21 of the Best Life-Changing Books

Personal Development . 12 Min. Read . By: Devon Brown

I am a firm believer that the answers to most of life's questions are out there. You don't have to solve them for yourself; you just have to find them.   

I call those answers "Sexies" and it's my life's mission to find as much Sexy in this world as I can and share it with others. And a great book is always a great place to start.

I read almost exclusively self-help books. In fact, I think I’ve maybe only read one or two fiction books in the 20+ years since they were assigned reading in school.

Don't get me wrong, fiction can certainly teach life lessons. I know a lot of people who'd say The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is one of the best life-changing books. Its poetic nature is certainly inspiring, but I prefer a more direct approach.

So, this is a list of the best life-changing books that either I or those closest to me have been inspired by. These books will help you 'Throw Sexy' on different areas of your life, including your career, relationships, mindset, and more.

 (By the way, none of the following are affiliate links. I'm just giving you my unbiased opinion with basic Amazon links for your convenience.)

21 of the Best Life-Changing Books for Personal Growth

The following list is in no particular order because life doesn't happen in a particular order. Different books will appeal to you at different times in your life.

I recommend you read through the list of books, pick one that's standing out to you, buy it, and start reading it immediately. Don't do what I do and buy 21 books at one time and stick them all on a shelf where they sit untouched for months. Pick one, read it, and then come back to this list to repeat the process.

I'm going to try to keep the descriptions short and sweet since my hope is you'll read the whole book to get its full value.

Psycho-Cybernetics is the mother of all personal growth and self-help books. Yes, it contains a ton of great information, but that's not all I mean by "mother of all." I also mean that this book birthed pretty much all of the self-development teachings around today.

Many of the leaders in self-development, like Tony Robbins, were influenced by this book. It paved the way for people to take control of their minds to create a better life.

 have to admit that I judged this book by its cover. I hated the cover so much I put off reading it until a friend basically slapped me upside the head. I'm glad he did because I learned so much that I listened to the 12-hour long audiobook twice!

If I had only ONE personal development book to recommend, it would be Psycho-Cybernetics.

The Upside of Adversity book cover

I’m not an overly religious person. But in 2014 – during arguably the lowest point of my life – a religious (Christian) friend of mine saw all of the pain I was experiencing and recommended this book me.

During my lowest time, this book gave me the peace, hope, and internal understanding I needed to keep going.

The Upside to Adversity tells the biblical story of Joseph, who experienced his own decade-long journey from the pit of despair to the pinnacle of success in life and in the workplace. It explains how God uses adversity to show His power and purpose.

I don’t know if you’re religious or not. But what I will say is this…

If you’re going through an exceptionally hard time right now, and you seem to keep losing at life despite your best efforts; go get this book immediately.

Man's Search for Meaning book cover

This book is required reading in many Psychology classes because it's about finding meaning and purpose in life despite one's circumstances.

The author, Viktor Frankl, was a well-regarded psychologist when he was arrested and put into concentration camps during World War II. He had already been working on his theory of Logotherapy (literally, "Meaning Therapy") when he was thrown into one of the harshest circumstances in our world's history.

Frankl managed to apply his budding theory to his circumstance to help himself, and others survive. The book covers his experiences in a concentration camp, the basics of Logotherapy, and "The Case for Tragic Optimism."

It's a great book for changing your perspective on any given set of circumstances.

The Secret book cover

Can we say instant classic?

I'll keep the synopsis on this one short because unless you've been living under a rock, you no doubt have read this book, seen the viral film, listened to it on audio, or at the absolute least, heard people talk about it.

The Secret is a self-help book that explains how the Law of Attraction - which states that what we focus on, we attract - can be used to help us create the kind of life we want. That’s why I consider this book one of the best life-changing books out there.

If for some reason you've never picked this book up (or watched the movie), then set aside some time to do so.

The Alchemist book cover

This book is so good, that I’m including it on this list even though it’s technically a fiction book. It has an empowering real-life message that is as true as it gets. I read (or I guess more accurately “listened”) to it twice… IN A ROW!

That’s right. I downloaded this book on Audible… listened to it… and then immediately listened to it again.

The main lesson The Alchemist teaches is to pursue your dreams by following what your heart desires. The protagonist of the story, Santiago, does this and ends up on a journey full of twists and turns that the reader will undoubtedly be able to relate to.

The thing I love most about this book is that it teaches one of life's most important truths: That just because something is unfolding differently than you thought it would, doesn't mean that it's not happening for your greatest benefit.

