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Best Motivational Books and Audiobooks

14 of the Best Motivational Books (& Audiobooks)

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By: Ashley Espinoza
Executive Editor 



In today’s fast-paced world, where we can so easily get overwhelmed by the constant pressure to do more, make more and be more (otherwise known as “the rat race”), motivation and resilience are necessary companions on our respective journeys.

If you find yourself lacking in that department, where can you find motivation? Yes, it’s true that the saying goes, “motivation comes from within,” but from time to time it can be necessary to look outside ourselves for inspiration.


The Power of Reading for Motivation

Enter what might have been your least favorite homework assignment as a kid: reading. Reading plays a crucial role in boosting our drive, mindset, and imagination. Don’t believe me? Some of the most ultra-successful people point to reading as one of the keys to their achievements.

Books have the unique ability to nurture personal development, igniting the spark of motivation that drives individuals to reach greater heights.

Whether you’re looking for the next title to add to your “Want to Read” shelf on Goodreads, or you’re just getting started on your reading journey, I’ve compiled a list of some of the top books on motivation, from career and business motivation to health and fitness and personal development.  

It’s probably no surprise that most of the people behind our publication’s parent company, Mdrive (a brand all about staying healthy and driven, no matter where you’re at in your journey), are avid readers. You can find some of their personal recommendations in this list as well, marked as an "Mdrive Pick."


Does it matter if you read or listen to a book?

Before we get into the list, let's address the great debate in the reading world. Is listening to an audiobook as beneficial as physically reading the book? While there are some purists out there, the truth is reading and listening to books are both dynamic ways to tap into the knowledge, stories, and insights that literature offers.

Both mediums allow you to gain fresh perspectives and encourage imagination, and each have their own unique benefits.

Reading VS Audiobooks


  1. Engages the Imagination: Reading encourages your brain to create its own visuals and immerse you in the story. It's like painting a mental picture with words.

  2. Enhances Focus: It requires dedicated focus and concentration. The act of reading can help improve your attention span over time.

  3. Improves Comprehension: Reading helps you absorb information at your own pace, allowing you to go back and re-read if needed to fully grasp complex ideas.

  4. Tangible Experience: Some people really value the tactile experience of holding a book and flipping the pages.

Listening to Audiobooks:

  1. Multitasking Friendly: Audiobooks are perfect for when you're on the move. You can listen while commuting, jogging, or doing household chores.

  2. Accessible to All: Audiobooks are inclusive. They cater to people with visual impairments or those who struggle with traditional reading.

  3. Narrated Experience: A skilled narrator can bring characters to life, adding depth to the story through voice modulation and accents.

  4. Enhances Pronunciation: Audiobooks can help with pronunciation and language comprehension. You hear how words and phrases should be spoken.

It doesn't really matter.

Ultimately, whether you choose to read or listen to audiobooks, both methods offer unique advantages. It often comes down to personal preference and the context in which you want to enjoy a book. Some people love the feel of a book in their hands, while others appreciate the convenience of audiobooks during a busy day. The important thing is to keep moving forward on the journey of self improvement and personal growth.


16 Best Motivational Books 

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Classic Motivational Books

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," although originally published in 1989, still serves a blueprint for a of productivity and purpose today. It showcases real-life examples of individuals who have harnessed his 7 principles to achieve heightened effectiveness in both personal and professional spheres.

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The Bible

Mdrive Pick by Ron Pannuzzo, Executive Advisor

You've probably heard of it. It has been a source of inspiration and motivation for countless individuals throughout history. Many people turn to the Bible for strength in times of adversity, making it a timeless classic in the realm of motivational literature. You can pick your preferred version (or religious text!).


Biographies and Autobiographies

Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

Mdrive Pick by Taylor Ford, Communications Manager

Taylor said: This changed the way I view life and how I face challenges. David Goggins shares his roller-coaster of a life story while sharing the mindset and tools he used to essentially hack his brain and how to remove the self-limiting governor we have inside us that is holding us back from greatness. It taught me to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and be honest with the man in the mirror. Life-changing book!

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The Light We Carry by Michelle Obama

Mdrive Pick by Mary Rios, Controller

Mary said: The book gives perspective of the anxiety and emotions that come with living in a sometimes-chaotic world. She shares her own life experiences and stirs a need to get up and change our world for the better. It brings clarity to the way to correct the path with kindness, equality, acceptance, and collaboration.

