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This is the list of the 20 books that we agree you simply must read and put to work if you are sincere about making your endeavors work. The list is assembled by us collectively, and we know that the knowledge in these books will empower you to accomplish things most people are not brave enough to dare to even dream about.


These books are not available for free, so we’ve provided links to Amazon. You can of course acquire them any way that you wish, but Amazon is at your fingertips, and they often have used copies, albeit with some wear and tear, that can be had for a couple bucks.


This does not mean to read the books before you begin your business, but rather while you build your business. Nothing replaces action. But too, massive action without knowledge simply equals a motivated idiot.

It is not an overstatement for me to say, that without these 20 books, I probably would not have gone into business, or stayed in business. To be sure, what I learned from these books and who I became as a result have earned me millions of dollars. Miss a movie or some event if you must, but never, ever miss a book this important.”
- Dr. Mark Skovron

The 20 Best Personal Development and Peak Performance Books
Recommended and Reviewed by Dr. Mark Skovron


Why You Need Self-Growth
Personal development is such a nebulous topic and in some ways can be considered an oxymoron. I mean if it works, self-development by way of reading, you should be able to read a book, or two, or three, learn it, and be done, right?


Nope. That’s not how it works. It works more like eating and bathing. 


You ate yesterday, right? Well aren’t you still going to eat again today? Of course you are.


You bathed yesterday – or at least I hope so, and you’re still going to take a bath or shower today, correct? If not, books aren’t going to help you – start with soap and water.


The point being that self-growth works in the same way.


In fact, you must tend to your own self-growth assertively because there are simply so many negative and psychological destructive things being fired in our direction every day. Even the news is constant download of the worst programming into your subconscious and doing more damage than you can imagine.


Don’t you have at least one or more software programs running on your computer constantly checking and defending your hard drive against malicious viruses, pop-ups, adware, and more? I wouldn’t even think about surfing the web and clicking on unfamiliar sites without my vigilant ad-blockers and the best anti-virus software available to protect my valuable information on my computer.


Reading Is the Breakfast of Champions
I used to be able to claim quite truthfully, that I read about 100 books a year, and I did so, for many years.
That habit and those disciplines exposed me to information that has earned me millions of dollars.


I will go so far as to say that without the information that I learned, I wouldn’t have a tenth of the success that I enjoy today. My health wouldn’t be the same, many of my talents would not be honed, and my bank account balances would be much less.


Most importantly of all, is that without all of the reading that I did, and still do, I wouldn’t have the outlook on life that I have, the passion and zest for each day and that skills that it takes to successfully maneuver and be happy and peaceful in the world today.


Now, I have four companies in operation, I am always taking college courses online, devote time to my spiritual growth, am very active in volunteering on a weekly basis, and I do have a fulfilling personal life.  
So, I have slowed down on my reading just a bit.  But I still read about 5 books at one time, and am averaging about 50 books per year, as well as writing articles that are syndicated on major media outlets each month.


I write? Sure, I write for my blogs and am a contributor to other media blogs. I write articles that have been published and books as well, and I am currently writing a series of books now at quite a clip. I mean if you read that much, it’s got to come out somewhere, don’t you think?


Reading can literally make the difference in how your entire life turns out.


I think that reading is such an important and valuable discipline, that when considering someone for a position with one of my companies, I ask each one, “What is the last book you read on self-growth, when did you read it, and what are the top three take-aways you got from it?”


If they cannot immediately and excitedly gush a genuine response, than I immediately rule them out as a candidate regardless of their CV or resume.


“Readers are leaders.” – Mark Skovron, PhD


What About You and Your Future Success?
Whether you just want to quit a nasty habit, or lose weight, find the perfect partner or spouse, make a bigger impact raising your kids, go into business for yourself, or make a bazillion dollars – it starts with reading my friend.


Don’t like to read?  No excuse – everything is accessible on audio. Can’t see or hear- then there’s brail.
I don’t mean to be cruel, it’s my intention however to call you out on the matter of your life. Your life, and the lives of those in your orbit are simply too damn important for you to go through life and not read your way to the place where it makes a real difference for you, so that you can make a difference for others.


I’m often asked, “What is the best book to read for self-growth, or to accomplish a particular goal”. 


So I am going to give you some of the best advice that I could ever give anyone. If I were 18 again, or in my early twenties, I would gorge myself on a feast and program my mind (more on that later) with the books I am going to recommend.


Every single book on this list is a great personal development book.


