There are many great books that will help you with your habits, but below we have collected the top 10 books that will change your life forever. Go ahead and get them today!
Central Idea: Understanding how habits work is the key to changing them.
Breaking a bad habit and forming a new one doesn’t have to be an uphill battle, although it often is.
What then is the difference between individuals who endure a lifetime of frustration that emanates from failed attempts at creating positive habits and the “special” minority that seem to create change overnight? That's precisely the question Charles Duhigg answers in The Power of Habit.
The three components of the framework are Cue—a trigger for the habit, the Routine— your automatic response to the trigger, and the reward—positive feelings created engaging in the routine. Duhigg calls this the “Habit Loop." In this book, you'll learn that the key to changing habits is not to avoid cues or change the rewards. He then uses loads of interesting anecdotes to bring the lessons home.
For instance, you learn how Bob Bowman—Michael Phelps’ Coach inculcated habits and routines that led the swimmer to become the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 28 total Olympic medals to his name, 23 of which are gold!
Another interesting example is that of the renaissance of Aluminum Co. of America. When Paul O’Neil became Chief Executive struggling Alcoa in October '87, he announced he would focus on improving employee safety rather than expanding sales or increasing profitability, an announcement that caused some shareholders to dump their stocks.
Astonishingly, within a year, Alcoa’s profit soared to record highs. And by the time O'Neil retired, Alcoa's stock was 500% from when he took over.
What O’Neil and Phelps's coach did was to focus on what Duhigg calls a keystone habit— a small behavioral change that’s capable triggers widespread changes.
The lessons you’ll learn in this book will help you create change at an individual level and also at organizational at societal levels. For more fascinating insights on how the science of habit formation has can leverage for creating change…
Buy “The Power of Habit – Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business” here.
Central Idea: “The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you live your life—Carol Dweck."
Neuroscience has substantiated a reality that we should relish: we are all wired with the ability to become more intelligent and transform various areas of our lives. Unfortunately, not every person recognizes this scientific fact to be true for them. Our belief or lack of belief in the vastness of our human potential determines the path we take in life and, ultimately, the outcome of our lives. That’s Carol’s message.
In Mindset– The New Psychology of Success, She puts forward the idea that mindset is perhaps the most fundamental distinguishing factor between those who constantly strive to develop their talents, abilities, and character and those who don’t and thus, wind up living a life of misery. The first type of individuals possesses what Carol Dweck calls the “fixed mindset” while the latter with a “growth mindset.”
Individuals with fixed mindsets consider their traits and qualities as being set in stone. When these folks experience a setback in the pursuit of a goal, rather than struggling to achieve their desired results, they simply throw in the towel and conclude that they are unintelligent or incapable of achieving specific results. On the other hand, persons with fixed mindsets believe that they can grow, improve and become better.
The great news is, our mindsets are learned, and so we can unlearn them. Learn more about the life-shaping power of a growth mindset and how you can make it work for yourself and others.
Buy "Mindset – The New Psychology of Success” here
Central Idea: Small everyday routines compounded over time can create massive change.
It is safe to say Atomic Habits is in many ways a more refined version of Duhigg’s popular book, The Power of Habit. And if you knew James’ story, you’d agree he’s well qualified to teach you about how to build good habits.
In high school, a loose bat smashed him in the face. This put him in a desperate place. His nose was broken, his eyes dislocated, and even worse, he had brain damage to recover from. To get his baseball career back on track, he had only one choice: to depend on the power of small gains—an approach that would prove to be extremely potent.
Using the strategy of accumulating small, incremental, daily gains, he built his body and qualified himself to become one of 33 athletes for the ESPN All-American baseball team. Remarkable, isn’t it? That’s the power of atomic habits compounded over an extended period!
Think about it this way, “if you were able to improve by just one percent each day for an entire year and those gains compound, you would end up 37 times better at the end of the year,” James states.
In atomic habits, you’ll learn how to break bad behavior and adopt new ones by consistently stacking one small habit over another and allowing the effects to compound.
