Best Motivational Books for Students - 20 Great Picks

best motivational book

Finding the right motivation can be challenging for students juggling multiple responsibilities and academic pressures. Whether you're struggling to stay focused or seeking inspiration to push through tough times, the right book can make all the difference. Motivational books offer practical advice, personal stories, and psychological insights that can help you develop the mindset and habits needed for success.

In this article, we've compiled a list of the best motivational books for students. These books cover a range of topics, from building productive habits to fostering resilience and maintaining a positive attitude. No matter where you are in your academic life, these books will provide the encouragement and strategies you need to stay motivated and achieve your goals. Additionally, if you're finding it hard to manage your workload, an essay writing service can offer valuable support, allowing you to focus on developing these positive habits.

best motivational books for students

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Stephen Covey

Originally published: 1989; Over 40 million copies sold

Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.

Published in 1989, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen R. Covey is a classic self-help book that teaches balancing successful results with caring for those results. The 30th-anniversary edition, released on May 19, 2020, updates these principles for today's leaders. Covey outlines a step-by-step guide for living with integrity, fairness, and honesty, providing the stability to adapt to change and the wisdom to seize new opportunities.

Think and Grow Rich

Napoleon Hill

Originally published: 1937; Over 15 million copies sold

You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.

First published in 1937, "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill shares lessons from millionaires like Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford. The updated version from December 15, 2007, by Arthur R. Pell, Ph.D., includes modern success stories such as Bill Gates and Mary Kay Ash. The language and examples are refreshed to resonate with contemporary readers while retaining Hill's original principles.

The Power of Positive Thinking

Norman Vincent Peale

Originally published: 1952; Over 5 million copies sold

Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate.

An international bestseller, "The Power of Positive Thinking" by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, has inspired millions to achieve fulfillment through faith and optimism. This book, aimed at helping readers lead happy and meaningful lives, outlines practical techniques to energize and motivate. Dr. Peale's teachings focus on the transformative power of faith in action.

The 5 AM Club

Robin Sharma

Originally published: 2018; Over 15 million copies sold

All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end.

In "The 5am Club," Robin Sharma introduces a habit that has transformed lives by boosting happiness, productivity, and creativity. Through a captivating story of two strangers mentored by a successful tycoon, the book explains how starting your day early can lead to remarkable achievements. It combines storytelling with neuroscience-based practices to help readers enjoy peaceful, productive mornings.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Robert Kiyosaki

Originally published: 1997; Over 40 million copies sold

Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success.

"Rich Dad Poor Dad" by Robert Kiyosaki tells the story of his two dads—his real father and his friend's wealthy father—and how their views on money shaped his financial outlook. The book dispels the myth that high income equals wealth and emphasizes the importance of making money work for you. Even 25 years after its release, its principles on money management remain relevant and impactful in today's fast-changing world.

How to Win Friends and Influence People?

Dale Carnegie

Originally published: 1936; Over 30 million copies sold

Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.

Dale Carnegie's classic book, "How to Win Friends & Influence People," provides timeless advice for success in both business and personal life. This bestseller teaches six ways to make people like you, twelve ways to persuade others, and nine ways to change people without causing resentment. Carnegie's practical guidance helps readers build better relationships and influence others effectively.

The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters

Priya Parker

Originally published: 2018

In a world of infinite choices, choosing one thing is the revolutionary act. Imposing that restriction is actually liberating.

Priya Parker, a strategic facilitator, shares her expertise in creating meaningful events in "The Art of Gathering." Through examples from her work with organizations like the World Economic Forum and the Museum of Modern Art, Parker explains how ordinary people can craft remarkable experiences. She breaks down the elements of successful gatherings, offering real-world applications that transform meetings, conferences, and social events.

The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho

Originally published: 1988; Over 150 million copies sold

It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.

"The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho is an inspiring tale of self-discovery, blending magic and wisdom. The story follows Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy, on his quest for worldly treasure. Along his journey, Santiago learns to listen to his heart, recognize opportunities, and follow his dreams. This modern classic has captivated millions, teaching readers about the importance of pursuing one's true desires.

The Magic of Thinking Big

David. J Schwartz

Originally published: 1959; Over 6 million copies sold

The thinking that guides your intelligence is much more important than how much intelligence you have.

"The Magic of Thinking Big" by Dr. David J. Schwartz offers practical methods for improving your job, family life, and community involvement. It emphasizes that great success doesn't require intellectual brilliance or innate talent but rather the habit of thinking and acting in ways that lead to success and satisfaction.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

Robin Sharma

Originally published: 1996; Over 15 million copies sold

I once read that people who study others are wise but those who study themselves are enlightened.

"The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" by Robin Sharma tells the story of Julian Mantle, a lawyer who embarks on a life-changing journey to find balance and joy. Through his experiences, the book provides lessons on developing positive thoughts, following one's life mission, cultivating self-discipline, valuing time, and nurturing relationships.

best motivational books

You Are Born to Blossom

APJ Abdul Kalam

Originally published: 2008

If there is a day, there must be a night. If there is pleasure, there must be suffering. In certain circumstances, truth is not choosing between one or another but by embracing both.

