My Top 5 Business & Personal Growth Book Recommendations – [Plus 3 Honorable Mentions]

Personal Growth & Entrepreneurship . 11 Min. Read . By: Devon Brown

I hate books.

Actually, scratch that…

I don’t hate books. I LOVE books...

I just hate that every time I sit down to read a book, my mind begins to wander and I start to get sleepy.

My eyes will skim an entire paragraph before realizing that my brain wasn’t turned on, and then I find myself having to go back and re-read the paragraph from the beginning again.

Can you relate?

Listening to books on audio definitely helps. Although admittedly, my mind still wanders from time to time… and I have to go back and re-listen to what I just listened to. *Sigh* - I guess that’s why, to date, I haven’t read (or listened to) as many of the resources in my collection as I’d have liked to.

My library (pictured below) is filled with books on personal growth, motivation, sales, business, and the like... 70% of which haven’t been read – lol. ? 

Business books recommendations

I guess it’s a good thing I’ve got Batman guarding them for me. You know, just in case someone tries to steal one of them before I get around to reading it. If you didn’t see him in the picture the first time around, GREAT! That means he’s doing a good job being a “stealth-tastic” book guardian. If you did see him, then I guess that means I’m going to have to have a little talk with him about is ninja skills.

Hmm... now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I should take a speed reading course so that I can actually read all of theses before my 100th birthday.

But I digress. Back to what I was saying…

I LOVE reading (or listening to) books. Specifically, books on business and personal growth.

If I had to guess, I’d say that the last time I read a fiction book was over 20 years ago.

I suppose my mind is just more drawn to reading for knowledge than it is to reading for escape/entertainment. Not that that there’s anything wrong with reading for escape/entertainment. I actually envy people who can curl up with a good fiction book and get lost in another world.

All that being said, every once in a while a book will just “hook me” right of the bat! When this happens, I know I’ve got a winner and I’ll usually finish reading (or listening to) it in a relatively short period of time.

As an entrepreneur who understands that the personal growth is one of the foundational pillars for success, I’m always on the lookout for books & audios that help to strengthen that pillar.  Find me a book that gives me more clarity and insight into life, and I I’m happy as a pig in mud.

You know how I’m always talking about “SEXY”?

noun | sex·y | /ˈseksē/

1. Any action or idea that serves not only as a solution to a current challenge – but also as a means of uncovering even more possibilities for you to create life on your terms.

2. Any action or idea that gives you a deeper insight into truths about the world, or expands the boundaries of your own self-image.

3. Any action or idea that helps remove the layers of fear, self-doubt, and ego, that have built up over time, and allows you to live into the BEST version of who you are.

Well, whenever I find a business or personal growth book that adds a good amount of "SEXY" to my life. I put on my “must read” list. 

Over the years there have been lots of business and personal growth books that have made my list of “must reads”.

Titles like:Awaken the Giant Within’ – by: Tony Robbins… ‘Crush it’ – by: Gary Vaynerchuk… and ‘The Psychology of Achievement’ – by: Brian Tracy, all contain AMAZING insights on business, life, and overall success.

As a matter of fact, here’s a picture of me with ‘The Psychology of Achievement’ on CASSETTE!! And another picture of me with the author (and one of the top personal development trainers win the world), Brian Tracy.

Yes – those are real cassette tapes! And, in case you’re wondering, Mr. Tracy was the keynote speaker at an event where I was the emcee. So I got to welcome him on stage and hang out with him a little bit. #Awesome

But as I was saying…

As good as books/audios like ‘Awaken the Giant Within’, ‘Crush It’, and ‘The Psychology of Achievement’ are… they didn’t make my top 5.

In other words, they didn’t have the BIGGEST impact on me as an entrepreneurially minded individual who is big into personal growth.

Business books recommendations: Devon Brown and The Psychology of Achievement
Business books recommendations: Devon Brown with Brian Tracy

Here are the 5 books that did...
Along with 3 honorable mentions.

Click Play To Watch The Video Version Of This List

#5: The 4 Hour Workweek - By: Tim Ferris

The 4-Hour Workweek:
Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Originally published: April 24, 2007 Author: Tim Ferriss

Summary (courtesy of
Forget the old concept of retirement and the rest of the deferred-life plan. There is no need to wait and every reason not to, especially in unpredictable economic times. Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, or earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, The 4-Hour Workweek is the blueprint.

Business books recommendations: The 4-Hour Workweek

This step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle design teaches:
. How Tim went from $40,000 per year and 80 hours per week to $40,000 per month and 4 hours per week.
. How to outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want.
How blue-chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs.
. How to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist
. How to trade a long-haul career for short work bursts and frequent “mini-retirements”

Devon’s Thoughts: There was a lot of controversy when this book first came out because people thought the idea of working just 4 hours a week was ridiculous. After all, the idea of working so little goes against the tried and true philosophies that you have to “hustle hard” and “outwork the competition”.

