The 5 Best Personal Development Books Every Woman Should Read

Best Personal Development Books

Today I’d like to share what I think are the best personal development books out there.

My family beach vacation is coming up in a couple of weeks and I’m beyond excited. I usually look forward to a week of relaxing at the beach but this year (with this baby), I’m like a little too excited. I’m banking on Joel wanting some dad time and my mom wanting some grandma time, leaving Dana with some much needed Dana time. You know what I mean?

As I started thinking through what to pack this weekend, I decided to dig up my go-to personal development books and give my entire mindset a little touch up whilst chilling with my toes in the sand with a Corona.

I also realized that Bridget and I read so many great books but don’t share enough of them with you on the blog. So I wanted to start doing that today with my o.g., go-to, personal development books. I mean, I’ve read a ton of them over the years but, these five have all had an enormous impact on me and the way I (try to) live my life. They helped me go from nightmare Dana (circa ‘08) to the Dana I am today, Dana 3.0.

They’re not the sexiest of titles on the shelves but, they’re the real deal when it comes to improving your mindset in order to transform your life.

The 5 Best Personal Development Books Every Woman Should Read

The Alchemist

The Alchemist is my number one, favorite book of all time. And I know I’m not alone in this (it’s Bridget’s fave too, she reads it once a year). It’s probably one of the most popular books out there. It is literally a masterpiece. Millions of copies have been sold. It’s been translated into dozens of languages. And it’s loved by all demographics. I cannot wait to read it to Foster one day.

Deceiving in its simplicity, The Alchemist is the story of Santiago, a young shepherd boy who yearns to leave his Andalusian sheep and travel the world in search of treasure. As we go with him on his journey, we learn timeless, essential wisdom about listening to the voice in our hearts, reading the omens littering our path and, most importantly, following our dreams.

O.M.G. it’s sooooo good. Please read it. Read it now. I’m crying. Santiago!!!

The Four Agreements

Based on ancient, Toltec wisdom, Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements is a book every human on Earth should read if they want to function with more clarity and ease in life. To strive to be impeccable with our word, to stop taking things personally, to stop making any assumptions and to always do our best – is some of the best life advice I’ve ever read.

This book was recommended to me by my sweet friend, Blair, at the onset of my personal development journey years ago. Its lessons have stuck with me ever since. I obviously don’t get them all right every day but, even just being aware of them has helped me break out of some shitty mindsets and habits in dealing with other people and the world around me. It changed my life for the better almost immediately.

Damnit. I love this book. (I’m definitely going to tear through my basement to find these as soon as I’m done writing this post.)

As a Man Thinketh

Super short and super old school, As a Man Thinketh is a profound literary essay. Only 40 pages long, it packs a strong, get-your-mind-right punch. It will convince you that “We are what we think we are. That we are made or unmade by ourselves. And that by our thoughts, we forge the weapons by which we can destroy ourselves.

I talk about this concept with one of my best friends, who’s a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, all the time. Our life experience and who we become is entirely inside of our own minds. Or, more eloquently: “The human mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild.

As a Man Thinketh will convince you that it’s mas importante to do what you can to prevent the latter from happening.

The Magic of Thinking Big

The Magic of Thinking Big is also quite old-school. If you can get past the antiquated language and mild sexism of the 50s streaming throughout, you’ll find some juicy nuggets of wisdom. It makes a strong case for the fact that the secret of success is to think differently, and bigger. That what sets high-achievers apart from the rest, is their ability to harness the power of their mindset and challenge their own beliefs regarding who they are and what they’re capable of.

This is a classic personal development book that anyone looking to be better and live bigger, should get their tiny, manicured fingers on. Now.

Make Every Man Want You

This one might seem like a book about finding a boyfriend (or girlfriend, or whatever) but, Make Every Man Want You is really a book about finding yourself. Marie is one of our long-time mentors around here and I first read her book around 2009. It’s a masterful Trojan horse of self-help. Teaching us that in order to find fulfilling relationships, we have to fall in love with ourselves first. Might sound cliche but, each lesson is an acknowledgment of a deeper truth regarding the universal human experience. It’s a fun guide to finding love by easing into the best version of yourself first.

Sigh. I’ve given this book to so many women since then. It’s should be required reading for all of us in when we enter that first, shitty relationship around high school.


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What are your favorite personal development books? Please share in the comments below. You never know who’s life you might change!

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