The Top 3 Personal Development Books That Drastically Changed My Life

Just over 1 year ago I was a severely depressed, recently separated, father of one, who had smoked marijuana regularly for over 20 years. I had no hope and dreaded the future for myself and my then 9-year-old son.

Today I don’t even recognise the man I was then, or in the years previous. I am full of optimism, hope, and self-belief. And there’s not a drug in sight.

More than anything I can’t wait to see what the future will bring.

I credit two things for making that change possible. Exercise and Personal Development books. I’m not saying it was easy. But I am saying it’s possible. I’m not special, or different. I’m just like the rest of us. If I can do it. Anyone can.

Of all the books I’ve listened to. And I’ve listened to a lot. There are 3 that stand out as the ones that had the most impact on me. Β (By the way I recommended Audible as it allows you to listen wherever you are. Whilst driving, exercising, doing your chores).


  1. Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success by Carol S.Dweck, Ph.D.

There’s a reason I have this book as my number one. It’s the book that really set me off on this path of being better. This book more than any other made me believe that change was possible. Not only that, it showed me that it was as straightforward as changing how I think. As I was quite lazy then it seemed the least effort to implement. It was.

It’s about going from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. From a mindset that tells you you can’t change (this was actually said to me by my ‘wife’ shortly after she left) to a mindset where you recognise that not only can you change but that anything is possible.

For example. For a good few months after my ‘wife’ left I found having to do all the chores in the house was starting to drive me crazy. As any single parent will tell you it’s relentless. There’s the cooking, the cleaning, the laundry. And it all feels like it’s never-ending.

By simply changing my thoughts from ‘having’ to do things, to ‘getting’ to do those things, made a remarkable difference. I am now happy I get to make my son’s food. I get to wash our clothes. I get to keep the house we live in tidy.

Getting to do those things makes me recognise the blessing of being in such a position. Not many separated fathers are that lucky. It’s amazing how changing simple words can affect your outlook.

2. The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success by Darren Hardy

If you were like me you might not have heard of the compound effect but once you know what it is you can see it at play in your life. It’s basically a start small to make it big idea.

How small actions done consistently over a period of time can have big effects. Like a guitar player who practices every day with no real noticeable improvement but who then, after a certain time, feels something fall into place and is able to play a tune. Or a smoker who doesn’t notice any daily change but after a few years has more wrinkles and yellower teeth. The compound effect doesn’t discriminate between good or bad habits. It takes effect either way.

This book presents you with the best way to make it work for you. There’s lots of helpful guidance and examples. It provides a clear path and illustrates the steps you need to take to better yourself.

I was once asked to recommend a book to someone who wanted to get into personal development. This was the book I choose. It’s the best for a good all-round approach to getting your life together.

3. Be Obsessed Or Be Average by Grant Cardone

This book is not like the others. It hasn’t provided me with any real practical advise. Well, none that I haven’t already encountered elsewhere. Like writing down your goals each night. And really it is geared more towards sales. On the face of it. It’s not really my cup of tea. And I love tea.

The one thing it does give me though. The one thing I don’t really get from any other book. Motivation. And lots of it. The message is simple. Be obsessed with everything you are doing. Push and keep pushing. Be relentless in whatever your pursuit is. Be determined and persistent. And when you think you’ve done enough. Do more.

This is the book I listen to if I need a lift. Need a little kick to get going. I don’t even necessarily agree with everything he says and some chapters I skip. But it still inspires me to get moving. I view this book as my own personal preacher.

Notable mentions: A key thing in improving yourself are the habits you have. The things you do without thinking. They are paramount in being able to better yourself. The two following books are the ones I found most helpful in this regard:

Atomic Habits: An Easy And Proven Way To Build Good Habits and Break Bad Ones by James Clear

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do And How To Change by Charles Duhigg

To anyone out there who is trying to improve themselves. Change their lives for the better. I won’t wish you luck. You don’t need it!

All you need to do is believe that whatever you are trying to change is possible (It is!) and that no matter who you are, where you’re from, or what your background is, that you have the power to make these changes. You have more power within you than you imagine. It’s there waiting to be found.

Now go get the life you want for yourself! You can do it!