Remember, as James says, “the cost of your good habits is in the present and the cost of your bad habits in the future.” So don’t make the mistake most people make—don’t prioritize the present over the future.
Go ahead and buy a copy of "Atomic Habits" now.
Central Idea: We are who we are largely due to the way we were cared for during the first six years of our lives.
Don’t let the title of the book put you off. As controversial as the title might sound, many who read They F*ck You Up come to agree that it's a real eye-opener. Like Carol Dweck in Mindset, Oliver James favors the argument that although genetics (nature) has a role in determining who we are, our environment (nurture) is the more significant determinant of the outcome of lives.
They F*ck You Up takes a delve into parent-children relationships and asserts that certain behaviors kids exhibit result from their upbringing, particularly in the first six years of their lives. For instance, if you constantly seek other people's approval, if jealousy or competition is an overbearing force in your life, it could be because of the way you were nurtured in your early childhood years.
Realize that this book isn’t about casting blame. It’s about helping parents and would-be parents grasp a deeper extent of their influence on their kids, why the atmosphere they create around these youngsters can adversely alter the course of their lives, and ultimately, change the way you relate with infants.
This book is not only a valuable read for parents or those preparing to have children. It’s a worthwhile read for anyone born of a woman and raised by humans (not aliens). Because, as James presents, “understanding your past is the first step to controlling your present.”
Snap up a copy of "They F*ck You Up - How to Survive Family Life" here.
Central Idea: Six core habits distinguish extraordinary people from regular people.
Brendon reiterates an open secret in High performance Habit: the difference between average and high performers is their habits. The big question is, which specific habits are most important in helping you achieve long-term success and happiness? That’s the focus of this book.
Brendon is popularly regarded as the world's leading high-performance coach. After leveraging his connections and conducting large-scale research on high-performance individuals, he shortlisted six crucial habits for achieving and sustaining massive levels of success. He codified these habits as the “HP6," and they are: seek clarity, generate energy, raise necessity, increase productivity, develop influence and demonstrate courage. This book will teach you how to practice those habits.
If you’ve read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you might wonder how Brendon's book is different and if you still need to read it. In fact, the ideas from both books do parallel at some point. However, High Performance Habits is no mindless rehash of popular truths.
In this book, you’ll find valuable knowledge and relevant strategies that’ll lead you to high achievement in all areas of your life.
Buy yourself a copy of "High Performance Habits - How Extraordinary People Become That Way" here
Central Idea: The easiest and most sustainable approach to new habit formation is to go slowly but steadily.
One reason we often find it so hard to stick with good goals is that we rely solely on the power of motivation. Say you set a goal to get your body in shape. At the outset of your resolve, you’re fully confident that you’re going to be at the gym every other day, as you planned. But few weeks down the line, your motivation has fizzled, you’ve slipped off, and your initial enthusiasm has been replaced with guilt.
Small change is more sustainable. You can maintain your streak, even on days when you don't feel like it because you require little willpower to get in action. This is why tiny habits are tremendously powerful.
Fogg, therefore, recommends that you begin the habit formation with embarrassingly small milestones (for instance, do two pushups per day). Then you anchor your new behavior on prompts that are already in your day-to-day routine. For instance, do the pushups right after you’re through brushing your teeth.
Here’s one thing that makes Tiny Habits different from other popular books in the habit formation niche: authors of many of those best-sellers are simply enthusiasts. Fogg, on the other hand, is a research scientist at Stanford.
Tiny Habits is a culmination of 2 decades of empirical work and hands-on experience coaching over 40,000 people to lose weight, exercise more, sleep better, and so on. Undoubtedly, the scientifically proven methods shared here will help you form new habits quickly, easily, and sustainably.
Purchase your copy of "Tiny Habits - The Small Changes That Change Everything" here
Central Idea: Waking up at 5 am and jumping straight into an effective morning routine is one of the most important habits you can cultivate for success.
5 am Club tells a fictitious story of a billionaire mentoring an entrepreneur and a struggling artist on how to succeed. The first key to success, he states, is to get out of bed by 5 am! What is it about getting up at 5 am that makes it a strong contributor to success?
