The way to success may be bumpy and full and challenges. It’s important to not lose hope and focus on your goal.
We’ve gathered the best inspirational and motivational books to read in 2018.
Find out the top recommendations of 19 experts below.
Here are the most recommended books:
- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
- When Breath Becomes Air by Kalanithi Paul
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
- Creativity, Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration – Ed Catmull, Edwin E. Catmull, Amy Wallace
Maksym Podsolonko, Ph.D.
I would recommend Creativity, Inc that inspires us to be creative and motivates to be a better version of ourselves.
This book was written by Pixar Co-Founder Ed Catmull. He teaches us to carefully protect our creative process from any external interference.
He suggests combining the brain power of numerous individuals when you need to tackle the most complicated problems. And to have a true North Star of values and emotions, however big the problem is.
The book advocates mindfulness as a fundamental prerequisite of creativity.
Only knowing our mental models can we overcome the distortions and limits they otherwise induce into our creative process.
Speaker | Author | Podcaster
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, is my favorite motivational book. Mr. Pressfield makes a clear case for why we procrastinate.
What makes the book special is that it’s fun and easy to read but also gives easy to use tools to get things done.
Read related article: Best Productivity and Time Management Books
He uses the backset of a writer to make his points however, the insights he shares can be applied to any situation both in business and personal.
Steven is a genuine, authentic person and it comes through in his writing.
T. Harv Ecker’s book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, was a pivotal book for me and my business. Harv illustrates clearly how to go from lack to a Cadillac with clear and precise steps.
The Inspiration Code by Kristi Hedges is my source of ideas when I need to inspire my team to make a big jump for the challenging project.
The book is outmost practical and is based on thorough research and hundreds of interviews.
You will enjoy the concept of inspirational conversation, or the “Inspire Path” – how Kristi calls it. The model identifies the four behaviors: being passionate, present, personal, and purposeful.
Moreover, you will get tons of practical advice on how and what to say to engage your audience.
My favorite part is about utilizing the Pygmalion effect: talk about the person’s talents, celebrate their success and highlight how others perceive them.
This is different from the classical positive feedback session, where the manager talks about the job, not the person.
According to research and my experience, people perform better when they know their manager believes in them.
Director of Communications, BrandUp | Certified Neurolinguistic Programming Practitioner | Life and Success Consultant
This book is all about learning to own your story in order to rise above any circumstances in your life.
This book gives new vocabulary to the concept of struggle; it teaches us to reckon with our emotions, rumble with our stories until we find our truth, and to create a revolution in our lives based on that new truth.
This memoir was written by a neurosurgeon who was facing his own mortality as he battled stage IV lung cancer.
He poses questions about what it means to live and what it means to die.
It is profoundly moving and a beautiful reminder of what really matters at the end of the day, no matter who you are or how much worldly success you have achieved.
People care way to much what other people think and how they are perceived.
And for what? To make a human connection.
But how valuable is that human connection in the long-run. I love this book because it’s telling others to stop wearing a facade that is putting their own authentic growth on the back-burner.
I grew up hating to do little things here and there because I felt they were unnecessary.
Reading this booked helped put thoughts about my actions into perspective. You really are a product of every single choice that you make. How do you do it? Read on to find out.
Writer | Entrepreneur
Four decades ago the story of “Jonathon Livingston Seagull” fluffed my ideological feathers and gave me hope that I could achieve anything if I persisted.
It’s the story of a young seagull who “sees” life differently and feels compelled to soar ever higher and fly ever faster even though his flock cautions him to slow down and act “normal.”
Even his own mother asks in despair: “Why is it so hard to be like the rest of the flock, Jon?”
Ray Bradbury said, in reviewing this book: “Richard Bach with this book does two things. He gives me flight. He makes me young. For both I am deeply grateful.”
“Jonathon,” is the slim and beautifully illustrated inspirational tale of a young seagull who dreams of flying higher and faster than any living bird. He crashes over and over again. The other gulls laugh at him, drive him out of the flock.
This is a book for people who want to achieve the impossible. For those of us who feel called upon — indeed, compelled — to make the world a better place.
As an entrepreneur and a writer, I give this book to all my mentors. As an aunt, I’ve given this book to all my graduating nieces and nephews.
This is the perfect gift for every creator or maker who has ever doubted themselves and persisted nonetheless to accomplish the most remarkable things.
Business and Investment Writer | Content Strategist
His jaunty style and humorous quips will have you laughing out loud as he dishes out the hard-knock truths about life.
He explains through personal (and sometimes painful) stories laced with witty insights that when you have no f*cks to give, you live freely on your terms and thus can focus on what you truly do give a f*ck about.
Manson poignantly makes a solid case that when you don’t give a f*ck, you accept your faults and failures.
