I know… “Another book recommendation list, just what the Internet needs.”

So I get an “F” for creativity but I think you’ll find this valuable.

As a compulsive, lifelong reader, I promise you this list has been rigorously developed and refined – except for #5.

And these aren’t your standard, cliché self-improvement books – except for #1.

But don’t worry about those two.

Also, I must confess: while this reading list is curated for young adults, it isn’t exclusive to this age group. Middle-aged and old adults will enjoy these titles too. [sta_anchor id=”books”]

(If I was feeling REALLY clickbaity I would have titled this These 5 Incredible Self-Improvement Books for Young Adults will Change The Way You Think — or something like that.)

Anyways, here are the BOOKS: 

How to Win Friends and Influence People 

I told you #1 was cliché. If you’ve been encouraged to read How to Win Friends & Influence People in the past and haven’t because you assume it’s this weird, ancient manipulation bible, just read it (READ IT!).

It turns out winning friends and influencing people is accomplished by being a delightful human who makes others feel good.

A great insight! I was pleasantly surprised.

Also, How to Win Friends is more tactical than most self-improvement books. Author Dale Carnegie is a master communicator who uses plain language and relevant examples to share some of the most valuable advice ever penned.

I doubt I could conjure the right words to make you understand just how valuable this book is, so I won’t even try. Honestly, just read it.

I recommend this book for: Everybody. If every person was required to read How to Win Friends at least once in their life, the world would be a better place.


The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

Yah! Give no f*cks! Put an asterisk in f*ck to appear edgy but not vulgar!

The book’s title might be abrasive but behind the cover is a compassionate, hilarious exploration of the human psyche in an era dominated by the ethos of unconditional self-improvement, in which many of us feel we’ll never be good enough.

As the title states, The Subtle Art offers “A counterintuitive approach to living a good life.”

The approach? You guessed it… Stop giving a f*ck.

By subverting common attitudes about self-improvement, author Mark Manson presents a refreshingly humanistic view of what sustainable happiness entails.

This book is valuable because it has the power to change your approach to self-improvement in a way that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Despite its harsh first impression, The Subtle Art is an amazingly progressive guide to self-love.

I recommend this book forPeople who feel anxious and easily frustrated. People who set high standards for themselves. People who are tired of redundant self-help advice.


The Tao of Pooh

The buzzing, LCD glow of modern life causes many of us to feel anxious, alienated from the inner tranquility we once felt as a child.

If this is true for you  (it certainly is for me), I highly recommend you read The Tao of Pooh.

The Tao of Pooh is a wonderful allegory that teaches the ancient Chinese Taoist philosophy as interpreted by beloved children’s character Winnie-the-Pooh.

The Tao (or The Dao) roughly translates to “the way”. For a religious philosophy, Taoism is uniquely non-dogmatic. In other words, Taoism is easy going – like Winnie-the-Pooh.

The Tao of Pooh it’s a quick and pleasant read that will teach you to stay calm as you navigate your own way. Although I must warn you, it may make you feel foolish for ever stressing too much about anything.

I recommend this book forPeople who feel anxious and easily frustrated. People with an interest in philosophy. People who enjoyed Winnie-the-Pooh as a child.


Getting There: A Book of Mentors

In 2017, success advice isn’t hard to come by. A Google search of “how to be successful” brings a staggering 800,000,000 results, most of which contain the same observations: “Successful people wake up early,” “They are honest with themselves,” “They aren’t afraid to dream big,” blah, blah blah.

If you’re like me, these sorts of articles don’t cut it. I prefer to be led by example, to be shown rather than told – especially when it relates to something as consequential as whether I succeed in life.

That’s why Getting There: A Book of Mentors is a permanent fixture on my reading list. The author, Gillian Zoe Segal, was pursuing a change in her career and felt she was in need of mentorship, so she did the most proactive thing imaginable and set out to interview some of the world’s most successful individuals.

Through incredible tact and tenacity, Segal succeeded at her goal and the result is one of the greatest “how to be successful” books ever written, which is remarkable because it’s not a “how to be successful” book at all.

Getting There is a collection of candid, autobiographical essays. Although each essay is unique to the individual, together they define clear patterns of what it takes to succeed.

As the title says, Getting There truly is a book of mentors.

I recommend this book forPeople who like to be inspired. People who are seeking direction in their professional life. People who fear they will never accomplish their goals.



I wrote that this list has been rigorously developed and refined, “except for #5.”

That’s because there is no #5.

I could list hundreds of books I think you’d enjoy but I think there’s something more valuable to be gained here if you make a recommendation of your own.

What should I read next? Which book deserves the fifth spot on this list?

Update: Thank you everyone for your awesome recommendations. Here’s an updated list of your suggested #5s:

I’d love to learn about the books that light you up. So please email me or leave a comment on this post letting me know.

Happy reading everyone 🙂