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A Personal Growth Curriculum

For about four years, I've been researching how and why people grow. It all started when I did some early, initial research into quantifying people's "capability for personal growth." As I've worked to understand this capability,  I've searched through many accounts of human development, personal growth, and self-help. Though I can't say I've read every self-help book ever,  below you will find the best material for personal growth that I've come across.

I started compiling this list by asking people for the most life-changing non-fiction book they had read, as well as following references in various academic literature.



If you only read one, I recommend 

Non-Violent Communication: A Language of Life


If you are slightly less short on time, I recommend:

* How to Win Friends and Influence People

* Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child

* Non-Violent Communication: A Language of Life



You can find the full, up-to-date list here.

Ycan find an older version below.


Not only have I found the material personally useful, I recommend the books to everyone. Taken together, they form a backbone of structured information about how people work, communicate, and make decisions. By reading them, you can understand the world and yourself better, and relate to people more deeply. Additionally, the knowledge contained in these books forms a decently deep answer to questions like "Why do we need prisons?" My dream is that these books form the curriculum for a new subject -- how people work -- that gets taught in schools.  These books were chosen for their density of reasonably accurate, scientifically-underpinned, structured information about people. 


These three books are best thought of as part of a series -- like all the books below, they are all in some sense "sequels." I plan to either make a "course reader" for these books to make the connections between them explicit, compile them into a set of volumes with commentary, or both. In the meantime, please evaluate each one critically. They aren't meant to be taken carte blanche. 


Introductory Personal Growth Material



Somewhat Deeper Material


+ While the model this book captures can be useful, the recommended practices are best considered in the context of the rest of the books here, particularly Non-Violent Communication.


Advanced Material


* these books can be skipped without losing too much; they are recommended for those who are especially curious about the human condition.



Additional / Specialized Material

In this section, the more important materials are at the top.



* Thinking Fast, and Slow" is a less technical alternative.


Bonus Material

Here are some other books that I've found personally helpful; unlike the above material, they don't form a coherent, generalizable body of knowledge. Yet?




In the three main sections below (the first three)  the books are recommended "in order."

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