I’m not here to make the argument that you can (or can’t) work a 4-hour week. As an Internet entrepreneur, there have been plenty of times I’ve worked only 4 hours in a week, and pocketed more than most do in a month. Conversely, there have also been weeks where I’ve worked 70+ hours without knowing if all that time/effort would even generate a single dime.

So again, I’m not here to argue the possibility of a 4-hour workweek. But what I will say, is that taking the information in this book to heart will force you to have a paradigm shift.

In other words, you'll see solutions and possibilities for having your cake and eating it too, that you never saw before.

I guess a simple way of putting it is to say… this book has great ideas on how you can think outside the box and “hack” life.

#4: Radical Forgiveness - By: Colin Tipping

Radical Forgiveness:
A Revolutionary Five-Stage Process to Heal Relationships, Let Go of Anger and Blame, and Find Peace In Any Situation

Originally published: 1997  Author: Colin Tipping

Summary (courtesy of
Could there be a divine purpose behind everything that happens? If you’re willing to embrace this possibility, every aspect of your life can change. This is the theory behind Radical Forgiveness, Colin Tipping’s revolutionary method for liberating your energy for the soul’s highest expression.

Business books recommendations: Radical Forgiveness

In Radical Forgiveness, readers join Colin for step-by-step instruction in what begins as a healing process, and culminates in a paradigm-shifting path to awakening. Inside this book, readers will discover:
. How to transform difficult emotions like anger, fear, and resentment into unconditional love, gratitude, and peace.
. The five essential stages of Radical Forgiveness, and how they help us transcend the victim archetype and embrace the inherent perfection of life.

Radical Forgiveness is much more than the mere letting go of the past,” writes Colin. “It is the key to creating the life that we want and the world that we want.” With Radical Forgiveness, he puts that key in our hands.

Devon’s Thoughts: This book was so good that I actually made an entire blog post about it. You can click here to read my blog article on forgiveness.

The forgiveness formula in this book resonated with me so much, that I ended up seeking out the author just to find out if he had any in-person workshops I could attend. He did… I went… and to say the event was life-changing would be an understatement. That’s why I had to bring this one up when it comes to my personal business book recommendations.

#3: The E-Myth Revisited - By: Michael Gerber

The E-Myth Revisited:
Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work

and What to Do About It

Originally published: 1986 Author: Michael E Gerber

Business books recommendations: The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It

Summary (courtesy of
In the E-Myth, Michael Gerber dispels the myths surrounding starting your own business and shows how commonplace assumptions can get in the way of running a business.

He walks you through the steps in the life of a business from entrepreneurial infancy, through adolescent growing pains, to the mature entrepreneurial perspective, the guiding light of all businesses that succeed. He then shows how to apply the lessons of franchising to any business whether or not it is a franchise. 

Finally, Gerber draws the vital, often overlooked distinction between working on your business and working in your business. After you have read The E-Myth Revisited, you will truly be able to grow your business in a predictable and productive way.

Devon’s Thoughts: Real talk. I heard about this book multiple times, over the course of several years, before I actually took the time to read (listen) to it.  Don’t ask why I was so hard-headed… I just was. Within 5 minutes of having the audiobook in my CD player, I thought to myself: “Holy crap! No wonder all of my entrepreneur friends have been telling me to check out the E-Myth”. If you’re an entrepreneur, and you don’t read the E-Myth Revisited… then something is seriously wrong with you.

#2: The Go-Giver - By: Bob Burg & John David Mann

The Go-Giver:
A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

Originally published: December 27, 2007 Author: Bob Burg & John David Mann

Summary (courtesy of
“Most people just laugh when they hear that the secret to success is giving. . . . Then again, most people are nowhere near as successful as they wish they were.”

Business books recommendations: The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea

The Go-Giver tells the story of an ambitious young man named Joe who yearns for success. Joe is a true go-getter, though sometimes he feels as if the harder and faster he works, the further away his goals seem to be. Joe finds a mentor who introduces him to a series of “go-givers" who, together, teach Joe the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success and help him open himself up to the power of giving.

Joe learns that changing his focus from getting to giving—putting others’ interests first and continually adding value to their lives—ultimately leads to unexpected returns.

Imparted with wit and grace, The Go-Giver is a classic bestseller that brings to life the old proverb “Give and you shall receive.”

Devon’s Thoughts: This book is probably the one I’ve recommended the most over the years. As a matter of fact, I find it to be so wonderful, that whenever one of my customers decides to buy one of my “premium” coaching services, I mail this book to them as a gift.