You live fearlessly, in the moment, and pursue your passions. You accept that life is full of sh*t sandwiches but you get to choose the flavor.
According to Renshaw, “Once you are clear about your purpose, you will be clear about the meaning of every aspect of your world.”
What makes this book valuable is that Renshaw offers practical advice, as well as stories of CEOs, leaders, and business professionals who have both struggled and figured out their purpose through practice.
This is recommended for anybody who wants to establish a healthier work/life balance, be a better leader, and/or live a more authentic life.
The War of Art outlines why it’s so hard to make massive progress in our lives and how to start pursuing our goals until they turn into reality.
It’s for those who’ve always wanted to start a business or lose weight, or quit smoking, or write a book, or become a musician… yet somehow never make it.
It’s for people who know what they want but always find a reason why it’s not the right time or place.
If you feel like your life is stagnant and find yourself dropping your New Year’s resolutions in February, this book is for you.
You’ll find how people like Stephen King consistently produce massive output despite “not feeling like it”.
You’ll find why you tend to procrastinate when you need to get work done and how to start taking action on the most important goals in your life.
This book details Phil Knights journey in founding and growing Nike. From inception to selling shoes from the trunk of his car, Knight discusses the hardships of an entrepreneur with a dream and work ethic.
This book is great for entrepreneurs and dreamers who are stuck in the mud. Even Nike had its struggles at first. You will, too.
An unorthodox choice but one of my favorites. It’s all about music artist 50 Cent’s rise to prominence, from having his mother murdered to never knowing his father to, ultimately, achieving Hip-hop immortality.
The man’s life and, in turn, this book are incredible and inspiring because they offers life lessons from someone who was never supposed to succeed. This book is great for those who were born at the bottom.
You know some things about the man dubbed a conqueror and, occasionally, a barbarian, but you don’t know about his struggles and the mark he left on the world.
The book is great because it details Khan’s rise to power – something not appreciated or discussed in pop culture – and discuses his losses.
Khan was once a servant (or slave – you decide yourself) after being captured in battle. He lost his first major battle against a bitter rival.
No matter how great or notorious one becomes, there will always be losses along the way. It’s about moving past them and learning from mistakes.
One is called “The Progress Principle” by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer—it’s a book that reminds leaders about one important thing in business that most tend to forget.
That the “big things are the little things.” Understanding this concept is really what sets good leaders apart from the rest.
And the other one is “Creativity Inc.” by Ed Catmull, which I personally think is one of the best books written on the subject of organizational design, leadership, and self-awareness. It’s relatable and inspiring, making everything in the book all the more actionable.”
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey (first published in 1989) includes timeless lessons that inspire and motivate readers.
Covey deftly uses the power of stories to make his points and to cement the seven habits into the minds of practitioners.
These habits, when practiced and followed, yield tremendous benefits on the job and in the home. Covey’s seven habits will enable readers to achieve more with their lives.
Jennifer Bright Reich
Wish the world was a little kinder?
The book Bekindr: The Transformative Power of Kindness is filled with heart-warming stories of how people’s lives were touched by the kindness of strangers.
The gestures range from small and simple to grand and elaborate—and everything in between.
This beautiful hardcover book features beautiful photos. The book also includes motivational quotes, tips on being kinder, and information about the science of kindness.
It was written by Eva Ritvo, MD, one of the nation’s top kindness experts. It will touch your heart and inspire your mind.
I find books that are intended to be inspirational or motivational can be a bit cliché at times, or even a bit robotic in their advice.
This book struck a chord with me, as I think it would with most people.
It’s based on a personal journey and the advice garnered from that journey just feels natural – getting your own house in order will ultimately make your life and everyone you care about life better.
That may not sound inspirational on the surface, but the way this book can help you create some extra freedom for yourself (even if you just follow through with a tiny portion of the overall advice) is inspiring in itself.
It’s one of the few books I’ve read years later for a second time.
Written about the story of Phil Knight and his path to found and grow Nike. This book shows Phil’s drive and ambition, which is infectious even to the readers, and also lays out his clear focus on growth of the company coming from limited resources.
This book will inspire readers to take a chance on themselves if they have been thinking about taking a risk.
What do you do when you’re faced with terminal illness?
The self-written story of Paul discusses the thoughts in his head and the legacy that he hopes to leave behind for his young family to remember him by.
The beauty of this book beyond the messaging is that Paul studying English literature before entering the medical field making it extremely well written, and helps us all take a step back from our daily lives and work to center on what is important in our lives.
A classic tale by Burg and Mann, providing lessons on how to put others and giving first while still being able to be successful in life.
This book challenges conventional thought at times in business where everyone is looking out for themselves, and while it may be an effective short term strategy giving in the long-run can help lead to success in many definitions of life.
