but not least engrossing narration, guaranteeing readers a pleasurable reading experience.

              Reading The Power of Habit, you will take a provocative journey to understanding how your life is shaped by your own habits; and at the end of the journey, you will gain sharper insight, and can better manipulate the formation of your habits to your own good so as to prepare excellence in your career and also your life in general.


                Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

                by McKeown, Greg

                In life, sometimes we do feel the anxiety for feeling busy but not productive or that time is always hijacked by trivial things. These moments are actually alarming us to start decluttering.

                Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less is a good manual for those who wants to regain control of what is important in life. Written by Greg McKeown, a bestseller who graduated from Stanford University and had given speech in multiple major companies such as Apple or Google, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less offers readers useful tools and motivation to practice a life of essentialist. With the insights of the book, readers will find a systematic approach to eliminate trivial things, but learn to spend their precious time and energy on what really matters.

                If you hope to get motivational ideas or effective tools to refine a life to one that is dedicated to what really matters, this book will be helpful to you.


                  The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

                  by Kondo, Marie

                  Despite the constant hard work to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts or clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles in your home? Though “there is nothing like staying at home for real comfort” as Jane Austen says, it is difficult to feel comfort in a messy home!

                  In the spirit of essentialism, here is another book guiding readers to achieve a clearer and decluttered life, though this precious one focuses on decluttering one’s house. Despite the fact that there have already been many books teaching home tidying skills, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a diamond in rocks.


                  With a concrete and creative but not least effective home-decluttering method — the KonMari Method, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up helps readers simplify, organize, and store clutters in an efficient way. Following the guidance, readers will soon create a house surrounded with things that spark joy — a unique home that calms and motivates the minds of its owners.


                    What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets

                    by Sandel, Michael J.

                    With everything governed by capitalism, our world is pushed to be market-driven. In a world where everything is labeled a price tag, our moral standard is put to the test.

                    The problem of a declining moral standard is brought to the light by What Money Can’t Buy. Written by Michael Sandel, a famous professor of Government at the University of Harvard, What Money Can’t But aspires to discuss the biggest ethical question of our time: is it wrong with a world in which everything is for sale?

                    Offering no easy answers but instead serving as an invitation to reflect on the world we are living in, the provocative discussion of this book will definitely ignite the fibre of your brain, or even subvert your deep-rooted outlook.

                    If you want the knowledge which will protects you against this corruptive society or you want to be once again reminded of the importance of ethics, What Money Can’t Buy is a book worthy of your read.

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                      Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

                      by Dweck, Carol S.


                      Mindset is “an established set of attitudes held by someone”, as the Oxford American Dictionary defines. It is not difficult to understand that any long-held, deep-rooted attitude towards ourselves will greatly influence the way we perform in our study or in our work. However, as it turns out, this set of attitudes as what we call mindset ought not to be so fixed, as Dweck suggests.

                      Written by Carol Dweck, a world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success offers a revolutionary concept: Growth Mindset, which is not only applicable to individuals, but even to groups or organization. Infused with engaging stories and in-depth research, Mindset will lead readers to understand the provocative idea that those who believe that abilities are fixed are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed.

                      If you are an adventurer who wants to foster great accomplishment, or if you are a teacher who hopes to inspire your students’ potentials, why not give Mindset a place on your next-reading list?

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                        Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

                        by Allen, David

                        In an era when multi-tasking is a necessary living skill, anxiety and depression due to heavy workload and information overload are rampant. If you look for a way to get things done without any stress, Getting Things Done is worthy of your attention.

                        Since its first publication 15 years ago, Getting Things Done written by David Allen, a world-wide leading coach to many American prestigious organizations, has become one of the most influential business books of its era. In this newest edition, the book is re-written from start to finish, with up-to-date material added.

                        From this masterpiece on personal organization, readers will learn mental skills necessary for this hectic, knowledge-base society, eventually boosting their productivity and well-being.

                        For readers who have not read this precious asset, it is time to read the manuals every business predecessor had read a decade ago; for readers who had already read this, it is always worthwhile to re-read this inspirational self-help. As the old saying goes, a good book is worth reading twice!

                        It is time to speed up your productivity, and escape from burnout due to over-stress.


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                        Last Updated on November 15, 2021

                        12 Best Marketing Books To Grow Your Personal Brand

                        12 Best Marketing Books To Grow Your Personal Brand

                        Growing your personal brand continues to be a popular trend, especially among millennials. According to Business Insider, a staggering 1.8 billion photos are uploaded every day via social media. points out that personal branding allows you to establish a reputation and an identity while still maintaining a personal level of trust and interaction, usually through social media.

                        If you study the marketing efforts of a major corporation like Apple Inc., it is evident how the tech company strategically creates a unique voice and a signature image that connects with their followers. Jayson Demars of Forbes states people are far more compelled to trust individuals as opposed to corporations.

                        “People are far more likely to follow you, talk to you, trust you, and engage with you if they believe they are interacting with a real person,” said Demars. “This is where the benefits of humanizing your brand really come into play.”