If you’ve heard the quote, “life is to be lived looking forward, and understood looking backward”, this book embodies that quote perfectly.

The bottom line. This book is a MUST READ!

Rich Dad Poor Dad book cover

I doubt there's a list of 'best life-changing books' that doesn't include Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

To say it's an international bestseller is underselling it. It has sold over 32 million copies in more than 51 languages across more than 109 countries.

The book explains the differences between a "poor mentality" and a "rich mentality" based on the author's experiences with his biological father, who was poor, and his rich father figure.

One of the key takeaways I took from this book is to never say, "I can't afford it," but rather, "How can I afford it?" The book also gives excellent advice on how to answer that question

The E Myth Revisited book cover

The E-Myth Revisited is an absolute must-read book for any entrepreneur. If you are a business owner or dream of owning a business or even had a fleeting thought of owning a business, this book is for you.

This is one of the books I bought but just left on a shelf... for years! I thoroughly regret not reading it as soon as I heard about it because it completely changed how I pursue my entrepreneurial dreams.

Don't make that same mistake! If you consider yourself an entrepreneur, devour this book as soon as you can. It’s undoubtedly one of the best life-changing books for anyone looking to start their own business.

The Richest Man in Babylon book cover

Based on the title, I didn't even realize this was a self-help book, let alone one of the best books on money.

It has a more "poetic" writing style that made me put off reading it for a while, but I wish I hadn't. It outlines the "Five Laws of Gold," using the richest man in Babylon as a case study. This sage man, as well as other characters, offer their advice to those who wish to follow in their wealthy footsteps.

These "5 Laws" ARE gold because they simplify what most people spend their whole lives trying to figure out. It's a fairly short book, but I recommend digesting it one chapter at a time.

How to Win Friends and Influence People book cover

I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about this book.

On one hand, it Throws Sexy on how to make friends and become a leader. On the other hand, some lessons felt like they bordered manipulation. I certainly don't think the author intended it that way, and he even touches upon ethics, but I think he could've delved a little deeper.

So, I think it's important to go into this book with a clear line drawn in your mind of how to use this book for the good of all.

The other concern I had is that it teaches you how to be a great friend to everyone else, but not how to receive quality friendship in return. You certainly don't want to finish this book and become everyone's best friend yet still be lonely! So be sure that you make a friend who also applies the lessons in this book. Why are you recommending it as one of the best life-changing books then, Devon?!

Well, even though I have some qualms about the book, it really does offer a ton of great advice, especially in regards to sales. If you are in the sales industry, it can certainly change your life. If you don't know how to make friends, it can really help with that, too.

Crush It book cover

This book was written in 2009 by one of the internet's most influential personalities. While some of the specific internet-information may be a little outdated, the essence of the book will no doubt be true forever.

Crush It is basically a blueprint for turning your passion into your profession. It shows you how to take what you love and turn it into a profitable business. It's a great read, especially if you're an entrepreneur who is just starting out.

One of the biggest take always from this book is the importance of hustle over talent – meaning that if you have the work ethic, there’s nothing that can stop you.

The 4 Hour Workweek book cover

Many people think the concept of this book is too good to be true. How is a 4-hour workweek not only sustainable, but also able to give you an above-average life?

Well, that's what Tim Ferriss outlines in this book.

He dispels the idea that you have to put in hard work and endless hours to achieve financial success. Instead, you can outsource the bulk of it and have the free time to do the things you love.

Whether or not you can or want to achieve a 4-hour workweek, this book will force you to have a paradigm shift. It forces you to rethink how you value your time and prioritize the things you want to do in life.

 With the huge surge in remote work, this book's principles are more achievable than ever before. It's a great read for anyone who is burnt out on the 9-5 or is pursuing a more flexible lifestyle
Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins book cover

You just have to look at who the author is to know this book is empowering.

As the World's #1 Event Emcee, it's no surprise I'm a huge fan of Tony Robbins. I've even got to work alongside him on a few events. I've learned a lot from him, including from this book.

The full title is Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical, and Financial Destiny. So, basically, how to take immediate control of your entire life!

It's definitely worth the read but you have to be prepared to do the work. Just like all of the books on this list, you can't just learn this stuff; you have to apply it.

The Power of Habit book cover

This book helps you understand “why we do what we do in life and business.” More importantly, it guides you on how to take control of what you do to reach your goals.

The author does a great job transforming vast amounts of scientific information into engaging narratives. It can help you across the board, from losing weight to achieving professional success.

