22 of the best books about success

Whatever your personal goals, discover our edit of the best books about success to help you along the way. 

If you're starting a new venture or looking for ways to become more productive, read on for our favourite books about success. With behind-the-scenes insights into some of the world's biggest companies, stories of people who have made their dreams a reality and proven techniques to help you become more efficient, these books will set you up for a successful year. 

How Big Things Get Done

by Bent Flyvbjerg

Book cover for How Big Things Get Done

Understanding what distinguishes the triumphs from the failures has been the life’s work of Oxford professor Bent Flyvbjerg. In How Big Things Get Done, along with bestselling author Dan Gardner, he reveals the errors that lead projects to fail and the principles that make them succeed. Think of how Apple’s iPod went from a project with a single employee to an enormously successful product launch in eleven months. But such successes are the exception. Exploring case studies across a broad spectrum of technologies and businesses, discover why this is an exception, and how to be one of these exceptions. 

Think Faster, Talk Smarter

by Matt Abrahams

Book cover for Think Faster, Talk Smarter

A prospective client asking unexpected questions during a sales pitch, a teacher singling you out for an answer during a class, a high-pressure meeting with senior executives at work, or even a heartwarming toast to deliver on the spot. Matt Abrahams, Stanford University lecturer and creator of the hit podcast, Think Fast, Talk Smart, reveals the secrets to finding the right words when it counts. This invaluable books provides a six-point methodology that will enable you to cut through the anxiety arising from stressful, impromptu circumstances to create and deliver crisp, compelling and calm communication.

How I Built This

by Guy Raz

Book cover for How I Built This

Having interviewed some of the world's most accomplished people on his podcast, Guy Raz knows a thing or two about starting a successful venture. In this book, Raz distils everything he's learnt into a practical guide for entrepreneurs who want to realise their big ideas. He shares tips for every business's journey: from the early days of formulating your idea, to raising money and recruiting employees, to finding your market and, finally, to paying yourself a real salary. This is a must-read for anyone who has ever dreamed of starting their own business or wondered how trailblazing go-getters made their own dreams a reality.

Blue Ocean Shift

by Renee Mauborgne

Book cover for Blue Ocean Shift

Essential reading for managers, business owners and entrepreneurs alike, Blue Ocean Shift offers insights and practical examples for inspiring confidence in your teams and helping your organisation to grow. In this book about leadership, professors W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne draw upon more than a decade of research to share proven techniques that will set you and your teams up for future success. 

Think Like a Breadwinner

by Jennifer Barrett

Book cover for Think Like a Breadwinner

In Think Like a Breadwinner, financial expert Jennifer Barrett reframes what it really means to be a breadwinner by dismantling the narrative that women don't – and shouldn't – take full financial responsibility to create the lives they want. Featuring a wide variety of case studies from women at all stages of their careers and financial lives, Barrett shares the secrets of women who already think like breadwinners. Barrett reveals not only the importance of women building their own wealth, but also the freedom and power that comes with it.


by Dr Julia Ravey

Book cover for Braintenance

In Braintenance, neuroscientist and science communicator Dr Julia Ravey explains how you can take charge of your brain with methods based on science to change habits, achieve your goals and lead the life you want. Your brain likes to keep you safely in your comfort zone. And that is what holds you back. We have no trouble imagining the goals we would like to achieve – a healthier lifestyle, passing exams or embarking on a new career ­– but turning them into reality is far harder. Change is good. Your brain just needs some convincing.

The Bezos Blueprint

by Carmine Gallo

Book cover for The Bezos Blueprint

This book reveals the communication and leadership secrets of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and how to master them. Jeff Bezos built Amazon. A dreamer who turned a bold idea into the world’s most influential company. A student of leadership and communication, he learned to elevate the way Amazonians write, collaborate, innovate, pitch and present. The communication tools Bezos created are so effective that former Amazonians who worked directly with Bezos adopted them as blueprints to start their own companies. Now, these tools are available to you. 


by Stefan Falk

Book cover for Motivation

A legendary performance coach shares his simple, proven and fun methods for cultivating motivation – and keeping it. Doing something for its inherent satisfaction – rather than external rewards – is the key to success in any endeavour. Motivation is the essential and comprehensive guide to how you can achieve this. Filled with practical methods and techniques from Stefan Falk, an internationally recognised executive coach and human performance expert, learn how to satisfy your psychological needs in today’s professional world. 

The Art of Starting

by Iona Mathieson

Book cover for The Art of Starting

Ditch your day job or set up your side project with this ultimate guide to starting and running your own creative business. The Art of Starting guides you from the first step right through to the everyday running of a successful creative business. Whether your passion is in craft, photography, food, fashion or design, this book is full of indispensable advice. Iona Mathieson and Romy St Clair are two entrepreneurs who learnt the hard way and are here to share everything they wish they’d known at the start. 

