Personal Growth Books

Recommended Books and reading - a brief list by D. J. McAdam

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Does this sound familiar?  You make a list of goals or resolutions, you're filled with energy and zeal, you get sidetracked, the list gets lost or deleted, you're back to where you were but feeling a bit more defeated than when you started . . .

If this were a paid television commercial, some guy would probably show up on the screen right now, flashing a smile way too big to be real, standing in front of his Rolls-Royce (parked in front of his mansion) with a blonde wife 20 years his junior, saying something like, "And then I discovered the secret!"

I'm not driving a Rolls at the moment.  And my smile, thankfully, falls well within the range of what would be considered normal.  But, being a voracious reader, I'm familiar with the body of literature called Personal Growth or, in past times, Self Help.  I've selected books in this genre carefully, read those I've obtained attentively and have obtained what I consider to be positive results from the endeavor. 

My life has pretty much always been a happy and lucky one.  Following my course of study, though, I'm starting to understand why I've generally been happy and lucky, and am able to more effectively channel my efforts in the direction of my choosing. 

Before getting to the list, here's my personal take on personal growth: 

I believe the subconscious mind listens to the conscious mind, tries to interpret what it is the conscious mind wants to do, and puts forth every effort in accomplishing its tasks. 

I believe the subconscious mind interprets things from the conscious mind very literally, and as decisions requiring action. 

I believe the power of the subconscious mind, when it "puts forth every effort," is much more powerful than most of us believe.

The implications here are worth contemplating.  If you say, "I am going to do this wrong until the day I die," the subconscious mind will interpret that as a decision of the conscious mind, and will put forth every effort in making it so.  For this reason, negative or limiting thoughts are extremely costly.  Conversely, if you say (or think), "I am going to master this and be extremely successful at it for the rest of my life," the subconscious acts on that decision.

In other words:

1) you think something, either positive or negative;
2) the subconscious gets to work on it as a command, and;
3) if there's any way for it to happen, it happens.

Easy, yes?

Except for one thing; you must work hard, and persevere.  That's why I've included Samuel Smiles' Self Help with more modern books.  Smiles' timeless advice, coupled with 21st century knowledge, can at least begin to lead you to success. Here's a brief list of some of the helpful things I've read over the years:

  • It Works is not a book at all, but don't let that dissuade you.  It's a small, inexpensive booklet that fits in your shirt pocket.  I used to carry my copy in my briefcase - takes up no room at all, and is always worth re-reading. 
  • Bruce I Doyle's Before You Think Another Thought looks and sounds too simplistic (almost silly) to be of any real value, but it is actually a very worthwhile book, and the reasoning is generally sound.
  • Joseph Murphy's The Power of Your Subconscious Mind is a bit too far out there in some its claims - okay, most of its claims - and the writing style is quite florid, but it is nevertheless a classic that you should consider reading. 
  • Message of a Master is a short book that reads like a novel.  Most persons, myself included, find it both intriguing and enlightening.  I've now read the book a number of times.
  • Samuel Smiles might be termed the father of modern self-help books.  His book, Self Help, was both popular and influential in Victorian times, and is a refreshing antidote to slick 21st century self-help books that somehow avoid mentioning the terms "hard work" and "character."  This is my favorite of all self-help books, and one which I often turn to for inspiration. 
  • James Allen authored a number of important writings on personal growth, including As a Man Thinketh.  The complete text of As a Man Thinketh is now freely available online - click here - but there's still a good reason for buying The Wisdom of James Allen, or actually two good reasons: first, it's convenient to carry around; second, it also includes The Path to Prosperity, The Mastery of Destiny, Entering the Kingdom, and The Way of Peace.


There are also, of course, other interesting texts on the internet:



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