The right books at the right time can dramatically change your life. They did that for me, but there are so many out there that it’s hard to know where to start. So — here is a list of my favorite favorites. Each is a powerful tool that anyone can use to start living a happier, more effective life.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is one of the greatest self-help books of all time, offering straightforward and commonsense advice. It taught me better communication, how to win over people to support my way of thinking and how to be a more compassionate person.

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale — an old friend of mine — showed me how to stop worrying, get control of my life and succeed at anything that I put my mind to. The book’s main message is that your attitude determines everything in your life, so the more you believe in yourself, the more you can achieve.

Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono taught me to attack a problem from every possible angle, rather than using a limited approach. It’s a great book for anyone who wants to unlock the power of thinking and transform problems into opportunities.

How to Get Control of Your Time and Your Life by Alan Lakein is for any of us who feels that there are not enough hours in the day. This little book is bursting with advice on how to identify which tasks will yield the most benefit, being more productive by doing less and even making the most of a coffee break.

How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger is the story of a man who completely failed as a salesman — but then turned everything around and in just over 10 years had enough money to retire. Bettger lets you in on the secrets of being confident, finding out what your client really wants and how to learn the most from your successes and failures.

Games People Play by Eric Berne, MD, explains what’s really happening when people interact. Dr. Berne thinks we’re always playing “games” — the habits we fall back on, subconsciously, when interacting with other people. Haven’t we all met people who play the “Why does this always happen to me” game? Learning about the most common games people play gives us great insight into what really is going on in conversations and can help us avoid getting sucked into games that we don’t want to play.

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