This book was published in 1948, and it may be old school as far as advice goes, but it digs to the core of figuring out who you are and what you want to achieve in life.
It had a huge impact on me in the 1970’s when I read it, and greatly influenced me to pursue something important in my life – auto racing – which became my 40+ year avocation/vocation.
I love the format of this book because it’s one or two pages on topics that at any given time we need to either hear, know, or just have reinforcement. It can be a huge source of relief at the most appropriate times.
We so often attach only success to successful people, especially celebrities, but we often don’t know their back story of failures before success.
His humble story is inspirational.
Motivational Speaker | Transformational Coach | NLP Practitioner
Unfortunately, only something like 25% of the population have a growth mindset.
The belief that the brain, like the body, is a muscle that grows with sheer repetition and through learning from mistakes.
Most have a fixed mindset which is the belief that we were born with set abilities. It is why I am always floored by people saying that they have a fear of public speaking, for example.
It is an art form which just like becoming any form of artist, is learned, practiced and mastered.
Someone with a growth mindset will put in place all that it takes to become compelling.
Someone with a fixed mindset, on the other hand, will see a great speaker in action and believe they were just born that way.
When we see great work, we compare our beginning with somebody else’s end. You have to grow your brain, develop resilience and unravel all the limiting beliefs holding you back.
I have never thought that anything was beyond me, irrespective of my race, gender, or social status, for example.
When I discovered this book, therefore, it made me burst into tears. At last, there was scientific evidence to support what I always believed.
Once again, since a small child, I realised that there was almost another part of our brain feeding us different information to the other side.
I wrote a short story all about it. This book once again made me jump with joy with the science to prove I wasn’t going potty.
It’s a noisy world and a busy marketplace.
Your voice is your unique fingerprint. It’s what separates you from the rest. Your own in-built USP (Unique Selling Point).
It is hard to unravel, however, and get to the core of who you are in a world where it is cool to conform.
The thing is often your voice doesn’t make sense either in the traditional sense. My most successful business came about when I just said ‘S*D It’, I’m just going to do me.
It’s becoming tougher and tougher, however, as the world moves faster and faster to do ‘you’ or to even know who ‘YOU’ are.
Once you find your voice, it’s then being able to monetise it. This book helps you with strategies to do just that.
Author | Master Life Coach | Speaker
This book teaches you how to create a plan for your life!
I absolutely LOVED this book! When we fail to “plan” drifting is the inevitable result. Michael and Daniel walk you step by step through designing your legacy (even down to planning out the “end” of your life).
Literally EVERYONE should read this book, and then schedule a day to create (and type up) his or her life plan!
Lisa Nichols is one of the most motivational people I have EVER heard!
In her book Abundance Now, she shares of testimony of going from being a single mother on welfare, to being a multi-millionaire who is one of the most highly sought-after speakers/life coaches in the world.
Lisa shatters the notion that abundance is difficult to achieve, time-consuming, or only for special people.
I love the visualization exercises that she includes as well! This book is a MUST in order to change your mindset from “lack” to abundance!
This book does a great job at helping the reader explore various God-given gifts and talents in order to pursue his or her unique purpose.
Marshawn shares her own journey with discovering her purpose in the midst of naysayers, a cheating fiance (her wedding plans had to be canceled just DAYS before her wedding vows once his philandering ways were discovered), and various stressful professional situations.
What didn’t kill her definitely made her stronger, and she shows you how you can use all of your life’s experiences, education, and wisdom to reinvent yourself and live your BEST, purpose-filled life!
The book includes several journaling exercises to further assist the reader in achieving clarity on his or her purpose. A MUST-READ!
Author | Outdoor Writer
This book inspires the reader to do success the “old fashion way” – using focus and self-discipline.
Our society has a ton of quick fixes but very few of those paths give the result of lasting success.
In other words, this book teaches doing the hard work and “taking the stairs” even when the elevator seems like a quicker and easier way to get where you want to go in life.
This book takes the power of thinking to a new level and the author invites the reader to consider our “self talk” in our minds and reprogram the mind for success.
No matter where you are in life, this book teaches a great lesson in putting positive thinking into action in life to get the results one desires using faith and inspiration as a backdrop. Hope is delivered by the spoonful in this international bestseller.
This book is life changing as it strips away all of the falsehoods about our life and culture.
The ego, or “drunken monkey” in our minds, may be calling all of the shots for your earthly decisions, outlooks and belief systems.
Throughout this incredible book, the author invites the reader to reconsider what filters one has used to see the world and oneself and the ways one looks at society, culture, media and religion, among other factors.
This is a very profound read. Be prepared for your life to be changed for the better if you choose to read this book!