J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

Personal Development Books List

Personal Development Books List

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“Good habits are formed; bad habits we fall into.” -- -Unknown

If you’re on the path of personal development, I have a special list for you.  It’s my list of insightful personal development books.    It’s a collection of the personal development books that I’ve found to be the most useful or effective. 

My collection of personal development books covers a range of topics, but they all boil down to improving you or your situation.  On the “you” side, it’s about improving your thinking, feeling, or actions.  On the “situation” side, it’s about adapting, adjusting, or avoiding.  Adapting is changing yourself to fit the scenario.  Adjusting is changing the situation to play to your strengths.  Avoiding, is just that, staying out of situations that aren’t good for you (if you don’t like roller-coasters, don’t get on them.)

Why Personal Development?
We’re growing or dying, climbing or sliding, and there’s no in-between.  Life’s not static, and if you like what you’ve got, aim for more, and you just might keep it.  To survive and thrive in an ever-changing world, means growing the skills that make the difference, and making the most of what you’ve got.

The more you learn how to make the most of what you’ve got, while playing to strengths and limiting liabilities, while creating experiences that accelerate your growth, the better you set yourself for success … by design.  Success by-design is repeatable.  Success by default or lucking into success is not.  One of the keys to a productive and happy life is self-efficacy, which, in a nutshell, is your belief that “you can do it” … in other words, you have the confidence and competence in your ability to reach your goals.

NLP and Personal Development
One of the tools that many Microsoft executives, leaders, and managers have used is NLP.  NLP stands for Neuro-Linquistic Programming.    NLP is basically a set of principles, patterns, and practices for modeling human excellence.   For example, one of the techniques is “modeling”, which is about learning how to duplicate an expert’s success by modeling their behaviors, language, strategies and beliefs.  This is key because if you just copy their actions, you’re missing the mindset, questions they ask, their lens on the situation, etc., which all contribute to their success.

I find that NLP is especially interesting for developers in general because you can think of it as programming yourself for success, and debugging the programs that don’t work.   You can use it as a way to unleash a version of your best self, and NLP is probably some of the most advanced, most precise, most actionable, and most effective techniques that I’ve seen for personal development.

You’ll notice my list of personal development books contains a few NLP books.  Brilliant NLP, by David Molden and Pat Hutchinson, is a short, simple introduction, while Unlimited Power by Tony Robbins is a hard-core, insanely deep dive into peak performance, with incredibly prescriptive techniques for personal development.

Explore my list of insightful personal development books, and if I missed your favorite personal development book, be sure to tell me about it and why it’s your favorite.

  • This promotes the ideology of cargo cult. Good job! Personal development consists of mimicking the behaviors of others. Einstein writes E=mc^2 on the whiteboard, you write it too - you share the formula, no need to understand. Good job!

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