P.s. If anyone wants to know more about my story or thinks I might be able to help you just ask? I’ll be more than happy to talk with you.


(This post and blog has affiliate links. This means that if you purchase anything after clicking on a link I receive a small percentage)


45 thoughts on “The Top 3 Personal Development Books That Drastically Changed My Life

  1. β€œToday I don’t even recognize the man I was then, or in the years previous” Again well done and it’s always great to hear this Chris 😊😊
    I enjoyed the post and it wasn’t dull at all! I read each word and was very excited to know how important are these books and how they helped you! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ˜Š
    I should use audible books because I also love to listen while reading makes me more focused!
    The New Psychology Of Success sounds really a great book! I should read it so it’s on my list now.
    The compound effect is totally new for me! Glad I learned something new and loved the concept, it’s very true!
    In the 3rd book β€œBe obsessed or be average” the motivation you described is interesting and it’s very important!” Be determined and persistent. And when you think you’ve done enough. Do more.” Great message!

    “I won’t wish you luck, you don’t need it! All you need to do is believe….”Such an inspiring message and invitation to people to follow your lead and the last 2 books sound also very interesting, because I believe breaking habits is not easy at all!
    I clicked all links, hope I will purchase them all 😊 Great share Chris! A totally new post but very important and inspiring as well
    Have a great night and much love always 😊 <3

    1. Ah now you really are being kind πŸ™
      I would be the same with reading. I like the listening because it’s a good way of surrounding yourself with the right thoughts and words. Allowing it all to just permeate the mind.
      Mindset is great. Makes having the right approach so much easier.
      My friend loved Compound. It even helped him sort his finances out.
      Be obsessed just puts me in the mood to kick ass haha
      Haha very nice of you to click the links haha
      I appreciate your interaction as always 😊
      Goodnight or morning haha Depends when you see this one. But much love regardless 😊❀

      1. Good morning to you as well 😊
        I bought some couple books to encourage some fellow bloggers here, the problem that I cancelled all my cards when my work started to be threatened due to the economic crisis (no not nagging, I’m not this kind😊) But each time I want something online, I need to ask my little brother to buy it for me and I pay him in cash hahahah yes my little brother πŸ˜€ Otherwise I would have bought them all yesterday…They are great books indeed and this post is very enlightening 😊❀

      2. Good morning here too πŸ˜‚πŸ˜Š
        See there’s you showing your helpful and supportive side. Great quality to have πŸ‘πŸ™
        Cancelling your cards was a sensible thing to do especially if the economic situation was a bit dodgy.
        Well you’re still paying for them. What does it matter whether it’s his card or yours.
        I’m the little brother in my house. My next eldest sister is the one I get on best with (2 sisters. 1 brother)
        We help each other out like that all the time. That’s what family if for.
        Hope you enjoy the books 😁
        Oh Gees. I really must go. Don’t want to be late and I’m still drinking tea and don’t have my boots on haha
        Catch you later.
        Much love Huguette 😊❀

      3. Hahahah OMG I could imagine you late and still drinking tea πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Good morning πŸŒžβ˜€οΈ
        Yes I don’t like to be in debt if I lose my work, credit card in debt, I cannot stop if I have it!
        Yes of course I do, it’s just the online thing
        Ah you’re the spoiled little brother hahah
        It’s good to know you have good relations with your siblings, there’s always a favorite someone you get along with
        The thing that my 2 other brothers left long time ago so it’s just me and my little brother here this is why we get along more
        Yes sure, I will let you know when I have them 😊
        Have a good productive day 😊❀️

      4. Haha yes, was cutting it fine this morning. But, priorities and all that πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
        With you on the debt front. Thankfully I don’t really care about having things. Definitely no status symbols here.
        Hahaha the spoiled little brother πŸ€— That’s me alright πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
        The sister nearest to me is/was the other black sheep of the family. We were the wild ones haha
        You both must be really close and protective of each other then. That’s a great thing. I believe you’ve talked about your brothers in your post. Haven’t got reading it thoroughly yet.
        Right, on to the next comment Haha 😊❀

      5. the black sheep and wild ones, yes they are usually rejected my family! Glad you still have each other’s at least 😊 well we rarely see each other’s but yes we’re close in our won way let’s way πŸ™‚
        moving to next comment 😊

