21 Best Books on Self-Discipline & Self Control (2021)

7 min read

Welcome to my list of the 21 best self-discipline books.  

These are the best books to help you increase your self-discipline and smash your goals like never before.

Let’s dive right into it.

Contents hide

1. The War Of Art: Winning The Inner Creative Battle, By Steven Pressfield

The War Of Art is perhaps the most famous book on self-discipline for creatives. This relatively short book speaks to artists who are dealing with resistance to completing their work. You’ll learn to tackle all types of resistance in a number of ways with this book. 

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2. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, By Cal Newport

Deep Work is the work you perform in a deep state of concentration to the best of your cognitive abilities. In this book, author Cal Newport outlines a number of methods to discipline yourself so you reach this state of mind more consistently. 

3. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, By James Clear

This book is based on the idea that huge success comes as a result of small habits. In this book, you’ll learn how to shift your mindset and follow strategies to form good habits and break bad habits. 

4. No Excuses!: The Power of Self-Discipline For Success In Your Life, By Brian Tracy

Tracy is perhaps one of the best-known self-help speakers and writers covering the topic of success in business and in life. This is his masterpiece of a book on how to develop the self-discipline needed to achieve your goals.  

5. The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success, By Darren Hardy

Author Darren Hardy is the editor of Success Magazine. In this popular self-improvement book, he outlines the small behaviours that compound into great success in business and in life, as well as the mindset changes needed to stick to them.

With this book, you’ll learn how to achieve your goals in a sustainable way. A must-read for anyone looking to build a better business. 

6. Mastery, By Robert Greene

In this book, the author teaches the secrets to mastery over our own emotions and actions. The author argues will give you the ability to achieve mastery and reach your goals in any field.  

7. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life … And Maybe the World, By William H. McRaven

William H. McRaven served as a commander of the U.S Special Operations Command (SOCOM). His 2014 graduation speech, which focused on how self-discipline begins with small habits like making your bed, went viral after being uploaded online.

This popular book expands on the ideas of that famous speech. 

8. Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, By Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney

Roy F. Baumeister is a well-known behavioral psychologist. John Tierney was a science writer at the New York Times. Together, they have created a masterclass on how to develop and master your self-discipline.   

9. Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind And Defy The Odds, By David Goggins

Author David Goggins is self-discipline personified. The former Navy SEAL is also a successful ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist and triathlete. However, in his younger adult years, he was an overweight nobody with seemingly no prospects of living an extraordinary life.

His autobiography ‘Can’t Hurt Me’ details the most gruelling feats of physical endurance he’s put himself through – and how developed the self-discipline to achieve them.   

10. The 5 Second Rule: The Fastest Way To Change Your Life, By Mel Robbins

In this book, author Mel Robbins simplifies the idea of self-discipline by suggesting that readers can transform their lives for the better in the space of five seconds. The 5 Second Rule demands that when your brain calls you into action, you count backwards from five and move your feet before zero.  

Read the whole book to learn how this simple rule transformed the author’s life – and could do the same for you. 

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11. The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, By Gery Keller

Business coach and author Gary Keller suggests that motivation and self-discipline become much easier to achieve when you know ‘the one thing’ you’re meant to do with your life.

Initially, this book will help you to know what your ‘one thing’ is. Once you do know, it’ll teach you how to build your life around it in a healthy way.  

12. 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons In Personal Change, By Stephen Covey

It’s arguably one of the most popular self-development books of all time, but deserves a place in this list nonetheless. Building habits requires self-discipline and author Stephen Covey drops golden nuggets of information how to do this throughout the book. 

13. Power Vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants Of Human Behavior, By David R. Hawkins 

This book explores the relationship between human behaviors and our individual levels of consciousness. You’ll learn the difference between power (which occurs naturally) and force (which occurs as a result of struggle and resistance), and how this relates to self-discipline.

14. Thinking Fast and Slow, By Daniel Kahneman

Author Daniel Kahneman is a universally-known and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics. In this book, he introduces readers to two methods of thinking: fast and slow.

As you read, you’ll discover the benefits of slow thinking and how this affects the decisions we make in our day-to-day lives. 

15. The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, And What You Can Do To Get More Of It, By Kelly McGonigal

This book breaks self-discipline down into a science, explaining how it can be harnessed to improve our productivity, our happiness and even our health.

This book teaches you how to increase and manage your willpower like no other. A great book for anyone looking to become more self-disciplined.

16.  The Power of Habit, Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business, By Charles Duhigg

Another book focused on the idea that the secret of self-discipline is centred around the creation and mastery of small habits.

This book is packed with scientific research suggesting why habits exist and how they can be changed. 

You’ll also be treated to several mind-blowing case studies, demonstrating the power of the ideas in this book. 

17. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance , By Angela Duckworth

Grit focuses on the idea that success is based on discipline and determination, just as much as talent.

Author Angela Duckworth has done a really good job of compiling case studies to back up this argument. 

You’ll also be treated to several ideas on how to develop the willpower and passion to become ultra-disciplined in your chosen field.  

18. Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, By Brian Tracy 

This book provides 21 highly-effective methods for managing your time and beating procrastination. Newer versions of this book include tips to avoid having your time sucked by the distractions of modern technology.

Many people appreciate the simplicity of this book. You could definitely get a lot out of it, even by only skimming and applying the main ideas.   

19. The Little Book of Big Change: The No-Willpower Approach to Breaking Any Habit Self-Discipline, By Amy Johnson and Mark Howard

It’s almost impossible to break addictions with willpower alone. In this book, psychologists Amy Johnson and Mark Howard outline their no-willpower approach to take control of any addiction..

The book is popular with many counsellors and therapists because it just works.  

20. The Marshmallow Test: Mastering Self-Control, By Walter Mischel

The Marshmallow Test, in which children were given the option to eat one marshmallow or wait 15 minutes to eat two, is arguably among the most famous social experiments of all time.

In this book, the test’s designer Walter Mischel explores the benefits of delayed gratification and how to be disciplined enough to enjoy them.  

21. The Practicing Mind: Developing Focus and Discipline in Your Life Master Any Skill Or Challenge by Learning to Love the Process, By Thomas M. Sterner

In The Practicing Mind, Thomas Sterner explores the relationship between mindfulness and self-discipline.

The book primarily focuses on how to become more present and stay focused – which many people in modern society need more than ever – but it also does a great job of explaining how presence makes us more disciplined and productive. 

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Any Questions About This List Of Self-Discipline Books? 

Thanks so much for reading my list of the best self-discipline books. I hope it will help you decide which book you may need to become more self-disciplined.

Perhaps you’ll choose to take the best ideas from several books. 

If you have a question about these self-discipline books or would like to add your favorite book to my list, feel free to leave a comment below.

It’s always great to get to hear from people who read my articles!  

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