                        Growing your personal brand will not only build trust amongst your followers, it could end up being one of your best returns on investment. If you have a large social following and you post creative content, this won’t cost you a penny and it can raise awareness about your skill set and career ambitions. If you haven’t begun growing your personal brand or are unsure where to get started, don’t worry. We reached out to professionals in the field, including psychology and marketing expert Dr. Robyn LeBoeuf, to compile 12 of the best marketing books to help you enhance the most important brand in the world. YOURS.

                        1. Buzzmarketing, by Mark Hughes


                          Hughes forces you to think outside of the box when it comes to relaying your message to the masses. The former marketing executive provides real-life, memorable examples that will get people talking about your brand.

                          He shares plenty of fun stories, such as how he once named renamed an entire city for a marketing campaign.

                          While you won’t need to rename a city to get people talking about your personal brand, Buzzmarketing will force you to start thinking outside of the box.

                          “Despite a long history in marketing I took away several things from this book and enjoyed it so much I bought a copy for all my marketing managers. its a fun, easy read yet reminds us marketers of things we already know but frequently need reminding.” – Rebecca

                          2. Confessions of an Advertising Man, by David Ogilvy


                            Adweek magazine asked people in the industry, “Which individuals – alive or dead – made you consider pursuing a career in advertising?” and David Ogilvy topped the list.

                            When it comes to growing your brand, if there’s one person whose advice you should follow, it’s the ‘Father of Advertising’, David Ogilvy. His book, “Confessions of an Advertising Man,” relays his marketing secrets, which helped some of the largest brands reach tremendous growth. One insight he shares is:

                            “The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.”

                            If you are looking to grow your personal brand, take note of Ogilvy’s time-tested, successful pointers.


                            “This book is a “must read” for anyone considering going into advertising, as Ogilvy personally invented the industry as we know it today. However, if you want to know how to conduct yourself in the world of business, how to write, how to communicate with people, this is also the book for you.” – Tom

                            3. The Brand Gap, by Marty Neumeier


                              How can you create a brand so charismatic, it draws people in and becomes an essential part of their lives? In this book, Neumeier outlines five disciplines to help you bridge the gap between brand strategy and brand execution:

                              Differentiate, Collaborate, Innovate, Validate and Cultivate

                              Using visual metaphors and real-life examples, Neumeier challenges you to apply his five disciplines to your own experiences and to focus on innovation when building your personal brand.

                              “As owner of a small company trying to figure out branding, this book was an invaluable read in helping me got going in the right direction. Branding is still a very large boondoggle of a neverending project, but now I at least feel like I have a better understanding of what it is I’m after. I see good branding everywhere, this book explains, as much as is possible, how to get there.” – Mark

                              4. Positioning, by Al Ries and Jack Trout


                                The now-popular marketing term ‘positioning’ was originally coined by Trout in 1969. If you want to learn what positioning means for your personal brand, this book is the place to start.

                                Decades later, Ries and Trouts’ words still ring true. It seems that each year, media gets louder, and it’s even harder to reach your audience. So how can your personal brand overcome the commotion?

                                From how we think about our friends to why we identify with a political party, ‘Positioning’ considers how you can frame your personal brand to your audience, and how you can stand out from the crowd.

                                “This book is fantastic! They give you some clear examples of why companies rise and fall because of their failure to position themselves in a way that makes sense to the market. They talk about how companies go from successes to duds because of their inability to understand their place in the market.” – Matthew

                                5. Influence, by Robert Cialdini 


                                  Psychologist and marketer Bob Cialdini explores why people are persuaded to change their minds, and teaches you how to become a savvy persuader yourself. He introduces you to his six principles of ethical persuasion:

                                  Reciprocity, Scarcity, Liking, Authority, Social Proof, and Commitment/Consistency

                                  Cialdini supports each of his principles with sound data in psychology and provides examples so you can get the most out of his book and learn to deliver an excellent elevator pitch when you come across your big opportunity.


                                  “I highly recommend this book to all professionals. It does not matter if you are a manager, sales person, pastor, or non-profit volunteer. The ideas in this book, once applied, will make it easier for you to accomplish your goals.” – Kevin

                                  6. Branding Pays, by Karen Kang


                                    One of the first lessons Kang introduces is that everyone knows the importance of a well-curated social media presence, but few people will actually take the initiative to manage their personal brand.

                                    “[Do] a Google search on your name. Are the links and images of you that show up on the first page of search results how you want your brand represented? If not, then you have some work to do.”

                                    Kang shares relatable, real-life examples of how you can improve your personal brand in all your social spheres, and offers concrete tips that you can begin executing immediately.

                                    Bill Mulholland, the founder of American Relocation Connections, makes sure his brand is well represented online. “We know that potential customers conduct research online when they are interested in our services,” stated Mulholland. “This is the exact reason why we are constantly trying to improve our online presence by obtaining reviews, posting relevant content and interacting with our followers. Businesses need to make sure that their top notch customer service is conveyed online for everyone to see.”

