Motivation is a powerful resource – one that can propel us through even the hardest times.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to come by – especially when times are tough – as is the case with most worthwhile goals.
That’s why it’s good to always have some inspirational reading material on standby.
Although I’ve always been more of a systems-orientated person, I’ve found the following books to be of tremendous value when I invariably have those emotional wobbles and need to get back on track.
I hope you find value in them.
Best Motivational Books
1. The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
The Slight Edge is a book that offers a practical philosophy for achieving success in any area of life.
The author’s central message is that success is achieved by taking small, consistent actions over time, even if those actions seem insignificant in the moment.
Olson’s philosophy is one of positivity, which he argues can have productive downstream effects when applied to your life.
He encourages readers to focus on what they can control and take action every day, no matter how small, towards their goals.
This approach can lead to greater success and fulfillment over time.
Olson also discusses the power of compound interest, which he applies to success in all areas of life.
He argues that just as money grows over time when invested consistently, small daily actions can lead to massive results in the long run.
The book is full of practical advice on how to take achievable daily actions.
Olson stresses the importance of having a positive attitude, setting clear goals, developing good habits, and taking action consistently, even when it doesn’t seem to matter.
Some readers may find the central message repetitive and the idea simple.
However, Olson emphasizes that the key to success is not necessarily discovering something new, but rather, consistently applying what we already know.
See my summary here.
💬 “The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.” ― Jeff Olson
2. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
Are you ready to be motivated and inspired?
Well this book is a must-read for anyone who feels stuck in life and wants to push past their limitations.
Goggins‘ writing style is a wake-up call that can hit you like a slap in the face.
He challenges you to confront your excuses and start taking responsibility for your life.
If you’re tired of playing the victim (like I was!) and ready to start achieving your goals, then this book is for you.
Can’t Hurt Me is not just a book about motivation, but about personal growth.
Goggins shows how becoming obsessed with being the best you can be can help you to overcome your limitations and expand your circle of tolerance.
His own story of personal transformation supports everything he has to say.
While some readers might find Goggins’ direct style and use of profanity off-putting, his raw honesty is part of what makes this book so powerful.
He doesn’t sugarcoat the challenges he faced or the obstacles he had to overcome.
He lays it all out there, warts and all.
Critics might argue that pushing yourself as hard as Goggins did can be dangerous at times and not always in your best interests.
However, he’s quick to point out that he is not advocating for recklessness or ignoring your physical and mental health.
Rather, he emphasizes the importance of being smart and strategic in your pursuits.
Overall, Can’t Hurt Me is a powerful book.
It might not be for everyone, but for those who are ready to push past their limits and achieve their goals, it’s required reading.
See my summary and other books like it.
💬 “No one is going to come help you. No one’s coming to save you.” ― David Goggins
3. Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
This is a practical and empowering self-help book, covering a range of topics – including goal setting, decision making, and action taking – all the while offering readers actionable steps to improve their lives.
The author argues that we have the power to adjust our beliefs to make them more empowering, and that by doing so, we can transform our lives in a positive way.
One of the key takeaways from the book is the importance of narrowing our focus to our locus of control.
Robbins explains that we waste valuable time and energy trying to influence factors that are outside of our control, and that by focusing on what we can change, we can achieve our goals more efficiently.
The author also emphasizes the importance of following our end values, rather than our means values.
This means that we should focus on the ultimate outcome we desire, rather than the methods we use to achieve it.
By doing so, we can make decisions that align with our long-term goals, rather than short-term gratification.
Even though I normally hate doing this kind of thing, to get the most out of the book, it’s beneficial to complete all of the suggested exercises.
These exercises help readers apply the concepts in a practical way, making it easier to implement the changes necessary.
However, some readers may find the book too materialistic and success-oriented.
Robbins emphasizes the importance of financial success and achievement, which may not align with everyone’s values.
Additionally, while Robbins is often considered a motivational cheerleader, some readers may find that the book doesn’t contain anything particularly new or groundbreaking for the genre.
Finally, it’s important to note that “Awaken the Giant Within” is a classic book that may show its age in some regards.
While the fundamental principles still hold true, some of the examples and references may be dated.
💬 “In life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know.” ― Anthony Robbins
4. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
This is a powerful guide for anyone who has ever struggled with creative pursuits or any form of productivity.
The central thesis is all about overcoming resistance, which is a force that seems to pervade in the creative process.
But Pressfield argues that this resistance is not limited to artists, but it can show up in any aspect of our lives where we are striving to achieve our goals.
I personally resonated with this message because as a blogger, I too face this resistance when writing articles!
This book serves as a call to arms for anyone who has struggled with resistance in their creative work or productivity.
Esquire magazine even referred to it as a “kick in the ass!”
Pressfield’s writing style is direct, no-nonsense and has a bit of a tough-love tone to it, which I found refreshing.
He pulls no punches when describing the battle that we all face against our own self-doubt, fear and procrastination.
The author argues that by acknowledging and naming resistance, we can develop strategies to overcome it and achieve our goals.
While the book has many merits, there are some unsubstantiated claims in the book, which some readers might find off-putting.
The author’s writing style can be slightly judgmental and repetitive at times as he attempts to hammer home his core message.
Overall, I found The War of Art to be an excellent read.
The book’s message is universal, and the strategies that Pressfield presents are practical and can be applied to any area of life with untapped potential.
💬 “We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.” ― Steven Pressfield
5. Relentless by Tim S. Grover
Relentless by Tim S. Grover is a book that provides an insight into what it takes to be the best of the best.
Grover, who has worked with some of the biggest names in basketball, shares his philosophy on how to unlock one’s true potential.
As a passionate sportsman myself, I found myself resonating with his views and philosophy.
He talks about embracing our dark side to tap into our true potential, pushing ourselves to be the best in our chosen pursuit.
One of the things I love about this book is the simple, powerful quotes that are scattered throughout the pages.
The author identifies three personality types:
- The cooler
- The closer
- The cleaner
According to Grover, it is the cleaner personality type that is the most successful.
The cleaner is someone who is relentless in their pursuit of greatness and won’t stop until they achieve their goals.
While the book provides valuable insights, some might find that it focuses too much on results at the expense of the process.
Additionally, some readers might perceive the book as an aggressive take on success that lacks balance.
However, Grover’s philosophy is an honest and authentic reflection of his experiences in the world of basketball and training athletes.
The book might be a wake-up call for some, but it can also be a source of inspiration for anyone looking to push themselves to the next level.
💬 “Being relentless means demanding more of yourself than anyone else could ever demand of you, knowing that every time you stop, you can still do more. You must do more.” ― Tim S. Grover
When you’re in a funk and want to claw your way up the slippery psychological slope, these books might just do the trick.
Keep them handy, but most importantly, put their teachings into practice.
Motivation is often a flash in the pan and can easily wane…
So use these books to ignite inspiration and then gain enough momentum to get a solid system and routine in place.
Success will likely follow, given enough time and patience.