The 13 Best Books for Building Great Habits and Achieving Your Goals
By Craig Groeschel
The habits you have today will shape who you become tomorrow.
Below, I’ve outlined the 13 best leadership books I’ve found for building great habits and achieving your goals.
In the list, you’ll discover a 2021 bestseller, the thing Navy SEALs and spelling bee champions have in common, and a series of books that will completely change how you think about habits, success, and goals.
These books have deeply impacted how I lead. I hope they do the same for you. In no particular order...
1. Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results – James Clear
I’ve had James on the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast and have built on his teachings in a handful of episodes.
Atomic Habits was a worldwide bestseller in 2021 for good reason. The principles in this book will change your life and leadership for the better.
2. Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work – Chip Heath & Dan Heath
The decisions we make today determine the stories we will tell tomorrow.
Unfortunately, our natural decision-making process is full of biases. This book equips you with four steps to overcome those biases and make better decisions.
3. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Daniel H. Pink
Most people believe the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach.
In Drive, Daniel outlines why that’s a major mistake, and what leaders can do to actually motivate their teams.
4. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity – David Allen
Busyness does not equal productivity. Don’t do more. Do more of what matters.
Getting Things Done shows you how.
5. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance – Angela Duckworth
What do Navy SEALs and genius spelling bee champions have in common? One word: Grit.
Angela says this about her book:
“Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that—not talent or luck—makes all the difference.”
It’s a powerful distinction. Read her book.
6. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success – Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
Our mindset determines our direction.
Understanding that law helps you take control of your outlook and thoughts and embrace a mindset that leads to success.
7. Principles: Life and Work – Ray Dalio
If you want to succeed at work and in life, consider embracing what Ray calls “Radical Truth” and “Radical Transparency.” Embracing these two principles will help you make great decisions, better approach challenges, and build strong teams.
8. Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money – Robert T. Kiyosaki
Most leaders decide how to spend money. The best leaders strategize about how to invest it.
It’s a modern classic, and it’ll help you embrace the mindset of a great investor.
9. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich – Timothy Ferriss
Simplicity is often the key to growth. This book simplifies your leadership purpose, goals, and outcomes so you can achieve more while working less.
10. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Stephen Covey
Success is the accumulation of consistent, small steps in the right direction. If you want to perform at a higher level tomorrow, adopt these seven habits today.
11. The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success – Darren Hardy
Small disciplines done consistently lead to big results over time. The Compound Effect shows you how that happens and how you can leverage it in your own life and leadership.
12. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – Charles Duhigg
It’s easy to minimize the importance of our daily habits, but it’s the small things nobody sees that bring the results everyone wants.
This book helps you understand your habits at a deeper level and build a life you’re proud to live.
13. Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain – Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner
If you’re not changing how you think, how you lead, what you do, and what you don’t do, your past assumptions will limit your future potential.
Think Like a Freak helps you make sure that doesn’t happen in your life and leadership.
44 Leadership Books Every Leader Needs to Read
This post is part one of a four-part series covering the 44 leadership books every leader needs to read.
This list is far from complete. These 44 will get you well on your way to being a world-class leader, but there are more I could include.
*Links in this post contain affiliate tracking codes for Amazon. All revenue from these links will go back into fueling the mission of Life.Church.
Sharpen Your Leadership in a Changing World (Three Free Trainings)
Leadership is influence—and you are a leader. That’s why it’s critical you keep sharpening your leadership.
I’d love to help.
Learn practical ways to influence people, manage your time wisely, and communicate better. You can get the three-part series here for free!
Looking For More on Building Great Habits?
My team and I have put together a few resources to help you build better habits. I recorded a three-part teaching series here, and we created a guide to making good daily habits and breaking bad ones here.