For the sake of this list, my choices for this section all revolve around books that are more about igniting passion and giving ideas rather than a step-by-step action plan. This list includes, the grandfathers of all self-help books, and it also has some of the modern masters of inspiration, education and self-empowerment.


These books all DO have actionable steps to take, you will learn things, but I feel that their true purpose is as inspiration and motivation.


My suggestion to you is to hit the link and order every one of them now!


Create time in your schedule to read each day, week or month.


You think you’re too busy? Regardless of what your politics are, President Barack Obama woke up at a very early hour in the morning so that he could read an hour or two a day, every day, while he was running the most important office in the world.


If you’re having a tough time thinking about how you will fit that in – PERFECT! I’ve got a book for that.


The Most Powerful 20 Books That You Can’t Live Without Reading
I am asked constantly, “What one book, would you recommend to me, to put me on the right path, to become successful, to have a great life, to be happy, or (fill in the blank)?”


But I cannot recommend one; I can recommend two. 


Are they THAT good?


These two books, saved my life, allowed me to make a life, empowered me to save years of struggling, showed me how to have everything I want and am willing to apply the principals to get, and to be a much better human being. I literally shudder to think of my life without learning the technologies in these two books.


I must admit that Maximum Achievement and Beyond Positive Thinking (below) are the two books that I would recommend to a serious student of live, business, or anyone who just wanted to cut through all the morass and get to it.


Both books are #1 as far as I am concerned. You cannot just order or read one; you must read them both. They should be given to you at birth. They should be taught in every school. Forget your personal, business and spiritual plan if you don’t read these books.


Read these two books as soon as you can with a highlighter, pen and journal in hand. And prepare to have your life changed forever. 


Someone once said, that “life doesn’t come with an instruction book”.  Well, they lied.
It does now. Skip either of these books at your own peril!

The 20 Books That Will Change Your Life!

Maximum Achievement
Brian Tracy

You will learn ideas, concepts, and methods used by high-achieving people in every field everywhere. You learn how to unlock your individual potential for personal greatness. You will immediately become more positive, persuasive, and powerfully focused in everything you do. Many of the more than one million graduates of the seminar program upon which this book is based have dramatically increased their income and improved their lives in every respect.


This book is a step-by-step blueprint for success and achievement presented in these pages includes proven principles drawn from psychology, religion, philosophy, business, economics, politics, history, and metaphysics. These ideas are combined in a fast-moving, informative series of steps that will lead you to greater success than you ever imagined possible -- they can raise your self-esteem, improve personal performance, and give you complete control over every aspect of your personal and professional life.

Beyond Positive Thinking
Dr. Robert Anthony

A common-sense approach to achieving success in one's life. Offers workable, step-by-step methods and positive visualization techniques to help readers personalize goals, trust creativity, transcend old beliefs and limitations, and transform positive thinking into positive action.


You will never view life the same after reading this book. I also predict you will read this book over and over again throughout many years.

As A Man Thinketh
James Allen

Originally published in 1903 this book is a classic and on which much of the self-growth, self-improvement movement can be attributed. The basis is that man is the creator and shaper of his destiny by the thoughts which he thinks. He rises and falls in exact accordance with the character of the thoughts which he entertains. His environment is the result of what he has thought and done in the past, and his circumstances in the future are being shaped and built by his present desires, aspirations, thoughts and actions. He therefore who chooses and pursues a particular line of thought, consciously builds his own destiny. This the book makes this clear.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0
Dr. Travis Bradberry

“Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships.” – Dr. Travis Bradberry


Now Travis wrote that to describe the book.  So do you really want to go through life without reading, internalizing and making this book a way of life?  I’ll bet when you finish it, you just start reading it again.
He has his degree in the same field as I do, but somehow I missed a class he got. LOL. To skip this book, is to skip being ‘alive’ during your life – seriously. I freaking love this guy!

The Slight Edge
Jeff Olson

This is not just another self-help, motivation tool of methods you must learn in order to make it up the path of success. It simply shows you how to create powerful results from the simple daily activities of your life, by using tools that are already within you.


This book is a way of thinking, a way of processing information that enables you to make the daily choices that will lead you to the success you desire. The Slight Edge is the key that will make all the other how-to books and self-help information that you read, watch and hear actually work.

Think and Grow Rich
Napoleon Hill

In Think and Grow Rich, Hill draws on stories of Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and other millionaires of his generation to illustrate his principles. This book will teach you the secrets that could bring you a fortune. It will show you not only what to do but how to do it. Once you learn and apply the simple, basic techniques revealed here, you will have mastered the secret of true and lasting success. 


