The more I read today about personal development, career success, and setting and reaching goals, the more I reflect on the wisdom from some of the great authors that influenced me in my early career. If you are a Baby Boomer, Gen-X, Millennial or a Gen-Zer, this list of books just might be for you too.
Earl Nightingale, Lead the Field
Lead the Field was first released in 1972. Earl Nightingale is sometimes called the "Dean of Personal Development", and Lead the Field is an audio book, now available in CD and on Audible. I recall first listening to this program in my early 20s. It galvanized some thoughts I already had and truly revolutionized others. I recently bought Lead the Field again on CD, since my original version was on cassette tape. It still amazes me the amount of wisdom packed into this program. My favorite Earl Nightingale quotes are:
"Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal."
"Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality."
"People with goals succeed because they know where they're going."
Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking
This book was originally published in 1952. Dr. Peale was a minister, motivational speaker, and author. The most famous quote from The Power of Positive Thinking is:
"The way to happiness: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Scatter sunshine, forget self, think of others. Try this for a week and you will be surprised."
Zig Ziglar, See You at the Top
This book was published in 1975. Ziglar was an American author, salesman, and motivational speaker. My favorite quote from See You at the Top is:
"Most people who fail in their dream fail not from lack of ability but from lack of commitment."
Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
Hill wrote this book in 1937 as a personal development and self-improvement book. Hill writes that he was inspired by a suggestion from business magnate and later-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Some of my favorite quotes from Think and Grow Rich are:
"You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be."
"The starting point of all achievement is DESIRE. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desire brings weak results, just as a small fire makes a small amount of heat."
"When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal."
Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People
Originally published in 1936, this was one of the first best selling self-development books. The practical and down to earth wisdom in this book includes ideas like:
"When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity."
"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."
"Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn--and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving."
Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
This book, originally published in 1989, is a business and personal development book with some of the most practical advice on time management that I have ever read. Covey was a great storyteller, and some of my favorite Covey quotes are:
"Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose."
"And to change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions."
"Search your own heart with all diligence for out of it flow the issues of life."
M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled
Originally published in 1978, Dr. Peck suggests in this book ways in which confronting and resolving our problems can enable us to reach a higher level of self awareness. My two favorite quotes from this book are:
"Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it."
"Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters."
Whether you read these books or not, it is important that you read books about life, love and growth. Read books, not just articles and blogs, and always be learning.