How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. 

You have to read this through a historical context, but it’s all about putting the person first in all interactions. It often gets a bad reputation because the techniques can be used disingenuously, but they work great when you’re able to be genuine.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. 

The book as a whole isn’t that cohesive but there are a lot of little golden nuggets in it. For instance, he argues that you should take responsibility for things, especially if they’re not your fault. He also talks about taking a step beyond active listening and trying to be an empathetic listener.

The Spirit of Kaizen by Robert Maurer. 

This book IS all about making small, incremental changes over time and shows through a lot of examples how that mindset is more likely to produce larger, better changes than trying to change everything at once. A lot of it is from a business standpoint, but I found it even more helpful on a personal level.

Feeling Good by David Burns. 

Teaches you how to recognize cognitive distortions and separate your thoughts from your feelings (basically doing cognitive behavior therapy on yourself). Great if you have depression or anxiety.

Mindfulness in Plain English by Henepola Gunaratana. 

This book is about (Vipassana) meditation, respecting the Buddhist roots, but talking about it primarily from a secular standpoint. I don’t regularly meditate, but I think a lot of the lessons of mindfulness are very applicable to everyday life.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. 

Everyone knows this one, but the book is much better (and very different) than what generally gets said about it in pop culture. It helped me realize that my possessions were controlling me and helped me get in a mindset of having exactly the amount of stuff that I need and no more. She advocates a giant purge of your stuff all at once, but even if you don’t have time for that, the mindset can be helpful as you gradually go through stuff over time (and stop accumulating more stuff in the meantime!)

Atomic Habits. 

The book is packed with valuable information from start to finish. It really provides a framework on how to increase productivity and decrease distractions, advising you on how to think and how to organize yourself and the environment around you. Many readers were really impressed with it, since most self-help books are 80% just telling anecdotes and historical trivia to illustrate maybe 1 or 2 little pieces of advice per chapter.

“Body By Science” by McGuff and Little. 

This is wonky and could have been editted better. It’s basically a detailed description of why one should do HIIT weight lifting so you could choose something like “Slow Burn” by Fred Hahn if you want an easier read. I do more than HIIT, but HIIT is critical to my health.

“Getting Things Done”. 

The technique itself is too fussy, but if you look at it as a bunch of little tricks towards improving your productivity, then it’s great. I found it very useful for getting into the mindset, but then again, I haven’t ready Covey or any of the other basic productivity books.

“Personal Kanban”. 

Of all the basic productivity methods, Personal Kanban comes closest to my ideal. I have a modified digital adaptation to meet my needs. There are also a ton of little insights that also carry over into my work environment.

Models by Mark Manson

Some people are discouraged to read it as it seems like a book on flirting techniques. Quite the opposite, it helps you realize what kind of partner you are looking for, how to improve yourself and in consecuence your future relationships.

Can’t hurt me – David Goggins

Extremely motivating life story of the author. 

How to stop living on autopilot

Came across this book through a podcast and purchased it on audible. It frames at each chapter several life-changing reflections we should all be doing in our lives.

Courage to be Disliked by Fumitake Koga and Ichiro Kishimi

This book dives into adlerian psychology (you might want to read about it as well, it counteracts Freudian psych which focuses a lot on traumas and stuff) and at times can be a bit complicated to digest. However, if there’s something that I found beneficial is the idea that although our childhood experiences affect how we function as adults, change is possible and that at any given moment we can decide to transform ourself (actions, beliefs, and mindset) for the better. 

We can break free from the thought of “this is who I am because I grew up like this or had a bad (or good) experience as a child” and transcend to a more liberating (but also daunting) belief that we are indeed the masters of our date.

Ten arguments for deleting your social media accounts right now by Jaron Lanier

It isn’t really about self-improvement, but if you read it, you’ll understand why you shouldn’t spend your time on social media all day long.

If you want to take it further, you delete your social media applications. I deleted every social media except Reddit, and I’m more productive than before.

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman.

This book simply gives information about our feelings, the behaviors formed by these feelings and what is the reason we are feeling so. So it logically explains fundamentals of these and you can realize so many things about yourself, why you’re doing so, or for example you could understand why you’d always lose your temper and the book gives some tips about how you can change these kinds of things.