What inspires you to do your best? For some of us, it is a person from our past, maybe a grandparent or a special teacher. For others, it is someone we see on a regular basis, a trusted colleague or a boss. And for still others, it is the advice of someone we have never met but whose words have influenced us in the pages of a book.

From their origin in 1859 with the publication of the book Self-Help, a best-seller by Scottish writer and reformer Samuel Smiles, self-help books have challenged us to improve ourselves in our work, in our families and indeed in every aspect of our daily lives.

Top six top motivational books

If you are feeling that you have already blown your New Year’s resolutions and need a good kick in the pants to get back on track for pursuing your goals, here are six of our top choices for motivational books. We’re sure one of these will give you the inspiration you need.

  1. Motivational books: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

“What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” — Napoleon Hill

First published during the Great Depression in 1937, this book is a classic that you will want to read and then re-read at different points in your life. As a young journalist, Napoleon Hill launched two decades of research after he interviewed Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie — no stranger to success himself — tasked Hill with developing a Philosophy of Personal Achievement based upon the interviews of other successful businesspeople.

After meeting and talking with the likes of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, John D. Rockefeller, Alexander Graham Bell, George Eastman, Charles M. Schwab, William Wrigley Jr. and hundreds of others, Hill wrote this book, which includes his principles of success. The principles include developing a purpose, building a positive attitude, channeling the power of the sub-conscious and dealing with adversity, and they can be applied to all aspects of life, not just business.

  1. Motivational books: As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so shall he be” — James Allen

This slim volume, published in 1902, shows up on many people’s lists of influential books. It is because it is powerful in its simplicity. Allen’s premise is that we are what we think we are, and, even more compelling, that we can become what we want to become. This book is filled with wisdom and truth that can motivate you to do and achieve more than you thought possible.

  1. Motivational books: Drive by Daniel H. Pink

“Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.” ? Daniel Pink

In this 2011 best-seller, Daniel Pink asserts that what really drives us is not money or prestige but our innate desire to create our own path in life and to make a difference. Using his four decades of scientific research on motivation, Pink examines what he sees as the three elements of motivation—autonomy, mastery and purpose — and gives techniques for putting them into action in your life.

  1. Motivational books: The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

“Look at things not as they are, but as they can be. Visualization adds value to everything. A big thinker always visualizes what can be done in the future. He isn’t stuck with the present”

? David J. Schwartz

First published in 1959, Schwartz’s book is another one that is rich enough to give you valuable insights at different points in your life. It is basically a step-by-step guide for positively changing your life by altering your thoughts and habits. If you normally don’t like self-help books, give this one a try. It is simple and straight-forward.

  1. Motivational books: How Successful People Think by John C. Maxwell

Thinking is hard work; that’s why so few do it.” ? John C. Maxwell

In this 2009 book, leadership expert John C. Maxwell teaches us how to think more creatively and more effectively in order to achieve more in life. Maxwell asserts and examines the premise that successful people think differently than other people, and that this way of thinking can be learned and developed. This book is concise and easy to read with non-fluff advice.

  1. Motivational books: The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

“You do not need to be a victim of worry. Reduced to its simplest form, what is worry? It is simply an unhealthy and destructive mental habit.” ? Norman Vincent Peale

When this book was first published in 1952, many so-called “experts” labelled Peale as a crack-pot. In fact, the book was the brunt of many jokes. Surely, having a better attitude could not change your life, people scoffed. In the decades since then, however, science has backed up Peale’s message of optimism, and this book has literally changed lives. Read this book for yourself to discover how you can become more successful in your work and personal relationships by believing in yourself.

Top Six Top Motivational Books