Money and material things are essential for freedom of body and mind, but there are some who will feel that the greatest of all riches can be evaluated only in terms of lasting friendships, loving family relationships, understanding between business associates, and introspective harmony which brings one true peace of mind! All who read, understand, and apply this philosophy will be better prepared to attract and enjoy these spiritual values.

The Secret
Rhonda Byrne

In this book, you’ll learn how to use The Secret in every aspect of your life—money, health, relationships, happiness, and in every interaction, you have in the world. You’ll begin to understand the hidden, untapped power that’s within you, and this revelation can bring joy to every aspect of your life.


The Secret contains wisdom from modern-day teachers—men and women who have used it to achieve health, wealth, and happiness. By applying the knowledge of The Secret, they bring to light compelling stories of eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles, and achieving what many would regard as impossible.

The Power of Now
Eckhart Tolle

The book draws from a variety of "spiritual traditions" and has been described by one reviewer as "Buddhism mixed with mysticism and Zen." It uses these traditions to describe a "belief system based on living in the present moment". Its core message is that people's emotional problems are rooted in their identification with their minds. The author writes that an individual should be aware of their "present moment" instead of losing themselves in worry and anxiety about the past or future.


According to the book, only the present moment is important, and both an individual's past and future is created by their thoughts. The author maintains that people's insistence that they have control of their life is an illusion "that only brings pain". The book also describes methods of relaxation and meditation to aid readers in anchoring themselves in the present. These suggestions include slowing down life by avoiding multi-tasking, spending time in nature, and letting go of worries about the future.

The Success Principles
Jack Canfield

Any avid reader of self-help books will recognize Jack Canfield. Creator of the popular motivational “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, Jack has been inspiring people for years. In “Success Principles”, Jack gives 65 methods for transforming your life. If you are looking for a single self-help book that gives you a ton of great ideas on how to improve your life and your success, this would be the one.


However, die-hard personal development fans may find some of these ideas to be rehashed versions of ideas they have heard before, not fresh new ideas. The principles are repeated here due to the simple fact that they work! Even if you know all 65 principles before buying the book, I believe it can be an excellent refresher on things you need to do to achieve the success you desire.

Outliers: The Story of Success
Malcolm Gladwell

The book Outliers takes a scientific look at what it actually takes to achieve success. Unlike some of the other books on this list, it does not give a specific list of the things you need to do to achieve success. It looks at very interesting anecdotes that support the main point of the book, that success is not achieved by luck, attitude or even skill, but that the only real measurement is the time we put into our skills. People who achieve higher degrees of success almost always have more time building the skills they use for their success.


This book is quite interesting with some really good stories and anecdotes. It is an enjoyable read, and Gladwell has the ability to see things most people don’t even know are there.

How to Win Friends and Influence People
Dale Carnegie

It could be very easy to think that a book about achieving success written 80 years ago and based on the success principles of men like Andrew Carnegie, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford would be stale and out of date, like a dry history lesson. This simply is not true.  While there are admittedly parts where you have to substitute modern methods of execution for old fashioned counterparts, the basic principles themselves are based on human nature and just as true today as they were 80 years ago.


This book is a classic and for good reason. For over the past 80 years many successful people have read this book and gained from it knowledge and insight that have helped them to achieve their own success. When a self-improvement book sticks around for as long as this one has, there has to be a reason for its longevity and success.

The 4-Hour Workweek
Timothy Ferris

Let me be honest. I have a few mixed feeling on Tim Ferris in general. On one hand, I really don’t care for his style. In my opinion, his ego is off-putting, and he is a bit of a jerk. Additionally while there is some great information, it might not pertain much to people who just want more from their 9-5 lifestyle, and are not really into the idea of a “digital lifestyle”.


On the other hand, however, this book does an excellent job of challenging people to rethink the status quo and evaluate how to make the most of their time. Tim does a great job of explaining how to make the most of the digital lifestyle, how to get started with this business and does it all with a fierce energy that will get you motivated.


If the idea of making a living online appeals, this book should be a must read, and is likely already on your bookshelf. If you are just looking for tidbits to develop your personal productivity, attitude or health, this might be a book you can miss. You’ll have to decide.

Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness
S.J. Scott

Habit stacking is based on a method to incorporate small habits into daily life. These small habits are easy individually, but are often the sort of things that “fall through the cracks” in a hectic life.


Habit stacking makes it possible when you add DOZENS of small changes to your daily routine. Rather than trying to make dozens of individual habits part of your routine (something next to impossible) you only have to work to incorporate each "stack".