Make Brilliant Work

by Rod Judkins

Book cover for Make Brilliant Work

Make Brilliant Work is an inspiring guide to unlocking your creative potential, showing you the methods and techniques that will transform your efforts and help you achieve your best ever work. Whatever your creative endeavour, you might find it hard to produce something significant and important, but this book will show you how to make the transformation from ordinary to extraordinary. Many of the characters failed at school, lacked natural talent, were not especially gifted or were repeatedly sacked. But their methods produced brilliant work – and they will work for you, too. 

Working Backwards

by Colin Bryar

Book cover for Working Backwards

Launched out of Jeff Besoz's garage in 1994, Amazon is now one of the biggest and most profitable companies in the world. In Working Backwards, two Amazon executives lift the lid on how the company achieved such domination, and how products including Kindle, Amazon Prime, Amazon Echo and Alexa came to be. Sharing the secrets of the company's fourteen leadership principles, meticulous hiring process and rigorous business principles, this is a must-read book for entrepreneurs.

Daily Rituals

by Mason Currey

Book cover for Daily Rituals

If there's one thing we've learnt from working from home, it's that a well-established routine is one of the keys to staying productive. In Daily Rituals, Mason Currey shares the practices of some of the world's most successful individuals. From Ernest Hemingway's 5.30am starts to Beethoven's morning brew (made every morning from precisely 60 coffee beans) you'll find inspiring ideas from more than 160 of the world's most accomplished leaders, thinkers, writers and creatives. 

The Character Edge

by Robert L. Caslen Jr.

Book cover for The Character Edge

A former superintendent of the US Army's West Point Academy and a psychologist explain why a strong character is an essential component of strong leadership. In a world where we’re bombarded by messages of ‘winning at any cost’, dishonest politicians, CEOs committing fraud, disgraced military commanders and cheating athletes, integrity matters more than ever. The Character Edge explains the powerful role character plays in trust, culture and leadership, and offers readers tools to exercise and strengthen their own. 


by David Epstein

Book cover for Range

For years we've been told that becoming an expert in your field is the key to success. In Range, David Epstein argues that this idea is entirely wrong. After reading this groundbreaking book, you'll understand how to solve problems better, how to learn more effectively and why developing broad interests and skills, rather than siloing yourself, is the key to succeeding in a complex world. 


by Eddie Jones

Book cover for Leadership

One of the most successful sports coaches ever, Eddie Jones took three separate nations to Rugby World Cup Finals, and enjoyed a success rate with the England team of almost eighty per cent. An expert in guiding and managing high-performing teams, Jones believes that his methods can be applied to many walks of life. From fostering ambition to following your curiosity, Jones shares his methodology, much of it learned through conversations with other successful managers and leaders, including Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola. Leadership is the ultimate guide to being your best, in rugby and in life.

The Formula

by Albert-László Barabási

Book cover for The Formula

In The Formula, expert Albert-László Barabasi uses Big Data to explain the principles of success. From why persistence pays off, to why the last interviewee almost always gets the job, Barbasi shares the secrets of why some people always seem to succeed – and how you can too. 


by Chris Bailey

Book cover for Hyperfocus

In Hyperfocus, Chris Bailey offers a practical guide for how to work smarter in our distracting world. This book will teach you how to work fewer hours but achieve more, why sometimes tiredness is the key to creativity, and lots of ways to harness your attention span and be more productive with your time. 

Growth IQ

Book cover for Growth IQ

In Growth IQ, Salesforce's Tiffani Bova shares ten strategies for how companies big and small can achieve sustainable growth. In this book about success, Bova explains that a purpose-led culture is at the heart of the world's most successful organisations and teams, and shares practical takeaways you can apply to your business.

Just Work

by Kim Scott

Book cover for Just Work

Kim Scott outlines the reasons why, in all companies, some employees are consistently excluded and underestimated, while others are overestimated and promoted. Not only is this immoral and unjust, but it’s also bad for business. By revealing a practical framework for both respecting everyone's individuality and collaborating effectively, Just Work is the solution to this problem. This is a guide for how to recognise, call out and eliminate prejudice within your business, making it an essential read for leaders striving to create a fairer and more successful workplace.


by Malcolm Gladwell

Book cover for Outliers

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell asks: why do some people achieve so much more than others? Through studying some of the world's highest achievers – from rock stars to runners, tech-geniuses to scientists – Gladwell learns that success is just as much about where we come from as who we are. 


by Carol Dweck

Book cover for Mindset

Discover how the right mindset can help you reach your goals with this bestselling book. Drawing on decades of research, psychologist Carol Dweck shares the idea that it's not just our abilities that determine whether we achieve success, but rather the mindset we have.  

Atomic Habits

by James Clear

Book cover for Atomic Habits

Start small to achieve big things with James Clear's Atomic Habits. In his bestselling book about success, Clear explains how making tiny changes – like waking up five minutes earlier or doing two push-ups a day – can add up to life-changing outcomes.