In "You Are Born to Blossom," Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam envisions the future of Indian schools as centers of knowledge connecting teachers, students, and the community. He highlights the importance of nurturing individual talents and fostering a scientific mindset guided by moral values. The book draws from Indian literature and emphasizes the limitless potential for growth at any age.

Battlefield of the Mind

Joyce Meyer

Originally published: 1995; Over 3 million copies sold

Patience is not the ability to wait but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting.

In "Battlefield of the Mind," Joyce Meyer teaches readers how to transform their lives by changing their thinking. Celebrating over 3 million copies sold, the updated 2011 edition includes a new introduction and updated content. Meyer shares her personal experiences and offers guidance on managing daily thoughts to align with God's perspective, leading to life-changing outcomes.

The Only Skill That Matters

Jonathan A.Levi

Originally published: 2019

Far too often, we approach a "new" subject as if it's completely foreign, when in fact, the whole of human knowledge is connected in some way.

Jonathan Levi's "The Only Skill That Matters" presents a neuroscience-based approach to enhance learning. The book teaches techniques to read faster, improve memory, and optimize cognitive performance. Readers learn to confidently tackle any subject, from technical skills to languages, using methods employed by memory champions.

Dare to Lead

Brene Brown

Originally published: 2018

The courage to be vulnerable is not about winning or losing, it's about the courage to show up when you can't predict or control the outcome.

In "Dare to Lead," Brené Brown shares insights from two decades of research on emotions that add meaning to our lives. She explores how to develop brave leaders and embed courage within organizational cultures. Brown provides practical strategies and real examples from her new research-based courage-building program, addressing the needs of leaders in various organizations, from small startups to Fortune 50 companies.

Stay Hungry Stay Foolish

Rashmi Bansal

Originally published: 2008; Over 300,000 copies sold

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

"Stay Hungry Stay Foolish" by Rashmi Bansal features the inspiring stories of 25 IIM Ahmedabad graduates who left lucrative jobs to pursue entrepreneurship. The book, inspired by Steve Jobs' famous quote, encourages continuous learning and risk-taking. It highlights factors such as purpose, opportunities, connections, philanthropy, care, and luck as key elements in their journeys to success.

The God of Small Things

Arundhati Roy

Originally published: 1997; Over 6 million copies sold

There is a war that makes us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves.

"The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy is a compelling family drama set in 1960s Kerala, India. The novel follows the lives of fraternal twins whose childhood is marred by societal "Love Laws." The story unfolds with a sense of foreboding, leading to an unexpected and poignant conclusion. Roy's vivid storytelling captures the complexities of family, culture, and forbidden love.

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Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

Daniel Goleman

Originally published: 1995

There is perhaps no psychological skill more fundamental than resisting impulse.

In "Emotional Intelligence," Daniel Goleman explores why people with high IQs sometimes struggle while those with modest IQs succeed. He identifies self-awareness, self-discipline, and empathy as key components of emotional intelligence (EI), which can be developed throughout adulthood. The 25th-anniversary edition includes a new introduction addressing the relevance of EI in our digital age, highlighting its benefits for health, relationships, and work.

I Have a Dream

Rashmi Bansal

Originally published: 2011

A single person can move mountains, perform miracles. And that person could be you…

"I Have a Dream" by Rashmi Bansal tells the stories of 20 idealists who act like entrepreneurs to drive social change. These individuals use management principles to achieve the greater good, demonstrating that change starts with one person. Their inspiring stories highlight that anyone, including someone next door, can make a difference.

The Five Steps to Success

Yandamoori Veerendranath

Originally published: 2013

Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

"The 5 Steps to Success" emphasizes personal victory as the foundation for broader achievements. It defines success as working happily today for a better tomorrow. The book outlines steps to overcome weaknesses, develop strengths, build loving relationships, attain fame and money, and achieve ultimate satisfaction. It integrates wisdom from various sources to guide readers in all aspects of life.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman

Originally published: 2011; Over 10 million copies sold

Intelligence is not only the ability to reason; it is also the ability to find relevant material in memory and to deploy attention when needed.

In "Thinking, Fast and Slow," Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman explains two modes of thinking: fast, intuitive thinking and slow, rational thinking. He reveals how errors, biases, and prejudices affect our decisions, even when we think we're being logical. Kahneman provides practical techniques to improve decision-making, offering profound insights into the capabilities and limitations of the human mind.

The Bottom Line

Choosing the right motivational book can ignite a fire within you, pushing you towards your goals with renewed vigor. Whether it's cultivating emotional intelligence, learning from entrepreneurs, or finding personal fulfillment, each book offers unique insights and practical wisdom. Remember, the journey to success is continuous and requires persistence, self-belief, and an open mind. Stay inspired, stay driven, and always strive for greatness. Your future self will thank you!


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Ryan Acton

Ryan Acton is an essay-writing expert with a Ph.D. in Sociology, specializing in sociological research and historical analysis. By partnering with EssayHub, he provides comprehensive support to students, helping them craft well-informed essays across a variety of topics.

What was changed:

GoodReads. (2022). Goodreads. Goodreads.

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