15 Must-Read Books for Business and Personal Growth

Ryan Cote
4 min readMay 19, 2020


Credit: satariel

Self-education is critical — learning should never stop. The most successful people make time every day to learn new things, personally and professionally.

Try to form a habit to consume content every day:

  • Going for a walk? Listen to an audiobook or podcast.
  • Driving somewhere? Listen to an audiobook or podcast.
  • Have a morning routine? Add in 10 minutes of reading.

One important note before we continue to the 15 books is that consuming content…learning new things…self-education, etc…are all super important. But so is taking action. Content consumption with zero action won’t give you the results you’re looking for.

OK, here are the 15 must-read books for business and personal growth. These are in no particular order. And for full transparency, I’ve read A LOT of books over the last 15–20 years, but I obviously haven’t read every book available. So this list is based on the books that I’ve read and have had the most impact on me.

The Road Less Stupid — Read this book if you want a detailed breakdown of business strategy including the questions you should be asking yourself. One thing the author talks about is setting aside time for thinking which is powerful.

How to Win Friends and Influence People — Read this book if you want to get better at talking to people. It’s a must-read for all salespeople. Honestly, it’s important for everyone because good communication is critical no matter who you are or what you do.

The One Thing — Read this book if you need more direction in your life or company. It goes through tips and advice on how to have a singular focus on what matters most to reach your goals i.e. your one thing.

The Ultimate Sales Machine — Read this book if you want to get better at selling your products or services. This book goes deep into selling via educating your target customers which is a process I agree with.

The Pumpkin Plan — Read this book if you’re looking for tips for growing your business especially if you’re running a client-centric business. The book helps you zero in on your best clients.

Start From Zero — Read this book if you’re looking to start a new business and you’re stuck on what to do. The author spends a lot of time on mindset in the beginning of the book which I loved. FYI — the Start from Zero podcast is excellent too!

7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Read this book if you want to implement better habits in your life. The book looks at the common habits across successful people so it’s a good set of habits to model.

The Compound Effect — Read this book if you need motivation for what you’re trying to achieve in your life. It’s a good reminder that your small, daily efforts matter — they compound over time.

The Ultimate Sales Letter — Read this book if you want to get better at writing direct response copy that sells your products or services. The book also gives you tips on using direct mail effectively.

The Wealthy Gardener — Read this book if you want a rundown of best practices across wealth, prosperity, personal finance and happiness. The book is written as a parable — the story format makes it very easy to absorb the lessons.

Ultimate Jim Rohn Library — Read this book if you want a masterclass in personal development. I’ve listened to this audiobook 3 times now. Jim Rohn is an excellent storyteller.

Atomic Habits — Read this book if you want help on forming better habits. The book goes into some easy strategies for getting the ball rolling on creating the right habits.

The Conversion Code — Read this book if you want to get better at using the Internet to grow your business. This book goes over many strategies on getting more leads and sales — my career is in Marketing and I learned new things.

The Miracle Morning — Read this book if you want to transform your life. I know that’s a serious claim, but implementing a morning routine has been a game changer for me on multiple levels.

Never Split the Difference — Read this book if you want to improve your negotiation skills. The author is a former FBI hostage negotiator. It’s also easy to follow because they use plenty of stories to drive home the points.

Thanks for Reading!

Never stop learning. Make investing in yourself a daily practice — it’s the best investment you can make. The knowledge you’ll gain and the results you’ll see will compound over time and turn you into a different person. Your identity will transition into that of someone that takes their future and personal growth seriously.

Which book are you going to read next?




Ryan Cote

Director of Digital & Partner at Ballantine.com. Founder of MorningUpgrade.com. My core interests are business, marketing, personal development and family.