As we study books, courses, and research for ourselves and for TPM’s article and courses, we also share what we learn as summaries and reviews.
This page lists the best resources for self-development and social strategies, categorized by genre.
Click on the image or the links to go to the full reading list.
- 1. Power (Best of)
- 2. Social Skills (Best Of)
- 3. Dating & Seduction (Best of)
- 4. Influence & Persuasion (Best of)
- 5. Manipulation (Best of)
- 6. Career & Business
- 7. Leadership (Best of)
- 8. Psychology (Best of)
- 9. Red Pill
- 10. General Self-Development
- Bonus: Avoid These
To make the most out of your learning, we recommend these articles that apply to all the self-development literature:
1. Power (Best of)
This list took me so long to prepare.
Weeks of whittling down books and deciding which one was most instructive when it comes to power and (social) power dynamics.
In the end, after two days of thinking, writing, editing and changing, I finally came up with this list:
2. Social Skills (Best Of)
Social skills are one of those skills that are not easy to learn from books.
Yet, thinking that you can skip the theory to only focus on the practice is a bad approach.
Because theory, or at least good theory, can shave off years (and years) from your learning curve. And they can make your interpersonal interactions and relationships much easier and much more fulfilling… Much sooner than if you just tried and errored your way into social competence.
And if you’re wondering wonder what are the best books to shave off those years of learning your own, here is the list from someone who’s read (and listen, and watched) to a lot of them:
2.2. Communication Skills
This list of best communication skills books focuses on verbal communication.
It ranges from conflict resolution to de-escalation to overcoming passive-aggressive communication.
What makes some of the books in this list some of the very best books to read -ever- is the many examples they provide.
Pick even just two of them and watch yourself take a quantum leap in your communication skills:
2.3. Assertiveness (Best of)
Assertiveness is one of the major four styles of communication.
Some consider assertiveness a meta-skill, such as a skill that magnifies or enables other skills.
In large part, agree with that.
Assertiveness precedes social power. And by enabling honest communication, it’s also a precondition for human connection, bond, and intimacy.
By allowing people to ask for what they want and need, assertiveness is also a fundamental skill for personal success. And by extending basic human respect, it also allows for long-term win-win relationships.
Are you sold now on assertiveness? 🙂
OK, good, so these are the best resources on assertiveness:
2.4. Body Language (Best of)
There are some great books on body language.
But it’s hard to learn body language just from books.
So the top positions on this list are documentaries, courses, and pictorial books:
2.5. Frame Control
Frame control is an important aspect of advanced social skills and social power dynamics.
There aren’t that many great resources on this important topic, and barely any resource focuses on frame control.
But these are the resources where I found some great tidbits on frame control:
3. Dating & Seduction (Best of)
There are many ways why dating and seduction matter in life:
- It allows you to meet more and higher quality people
- It allows you to enjoy more sex
- It allows you to enjoy romance
And, ultimately, and perhaps more meaningfully:
- It helps you to develop a relationship with someone you vibe with
3.2. Dating for Guys (Best Of)
I called it “best dating books for guys”, but in reality, many of the best entries are video products.
It couldn’t be otherwise.
Many of the sought-after traits in the sexual marketplace are communicated without words and with attitudes, tonality, and body language.
So video examples are needed here.
3.3. Dating for Women (Best of)
Some say there is not a Mr. Right out there.
And many women these days seem to make it a bragging point that they “don’t need a man”.
But there is little point in denying that good relationships do make our lives better.
Plenty of research says that relationships are the most important determinant of happiness and also a huge factor in influencing our overall level of health.
To get a relationship -the best relationship you can- it helps (a lot) being good at dating first.
This list of best dating books for women will no doubt improve your chances of meeting the perfect man.
3.4. Relationships (Best of)
The relationship literature is really, really good.
Contrary to dating, a lot of deep research has been done over the years.
Today the best relationship books to read can tell us what breaks relationships and what makes them awesome.
That doesn’t mean though that relationships are doing well: few people consume this information and few people instinctively do the right thing.
Worry not. The following list of best books to read will take your relationship to the next level:
4. Influence & Persuasion (Best of)
You can’t do much in life without others.
And what you can do through others via sheer force or coercion is very limited.
Especially in this (blessed) day and age of freedom, democracy, and general opulence (which decreases people’s dependency on others).
Hence, much of life’s success and effectiveness hinges on how well you can persuade others to join you, work with you, support you, or follow you.
These books will help you influence and persuade people.
4.2. Best Books on Negotiation
Negotiation is persuasion applied to deal-making.
Negotiations are going to be some of the most lucrative -or costly- hours of your life.
Better be prepared with a couple of good books.
5. Manipulation (Best of)
Does manipulation deserve its own category?
Probably manipulation, dark psychology, and any Machiavellian strategies to take advantage of others probably wouldn’t deserve their own category.
It could either be part of “advanced social skills”, or a subset of influence and persuasion.
But there is a reason why I do still give it its own category.
There is so little information around about this important area of self-development and self-empowerment, that we need all the good resources we can muster.
Hence, its own category.
Influence VS Manipulation
Influence and manipulation can overlap.
Author Robert Greene says that the two are one and the same.
While some other authors of influential books on manipulation differentiate between the two.
A third approach is that not only we can differentiate but we must differentiate.
And like George Simon observes, not differentiating equates to making excuses for bullies, abusers, and the generally value-taking folks of this world.
And it’s also important for self-development: anyone who wants to be a force for good in this world, it’s important to understand where the difference lies.
