If you’re currently looking for a book that will help you feel fulfilled and enlightened, then you’ve come to the right place! Below I will depict summaries for 5 of the best books on self-improvement. All must-reads.
The first book on our list is The 4 Agreements.
1st of best books on self-improvement
The 4 Agreements: Summary
This book was based on wisdom derived by the Toltecs. The Toltecs were an ancient Mexican society that explored spiritual knowledge and ancient practices. In this book, Don Miguel Ruiz talks about 4 main agreements we should all live by.
First agreement: Be impeccable with your word.
This agreement is all about being mindful of all interactions with ourselves and others. Although the most difficult to stick to, it’s probably the most significant one of all. The reason behind this is simple. Your words strongly manifest your outcomes. They have the power to create. They are a force of expression and communication. With this force, you can create beauty, but if careless, you can also cause destruction. This is why your words must remain impeccable.
What does Ruiz mean with impeccability? Being impeccable means being without sin. In this case, sin would be anything that you feel or believe that goes against yourself. Feeling self-rejection or self-hate is sinning against yourself. They are easily expressed by your interactions with others. This is why you should first start being impeccable with your own self. Being judgmental and highly critical of yourself will make you so with others.
Being impeccable with your word is the correct use of your energy; it means to use your energy in the direction of truth and love for yourself.Don Miguel Ruiz
Second agreement: Don’t take anything personal
This, and the other agreements, emerge from the first agreement. You can’t take anything personally because it’s not about you in the first place. Attitudes and words from others towards you, are mere reflections of who THEY are. Not who you are. This is why you must always be impeccable with your words —towards yourself and others.
Third agreement: Don’t make assumptions
It’s a common human nature to assume things to be a specific way and then suffer from these illusions built in your mind. The worse assumption you can make is to believe that others think, feel and act the way you do. This causes great disappointment and frustration. The best way to avoid this is by asking questions, and by asking what you really want. These are great ways of communication and will translate into stronger and better relationships.
Fourth agreement: always do your best
Try to incorporate these agreements into your life. These will improve your life significantly. Also, always do your best in everything you do. Because that way you won’t let your self-judge emerge. Therefore, there are no regrets, and you’ll have a sensation of freedom. Just accept that your best may be limited at certain moments of your life. And that’s ok. ?
This is a very short read, with vivid examples that portray each agreement perfectly. If you’re always in a rush, then this book is perfect for you!
Our second book is When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron.
2nd of best books on self-improvement
When things fall apart: Summary
this is another book based on ancient spiritual teachings. Even if you’re agnostic, or are inclined into much more scientific reads, this book can turn out to be a gem for you. Because it’s not about believing in religion. Or spirituality. It’s about grasping the wisdom behind these ancient teachings.
This particular book is one of my favorites, and I came across it by accident, when it was mentioned by Glennon Doyle in a SuperSoul Session. This book teaches you about how to leave room for pain to transform you, and how grief can lead to growth, wisdom, strength, and compassion. It provides a clear picture of mindfulness and meditation, and how they can be used to let go of fear and hopelessness. Chodron also focuses a lot on self-compassion and how practicing to be kinder to yourself can help you overcome any type of difficulty.
Pain is present in every aspect of your life and learning not only how to overcome it, but how to grow from it, leads to very high levels of self-improvement. It makes you resilient, wise, and pretty much invincible. Definitely a must-read!
Our third book is called The Power of Now.
3rd of best books on self-improvement
The Power of Now: Summary
This book goes very in line with the previous books because it is also based on spiritual experiences and enlightenment, reached by its author, Eckhart Tolle. This book is about tackling emotions such as fear, anxiety, and regret by living in the NOW. It’s based on the idea that you’re able to separate yourself from your mind, and all the mumbo jumbo it sometimes creates. This is reaching enlightenment. Being able to self-reflect with acceptance, love, and completely free of judgment.
Tolle refers to “time” as an illusion and makes you understand that the only moment you need to live is in the present. The past doesn’t exist, as it’s already gone. The future is also inexistent, as it hasn’t happened yet. So focusing on the present moment is actually accessing the power of now. This can be a very liberating experience. ? If you suffer from anxiety or tend to guilt-trip yourself often, then this is the right book for you!
Now, our fourth book is much more scientific, but still preaches about self-awareness and its importance for inner-growth. It is Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman.
4th of best books on self-improvement
Emotional Intelligence: Summary
In this book, Goleman provides plenty of scientific explanation that backs up his theories about the importance of the emotional mind. Just like Tolle, but under a different perspective, Goleman talks about paying attention to ones’ internal states. He depicts the importance of recognizing and labeling your emotions. This is called self-awareness. Hand to hand with self-awareness is self-regulation. Self-regulation is about being able to handle your emotions appropriately.
Self-awareness and self-regulation are the ingredients for having high emotional intelligence. Then, like a ripple effect, this leads to high levels of empathy, stronger and better relationships, and a high ability to handle stress and overwhelming emotions.
Last —but not least— Goleman portrays different ways to improve your emotional intelligence. Just like spirituality dictates, he recommends mindfulness and meditation. One thing’s certain here. Focusing on ways to improve emotional intelligence is a safe pathway to self-improvement. So not a bad read at all!
If you’d like to read my perspective on emotional intelligence, then check this out.
Finally. For our last book I chose one on a much more humorous (but just as wise) book, The Subtle Art of not giving a f*ck by Mark Manson.
5th of best books on self-improvement
The subtle art of not giving a f*ck
First of all, I gotta say that if you love a sarcastic, witty, and “smartass” kind of read, then this is the book for you.
In this book, Manson talks about several interesting topics. He addresses self-awareness, the importance of failure, and the importance of setting boundaries (among others). His main theme, however, is about guiding you to define a set of values to live by. Sort of a set of principles and self-goals. Because, according to him, values determine the nature of our problems, and the nature of our problems determines the quality of our lives.
In order to lead happier and much more successful lives, it is necessary to stick to values that are solely under your control such as honesty or standing up for yourself. These are internal values. External values, such as materialistic goals and prioritizing your life on pleasure, can only lead to instability and depression.
So what can we conclude from these books?
The first thing that comes to mind, is how The Power of Now, Emotional Intelligence, and When Things Fall Apart all coincide in the following:
Meditation and mindfulness foster self-improvement.
Self-awareness was also consistent in all of these books. It undoubtedly plays an important role in self-improvement. Being in touch with your emotions, understanding what your core values are, and being able to communicate honestly and with love to yourself and others, lead to inner growth. ✨
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Do let us know (down in our comments) if you’ve read one of these books and your opinions about it!
The links to the books above are Amazon affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission if you purchase these items through my links. This is at no additional cost to you.
If you liked Best books on self-improvement, you will sure like The Wonders of Practicing Gratitude.