Many of the authors we narrate on the Optimal Living Daily podcasts not only write blogs & books, but short, free eBooks. And while listeners of our shows have free access to hear hundreds of personal development blogs covering productivity & minimalism, personal finance, health & fitness, business, relationships, and more, I want to share an organized list of free eBooks that are worth checking out.
Do note, however, that nearly every eBook on this list requires you to subscribe to the blogger’s newsletter with your email–of course, you can always opt out later if you don't find value in it.
I’ve written a summary underneath each book on this list so that you can get an idea of the contents of the eBook before you download it.
To help you quickly find what you’re looking for, I’ve organized the free eBooks into the following categories: Productivity & Efficiency, Happiness & Relationships, Habits & Rituals, General Personal Development, and Personal Finance.
Productivity and Efficiency
1. “The One Life Hack of Highly Successful People” by Asian Efficiency
Link: asianefficiency.com (below the “Productivity Quiz” header)
This 10-page document covers six steps that you can use for your morning ritual. This eBook also looks at the specific morning rituals of Benjamin Franklin, Tim Cook, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tony Robbins, and Arianna Huffington.
2. “Inbox Zero” by Asian Efficiency
Link: asianefficiency.com (below the “Productivity Quiz” header)
Although this free resource is a 5-minute-long video, it will still help you with your productivity and efficiency. “Inbox Zero” by Asian Efficiency covers the steps you can take to obtain an organized email inbox. Thanh Pham of Asian Efficiency covers the inbox categories that you should create and talks about the simple question that you should ask yourself to decide if you should respond to an email right away or save it for later.
Thanh also provides free PDFs that summarize the video and give his preferences on which email client to use (depending on whether you use Mac or PC) and the folder structure that you should create.
3. “The Essential Productivity Handbook” by Donald Latumahina
Link: lifeoptimizer.org (click “Get Tips” on the far right)
This 40-page eBook is all about becoming more productive. Donald gives practical suggestions on what to do to become more productive. Donald discusses ideas such as the 80/20 rule of productivity (also known as the Pareto principle) and journaling. The eBook covers many facets of productivity which makes it an excellent introduction to the world of productivity.
4. “How to Stop Procrastination” by Celestine Chua
In Celestine’s 29-page eBook, she dispels three perceived benefits of procrastination and gives three excellent counterpoints. She also talks about the two factors that cause procrastination (a lack of desire and fear). Towards the end, she talks about how to cure procrastination by using a pen and paper (or computer) and some honest self-reflection.
5. “The Top 3 Productivity Mistakes People Make (And How to Fix Them!)” by Craig Jarrow
In this 19-page eBook, Jarrow talks about the three productivity mistakes people make and gives solutions for each. The first two mistakes are related to people’s dependencies on technology (email and phones). The last one is a personal factor–your attitude.
6. “7 Steps to Stop Being So Lazy” by The Positivity Blog
In this 10-page eBook, Henrik talks about how to improve your productivity but still be able to enjoy your “lazy time” without feeling guilty. The steps he gives are practical and easy to implement.
7. “The Jim Rohn Guide to Goal Setting” by Jim Rohn
Although this eBook is 52 pages, each page is quite short. This read will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Jim discusses why goal-setting is essential and how to set up SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-sensitive) to ensure success. He talks about practical steps one can take to make sure their goals meet the SMART criteria.
Happiness and Relationships
8. “Emotional Needs in Relationships” by Mark Manson
In Mark’s 35-page eBook, he talks about how emotional needs predict how we act in relationships. His take on relationships is unique, as he proposes a model for getting what you want by understanding why people behave the way they do in response to your actions. He talks about the three fundamental emotional needs your partner has and how to meet them. The methods he suggests for improving your emotional well-being are rooted in practicality and involve concepts such as taking on a persona and writing letters. It's a great resource for men in particular who are struggling with their dating life.