In brief, I differentiate the two in this way: manipulation is win-lose, abusive, or victimizing others.
While persuasion is either win-win, or grey area with only limited loss.
Don’t count on people to only limit themselves to persuasion, though.
Instead, it’s better to arm yourself with knowledge on how to defend against manipulation.
5.2. Best Dark Triad Books
Power, the quest for power and personal drive is correlated with dark triad traits.
These books will help you better understand the traits of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism:
6. Career & Business
6.2. Career (Best of)
Personally, I love money because it buys me freedom.
But most people are OK -or even enjoy- to make money by growing within different organizations. That’s what’s called “a career”.
To make a good career, you absolutely need political savvy. And these books will help you with that:
6.3. Business / Career for Women (Best of)
Business is a world that still functions with male metrics and culture.
Especially at the top.
Women can easily enter that world. But if they want to make it to the top, they will make their life so much easier if they learn the male culture that governs business.
Here are the best books to help women with that:
6.4. Entrepreneurship (Best of)
Learning entrepreneurship from books is not easy.
But learning by doing only can be extremely costly.
Both in the mistakes we do and in the opportunities we miss (God knows how much quicker I could have grown this website with some well-timed advice).
But I have also grown this website much quicker thanks to some great advice I learned from books and other entrepreneurs.
The books in this list help you mostly with the mindsets.
7. Leadership (Best of)
The way I see it is that:
All self-development leads and feeds into leadership.
You can’t be a good leader without developing the self, and you can’t go straight into leadership without first developing all other areas of your life.
Trying to do so means being a poor leader.
But that’s not to say you can’t improve your leadership skills, of course.
Leadership is one of those key skills in life where people think “it’s either you have it or you don’t” or, equally bad “it’s one of those things you can only improve by doing it”.
And just like that, hundreds of thousands of bad leaders across the world keep being bad leaders.
Leadership is a skill like any other. And like any other skill, the way to improve at it is with both practice and theory.
These books will take care of the later:
8. Psychology (Best of)
Would you like to understand people and human behavior?
I hope you do, because that’s the key to happy relationships, dating and social life in general. And also the key to getting what you want out of life.
Follow this reading list of best psychology books and you will get to the top 1% when it comes to people’s knowledge.
- Best Psychology Books (to understand people)
8.2. Evolutionary Psychology
David Buss says that evolutionary psychology should be the unifying framework for all the different psychology branches and specializations.
And I couldn’t agree.
To get, at the same time, an overview and a deeper understanding of the human mind, you absolutely cannot do without evolutionary psychology.
And these are the best books to get you started:
8.3. Positive Psychology
Positive psychology is self-development, with good science.
Says Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology:
Positive thinking often involves trying to believe upbeat statements such as “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better” in the absence of evidence, or even in the face of contrary evidence. (…) Many educated people, trained in skeptical thinking, cannot manage this kind of boosterism. Learned optimism, in contrast, is about accuracy.
For those who can’t stand the empty mantra of some self-help gurus, positive psychologists came to the rescue.
9. Red Pill
“Red Pill”, a concept from the movie “The Matrix”, could be described as:
Eye-opening information that awakens people up from the torpor of comfortable social lies.
The red pill has become popular with the manosphere, where it applies to a movement of information on masculinity that is (supposedly) based on reality, and against political correctness.
Most of the focus in red pill manosphere is intersexual dynamics.
In this list of best red pill resources, I pay homage to both approaches and include anything that is truly eye-opening, while mostly focusing on intersexual dynamics.
Check it out for yourself:
10. General Self-Development
There are so many good books to read in the self-category that picking the best books to read was a really difficult task.
So difficult indeed that it was painful to leave many great titles out.
But in the end, this is how you should prioritize your self-help reading list:
10.2. Best Self-Development for Women
There is a lot of cr@p marketed at women.
This list shows you some of that cr@p you better avoid, plus the good resources to learn from:
10.3. Best Personal Finance Books
There are three kinds of personal finance books, depending on what they focus on:
- Saving money books
- Making money books
- In-depth on one topic (ie.: investment strategies, surveys of millionaires etc.)
Many of the personal finance books focus on the basics. Such as moving from a spender to a saver mindset, tips on how to save the very basics of investing.
However, the best books you must read go well beyond that and present a whole paradigm shift:
- Best Finance Books (for subscribers only)
10.4. Best Health & Nutrition Books
Nutrition is possibly the most fundamental building block of healthy living.
Unluckily though it’s a very complex field and even some of the most popular books in this field don’t help you gain much clarity.
Not necessarily because nutrition is complex per se, but because the literature is extremely dogmatic with different -and opposing- current of thoughts.
And the funny thing? They all claim to be rooted in science.
Worry not though, I hand-picked the following list of best books to read to only include the most sensible and informative ones:
- Best Nutrition Books (for subscribers only)
Bonus: Avoid These
Your time is the most valuable resource you have.
And reading is not always and necessarily the best use of your time.
Reading bad books certainly is not the best use of your time, for example.
And while this list does not necessarily imply that you cannot learn anything from these books, I personally feel like you should approach them with a very critical attitude.
- Worst Books of All Time (for subscribers only)
Best Books VS Most Popular
In these lists, you will find many hidden gems.
Frankly, some “best book lists” online are more about “popular books on a given topic”, rather than “best”.
In my studies, I found out that the correlation between popularity and quality is not always straightforward.
So I’m happy to provide a platform to showcase quality information including from lesser-known books and resources.