As George Eliot once said, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.” Maybe, but a brutal recession and its dreary aftermath have made inspiration a scarce commodity. Working harder and longer has taken its toll, and achieving that all-important work-life balance seems nearly impossible. If that sounds like you, it’s probably time to take a step back. We’ve compiled a list of 10 motivational books that can help you get back on track, both in your professional and personal lives. If you’re looking for guidance in leadership and business success, Warren Buffett, Rudy Giuliani and Bill George have some ideas to consider. If you’re seeking guidance for your everyday life, then look no further than these works by Nelson Mandela, Norman Vincent Peale and Peter Barton. Some of these books will give you the advice you need to move forward. Others will show you how to make the most of difficult personal circumstances. All of them will offer perspectives and stories that can help you restart your engines.
- The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life
By Alice Schroeder
A frank account of the business icon’s successes, failures and personal life.
- A Long Walk to Freedom
By Nelson Mandela
The South African’s journey from decades of imprisonment to his election as president.
- Coach Wooden’s Pyramid of Success: Building Blocks for a Better Life
By John Wooden and Jay Carty
The legendary basketball coach’s formula for personal and professional success.
- The Last Lecture
By Randy Pausch with Jeffrey Zaslow
A Carnegie-Mellon professor used his last classroom appearance to inspire his students to live a fuller life.
- Why Courage Matters: The Way to a Braver Life
By John McCain
The senator and former POW uses stories of war and politics in his guide for finding your own courage.
- 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
By Stephen Covey
The best-selling guide for performing better in your personal and professional lives.
By Rudy Giuliani
The former NYC mayor calls on his years of experience in politics and law encorcement to describe his leadership style.
- Not Fade Away: A Short Life Well Lived
By Peter Barton and Laurence Shames
The adventurous cable executive chronicled his success—and his preparation for dying from cancer.
- True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership
By Bill George with Peter Sims
A guide to becoming more aware of what drives you to succeed.
- The Power of Positive Thinking
By Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
The famed preacher’s guide for eliminating self-doubt in everyday life.