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In the digital age, finding the time to read a book, particularly non-fiction books that tend to be preachy, can be tedious, especially if you have new movies, shows, or reels fighting for your attention every time you have a spare moment. But the joy of reading a book is, honestly, unmatched. And if the book, in some shape or form, adds some value to your life, then I would consider that time well spent.

That’s why we hunted down short and concise nonfiction books that distill essential wisdom into digestible insights that are immediately applicable in everyday life. They offer practical strategies and mindset shifts that can lead to tangible results and personal growth. Moreover, these books are often authored by individuals who have real-world experience and success, making their advice relatable and authentic.

You don’t need to get a specialised course certificate or an MBA degree to learn about building a business, success, finance, and life. These short reads can be a direct path to acquiring valuable knowledge and achieving success. And the best part is that you can finish them in one sitting.

7 short non-fiction books that will teach you about success, finance and life more than any MBA course

1. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) by Seth Godin

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Published in 2007, this short book is a concise guide on strategic quitting and perseverance. Godin introduces the concept of the “dip” as a temporary setback that separates winners from losers. He advises readers on identifying worthwhile endeavours worth pushing through versus those that are dead ends. This book encourages thoughtful evaluation of goals and investments of time and resources, offering valuable insights on when to persist and when to redirect efforts for optimal success.

2. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason Read here
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Although this short book was first published in 1926, it’s a timeless classic that imparts essential financial wisdom through engaging parables set in ancient Babylon. This book presents simple yet profound principles of wealth-building and financial success, emphasising the importance of saving, investing, and managing money wisely. Through stories of characters like Arkad, the richest man in Babylon, you will learn practical lessons such as paying yourself first, avoiding debt, and making money work for you. Clason’s teachings are presented in a straightforward and accessible manner, making this book a valuable resource for anyone seeking to achieve financial security and prosperity.

3. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

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Barely even 100 pages, this book is a powerful essay that underscores the significance of our thoughts in shaping our lives. Allen argues that our thoughts create our reality, highlighting the impact of positive thinking on personal growth and success. He explores themes of self-discipline, inner strength, and the importance of cultivating a positive mindset. This book shows the transformative power of our thoughts and encourages you to take responsibility for your attitude to achieve greater fulfilment and happiness in life.

4. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

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This little book is a thought-provoking parable about change and adaptation. Through the metaphor of cheese, the book illustrates how individuals and organisations respond to unexpected shifts in life and work. Johnson’s simple yet profound story encourages you to embrace change, let go of fear, and adopt a proactive approach to navigating transitions. By identifying with the characters’ experiences in seeking and adapting to new “cheese,” you can get inspired to reflect on your own responses to change and adopt strategies for success in dynamic environments.

5. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
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Published in 1997, this book presents powerful principles for personal growth and transformation. Ruiz outlines four agreements—be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions, and always do your best—that can lead to profound self-awareness and inner peace. This book challenges you to break free from limiting beliefs and societal conditioning, offering a path towards greater happiness, authenticity, and fulfilment by cultivating conscious living based on these timeless agreements.
6. Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals by Thomas C. Corley Read here
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Thomas C. Corley’s book explores the habits and behaviours that contribute to financial success. Corley’s research highlights the importance of adopting positive daily routines, such as goal-setting, continuous learning, and proactive networking. This book serves as a practical guide if you want to improve your financial situation by adopting the disciplined practices of successful individuals.

7. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy Read here
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This 2010 book shows the transformative power of small, consistent actions over time and the impact of daily habits and decisions on long-term success. Hardy’s practical insights and strategies inspire readers to take ownership of their choices and leverage the principle of compounding to create positive momentum in personal and professional endeavours. This book serves as a motivational guide for anyone seeking to maximise their potential.
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