5 Must-Read Professional and Personal Development Books

Critical Success Factors - The Books You Read


I sure you’ve heard this before, but a reminder is always good. Two critical success factors in personal and professional development are (1) choosing the right kind of people with whom to associate and (2) reading books that will stretch you personally and professionally.

Regarding the people with whom we associate, Jim Rohn said it best: “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Additionally, Dan Miller writes: “Do you know that most people earn within 20 percent of the average income of their closet friends” (No More Dreaded Mondays, page 206). Obviously, who we choose to hang out with is one of the most important critical success factors for our personal and professional development because who we hang out with shapes our outlook, attitude, and character.

Another critical success factor that shapes our outlook, attitude, and character, as well as our mindset and philosophy are the books we read. Because of this, I’ve made reading professional and personal development books an integral part of my daily recipe for success.

I’ve read some great professional and personal development books this year and want to share a few with you.

“9 Ways to Get Paid as a Speaker”

(Note: Each books has an affiliate link attached to it.)

Personal Development Books - Predictable Success by Les McKeown

Predictable Success is the best business book I’ve read in years! Les McKeown really understands the lifecycle of an organization, whether it’s for-profit, non-profit, entrepreneurial, or established. I have a much clearer understanding of where my company is and how to move it forward because of this book. This was my favorite read of the year because it addressed so many critical success factors I’m currently trying to figure out.

Personal Development Books - The Difference by Jean Chatzky

I read The Difference a few years ago, but since it was one of my favorite personal development books of all time, I had to pull it out again. This book explains why some people seem to posses the innate ability to rise above negative circumstances and ascend the financial, social, and corporate ladders. According the Jean Chatzky, what these people have is “The Difference.” And the good news is each of us can have it too!

Personal Development Books - Wisdom Meet Passion by Dan Miller and Jared Angaza

Two of my favorite people on the planet, Dan Miller and his son Jared Angaza, address the unique dichotomy between the wisdom of Baby Boomers and the passion of GenY. The key question addressed in Wisdom Meets Passion is how can these two dynamics work together in harmony to become critical success factors for both life and career. This was one of the most inspirational reads for me this year (and I’m a Gen Xers).

Personal Development Books - A Million Miles In A Thousand Years by Donald Miller

After writing a successful memoir, Donald Miller’s life stalled. But when two movie producers proposed turning his memoir into a movie, he found himself in a new story filled with possibility and meaning. A Million Miles In A Thousand Years shares how the two critical success factors of one’s life can be boiled down to “writing” and “living” better stories. One of the most interesting personal development books I read this year.

Personal Development Books - Quiet by Susan Cain

I haven’t read this book yet, but I’m recommending Quiet because Kathy (my wife) has said so many good things about it. According to Susan Cain, introverts prefer listening to speaking and reading to partying. They innovate and create but dislike self-promotion. The favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue these people and how much we lose in doing so.