There are countless books most successful people have read. Generally, one of the things that build successful people is reading books. Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world, a door of opportunity opens. But if you only read what everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking. And you can only achieve what everyone else is achieving. Since most people struggle and live average lives, you want to be reading what the successful ones are reading.
So today, you will learn about 15 books the most successful people have read. Significantly, most successful people have read at least 5 of these books. As usual, this post is brought to you by After School Africa and we also have articles on business books every aspiring leader should read.
If you are new to these posts, welcome. We aim for the all-around education of young Africans. Consider joining 20000+ others in subscribing to AfterSchoolAfrica on Youtube to continue exploring opportunities. Here are the 15 best books most successful people have read:
1. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
If you are going to be reading books successful people have read, you may as well start with the one that explores where successful people come from. In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell engages in a study to discover what separates high-achieving individuals in various fields from everyone else. In the book, the author approaches an interesting and rather startling hypothesis: individual merit plays only a small role in success. According to Gladwell, luck, circumstances, timing, culture, and even a person’s birth date are all part of the complex roadmap that leads towards success. Outlier is a fascinating read. It may even help you identify some of the unique factors which could contribute to your success.
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
If you think your knowledge is all you need to be successful, this book will thwart that belief. According to Carnegie, only 15 percent of financial success could be attributed to professional knowledge. Instead, he ascribed financial success primarily to, “the ability to express ideas, to assume leadership, and to arouse enthusiasm among people.” In How To Win Friends And Influence People, Carnegie goes about teaching you how to accomplish just that. The author details the six ways to make people like you, the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment, and the twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking. One of the richest men in the world, Warren Buffet claims the book changed his life.
3. Focal Point by Brian Tracy
Are you always buried in multiple tasks at the same time? Brian Tracy wrote this book for you. The focal point is a book that will make you understand that what separates productive people from others is their ability to focus on a singular task at a time and get it done before moving on to the next one. Sounds simple in theory, but this can be difficult in practice. In Focal Point, Brian Tracy offers tips to help build discipline and organization into your day so you can get more stuff done.
4. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
Perhaps your problem isn’t doing too much work at a time; it’s doing too little work. If you’ve struggled with procrastination or small thinking, get this book. In it, Schwartz offers practical advice that can help you get inspired and motivated to create a bigger life for yourself. And with it can be a more lucrative and rewarding career.
5. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankel
It can be difficult for lots of people to keep things in perspective, especially when working on high-priority and urgent projects at work. Man’s Search for Meaning can be a life-changing book in the sense that it opens your eyes to a first-hand experience of one of the greatest atrocities in the history of mankind, while also teaching a valuable lesson about having a purpose.
6. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
It’s hard to find a highly successful person who hasn’t read this book. If you focus your thoughts on success, achieving it will be much more likely than thinking about obstacles, failures, and everything else that can get in your way. Almost every successful person has Think and Grow Rich in their library. You want to get a copy too. We have a video on 7 life lessons from the author of this book, Napoleon Hill. Be sure to watch it from the description below.
7. The Obstacle Is The Way by Ryan Holiday
How you handle trials, adversity, and failure defines who you are as a person. Are you someone who rises to the occasion? Are you the type to see a challenge as an opportunity? Do you view obstacles as precious character-building lessons which can make you stronger, smarter, and tougher? If you feel lost, frustrated, stuck, or overwhelmed, the way forward may be hidden within the source of your trouble. That is one of the primary lessons to be drawn from The Obstacle Is The Way. The book is a guide for success and is definitely one you should consider.
8. 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
It is impossible to describe this book and do justice to it. But if you plan on living life on your terms, climbing as high as you’d like to go, and avoiding being controlled by others, then you need to read this book. Robert is an amazing researcher and storyteller — he has a profound ability to explain timeless truths through story and example. If you read the 48 Laws, I promise you will leave not just with actionable lessons but an indelible sense of what to do in many trying and confusing situations.
9. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
This book is written on Covey’s belief that the way we see the world is entirely based on our own perceptions. In order to change a given situation, we must change ourselves, and in order to change ourselves, we must be able to change our perceptions.
If you want to take steps to change your habits or need some extra motivation, then check out this book. The 7 Habits will help you to aim for what you value the most and then, put those values into action in daily life. It is a book that would spur you from being lazy to more productive and thoughtful as a person
10. The Millionaire Next Door, by Thomas Stanley & William Danko
The Millionaire Next Door explains to readers that anyone can become a millionaire. This will give you the fundamental formula for saving and earning money. Most millionaires live below their means and invest the rest. This is definitely a principle you want to live with whether you’re a millionaire yet or not.
11. The Lean Start-Up by Eric Ries
The Lean Startup is designed for any startup or business that has to manage uncertainty. A core principle of Lean Startup is that the faster you learn, the faster you succeed. And the only way to learn is to get your product or service in front of real paying customers. Before you create any sort of business you’ll want to read The Lean Start-Up, as it can save you time and money you’d likely have wasted otherwise. Eric Ries looks at why most startups fail, and how those failures are preventable.
12. Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon.
Part of ambition is modeling yourself after those you’d like to be like. Austin’s philosophy of ruthlessly stealing and remixing the greats might sound appalling at first but it is actually the essence of art. You learn by stealing; you become creative by stealing; you push yourself to be better by working with these materials. Austin is a fantastic artist, but most importantly he communicates the essence of writing and creating art better than anyone else I can think of. It is a manifesto for any young, creative person looking to make his mark.
13. Mastery by Robert Greene
‘The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways,’ Greene writes in his best-seller. This prophecy will only become more relevant as new technologies continue to emerge at faster and faster rates. Those who can quickly gain mastery over the skills necessary to wield this new technology effectively or create new technology of their own will be the ones to dominate their field and change the world. In this book, Greene shares the best strategies for identifying the best skills to master, finding mentors, and innovating in your field.
14. What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars by Jim Paul and Brendan Moynihan.
There are lots of books on aspiring to something. Very little are from actual people who aspired, achieved, and lost it. With each and every successful move that he made, Jim Paul, who made it to Governor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, was convinced that he was special, different, and exempt from the rules. Once the markets turned against his trades, he lost it all — his fortune, job, and reputation. That’s what makes this book a critical part in understanding how letting arrogance and pride get to your head is the beginning of your unraveling.
15. The art of war by Sun Tzu
The Art of War was written by a Chinese general named Sun Tzu more than 2,500 years ago, possibly in the 6th Century BC. The book has long been heralded for its advice on military success. And this advice has since been co-opted by legions of armchair soldiers and generals in the business world. The book is composed of 13 chapters, each of which focuses on a different aspect of war. It’s a smart book. It’s also poetic, repetitive, and arcane.
In conclusion, there are so many books to read in so little time. But you don’t need to read so many books. In fact, it’s not about how many books you read but how much you learn and put to practice. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson that said, “If you encounter a man of rare intellect, you should ask him what books he reads”. We have handpicked these 15 books for you to start with. Pick one from a bookstore near you or download them online, and start reading. The book you don’t read CAN NOT change your life. near you or download them online and start reading. The book you don’t read CAN NOT change your life.
These are books most successful people have read but there are more and in case you are looking for more books to read if you aim for success this year, we have them here. So which of these books have you read and would love to read again? Which other book not in this article has impacted your life significantly? Tell us about it in the comments section below.