Books to read for personal and professional success

21/07/2022 | Santander Universidades

Songs that boost your motivation, trips that help you to get your ideas straight, films that inspire you to give it your all, and don’t forget: books that open your eyes to new opportunities. 

Want to enhance your skills, overcome your fears, feel happy with yourself and boost your career? Check out our list of books that you should read to grow both personally and professionally.

10 books to read to achieve success

According to research by Google Books, about 130 million books have been published since the invention of the printing press, and it estimates that, at present, between 700,000 and 1,000,000 works are published every year; hence, identifying which books to read can prove to be a real odyssey. But fear not, we've put together this list of books to ensure you pick the right ones. Which tomes are a must for your bookshelf?


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

This selection could not begin without one of the best personal and professional development books. That book is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the bestseller by Stephen R. Covey, which offers a clear, concise and effective guide to discovering how to change aspects of your life that you'd like to improve

This is done in seven steps: being proactive, setting goals, prioritising, focusing on win-win strategies, active listening, creating synergies and committing to continuous improvement. Moreover, the renowned author reveals techniques to become a highly effective person using anecdotes that will have you reflecting on all of your actions, and drawing positive conclusions that move you closer to success in every area of life.

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Organize yourself effectively. Getting Things Done, by David Allen

Continue to develop your productivity with this book by David Allen. As the well-known consultant points out, the mind has a limited capacity to store information, and so he has devised a set of practical means to increase your work capacity and performance without increasing your levels of stress.

Are you stuck in a rut? Overwhelmed? Unmotivated? On edge? Browsing through the pages of Getting Things Done, you will learn how to implement a methodology that has already changed the lives of more than two million people. Capturing, clarifying, organising, reflecting and engaging are the five steps that will help you to get things done competently and achieve excellent results.

The 4-hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss

At the age of 30, American businessman Timothy Ferriss had already been proclaimed world champion of freestyle wrestling and Chinese Kickboxing national champion, achieved a Guinness Record in tango and could speak six languages. How can you excel in such diverse fields and in such a short space of time?

He shares his secret in The 4-hour Workweek, a manual on smart working that demonstrates how to design your own lifestyle so that you work a few hours a day from wherever you like and without relinquishing a decent income. The key? Avoid procrastination and get out of your comfort zone. If you're thinking of taking a sabbatical, or you've got a new business idea, want to overhaul your work day, or make your career dreams come true, this book will give you the boost you need. 

The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace, by Daniel Goleman and Cary Cherniss

According to studies conducted by Daniel Goleman, IQ, or intelligence quotient, only accounts for 20% of success. The remaining 80% comes from so-called soft skills, above all, emotional intelligence

The book The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace will help you to do just that, with the authors showing managers, executives, consultants and HR professionals how to get employees to go that extra mile and boost the company's performance through emotional intelligence. This is not a merely theoretical approach; the book supplies guidelines that have been empirically tested and validated in real organisations.

How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

Another of these must-read books, which is also about managing the interpersonal relationships that arise both in a work and private setting, is How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written by Dale Carnegie in 1936, the world-famous book is as relevant now as ever, and the advice offered by the writer to achieve what the title implies still holds valid today. 

Its pages present a true revolution to enhance the human side of life —especially against the current backdrop of competition without compassion— advocating for positive and cordial interpersonal relations as well as the art of persuasion to achieve your personal and professional goals. In short, if you want to improve your leadership skills and relationships with others, or even influence others, then this is the book for you.


This is marketing, by Seth Godin

Maybe you'd like to expand your skills in a specific area? Does the world of marketing interest you? With This is marketing, by Seth Godin, you can build the foundations in this discipline, with a practical and up-to-date approach to the demands of the 21st century market, where the consumer is hyper-informed and hyper-connected.

Specifically, this reference work will enable you to build trust with your target audience, position yourself as a brand, achieve your goals without losing sight of the company's social purpose, boost sales and improve your company's profitability.

Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital, by Philip Kotler

Eager to learn even more? Expand your know-how in this field with another book, this time by Philip Kotler, considered the father of modern marketing. In it, the famous expert explores how new technologies, social media and digital marketing in general are revolutionising how we reach clients, and what marketing professionals need to do to adapt to this new environment.  

To garner customer engagement and recommendations, the author suggests combining the best of both worlds, traditional and digital marketing. So, on reading Marketing 4.0: Moving from Traditional to Digital, you will learn how to implement 360º strategies, complementing these with artificial intelligence to increase marketing productivity, as well as how to exploit big data to better adapt to your customers' needs. And when you're done, Marketing 5.0 awaits —an update to this indispensable guide for marketers.

Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl

Throughout your life, you are sure to experience a series of highs and lows that can set you off track and see you spiral into apathy and self-pity. What better then than an inspirational story written in the 1st person to get you out of that rut? That's exactly what Viktor Frankl does in Man's Search for Meaning

This book is an ode to resilience, in which the psychiatrist chronicles his time in Nazi concentration camps, and reflects on humans' ability to transcend difficulties and fall back on their inner freedom and personal dignity as an existential compass to find purpose in life, even in the most horrific of circumstances.  

The Monk who Sold his Ferrari, by Robin Sharma

Prefer a fictionalised account? Among the most successful personal and professional development books of recent years is this work by Robin Sharma, considered one of the greatest experts in leadership and personal growth today. Indeed, he counts people from a wide range of fields and Fortune 500 companies among his clients. 

In his bestseller, The Monk who Sold his Ferrari, the coach tells the story of a successful lawyer who decides to leave his life of luxury after suffering a heart attack. The star of the story, Julian Mantle, enters a Buddhist monastery in the Himalayas, where he acquires valuable insight into happiness, courage, self-discipline, the value of time and inner peace, which help him to understand —and share with the reader— the importance of going about daily life from a perspective in which harmony reigns.

How to Make Good Things Happen, by Marian Rojas Estapé

The most recent addition to the list of must-read books to boost your personal and professional fulfilment is this work by Dr. Marian Rojas Estapé. In it, the author questions why some people seem to attract problems, while others give the sensation of having unlimited luck, going on to dissect this commonly-held view from a scientific, psychological and human perspective. 

How to Make Good Things Happen starts by exploring the concept of happiness, understood as a healthy connection to the present, once the wounds of the past have been overcome, and looking forward to the future. You will also learn what happens in your body and mind as a biological response to fear or by being on constant alert, and how to control this reaction. Lastly, you will find out how to be the best version of yourself, following the author's guidelines and handy tips.

Are you one of those people who never stops learning? If you want to boost your knowledge in areas such as leadership, business, management, personal development, soft skills, sustainability and much more, over at the new Learning Room by Santander Open Academy you can access to a la carte content items just by signing up, free of cost, and in the format of your choice: eBook, podcast, audiobook, courses or videos. If you like what you're reading, then come on over.

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