Authored by Douglas Mefford in Self Improvement
Published on 08-30-2009
The area of personal self-improvement is one of the most fascinating challenges a person can undertake. It is within all of us to be able to rise above position and upbringing to create the best person we want to be. But as with any journey, be it across the planet or within our own mind, a guiding hand can help us to find a clearer path. There are many self-improvement books willing to guide, but a few stand out above the average to show us how to find our better selves.
Dale Carnegie must lead this list. His 1937 best seller, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is the benchmark by which all other self-improvement texts must compare. Mr. Carnegie put forth the principles by which a person can improve himself or herself by giving full attention to the people around you. He expounded on honesty and consideration as the keystone by which friendly dealings with other people could overcome mistrust and misunderstanding.
“The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” also stands among the giants of self-improvement. Published in the late 19th century by Stephen R. Covey, the seven habits focus on how to train one’s self to think positively and proactively. This book helps one develop the process of thinking towards one’s goals through logical progression and understanding of both one’s self and the thoughts of others toward a mutually beneficial cooperation.
In recent years, “The Purpose Driven Life” by Christian writer Rick Warren has quickly shown itself to be a fitting companion to the other best self-improvement books of all time. While steeped in biblical verse and religious themes, “The Purpose Driven Life” transcends its religious overtones to help exemplify the higher purpose everyone can find in their lives.
“Think and Grow Rich” was developed from Napoleon Hill’s earlier work, “The Law of Success”. “Think and Grow Rich” is designed to help one understand and develop the principles of creating successful business thought and practices, one can as easily translate its advice into a philosophy of achievement that can be applied to any field or just one’s own personal pattern of self improvement. Utilizing a close observation of the lives of other highly successful people, Mr. Hill distilled the common elements of their philosophy and actions into a blueprint for successful thought and deed.
Dr. Richard Carlson gave the world a powerful insight into life both internal and external in his publication, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and It’s All Small Stuff”. Few authors have made the importance of recognizing the real priorities in life so easily understandable. As a trained stress management psychologist, Dr. Carlson had a firm grasp on how so much of what holds people back from their own self improvement is by being waylaid by things that are not nearly as important as they seem.
Any list such as this must of necessity be subjective. Many other great self-improvement books could be added to this list. Everything from Charles Burke’s “Inside the Minds of Winners” to Miyamoto Musashi’s “Book of Five Rings” can help the seeker find their own personal path to self improvement.