The early hours of the day, or 5 am, as Sharma asserts, is a period of little distraction. As such, it provides you with the solitude necessary for high-performance. He further declares that this 5 am or early-rising habit is a common denominator of the top 5% of people. So if that’s where you aspire to be, you’ve got to adopt the process that got them there.
Getting up early is only part of the battle, though. You also have to ensure you don't fritter away your advantage by reading emails, watching the news, or scrolling mindlessly on social media. He recommends that you use the 20/20/20 formula to kick start your day.
Wake your body with 20 minutes of physical exercise. Connect with your inner self through 20 minutes of meditation and reflection. And take the final 20 minutes to learn.
If you’re not an early riser, the wisdom found in pages of this book will persuade you to roll out of your comfort zone, become a morning person and join the 5 am club.
Purchase your copy of "The 5 am Club - Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life." here
Central Idea: Personal change is possible, powerful and, worthwhile.
12 Rules for life is a rock-star clinical psychologist’s take on how to make your life more livable, enjoyable, and less chaotic. Ultimately, these rules or mindsets are intended to remedy society's ills. Since the individual is the smallest unit of the society, what better way to cure the society than to start from the minutest unit?
Life is indeed tragic. But we all have the power to put certain things right. And there are many good things in store for us if we choose to tell the man in the mirror to change. Here’s a quick look at Peterson’s 12 rules:
1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back.
2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.
3. Choose your friends carefully.
4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
5. Don’t let your children do things that make you dislike them.
6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world.
7. Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.
8. Tell the truth—or, at least, don’t lie.
9. Assume that the person you’re listening to might know something you don’t.
10. Be precise in your speech.
11. Don’t bother children when they are skateboarding.
12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street.
Seems like an interesting read already. That's because it is.
Click here to buy your copy of "12 Rules for Life – An Antidote to Chaos".
Central Idea: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve— Napoleon Hill."
Think and Grow Rich has been become one of the most common references in all conversations about the Philosophy of Success and Achievement, despite being first published almost a century ago. Underpinning the book is the idea that, as Walt Disney said, "All our dreams can come true."
In this classic book, Napoleon Hill presents 13 concrete principles that you can employ in creating wealth and amassing a personal fortune, and reaching your loftiest goals, whatever those may be. Mind you, the 13 principles shared in this book are no mere suggestions; they are based on in-depth research of some of the world's greatest achievers at the time, including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison.
Whatever goals you have— if you want it bad enough and you’re willing to work at it long enough, even in the face of initial failures—you can achieve them, using the principles Hill outlines in this best-seller.
For practical wisdom on how to channel your energies, crystallize your ideas, turn your thoughts into things, and make your dreams come true, Think and Grow Rich is one of the first places you want to look.
Purchase your copy of "Think and Grow Rich" here.
Central Idea: “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny—Steven R. Covey."
Here’s another self-improvement classic. In this book, Covey highlights 7 primary principles upon which success and happiness are founded. The seven habits are:
I. Be proactive
II. Begin with the end in mind
III. Put first things first
IV. Think win-win
V. Seek to understand first before making yourself understood
VI. Learn to synergize
VII. Sharpen the saw
A brief back story here: Covey noticed that many successful individuals from all walks of life battled with a sense of emptiness—they struggled with an inner desire to develop personal effectiveness. They also had difficulty in forming healthy interpersonal relationships.
While investigating, trying to understand why this was, he discovered something remarkable. Before World War I, success was attributed to characteristics such as humility, integrity, and justice. Conversely, after the war, success became more about shallow qualities that overlook life's main essence. He terms these qualities "personality ethics," including public image, personality, skills, and behaviors.
The first three habits in Covey’s list focus on self-mastery. The following three focuses on developing communication and collaborative skills—moving from independence to interdependence. And the last habit focuses on continuous growth.
Covey argues that you must develop your character—not your personality— to achieve sustainable success. This implies that if you're trying to create any habits, you should start from this fundamental seven. These 7 habits transcend time, culture, and even religion.
You can buy "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" here.