When I think of Personal Growth, I’m thinking about real and sustainable change on an identity level. I’m not thinking about positive intent, affirmations, goal-setting directly, even though this is for sure one aspect of personal growth.
So the best books for Personal Growth that I gathered here are more concerned with a deep understanding of the human psyche and identity. These are books, that can change your perception of yourself in a very deep way. They allow you to fit your experience into a whole new framework of understanding.
This article is continuously updated with remarkable books! So check in again 😉
Books for Self-Development
The Elegant Self - Rob McNamara
Based on the understanding of developmental psychology, this book gives you an in-depth understanding of how the adult mind develops into the higher reaches of consciousness.
Today’s complex problems cannot be solved from the level of understanding most people are operating on. Rob McNamara points out exactly what lies beyond our conventional functioning. He shows what’s in the way and makes it impossible for people to reach these higher potentials.
Not only does he take you on a tour of understanding these higher levels of development, but he also walks you through processes and exercises, that let you directly experience what he talks about. Working through this book practically instead of just soaking in the theory allows you to let go of the illusions of the conventional levels, also called ‚the danger of the adult plateau‘ by McNamara.
Leading you onto the secrets of the minds unfolding and the ways of being of the ‚self-authoring‘ and the ‚self-transforming’ mind, this book is a must-read for truly holistic personal growth!
The Elegant Self
A Radical Approach to Personal Evolution for Greater Influence in Life
Self-Therapy: A Step-by-Step Guide to Create Wholeness using IFS - Jay Earley
In this book, Jay Earley gives a comprehensive overview of the IFS therapy modality. The whole book is set up so that you can directly start to experiment with the tools from IFS and experience the benefits for yourself.
In easy language, Earley explains how our internal space is occupied by multiple internal parts, that have personalities and motives of their own. Instead of seeing us as mostly rational beings with some odd irrational reactions in some situations, Jay suggests that these ‚irrational reactions‘ are the doings of these inner parts. Stemming from experiences of the past, these parts have a very different understanding of the world and themselves than our adult self has today.
This is the reason why reactions coming from internal parts are often not aligned with the overall self-image that we hold of ourselves.
There’s a simple distinction, that this book presents: There are Parts and there’s the Self.
The Self is a state of being, from which we relate to ourselves and the world in a curious, open, and compassionate way. You can verify the existence of the Self for yourself experientially. You can find out how to do this in the book.
You also learn how to work with your Parts from the qualities of the Self.
This is what makes change possible!
By relating from a naturally curious and compassionate place with the problematic parts within you, new and healthy connections with these semi- or unconscious parts can form. They can be brought into the light and released from the extreme roles they have taken on in the past.
Teaching you how to expand your ability to be in ‚Self’, relate to the world in a resourceful way, and work with your extreme parts, this book allows you to completely shift your understanding for – and experience with – your internal world.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Creating Wholeness and Healing Your Inner Child Using IFS, A New, Cutting-Edge Psychotherapy
Books for deep Understanding
Brief History of Everything - Ken Wilber
This book is an incredible introduction to the field of Integral Philosophy!
Giving you a holistic understanding of the evolution of consciousness and making this understandable with clear distinctions, this book lives up to its title!
Presented in the book are the foundational ideas of integral theory. How do the internal, subjective Experience and the external objective Experience come together?
What patterns of organization are represented both in the individual being as well as in the social structures at large? What can we make out of these patterns?
Based on a huge body of research, Wilber argues the case that humans develop through various stages of development, each having a completely unique worldview and way of functioning in the world. Through this understanding, phenomena that previously seemed unrelated, start to fit into a bigger picture!
Political disputes, organizational failures, sociological challenges all make sense from this point of view: All human beings are looking at the same reality and seeing completely different things.
True understanding between us humans only becomes possible at a certain stage of human development: The Integral Stage!
This book outlines the challenges of today’s world and presents a compelling solution: A more complex and more inclusive way of being is possible, and is in fact already emerging as nature pushes on the evolution of consciousness to its conclusion: Consciousness recognizing itself as Spirit!
A Brief History of Everything
'A clarion call for seeing the world as a whole' - San Francisco Chronicle
Ego and Archetype - Edward F. Edinger
This is a must-read for the integration of psychology and mysticism!
Edinger relates the direct experience of the individuation process to the symbolism of collective stories, myths, and religious teachings.
Arguing the case, that to the modern person, the experience of the Self is the same as coming to know God, Edinger outlines the whole process of development of the individual ego. Coming out of the Self, the individual Ego goes through various stages of dis-identification and alienation from Self until it reaches the point where it can begin to relate to Self / God consciously.
Edinger points out how this communication with the Self can consciously and healthily happen, and how this can immensely deepen our connection to the mystery of life.
At the same point, he describes what it means for our lives if a healthy dis-identification from Self has not yet occurred. This can be seen as the root of a fixation on the individual ego and the inability to open up to a more responsible way of living.
Wonderfully poetic, deeply insightful, and really moving for our egos shaped by collective images!
Ego and Archetype
Books for Growth, Practice for Integration
Books are a fantastic way to broaden our horizons and to share deeply insightful knowledge with one another.
All the books in this article have impacted me in a meaningful way and are in alignment with the work that I do.
While the books hold an incredible inspiration and impulse for growth in themselves, should you ever find yourself craving for a more practical and experiential approach to the information presented here, please reach out to me!
You might also be interested in reading this article: What is Personal Growth and Development? Your Emerging Essence
Let me know what books you find best for Personal Growth in the comments! I’d love to discuss your best picks!