Logo Logo

Success Books

By: jwilder, 9/9/2020

What are the best books on being successful in life? I believe this is the best question one can ask.

In the past I used to read books and then archive them to the bookshelf.

I quickly forgot what I read.

Now I am much more strategic about which books I read.

I now study them like I am taking a college course. I write extensive notes. I add my insights. I note if I disagree and why. Finally, I determine how to integrate what I have learned into my daily life.

The books in this list focus on success in life, rather than business or money.

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Atomic Habits
By James Clear
Published 2018

It is the best book I have ever read that deals with creating good habits and eliminating bad habits.

I strongly recommend reading and deeply studying this book.

If you see yourself as a guide, an influencer, or a teacher, this book is powerful. It's not a bunch of emotional motivational stuff. It's simple truth about how the brain works.

It is easy to understand and apply.

This is so important because most every millisecond in our day our good and bad habits direct our thinking and ultimately our actions.

Another great feature of this book is every chapter is about the same length and can be read and studied in one sitting.

Because I could read and take notes on one chapter a day I felt like I was making good progress. At no time did I feel like I had to rush to finish a chapter. My suspicion is James intentionally designed it that way. Brilliant!

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
By Stephen R. Covey
Published by Free Press 1990 First Edition

If you could have only one book on success, this would be it. I regret waiting so long to read it.

This book is outstanding. It is not a casual read. Be prepared to take careful notes because this book is very dense in concepts and "Covey Terminology." Covey suggests using this book as a long term reference.

The 8th Habit

The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness
By Stephen R. Covey
Published by Free Press 2004

The 8th Habit is the sequel to The 7 Habits. Covey argues that effectiveness does not suffice in what he calls "The Knowledge Worker Age". He says that "the challenges and complexity we face today are of a different order of magnitude." The 8th habit essentially urges: "Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs."

Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

Awaken the Giant Within : How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny!
By Tony Robbins
Published 1991 First Edition
Published by Simon & Schuster

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich
By Napoleon Hill
First Published 1938

Classic. Positive mental attitude focus.

Visualization, positive thinking, perseverance.


Online version

Full Text

Think and Grow Rich PDF

The Law of Success by Napoleon Hill

The Law of Success
By Napoleon Hill
Published 1925

The Law of Success was written by Napoleon Hill in 1925.

"It was originally released as a set of 15 separate booklets before being consolidated into a single-tome book. There were 118 limited edition copies, which were given to many of America's most successful individuals, all of whom had contributed to the content of the book."

The Law of Success in 16 Lessons
By Napoleon Hill
Published 1928

"The Law of Success in 16 Lessons is an edited version of Napoleon Hill’s first manuscript, which was reworked under the advisement of several contributors. This version was initially published in 1928 as a multi-volume correspondence course. Later editions consolidated the material into a single hardcover book."

According to Hill, the work was commissioned at the request of Andrew Carnegie, at the conclusion of a multi-day interview with Hill. It was allegedly based upon interviews with over 100 American millionaires, including self-made industrial giants such as Henry Ford, J. P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison, across nearly 20 years. The Law of Success was first presented as a lecture, and was delivered by its author in many major cities and in many smaller localities throughout the United States over a period of more than seven years." -Wikipedia

Orne Publishing used one of these original copies to create a reprinted version of The Law of Success in 2010. [verify]

The Law of Success was a precursor to Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich.

Many of today's best known self help books take there core concepts from this book:

  • The Secret
  • The Power of Positive Thinking
  • The Millionaire next door
  • The Law of Attraction

The Success System that Never Fails by W Clement Stone

The Success System that Never Fails
By William Clement Stone
Published 1962

Very interesting person and masterful salesman. This book is part instruction and part autobiography.

"Stone emphasized using a "positive mental attitude" to succeed. Stone adopted the motto of his mentor, Napoleon Hill, "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve (with PMA)." In 1960, Stone teamed up with Napoleon Hill to author Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude. The book Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude includes the following testimonial from the Rev. Robert H. Schuller on the inside front cover page: "Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude is one of the ten books that has most impacted my faith and my philosophy...no person's education is complete without the concepts articulated in it so wisely and so well." Norman Vincent Peale said that Stone and Hill "have the rare gift of inspiring and helping people...In fact, I owe them both a personal debt of gratitude for the helpful guidance I have received from their writings." Stone and Hill also founded a monthly digest magazine, entitled Success Unlimited. In 1962, Stone wrote the Success System That Never Fails, in which he suggested how to become successful and have a healthy, productive lifestyle. In 1964, he and Norma Lee Browning collaborated on writing The Other Side of the Mind."

W. Clement Stone

Interview with W. Clement Stone, 1986

W. Clement Stone Foundation

The Success System that Never Fails

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

I would be truly interested if there is a new (improved) psychology for success.

I list this for completeness. Reading the bad reviews on Good Reads leads me to pass on this one.

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
by Carol S. Dweck PhD.

Contact Capital by Bob Proctor

Contact Capital: How to Turn Your Contacts into Cash Flow
By Bob Proctor
Published 2008

The title of this book is spot on. Maintaining and cultivating your contacts is a core practice of successful people.

The Way to Wealth

The Way to Wealth
By Benjamin Franklin
Published 1810

The Way to Wealth

Acres of Diamonds by Russell H. Conwell

Acres of Diamonds
Author: Russell H. Conwell
Published 1915

This 1915 lecture is a powerful truth. Opportunity and wealth is right under your nose.

"But you go through the world saying, 'No opportunity to get rich,' and there is the fault right at your own door."

Public domain books by Russell H. Conwell

Acres of Diamonds by Russell H. Conwell

James Wilder

I write about success principles and practices that help dreamers take action and achieve their goals! I believe that success is for anyone that truly desires it.

Join me on the success journey! Subscribe to my weekly Keys to Personal Success email and gain momentum in the right direction! Sign up here: James On Success.


What is a Dream

No Time To Dream

There Are Many Objections to Living Your Dreams