9. “The Explorer’s Guide to Manifesting” by Steve Pavlina
Link: stevepavlina.com (sign-up form is at the bottom)
In this 19-page eBook, Steve discusses sixteen ways to attract more of what you want in your life. He discusses key subtleties in the process of “imagining” what you desire, such as pretending that your desire has been fulfilled for many years now.
10. “The Guide to Happiness” by Mark Manson
In Mark’s 26-page eBook, he talks about how to become happier. He dispels a lot of myths surrounding happiness and provides profound insights into how it works. He also gives five ways to become happier.
11. “Gratitude Workbook: How to Practice Appreciation & Be More Thankful in Everyday Life” by Steven Handel
In Steven’s 22-page eBook, you get a daily guide (like a 2-week crash course) for expressing more gratitude in your life. The eBook gives you a set of steps for each day to become more grateful. It also advises you to create a Word document where you add things that you’re thankful for.
12. “The Science of Self-Affirmations: How to Think Your Way to Happiness and Success” by Steven Handel
In this 24-page eBook, Steven talks about the power of self-affirmations and how to implement them in your life. He references psychological studies that show the benefits of this exercise. Steven also gives steps on how to create your own self-affirmation exercise. Towards the end, he provides a list of 100 self-affirmations for self-improvement that you can use for yourself if you can’t come up with any.
Habits and Rituals
13. “5 Morning Rituals that Help Me Win the Day” by Tim Ferriss
Link: tim.blog (to access the sign-up form, try to close the tab but stop right before so that the exit form appears)
“5 Morning Rituals that Help Me Win the Day by Tim Ferriss” by Tim Ferriss covers the five morning rituals that he uses to gain a sense of control in the early hours of his day. Each ritual comes with his personalized way of doing it and the approximate length of time to do each one (less than 3 minutes, less than 1 minute, and so on).
14. “Transform your Habits: The Science of How to Stick to Good Habits and Break Bad Ones” by James Clear
This 50-page eBook by James Clear teaches the science behind the creation of habits, how to overcome personal struggles such as lack of willpower and motivation, and how to make your environment more conducive to forming lasting habits.
15. “All About Habits: A Guide to Changing Your Life One Step at a Time” by Mark Manson
In Mark’s 21-page eBook, he begins by talking about a psychological study on instant and delayed gratification and then ties it into the process of creating habits. The science on the creation of habits and willpower isn’t revolutionary, but his guide is practical and is well suited for the interested productivity novice. He also talks about how long it takes to form a habit.
General Personal Development
16. “Self-Knowledge: How Well Do You Really Know Yourself?” by Mark Manson
In this 24-page eBook, Mark discusses three ideas that will hopefully make you more comfortable in questioning yourself. One of the ideas touches upon Buddhism. Mark emphasizes mindfulness and how it can help us avoid falling prey to negative emotions.
17. “The Science of Self-Improvement Meditation Guide: Exercises to Improve Awareness in Your Everyday Life” by Steven Handel
In Steven’s 50-page eBook, he gives step-by-step instructions for doing various meditation exercises. He covers the breathing, sound, walking, eating, open mind, STOP, loving-kindness, urge surfing, and naked meditations. Each one includes a list of materials (some exercises require pen and paper), the steps involved, and what kind of benefits meditation can give you.
18. “The Science of Self-Improvement Workbook: A 31 Day Crash Course for Improving Your Life” by Steven Handel
This 33-page eBook is reminiscent of the worksheets and homework assignments one would get while attending therapy. There is little reading to do and instead the eBook guides you like a mentor in the direction of general self-improvement. The book is organized into days, with each day having some exercises for you to do. It covers a wide range of topics (self-talk, meditation, your passions, and relationships).
19. “The Little Black Book for Stunning Success” by Robin Sharma
Link: robinsharma.com (Scroll down to his orange newsletter signup form.)
This 53-page eBook is full of information on achieving success and becoming a leader. There are also “summary quotes” on almost every page that summarize the points made in the dense blocks of text. Robin gives profound insights into life and talks about habits that prominent individuals (namely Larry King) use.