      6. Oh we’re all good now. She moved back to the hometown about 5 years ago. My other brother and sister never left there.
        I’m the only one still away.
        I’m sure it’s difficult for you. It’s good you still have your little brother close.
        You must spoil him if you were so accurate with the youngest being spoilt thing haha
        See you in the next comment Haha

      7. Oh he is spoiled enough for many years to come don’t worry at all πŸ˜‚
        Well about difficult it’s in the new post
        Hope you’ll manage to be closer to your family as well ❀️😊

      8. Haha that’s the way it should be. Still, don’t be stopping the spoiling now 😁 We youngest get used to it hahaha
        Oh we all love each other. Seeing one another is a different story. But I appreciate the sentiment 😊❀

      9. 😁😁 so it’s a nepotism now? The youngest brothers league πŸ€”πŸ€”
        Glad you do πŸ‘πŸ˜Š
        Good night Chris and much love 😊❀️

      10. Oh yes. We youngest have to stick together considering the older ones normally beat us when we were small haha
        Goodnight Huguette for the 2nd and probably not last time πŸ˜‚
        Much love 😊❀

      11. 😊 You’re awake?! How did you manage? Haha
        Oh I think it will be a great blogging day 😁
        Hope your day is great too! 😊❀

      12. Good morning Huguette 😊 I’d imagine you’re still sleeping after your busy day yesterday.
        Back to normal today. Loads of inspiration. Writing like a madman old-school style with a pen and paper before A wakes up haha
        Hope you’re feeling good and can spend your day the way you want to.
        Much love to you 😊❀ On my 3rd tea haha

      13. Good morning to you and glad you’re writing! amazing! don’t be distracted the 😊 Tea and writing are enough haha
        have a great day and much love 😊

      14. Me too. Have handwritten one post already. Took a break for breakfast and more tea obviously. Bit of chill with A.
        Just got to get showered and changed then start on the other one. Oh signed up for a life coaching course as well. Making up for yesterdays slump.
        Hope you have a great day too! Much love 😊❀

  2. Hi! The Art of Extreme Self Care (Cheryl Hutchinson) was recommended to me by a friend after my marriage ended and I was in bits. (In fact, she just said “ahh, you need The Art…….”. It was a kind thought and I followed it for that reason. It’s a little bit syrupy (she’s American) but i’s good for people who only feel of value when they are ‘doing’ for others. Great blog, thanks.

    1. Hi! Thank you for the suggestion. I prefer personal recommendations like yours. I’ve already looked for it on audible after seeing your suggestion. They don’t have it so I guess it’s back to the hard copy for this one. I appreciate the recommendation and you taking the time to comment. Best wishes to you.

  3. Great share Chris! 😊 I completely enjoyed this postπŸ˜„
    Exercise plus books indeed is a good combination for bringing change in life. One gets you moving physically and the other mentally and emotionally. 😁

    I listen to a lot of ted talks while doing my daily chores but never gave thought to audible books. I usually prefer hardcopy when I want to read something. But I think I should give audible books a try somedayπŸ˜…

    I haven’t read “Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success” but did listened to her ted talk once. And it was really good! And now that you’ve recommended it, I’m adding it to my wishlist!😁

    Quick question: between Atomic habits and The power of habits which one should I read first?πŸ˜† I find both of them interesting but I can’t make my mind. (Though I have added both in my wishlist but obviously can’t read both together) Hahaha πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

    1. Hi Swastik πŸ™‚ Hope you are keeping well! Glad you enjoyed it. I agree. The two are a powerful combination.
      It’s funny that you mention Carol Dweck’s TED talk. Another friend suggested that in a comment on here. I was going to check it out. With two recommendations in one post it must be good! haha
      Oh I would go for Atomic Habits for sure. Found it the easiest to apply. Although Power is great too!
      Can’t read both together hahaha. If only we could (Big smiley face).
      Much love to you (wee blushy face)

      1. So you’re back on your PC huh? HahahaπŸ˜‚ I’m doing great Chris and I hope everything is great at your end too! 😊
        Oh it’s a great TED talk. I really loved her idea of fixed mindset and growth mindset, which you too have mentioned here.😁
        So Atomic Habits, it is! Sorry, Power you’ve to wait a little longer. Hahaha πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚