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Motivation for Leadership

Originals by Adam Grant

Mdrive Pick by Michael Kehoe, President & CEO

This book delves into the qualities, and behaviors of original thinkers and leaders who challenge the status quo and drive innovation. It provides valuable insights into how leaders can foster a culture of creativity and motivate themselves and their teams to pursue bold and groundbreaking ideas.

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Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Leaders also love Simon Sinek. In this book, he shows how leaders who put their team's needs first can inspire unparalleled motivation and success. This book highlights the importance of fostering a culture of trust, cooperation, and support within organizations, making it a valuable resource for anyone looking to lead with empathy and motivation.

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Motivation for Personal Development and Mindset

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Mdrive Pick by Ashley Espinoza, Content Manager

Ashley said: This book encourages you to embrace vulnerability and courage as a powerful source of personal motivation. Most people see being vulnerable as a weakness, but Brown explains how it can actually make you stronger, and that sometimes the bravest thing you can do is to be your authentic self, imperfections and all. It's an empowering read that challenges you to step into the arena of life with your whole heart and daringly pursue your dreams.

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Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Mdrive Pick by Chris McCurry, Customer Experience Manager

This book explores the concept of grit, which is a combination of passion and perseverance, and how it plays a crucial role in achieving long-term goals and personal development. It offers valuable insights and motivation for individuals looking to cultivate grit in their to overcome challenges and achieve success.

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Career and Business Motivation

Good to Great:  Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't by Jim Collins

Mdrive Pick by Michael Kehoe, President & CEO

This management book explores why some companies excel and sustain greatness while others do not. Jim Collins identifies key principles and strategies that can motivate and guide businesses toward long-term success. It provides valuable insights into leadership, strategy, and organizational culture.

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Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Mdrive Pick by Michael Kehoe, President & CEO

This book offers a unique perspective on leadership and motivation, drawing on the experiences of Navy SEALs. They provide actionable principles and insights that can motivate individuals to embrace ownership, lead more effectively, and achieve success in both their professional and personal lives.

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Motivation for Health and Fitness

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Clear unravels the secrets of habit formation and how small changes in your daily routines can lead to remarkable results in your health and fitness journey. Clear explains how to break bad habits, make positive changes, and cultivate habits that contribute to a healthier lifestyle. This book is a powerful motivator for anyone seeking to transform their health and fitness through the power of consistent, small actions.

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Born to Run by Christopher McDougall

This book shares the inspirational stories of runners who have embraced the sport not just for its physical benefits but for the profound motivation it provides. It explores how the act of running itself can serve as a wellspring of motivation, driving individuals to overcome obstacles in their quest for health and fitness. You don't have to be fast, but you do have to get up and do it.

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Motivation for Financial Success

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

"Rich Dad Poor Dad" has been one of the most popular financial books for decades, and for good reason. It discusses how financial literacy can serve as a motivating force, empowering individuals to take charge and of their financial destinies.

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Change Management and Adaptability

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

Mdrive Pick by Phil Simondet, Marketing Lead & Senior Designer

Contrary to its title, this book is not about dairy but it is often used as a resource for understanding and coping with change, both in personal and professional life.

Phil said: It's about adaptability, flexibility and positive perception in a short, almost kid-friendly, delivery.

Buy Now



The world of motivational books is a vast one, and there are a variety of avenues to you can travel down for personal growth and transformation.

As you explore the titles in this list, remember that motivation is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Each book offers a different perspective and set of tools to help you overcome challenges, nurture your inner strength, and achieve your goals. Whether you're seeking motivation for leadership, personal development, career success, health and fitness, or financial wisdom, these books can help you tackle life's hurdles, tap into your best self and inner strength, and chase your dreams.

So, pick a book that resonates with you let it offer you a fresh perspective, inspiration, or a step-by-step guide, whatever you might be looking for.

To end on an inspiring note, I'll say this: motivation is not just a word; it is a force that lifts us above the mundane and ordinary. It is the spark that ignites our souls, urging us to reach greater heights and unlock the potential within us. Go ahead, embrace those challenges, savor the victories, and let motivation propel you forward.


We want to hear from you!

Which book from this post are you adding to your "To Be Read" list? Do you have a favorite motivational title we left out? Let us know below in the comments! 

1 comment on Best Motivational Books and Audiobooks
  • Ron Pannuzzo
    Ron PannuzzoSeptember 22, 2023

    Nicely done on the book survey. It’s really interesting to see the selections from our team. Would love to see this continued with selections from our customers and follow-up posts acknowledging the submissions.

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