By doing these small tasks in a block you can plan for the time to act on these tasks in your daily schedule and stick firm to implementing these habits on a daily basis. These habits don’t require much effort. In fact, most of these habits ONLY take five minutes or less to complete. By doing these small tasks in a block you can plan for the time to act on these tasks in your daily schedule and stick firm to implementing these habits on a daily basis.

Choose Yourself: Be Happy, Make Millions, Live the Dream
James Altucher

I personally actually got turned on to Altucher originally by watching him do a TED TALK.  After that, I watched some more, and then began reading him. The guy kills me because he looks so unassuming.
I mean not to be rude, but he comes off like he’s getting ready to bum a dollar from you.


Now having said that – and if you end up reading this – the guy is an absolute genius, especially about the obvious. But it’s the obvious things that we’re missing that he is able to reframe for us, and explain in ways that are nothing short of 


The climate of business and personal success is changing. The times when going to college, working a job for 40 years and retiring a success are evaporating before our eyes. Altucher shows a path to creating art, make money and achieve success through non-traditional methods.


Altucher’s sense of humor and brutal honesty make this book a great read. He doesn’t pull any punches even sharing many of his personal failures as well as successes.


Choose yourself. Choose this book.

Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience
Mihaly Csikszentmihaly

Have you ever felt on the top of your game? Answers and ideas flow freely. You feel energized and alert. You feel happy and content. You are in control. This is a state Dr. Csikszentmihaly refers to as “flow”.


The flow state happens to everyone from time to time, but it can be engineered to happen more frequently and when it does the happiness, content and satisfaction it brings can have a lasting halo effect on our lives. Part science and part philosophy this book does an exceptional job of relating to us not only how to get more done, but how to live happier and fuller lives due to having an understanding of the “Flow.”

Maxwell Maltz

Not quite as “out-there” as the title implies, Psycho-Cybernetics is the book written (1960) that other motivational and self-help experts in personal development, including Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy have based their techniques. 


Many of the psychological methods of training elite athletes are based on the concepts in Psycho-Cybernetics as well. The book combines the cognitive behavioral technique of teaching an individual how to regulate self-concept and defines the mind-body connection as the core in succeeding in attaining personal goals.

The Magic of Thinking Big
David J. Schwartz, PhD

The Magic of Thinking Big was first published in 1959 and its philosophies on setting goals still hold true. The book’s most important philosophy is thinking highly of oneself. It preaches the importance of setting lofty goals and embracing the power of positive thought to achieve these goals.


Another core concept is the power of visualization. Schwartz provides strategies for visualizing yourself achieving your goals and channeling that feeling for motivation. As these visualizations start manifesting themselves, the next step is to spread the good news. Broadcasting good news sends out gratitude to the universe and keeps the positive cycle flowing.

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind
Joseph P. Murphy, PhD, D.D.

Murphy’s book on the subconscious shows just how much of our choices are made on autopilot. Murphy teaches his readers how the subconscious is the key to many aspects of life, including:

  • Healing physical ailments using the subconscious

  • Strengthen all relationships

  • Developing friendships with strangers

  • Living a life free of irrational phobias

  • Develop the confidence needed to advance in one’s career

The Science of Getting Rich
Wallace D. Wattles

The Science of Getting Rich helped define the self-help genre with its publication in 1910. The first page paraphrases the Hindu philosophy of Oneness, which ties into all of the ideas portrayed throughout the book.


Wattles theorizes that the most efficient way to get rich is through cooperative creation instead of selfish competition. This book focuses on harnessing one’s willpower to feel great and grow their wealth. It was the inspiration for modern “mind over matter” classics such as “The Secret” By Rhonda Bryne and “Think and Grow Rich” By Napoleon Hill. Wattles calls his thought process “The certain way of thinking”, which we know today as “The Law of Attraction”. The Science of Getting Rich is a superb read for those who want a self-help book whose advice has stood the test of time.

Open Your Mind To Receive
Catherine Ponder (and any other book by Catherine Ponder)

Year after year, Catherine Ponder’s books continue to enlighten the world with prosperity secrets that work. Countless authors credit her inspiring words as the spark that set them on their own path to prosperity. Open Your Mind is now updated with new real-life stories, all revealing the laws of abundance that help the reader to pinpoint the source and open the floodgates of prosperity.


First released in 1983, this book is chock full of real-life case histories, all revealing the laws of abundance in terms of the 5 gifts the reader doesn't know they already have. The new edition includes numerous stories of Catherine Ponder's innate ability to not only pinpoint the source lack, but to provide the perfect solution that open the floodgates of prosperity.


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