35+ Books That Will Change Your Life

Posted by on April 23, 2018

A lot of smart, successful, awe-inspiring people sit down at some point and put their thoughts, ideas, and advice into a book. And that’s a gift, to anyone with a small amount of disposable income, or a well-stocked public library. Just because someone is one of the smartest, busiest, most successful people on the planet, doesn’t mean we can’t pick their brains, every day. Often for ten bucks or less. Sometimes for free.

You may be able to pick a lock with a credit card, but with a library card, you can pick brains. Share on X

Here are some of my favourite, lightbulb moment, change-your-life books, (roughly) organised by category. I intend to keep adding to this list, so apologies if there are more than 35 here, despite the title. But there’s really no such thing as too much knowledge.

Disclosure: Sometimes my work here (and all around the web) contains affiliate links. Find out what that means here.

Before we start, some of these books just a few bucks. A few are even free, in ebook form, via the Kindle Unlimited subscription service. Click the image below to find out more about that. Or if you’re in the UK and not yet a subscriber, go here for your free trial.


It’s easy to assume that mere mortals don’t get to spend time with Richard Branson or Oprah Winfrey, never mind Marcus Aurelius, but you can. It’s as easy as cracking open a book.

Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius

Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson 

What You See Is What You Get: My Autobiography by Alan Sugar


Most of these are on my bookshelf and getting dog-eared. They get a lot of use. I gave the first few their own separate post Five Books That Will Fuel Your Online Business Success (that link will open in a new window, so you won’t lose this list if you check it out).

Crush It! Why Now Is The Time To Cash In On Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath

Unmarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging by Scott Stratten

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin

Delivering Happiness:A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh


The Startup Playbook: Secrets of the Fastest-Growing Startups From Their Founding Entrepreneurs by David Kidder

True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George and Peter Sims

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel

Born For This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do by Chris Guillebeau

The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau



Want to start a business that also makes the world a better place? Start with these. Anita Roddick’s story of how (and why) she started The Body Shop is an old one (I think it’s one of the first business books I ever read) but still relevant.

Body and Soul: Profits with Principles – The Amazing Success Story of Anita Roddick & The Body Shop by Anita Roddick

Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie

Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek


Sometimes being a girlpreneur (or should that be womanpreneur?) comes with it’s own specific challenges. It’s certainly interesting to get a successful woman’s perspective on things sometimes.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington

Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Mohr

#Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert


Productivity is, in many ways, the cornerstone of success. It doesn’t matter what you’re creating. If it takes you forever to bring it to market, no-one is ever going to know about it. These are my very favourite books on productivity.

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy

The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months by Brian P. Moran

The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich by Tim Ferris

The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch 

The Power of Less: The 6 Essential Productivity Principles That Will Change Your Life by Leo Babauta 


Sometimes being successful at your business is linked to being successful at life. These books will help you do so much more than run a thriving business.

The Greatness Guide: 101 Lessons for Making What’s Good at Work and in Life Even Better by Robin Sharma 

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson


So. Many. Books. I’ll be adding to this list over time (so feel free to bookmark this page or Pin it to return to later). Every month I read at least one more book that will help me live a better life and/or run a better business. These are just a few more that I couldn’t leave off the list.

Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes–But Some Do by Matthew Syed

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to drive your career and create a remarkable future by Seth Godin

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur by Derek Sivers

Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki

The Revenue Growth Habit: The Simple Art of Growing Your Business by 15% in 15 Minutes Per Day by Alex Goldfayn

Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges by Amy Cuddy

Outliers:The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell

The Way You Do Anything is the Way You Do Everything: The Why of Why Your Business Isn’t Making More Money by Suzanne Evans

Bold: How to Go Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler

The Hard Thing about Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

The Power of Habit:Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard

What Would Google Do? Reverse-Engineering the Fastest Growing Company in the History of the World by Jeff Jarvis

What are you waiting for? These are people worth having a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine) with. Pour yourself one, start reading and pick some of the best business brains around.

Like to learn while you drive, run or work out? Me too. Right now you can get a free trial of Amazon’s Audible and get two free audiobooks. In the UK? Same deal applies. Just click here for Audible UK.

Posted in: Living Life Well


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