The Best Self Development Books of 2011

Life Coach and family off on vacationYou probably think it’s a bit odd me throwing my best self development and Life Coaching books of 2011 at you with half the year to go, right?

I guess it is, but I thought as it’s holiday time and people are heading off on vacations it would be cool to share with you 4 brilliant must read books that you’ll want to pack along with your Bermuda shorts, sombrero and stuffed donkey when you head for the beach.

How To Get A Grip by Matthew Kimberley

To say that ‘How To Get A Grip‘ is the funniest self development book I’ve ever read is a huge understatement, because it’s actually one of the funniest books I have ever read period!

I barely knew Matthew when he contacted me via Twitter and asked me if I’d do an interview on his “How I got my first client?” series.  Being the publicity whore I am I naturally agreed and after the interview Matthew asked if he could send me a copy of his book.

I groaned inwardly because I felt honor bound to say, “Yes of course you can mate, I’d love to see it!

When really I wanted to say “Seriously? Do you have to? I have a stack of books that have been sent me by well-meaning souls that remain unread and yours will probably go the same way

I’m not sure if it was the books in your face yellow and green cover or the tagline of “Forget namby-pamby, wishy-washy, self help drivel. This is the book you need” but I didn’t consign the book to my queue knowing that I’d probably never get to it, but  started reading as soon as it arrived.

To say this isn’t your grandmas self development book would be a whacking great under statement, because there are veteran Marines who would wince at some of the language Mr Kimberley employs. If that is, they could stop laughing long enough to do so.

Nevertheless, Kimberley nails point after point and really, truly, knows his self development shit. Admittedly the style wont appeal to everybody, but I think it will appeal to everybody that likes my sense of humor, because he’s like me, only funnier (the bastard!).

The highest compliment I can pay this book is to say I really, really, wish I’d written it because it’s brilliant, hysterical and totally on point.

The only downside if you are American may be that there is a lot of British cultural references and slang that may go straight over your head, but that is a small price to pay.

Currently How To Get A Grip is only available from the Book Depository in the UK in hard copy or from as an ebook, but the great news for the former is they ship free worldwide so no excuses for not buying.

Your Brain At Work by David Rock

Don’t worry you haven’t slipped through a wormhole and gone back in time. Yes this book did come out last year. Yes I did make it my best book of 2010. And yes, I do have it sat at the #2 position for The 20 Greatest Self Development Books Ever Written.

However, it has been released on audio this year and I immediately bought it for my iPhone to go through the material again.

On second pass I’m going to reconsider placing it at #2 in my all time list because I think I was wrong to do so.

It should be at #1 because this book is frickin ridiculously, outrageously and mind-blowingly awesome.

If you want to know why Cannabis Is Better For You Than Multi-Tasking, this book will tell you. If you want to know how and why reframing (also called reappraisal in neuroscience) works, this book will tell you. And if you want to know why you sometimes can’t walk and talk at the same time, this book will tell you.

If I had a Life Coach training company, ‘Your Brain At Work’ would be required reading. If you’re serious about self development and/or you’re a Life Coach yourself, then read this book, and then read it again, and then come back here and thank me.

Life Is What You Make It by Peter Buffett

As far as I’m concerned “Life Is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path To Fulfillment” can be a game changer if the reader allows it to be and that’s all we can ask from any self development book.

It would be easy to wonder what the son of one of the worlds wealthiest men could offer in terms of down to earth advise for ‘average folk’. I know I wondered that when Iw as originally sent the book, and the answer is, a lot!

Lets make one thing very clear, Peter Buffett was very, very, lucky having the parents he had.

You maybe thinking, “No shit Sherlock, that’s fairly obvious” but you’d probably be thinking that for the wrong reasons.

He wasn’t lucky because he had fabulous wealth heaped upon him, because he didn’t. In fact his father gave him less than $100k and which didn’t last long and there were no further hand outs.

Peter was lucky because he could see growing up that it wasn’t money that made people happy.

In fact, his father was a very long way from being wealthy when Peter was in his youth. Even when he did start to make a lot of money doing what he loved, it didn’t change him one jot.

Did you know that Warren Buffett still lives in the same modest house he bought in the 50’s?

There are a number of reasons I love this book not least of which is that Peter really understands the value of values.

He doesn’t ram his view of the world down the readers throat, but encourages them to reach their own conclusions through a process of self evaluation and listening to their authentic self.

This tolerance came from his mother who constantly encouraged him to read about different religions, cultures and ideas. There was no dogmatic ‘this is how it is‘ in their household, only a live and let live approach and a desire to understand. How cool is that?

The book has a strong autobiographical feel to it and even the stories Peter relates that don’t involve him, involve friends of his. I like that approach because it made the book a lot more personal, warm and authentic.

If you are at a crossroads in your career or you have kids that are high school or university age, then I seriously recommend you grab Life Is What You Make It  because I feel sure it can help guide you or a loved one through a tricky time.

If you’d like to know more about Peter, I did a video interview with him and had a whole load of fun. You can check it out here.

What If? by Eldon Taylor

My post ‘When Is It Ok To Lie?’ was inspired by reading this quirky, interesting and at times disturbing book.

I think it’s fair to say that with the possible exception of the brilliant Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson, I’ve never read a book that required me to be so open-minded and to change my point of view on what seems like an almost a chapter by chapter basis, but What If? does that.

What If? is a collection of moral dilemmas and situations, many of which occurred in real life, that will challenge your belief system and what you thought you knew to be true, to the core.

In fact Taylor even had me wondering if we are all merely pawns in a game being played by higher beings. And no, I’m not joking.

If you read stuff merely to back up what you already believe, then this book will probably piss you off. On the other hand, if you like to stretch your thinking, then I suspect you’ll love it.

I would love to hear any recommendations you may have for books that you have read this year and totally blew you away. Spill the beans in the comments!

How To Set Goals

I ‘m now 90% through writing my next free ebook ‘How To Set Goals’ and I hope to be sending it out to my newsletter readers free of charge in July. if you want a copy, sign up in the box below or in the sidebar.

Note: Other than How To Ge Grip the above book links are affiliate links.