The best books on self-discipline that everyone should read

There are things you can do to learn self-discipline and gain the willpower to live a happier life.

If you are looking to take control of your habits and choices, here is a list of self-discipline books that can help you with that and so much more.

Understanding what self-discipline is

We all heard at least once about self-discipline, a term that sometimes seems a little scary because it makes us think of work and other responsibilities.

Truth is, discipline is essential if you want to achieve something. Living without self-discipline means ending up carried by all sorts of events and “fun times” on a path of suffering.

Self-discipline is a positive character trait that defines the good organization of an individual.

It can be seen as an intelligent filter, which distinguishes the good from the bad and punctually encourages the repeated unfolding of the activities that help you to achieve your goals.

It makes one self-aware and therefore, after you’re done reading books on self-discipline, you should also have a look at the books on self-awareness.

Quick tips on how to cultivate self-discipline

  • Eat often and healthy.
  • Create new habits by keeping it simple.
  • Set clear goals and have an execution plan.
  • We aren’t born with self-discipline – it’s a learned behavior. And just like any other skill you want to master, it requires daily practice and repetition.
  • Read self-discipline books.
  • Identify what you want to do differently
  • Know what you need to do and then do it.
  • Find the time to relax, so you don’t develop burnout.
  •  Force yourself to be productive when you don’t feel like it.
  • Put away your smartphone while you work. 
  • Promise yourself a reward for when you accomplish the tasks you need to get done.
  • Get an accountability partner who can whip you into shape when you’re unproductive.

Self-discipline books recommendation

Here are the best books on self-discipline that everyone should read, according to the biggest reading community – Goodreads. 

  1. No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline – by Brian Tracy

This book is considered a Self-Discipline Bible. It worth reading more than once, since this is the way to incorporate any change in your life, by practice.

The aspects Brian Tracy discusses how to incorporate self-discipline into them are Personal Success; Business, Sales, and Finances; and The Good Life. 

  1. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It – by Kelly McGonigal

Based on Stanford University psychologist Kelly McGonigal’s wildly popular course “The Science of Willpower,” The Willpower Instinct is the first book to explain the science of self-control and how it can be harnessed to improve our health, happiness, and productivity.

The Willpower Instinct combines life-changing prescriptive advice and complementary exercises to help readers with goals ranging from losing weight to more patient parenting, less procrastination, better health, and greater productivity at work.

  1. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time – by Brian Tracy 

There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day.

Using ‘eat that frog’ as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day – the one you are most likely to procrastinate on, but also probably the one that can have the greatest positive impact on your life – Eat That Frog! shows you how to zero in on these critical tasks and organize your day.

You’ll not only get more done faster, but get the right things done.

  1. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business – by Charles Duhigg 

At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work.

As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.

  1. Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength – by Roy F. Baumeister 

Drawing on cutting-edge research and the wisdom of real-life experts, Willpower shares lessons on how to focus our strength, resist temptation and redirect our lives.

It shows readers how to be realistic when setting goals, monitor their progress, and how to keep faith when they falter.

By blending practical wisdom with the best of recent research science, Willpower makes it clear that whatever we seek—from happiness to good health to financial security—we won’t reach our goals without first learning to harness self-control.

  1. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World – by Cal Newport 

In Deep Work, author, and professor Cal Newport flips the narrative on impact in a connected age. Instead of arguing distraction is bad, he instead celebrates the power of its opposite.

Dividing this book into two parts, he first makes the case that in almost any profession, cultivating a deep work ethic will produce massive benefits.

He then presents a rigorous training regimen, presented as a series of four “rules,” for transforming your mind and habits to support this skill.

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Changeby Stephen R. Covey 

The 7 Habits have become so famous because they work. They have been integrated into everyday thinking by many millions of people.

The reason: They work. 

Habit 1: Be Proactive. 

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind. 

Habit 3: Put First Things First.

Habit 4: Think Win/Win. 

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. 

Habit 6: Synergize. 

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw. 

The book presents a principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems.

With penetrating insights and pointed anecdotes, Covey reveals a step-by-step pathway for living with fairness, integrity, honesty and human dignity – principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.

  1. Self-Discipline: How to Develop the Mindset, Mental Toughness, and Self-Discipline of a U.S. Navy SEAL  by Dominic Mann 

U.S. Navy SEAL training is the toughest in the world. It’s so tough that over 80 percent of SEAL trainees quit.

To help get more SEAL trainees through the grueling training program, the U.S. Navy hired some of the world’s top psychologists to identify the key traits of the toughest, most successful SEALs… and teach these powerful techniques to SEAL trainees.

  1. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones – by James Clear 

James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you.

The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change.

You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Here, you’ll get a proven system that can take you to new heights.

  1. Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life – by Henry Cloud 

In the New York Times bestseller, Boundaries, Drs. Henry Cloud and John Townsend help you learn when to say yes and know how to say no in order to take control of your life and set healthy, biblical boundaries with your spouse, children, friends, parents, co-workers, and even yourself.

Boundaries are the book that’s helped over 2 million people learn when to say yes and know how to say no in order to take control of their lives.

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing – by Marie Kondō

 Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again.

Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever.

The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. 

In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international bestseller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home–and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

  1. Man’s Search for Meaning – by Viktor E. Frankl 

A prominent Viennese psychiatrist before the war, Viktor Frankl was uniquely able to observe the way that both he and others in Auschwitz coped (or didn’t) with the experience.

He noticed that it was the men who comforted others and who gave away their last piece of bread who survived the longest – and who offered proof that everything can be taken away from us except the ability to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances.

The sort of person the concentration camp prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not of camp influences alone.

Frankl came to believe man’s deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose.

This outstanding work offers us all a way to transcend suffering and find significance in the art of living.


Self-discipline is the ability you have to control and motivate yourself, stay on track and do what is right. It’s a skill that can be cultivated, as long as you work on it daily. 

I hope that this post and our list of the best books on self-discipline inspired you to work even harder on your dreams!

Please feel free to leave your questions and thoughts in the comments section below. 


  1. A Guide to Developing the Self-Discipline Habit – zen habits
  2. Powerful Ways to Master Self-Discipline – Entrepreneur