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7 Good Personal Development Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are

book recommendation

The world is moving forward, and so are we.

In the past few years, the book market has been flooded with all sorts of non-fiction-self-improvement-magic-morning kind of literature, and the hardest part is to find an interesting (and a little scientific in the best case scenario) read.

Why do you need to read it? It’s just a waste of time, isn’t it? You need to read it to make yourself feel better, to optimize your working processes, to learn from other people’s failures, to find your life balance, to bring more mindfulness into your life and so many other reasons.

The best part is that you don’t have to follow the rules of one book and base your life experiences on it, you can just pick the advices, life hacks, and career hacks (🤓) that work personally for you. That’s the beauty of it!

We picked 7 books for you (that are not “7 habits of highly effective people”, “Big Magic”, or “Think and Grow Rich”) about motivation, power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, breaking through the invisible boundaries of global business, greatness, and negotiation techniques.

“Designing Your Life: Build a Life that Works for You” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

3.89 on Goodreads

Whether we’re 20, 40, 60 or older, many of us are still looking for an answer to that perennial question, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ In Designing Your Life, Silicon Valley design innovators Bill Burnett and Dave Evans use their expertise to help you work out what you want – and how to get it.

Their phenomenally successful Life Design course has been tried and tested by thousands of people, from students to mid-career professionals to retirees contemplating a whole new future. Now in book form for the first time, their simple method will teach you how to use basic design tools to create a life that will work for you.

“No Hard Feelings” by Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy

4.06 on Goodreads

The modern workplace can be an emotional minefield, filled with confusing power structures and unwritten rules. We’re expected to be authentic but not too authentic. Professional but not stiff. Friendly but not an oversharer.

As organizational consultants and regular people, the authors know what it’s like to experience uncomfortable emotions at work – everything from mild jealousy and insecurity to panic and rage. Ignoring or suppressing what you feel hurts your health and productivity but so does letting your emotions run wild.

In this book you will figure out which emotions to toss, which to keep to yourself, and which to express in order to be both happier and more effective. You’ll find the latest research and helpful tips, and reveal the surprising reason why you’ll actually be more healthier and focused if you’re less passionate about your job.

“The Culture Map” by Erin Meyer

4.31 on Goodreads

Whether you work in a home office or abroad, business success in our ever more globalized and virtual world requires the skills to navigate through cultural differences and decode cultures foreign to your own. Renowned expert Erin Meyer is your guide through this subtle, sometimes treacherous terrain where people from starkly different backgrounds are expected to work harmoniously together.

Even with English as a global language, it’s easy to fall into cultural traps that endanger careers and sink deals when, say, a Brazilian manager tries to fathom how his Chinese suppliers really get things done, or an American team leader tries to get a handle on the intra-team dynamics between his Russian and Indian team members.

In The Culture Map, Erin Meyer provides a field-tested model for decoding how cultural differences impact international business. She combines a smart analytical framework with practical, actionable advice for succeeding in a global world.

“The Talent Code” by Daniel Coyle

4.31 on Goodreads

Whether you’re coaching soccer or teaching a child to play the piano, writing a novel or trying to improve your golf swing, this book shows you how to grow talent by tapping into a newly discovered brain mechanism.

Drawing on cutting-edge neurology and firsthand research Coyle identifies the three key elements that will allow you to develop your gifts and optimize your performance in sports, art, music, math, or just about anything.

Deep Practice – Everyone knows that practice is a key to success. What everyone doesn’t know is that specific kinds of practice can increase skill up to ten times faster than conventional practice.

Ignition – We all need a little motivation to get started. But what separates truly high achievers from the rest of the pack? A higher level of commitment—call it passion—born out of our deepest unconscious desires and triggered by certain primal cues. Understanding how these signals work can help you ignite passion and catalyze skill development.

Master Coaching – What are the secrets of the world’s most effective teachers, trainers, and coaches? Discover the four virtues that enable these “talent whisperers” to fuel passion, inspire deep practice, and bring out the best in their students.

“Quiet” by Susan Cain

4.05 on Goodreads

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

“Never Split the Difference” by Chriss Voss with Tahl Raz

4.37 on Goodreads

A former international hostage negotiator for the FBI offers a new, field-tested approach to high-stakes negotiations—whether in the boardroom or at home.

After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a hostage negotiator brought him face-to-face with a range of criminals, including bank robbers and terrorists. Reaching the pinnacle of his profession, he became the FBI’s lead international kidnapping negotiator. Never Split the Difference takes you inside the world of high-stakes negotiations and into Voss’s head, revealing the skills that helped him and his colleagues to succeed where it mattered most: saving lives. In this practical guide, he shares the nine effective principles—counter-intuitive tactics and strategies—you too can use to become more persuasive in both your professional and personal life.

Life is a series of negotiations you should be prepared for: buying a car; negotiating a salary; buying a home; renegotiating rent; deliberating with your partner. Taking emotional intelligence and intuition to the next level, Never Split the Difference gives you the competitive edge in any discussion.

“Barking Up the Wrong Tree” by Eric Barker

4.09 on Goodreads

Much of the advice we’ve been told about achievement is logical, earnest…and downright wrong. In Barking Up the Wrong Tree, Eric Barker reveals the extraordinary science behind what actually determines success and most importantly, how anyone can achieve it. You’ll learn:

• Why valedictorians rarely become millionaires, and how your biggest weakness might actually be your greatest strength
• Whether nice guys finish last and why the best lessons about cooperation come from gang members, pirates, and serial killers
• Why trying to increase confidence fails and how Buddhist philosophy holds a superior solution
• The secret ingredient to “grit” that Navy SEALs and disaster survivors leverage to keep going
• How to find work-life balance using the strategy of Genghis Khan, the errors of Albert Einstein, and a little lesson from Spider-Man

What are you favorite non-fiction books on self improvement and personal development? Share in the comments. 

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