The main concept is similar to what I learned from my friend that changed my life. I share that story in my blog article, The #1 Secret to Achieving Your Goals.

The Go Giver book cover

I have recommended this book more than any other on this list. In fact, I often give it as a gift to my coaching clients and entrepreneurial friends.

This book is a short story that illustrates how the more your give, the more you receive. The main principle of this book has yielded huge dividends in both my personal and professional life. It can do the same for you, too.

Also, it’s a really quick & easy read. This book is a perfect example of huge things coming in small packages.

The 5 Love Languages book cover

I learned about this book from friends who were assigned to read it for premarital counseling. My friends all said it is incredibly eye-opening. It has 5 stars with over 52,000 reviews on Amazon.

It teaches you about the 5 different ways people show their love, and how they feel loved in return. It explains why love gets "lost in translation" when one person is speaking one love language and the other person is speaking a different love language. It then teaches you the best way to communicate according to a person's love language.

By understanding other people's love language, whether it's your spouse, girlfriend, child, or friend, you can show them how much you love them in a way they can understand. You can love them the way they need to be loved.

You can also understand how you feel love, which allows you to better communicate your needs to others. 

It's at the top of the list of best life-changing books on relationships.

Radical Forgiveness by Colin Tipping book cover

Another incredibly powerful book in regards to relationships is Radical Forgiveness. It's certainly been one of the most influential books in my life.

It impacted me so much, I researched the author and attended his in-person workshop. The workshop was just as life-changing as the book. I wrote an entire blog article on How to Forgive and Let Go based on everything I learned and experienced.

If you struggle with forgiveness & letting go, this is the #1 MUST READ a book. And while you’re grabbing it, you should probably also grab Tipping’s Radical Self-Forgiveness, too. The two books go great together.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I know a lot of my readers aspire to be bestselling authors, which is why this book makes the list. Whether you are a writer, an artist, or consider yourself creative, this is a good book for you.

Big Magic is an optimistic, encouraging, and happy book about embracing your curiosity and creative inclinations. It dispels the idea that the only good artist is a "tormented artist." Most of the examples are related directly to writing, but there's a lot about the creative process in general.

This book isn't scientific but it does throw sexy on our habits and attitudes. It checks off the inspirational box, which is what most creatives crave!

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson book cover

This book contains one of the Sexiest ideas ever.

It explains how success is simply a series of small actions taken CONSISTENTLY. Those small actions are both easy to do and easy to not do (because we underestimate their value).

If you read this book and apply it to your life, there's nothing you can't achieve. The small changes I made because of this book resulted in big changes in my real life. I've embraced the idea that the Goal is Never the Goal, and it's made all of the difference.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck book cover

The title of this book is certainly attention-grabbing, but your interest won't end there.

The author doesn't spout sugar-coated positive thinking but rather speaks the raw truth that some things in life are stupid. He teaches you to give fewer f*cks about those things that aren't important. As a result, you get to better appreciate the good things in life.

As a side note, if you’ve never heard of Mark Manson, I highly recommend following him. He constantly delivers great content on his blog and on his Instagram.

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero book cover

Another straightforward title, You are a Badass teaches you "how to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life."

I've read a ton of personal development books and this one wraps all of the key concepts into one neat, little package. I consider it "Personal Development 101" and I highly recommend it to anyone starting a journey of self-improvement.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R Covey book cover

This book is known as "The #1 Most Influential Book of the Twentieth Century" and its lessons still apply today.

If you've noticed, there is a trend among these popular books on this list. Many of them address the importance of habits.

This author realized that habits are the key to success, so he made it his mission to identify the habits of the most successful people. He then shares what he discovered in this book so you, too, can adopt these habits and become a highly effective person.

Your Vote on the Best Life-Changing Books

I would LOVE to hear about the books that have impacted you. Please share your favorite books and how they have changed your life in the comments.


One of my biggest life missions is to help as many people as possible gain the confidence to step on any stage and effectively share their message. 

I hope, at least, some of these books that I consider the best life-changing books will help you get at least one step closer to your goals!

If you're looking to level up your public speaking game, then be sure to check out,
Be Awesome On Stage: The Masterclass

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Devon Brown (“Duh-Von” not “Dev-in”) is a speaker, author, entrepreneur, former hip-hop dancer, and World's #1 Event Emcee. Once described as a sort-of ‘MC Hammer meets Tony Robbins’; his style is 50% education, 50% entertainment, and 100% must-experience. Be sure to connect with Devon on social media.

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