        Good night to you.😴 (it’s 9:55 here, so I better keep my phone away and get ready to sleep. Sleep is everything for me! Hehehe πŸ˜…)
        More love to you!❀

      2. Haha Swastik. Yes I was πŸ˜‚
        Glad you’re doing great. I hope you continue to do so 😊
        It’s such a real and interesting concept. Think I found it at just the right time 😁 serendipity again I suppose πŸ™‚
        Haha yes. Hope you enjoy it.
        P.s. if you’ve any recommendations yourself I’ll be glad to hear them.
        Haha you do love your sleep Swastik. And why not?! Most peaceful part of the day.
        So I’ll say good morning instead of goodnight 😁
        Much love to you 😊

      3. Good Morning Chris!πŸ˜ƒ

        Well, as I say… when you start believing in power of your mind and in power of universe, you start experiencing serendipity a lot. Hahaha πŸ˜‚

        Book recommendations?
        I would still recommend you ‘The secret’. It’s on the top of my personal development list. Currently, I’m reading books mostly related to positive psychology and spirituality. I’m not sure if you’re in for that kind of read.πŸ˜…

        O yes! Sleep is very important to me. I used to be night owl until last year. But as you know I’m working on myself now, I decided to change my bad sleeping habits. So now, I sleep around 10 p.m and wake up at 4 in the morning. My family find that very strange because until last year I used to sleep after 4a.m. HahahaπŸ˜‚

        Have a wonderfully happy day! πŸ˜ƒ
        Much love to you too😊

      4. Good morning Swastik 😁
        Hahaha that’s funny regarding your sleep. I used to come home from parties quite often when the sun was up. Not a nice feeling haha
        But 4am?! Holy crap. That’s early. If that was me I’d be in bed by 7pm not 10 πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Fair play to you πŸ™
        ‘The secret’ top of your list. Guess I’ll have to revisit. Looked at it years ago. Maybe I wasn’t ready for it then.
        Positive psychology and spirituality?! Very interesting. Haha I’d be interested in half of that. Me and spirituality aren’t on the best of terms πŸ˜‚
        Hope you’re having a great day.
        Much love to you 😊

  4. I just appreciate your honesty! You’re not where you were, and younmay not be where you want to be forever, but never discount the effect of little steps.
    Worth remembering: Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything. Character determines your destiny.
    Keep pressing on, and thank you for the reminder to make small, repeated improvements!

    1. Thank you for your comment. I like you way you put that. Thoughts, words, deeds etc.
      Such a straightforward way of explaining something very important. Worth remembering as you said.
      Glad you liked the reminder. Keep pressing on yourself and best wishes to you.

  5. Thank you for being so brave to share your story and the tools that have helped you to get here. I finally decided to get out and do something similar and created a blog this past weekend. Still finding my niche and truly happy that I bumped into your blog as I researched. Your drive is inspiring and your motivation notable. Keep inspiring and lifting those around you. You are your child’s ultimate motivator and he is your inspiration. Stay blessed!

    1. Thank you for the blessings πŸ™‚
      I didn’t know what a niche was when I started. I think if you write what you feel your niche will come to you.
      I appreciate your kind words. Very nice of you to say so πŸ™
      Best of luck with your blogging journey!

    1. I agree. I thought it was well put together and liked the historical examples showing how habits could be formed. Like how we started using toothpaste for example. As you appear to like personal development books would you have any other suggestions? Always on the lookout for a good read. Thanks for stopping by. Best wishes to you.

  6. I have read The Compound Effect but not the other two. They sound good though. I’ll add them to my “To Read” list.

    1. The Compound Effect is great. When my friend wanted to start personal development it was the book I advised to read first as I thought it was a good allrounder. Dweck’s book, although quite simple, was a revelation to me. It’s the book that really made a difference. Couldn’t recommend it enough. Cardone’s doesn’t really have anything practical to offer but if you want something to get you fired up and motivated it’s certainly worth the read. I hope you get as much out of them as I have. Thanks for commenting. Best wishes to you.

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