                                    “As a career services professional, I stress to students the importance of maintaining their personal brand. We started using this book in our career management courses because of its practical application. It’s easy to understand (“cake” and “icing”) with concrete examples. The book teaches you not only how to develop your brand, but more importantly, how to manage and maintain your brand.” – J.P.

                                    7. Career Warfare, by David D’Alessandro


                                      In his no-nonsense, to-the-point guidebook to the business world’s battlefield, D’Alessandro shows you how to pick up the tools you already have at your disposal and best manage your personal brand for your professional development.

                                      This book is more focused on a corporate environment, though the lessons can easily be applied to a small business or for an individual. If you are wondering how to deal with your corporate landscape, try some of D’Alessandro’s take-no-prisoners style tips.

                                      “Whether you’re looking to thrive in a large company or launch a successful start up, David D’Allesandro’s book will help you get there sooner. Combining C-level experience with street-smarts, D’Allesandro delivers actionable insights and powerful recommendations on everything from using the power of information to stand out to keeping clients happy.” – Luke

                                      8. Brand You 50, by Tom Peters 


                                        As the business world continues to grow, at least one thing remains constant – your personal brand will define you, your future career and your relationships you build.

                                        “The white collar job as now configured is doomed… So what’s the trick? There’s only one: distinction. Or as we call it, turning yourself into a brand… Brand You.”

                                        Peters enthusiastically attests that surviving means not blending in, but standing out. True to the book’s subtitle, he will present you with 50 tangible strategies that will push your personal brand to the next level.


                                        “As usual, Tom Peters delivers the goods! His concept of Brand YOU! is great, and his ideas for practical implementation even better. If you want to stand out and reach for real excellence, read this book.” – Carl

                                        9. The Success Principles, by Jack Canfield


                                          Canfield, a co-creator of the bestselling Chicken Soup for the Soul series, definitely knows a thing or two about inspiring readers to make a positive change in their lives.

                                          Canfield outlines 64 principles to reach success, and he builds on real-life stories of people who struggled but ultimately reached success, from Olympians to blue-collar workers.

                                          Touted as one of the greatest self-improvement books on shelves, ‘The Success Principles’ almost reads like a self-help book, but its greater goal is to motivate you to take charge of your personal brand and start fresh in your professional development.

                                          “This book is a fantastic resource for anyone who desires to get to the next level. This is a smorgasbord of personal development, psychology, and business and financial books wrapped in one burrito. Are you hungry? This book will satisfy your appetite for success.” – Thomas

                                          10. Guerilla Marketing, by Jay Conrad Levinson


                                            Throughout his extensive career as an ad agency exec, Levinson was responsible for some of the world’s most recognizable brand icons, including the Pillsbury Dough Boy and Tony the Tiger.

                                            Levinson shares his experiences in guerrilla marketing (a term he coined), and details how, with enough creativity and strategic thinking, you can spin any situation to your advantage. He also discusses best management practices, particularly as technology is evolving so rapidly.

                                            Although Levinson’s book was first published in 1983, his teachings are timeless and they can easily be applied to the contemporary personal brand.

                                            “Great book that gives you a quick introduction to the world of marketing, especially helpful for small business owner. If you’re an entrepreneur, this book is a must-read.” – James

                                            11. Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath


                                              Chip and Dan Heath delve into the psychology behind viral social trends, like the gruesome urban myth where a traveller wakes up in a tub of ice, courtesy of a local organ-harvesting ring. They credit the proliferation of “sticky messages” to six traits:








                                              As you read about SUCCESs, the brothers Heath will show you how to apply these traits to your own personal brand’s messaging, and how to make your ideas stick.

                                              “It’s brilliant! It packs the information of a textbook, while maintaining your attention like a comic book. The book on how to make ideas stick is very sticky itself. Strongly recommended.” – Vincent

                                              12. You, Inc., by Harry Beckwith and Christine Clifford


                                                Husband-and-wife Harry and Christine are both CEOs of their own companies, and in this book, they team up to share the lessons they learned along the way.

                                                They present over 150 ideas for how to use effective communication to build your personal brand, and though the lessons are easily understood, Beckwith cautions that there is a considerable difference between ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ something.

                                                Although this book is just over 300 pages, this is one book you’ll want to take your time reading and fully absorbing.

                                                Everyone wants to excel in their professional and personal lives. The 12 best marketing books to grow your personal brand will expose you to the most effective tips on personal brand development, which in turn will help you to generate more buzz about yourself in your social networks.

                                                “For knowing nothing about sales, this was a great launching pad for me to get more interested and read other sales books. Pretty motivational with great bits of information to redefine how you see the world. This book has definitely shifted my approach to “getting out there” making myself more visible.” – Scott

                                                This list of books includes work from the 1960s up through 2015, and amazingly, all of the concepts and principles will still hold true across generations. No matter how much business evolves or expands, human nature will always care about compelling stories – the personal brand that you give in your elevator pitch. These time-tested philosophies hold strong, proving that a successful personal brand is everything.


                                                With the help of the life-changing wisdom inside these 12 marketing books, it won’t be long before you master your personal brand with ease!

                                                Featured photo credit: BigStock via

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