The book is a parable; a short story used to illustrate an important moral/spiritual idea. The idea: The more you give, the more you receive; the more you help others get what they want, the more life gives you what you want. Applying the central idea of this book to my life and my business has yielded HUGE dividends.

#1: Psycho-Cybernetics - By: Maxwell Maltz

Psycho Cybernetics:
Add More Years to Your Life & More Life to Your Years

With This Simple, Scientific & Revolutionary
Program for Health & Success

Originally published: 1960 Author: Maxwell Maltz

Summary (courtesy of
Since its first publication in 1960, Maltz’s landmark bestseller has inspired and enhanced the lives of more than 30 million readers.

Business books recommendations: Psycho-Cybernetics

Psycho-Cybernetics is a term coined by Dr. Maxwell Maltz, which means, “steering your mind to a productive, useful goal so you can reach the greatest port in the world, peace of mind.”

Maltz was the first researcher and author to explain how the self-image (a term he popularized) has complete control over an individual’s ability to achieve (or fail to achieve) any goal. He developed techniques for improving and managing self-image—visualization, mental rehearsal, relaxation—which have informed and inspired countless motivational gurus, sports psychologists, and self-help practitioners for more than fifty years.

The teachings of Psycho-Cybernetics are timeless because they are based on solid science and provide a prescription for thinking and acting that lead to quantifiable results.

Devon’s Thoughts: I hate this book’s cover. The cover of this book was so unappealing to me that without even giving it a second thought, I dismissed the book. I know, brilliant, right? Then, one day, I was visiting a friend’s house (someone I truly admire and respect), and I noticed the book on his counter-top. I told him that I’d seen the book before, but that I found it unappealing. He looked at me like I’d just told him that dogs have 7 legs.

My buddy went on to inform me that most ALL of the personal growth / self-help information around today originated with this book. Everyone - from Tony Robins to the author of ‘The Secret’ – was influenced by Psycho-Cybernetics.

Think of this book as the genesis of the modern day personal development industry. The language from the original book may be a little outdated (as it was written in 1960), so I recommend the updated audio-book version by a famous marketer named Dan Kennedy. Here’s what the cover looks like.

Its’ so good that I’ve actually listened to the unabridged 12-hour version of this audio… twice!

My Top Business & Personal Growth Book Recommendations - Honorable Mentions:

Business books recommendations: The Slight Edge

The Slight Edge – by: Jeff Olson, is based on one of the simplest (and sexiest) ideas ever.

That, simply stated, success is nothing but a series of small actions taken CONSISTENTLY... and those small actions are both easy to do, and easy to NOT do.

In other words… the key to massive success and happiness comes from just being consistent doing simple disciplines. Implement the main idea in this book, and there’s nothing you can’t achieve.

Business books recommendations: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – by: Mark Manson, is billed as a counterintuitive approach to living a good life. And that counterintuitive approach is?

That’s right, you guessed it… stop giving a f*ck.

Actually, the book teaches us to give fewer f*cks about things that aren’t important. The information the author gives us is a raw & refreshing dose of truth is a world full of sugar coated positive thinking

Business books recommendations: You Are a Badass

You Are A Badass – by: Jen Sincero, is one I just happen to be reading (listening to), as I write this article.

Even though I’m only a third of the way through it (at the time of this writing), I feel I have to include it on my list.  Here’s why… 

I’ve been consuming personal growth content for more than 20 years… and this book, in my opinion, does an amazing job of succinctly teaching all of the tried and true basic concepts of self-help. Think of it as “Personal Development 101”. It’s a definite must read.

What Are Your Top 5?

I’m always on the lookout for awesome information.

Lord knows I haven’t read (or listened to) every book on business & personal growth there is.

So I ask you…

What are your top 5?

What books (or audios) have had the BIGGEST impact on your life, your business, and how you see the world?

Feel free to make some business book recommendations in the comment section, and I’d love to hear if you’ve found value in any of the books I’ve listed.

And oh yeah...

If one of the areas of life you truly want to develop personally is in your public speaking ability, then allow me to shamelessly plug my new public speaking course.

If you're interested, just click the image below!

Business books recommendations: Awesome On Stage Masterclass Bundle

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  1. Thank you for sharing your top 5! I absolutely love this blog, and you’ve given me the idea to do somthing like this as well!
    My top 5 book:

    1. AWAKEN the GIANT WITHIN by Tony Robins
    2. High-Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard
    3. The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer
    4. Think and Grow Rich by N.Hill
    5. Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins

  2. First off I want to say fantastic blog!
    I had a quick question which I’d like
    to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find
    out how you center yourself and clear your mind
    before writing. I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts
    I truly do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to
    15 minutes are usually wasted just trying to
    figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips?
    Many thanks!

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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.

Devon Brown with Arms Folded

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