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The Successful Reading List: 13 Inspirational Books for Success

Reading List: 13 Inspirational Books For Success

Success can often seem elusive. If you’re struggling to achieve your goals and dreams, it can be a great help to know that others have walked this path before, found a way to succeed–and then generously shared what they learned so others can benefit. Many have documented their journeys in helpful books that can give you support to push yourself ahead. Check out these 13 motivational books that can help facilitate success in any endeavor you choose.

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Steven R. Covey

First published in 1990, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is considered by many to be one of the most inspiring and impactful books about personal success ever written. The book aims to fundamentally change how you perceive and interpret the world, balancing personal and professional effectiveness to help you achieve success in all aspects of your life. There’s a reason this book is a classic and still a bestseller.

2. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, by James Clear

Author James Clear is an internationally renowned expert on the topic of habit formation. In this remarkable book, he breaks down what things you can do – large and small – to develop good habits and eliminate bad ones. The techniques he describes have a wide variety of applications, from work to sports to achieving personal goals.

3. Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals, by Rachel Hollis

Author Rachel Hollis is the founder of a multimillion-dollar media company and has seen too many women sell themselves short throughout her career. She understands the unique pressures women face (whether at home or work), including the pressures women put on themselves. In this life-changing guide, she identifies self-defeating behaviors and how to overcome them.

4. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts, by Brené Brown

What does it take to be a successful leader? Brené Brown, PhD and professor at the University of Houston, has compiled her experiences consulting for organizations ranging from small startups and family businesses to nonprofits and Fortune 50 companies. In this powerful book, Brown tells people to start with courage.

5. Principles: Life and Work, by Ray Dalio

Founder of the enormously successful investment firm Bridgewater Associates, Ray Dalio (referred to as the “Steve Jobs of investing”) has written a New York Times Bestseller that details what he’s learned on his journey from ordinary middle-class kid to high-flying executive. He’s found ways for individuals and organizations to more effectively make decisions, approach challenges and build strong teams.

6. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight

This eye-opening book was named as one of Bill Gates’ top five favorite books the year it was published. This memoir of starting a company to import Japanese running shoes, with just a $50 loan from his father, has plenty of highs and lows. Knight makes clear that the path to success is not necessarily straight and steady, but one requiring determination, perseverance and a willingness to learn from setbacks.

7. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert

The author of the bestseller “Eat, Pray, Love” returned with this joyous book on how to live a fulfilling, creative life. Her advice is relevant to anyone looking to make art, find new ways to handle work challenges, set out to achieve a longtime dream or face what’s stopping them from succeeding.

8. Fear Is My Homeboy: How to Slay Doubt, Boss Up, and Succeed on Your Own Terms, by Judi Holler

Judi Holler’s inspiring book is like having a personal coach holding your hand, encouraging you to overcome your fears. A major topic she focuses on is helping people shut down the self-doubt that can plague them into inaction. She masterfully explains how to combat concerns around confidence, leaving you feeling ready to take on the world.

9. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, by Shonda Rhimes

The enormously successful creator of Grey’s AnatomyScandal and How to Get Away with Murder had a secret: In spite of being a powerful Hollywood force, she was an intense introvert who had panic attacks at the thought of doing media interviews. Her defense mechanism was simply to say no to invitations that scared her. But when her sister challenged her, Rhimes took a long hard look at how she was living her life and decided to spend a year saying yes. In this motivating book, she shares the wealth of knowledge she gained, as well as tips for anyone who recognizes themselves in her struggles.

10. Everything Is Figureoutable, by Marie Forleo

Author Marie Forleo’s mother once told her, “Nothing in life is that complicated. You can do whatever you set your mind to if you roll up your sleeves. Everything is figureoutable.” That’s her message in this indispensable book: learn how to retrain your brain when faced with setbacks, criticism and a raging case of imposter syndrome.

11. Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds, by David Goggins

When a former Navy SEAL gives you advice on self-discipline and mental toughness, you listen. Read this New York Times Bestseller by David Goggins to discover why many of us only tap into 40% of our abilities and how you can push past it to reach your full potential.

12. My Life in Full: Work, Family, and Our Future, by Indra Nooyi

Transforming a company like PepsiCo is no easy feat. Yet Indra Nooyi, the first woman of color to run a Fortune 50 company, teaches us how she balanced a high-powered job with a growing family to realize the company’s – and her own – full potential. In this powerful memoir, you’ll learn about the events that shaped Nooyi and how she used unwavering standards of excellence to become a true leader and one of the most admired CEOs.

13. More Than Enough: Claiming Space for Who You Are (No Matter What They Say), by Elaine Welteroth

As once editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, Elaine Welteroth is very familiar with breaking glass ceilings. Throughout her career in media and fashion, she often took on leadership roles at a young age, turning heads as she climbed the corporate ladder. In this inspiring New York Times bestseller, Welteroth shares stories and lessons from her life and career, as she learned to rely on herself by looking both inward and upward.


Learn more about Strayer’s online degree programs that could help you on your path to success.

Category: Motivation & Inspiration

Published Date: SEPTEMBER 6, 2023