20. “7 Must-Know Strategies to Learn Anything Faster” by Scott H. Young
In this 27-page eBook, Scott coins a term called “ultralearning.” He discusses the importance of learning and details his ultralearning case studies (namely the MIT Challenge, The Year Without English, and the 30-Day Portrait Drawing). He introduces the seven best practices for learning effectively and introduces a concept called “active learning.”
21. “The 4 Necessary Emotions to Make an Amazing First Impression” by Charisma on Command
Although this isn’t an eBook, this free 9-minute-long video is nonetheless useful for people who want to become more charismatic. The four emotions covered are fun, trust, respect, and interest. Charlie (the instructor in the video) also discusses the importance of the sequence of these four emotions and how that can make or break your impression on people.
22. “21 Things I Wish They Had Taught Me in School” by The Positivity Blog
In this 14-page eBook, Henrik Edberg introduces 21 useful “life hacks” that cover various domains of life, such as productivity, charisma, and more. Although the guide doesn’t go in depth into one area of personal development, it’s a useful “checklist” for seeing what self-improvement tips you can implement into your life.
23. “10 Things You Can Do When Life Sucks” by The Positivity Blog
In this 13-page eBook, Henrik talks about what to do when you encounter a rut in your life. He gives practical advice such as breathing when you’re in a state of emotional arousal, gratitude, journaling, and more.
24. “Mastering Creativity: A Brief Guide on How to Overcome Creative Blocks” by James Clear
A 34-page eBook by James Clear where he talks about how anyone can learn to be creative. He also discusses ideas such as the Equal-Odds Rule, which can help you determine what you’re good at.
25. “FinerMind’s Guide to Overcoming Limiting Beliefs” by FinerMinds
Link: finerminds.com (sign-up form is at the bottom)
In this 11-page eBook, the author discusses seven steps to go into your subconscious and remove limiting beliefs. This eBook is practical because it includes worksheets for each step. It also focuses less on the law of attraction and instead emphasizes coming to term with your maladaptive thought patterns with techniques such as mindfulness, forgiveness, and gratitude. The writing style of the eBook is reminiscent of a client-therapist relationship.
26. “The Bold Living Guide” by Barrie Davenport
In this 46-page eBook, Barrie examines the seven key ingredients to living a good life: security and comfort, balance and moderation, contribution, relationships, beauty, creativity, and personal growth. This book quotes many statistics from other doctors. At the end of each chapter, Barrie asks the reader some questions which prompt self-reflection.
27. “The Ultimate Guide to Personal Finance: Money Management Made Simple” by Ramit Sethi
In this comprehensive 65-page guide, Ramit talks about the following areas of personal finance: mistakes people make with money, how to save money painlessly, how to automate your finances, how to invest money, how to eliminate debt, and how to earn more.
28. “The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Raise & Boosting Your Salary” by Ramit Sethi
In this 24-page guide, Ramit teaches you the step-by-step process and the word-for-word script for what to say to your boss to get a raise. He also includes a link to a free and handy tool that calculates how much extra money you can earn assuming you get a raise and you invest in a savings account. Towards the end, there are free salary negotiation videos that show you where people go right and wrong.
29. “Escape Backpack” by Paid to Exist
This 54-page eBook talks about creating a life where there’s no separation between what you do for money and your “other life,” which includes other aspects of your life like hobbies. It also talks about how to attain a life where you make enough money to have the experiences that you want as opposed to arbitrarily working for loads of money.
Bonus: Optimal Living Daily Podcasts (Audio)
If you're new to Optimal Living Daily, you should know that we narrate the best personal development blogs for you, so you can listen in the car, while exercising or doing chores, before going to bed, as part of your morning routine, or any other time you like. We've had millions of listens over the years and would love for you to check it out. Best of all, it's free!
You can listen in pretty much any podcast app (Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Spotify, etc.) or on YouTube, through Amazon Alexa (just tell Alexa “Enable Optimal Living Daily”), and right here on the website.
Let me know if you come across any other free eBooks that are worth sharing in the personal development niche, or if there are any other authors (besides the authors we already narrate) that we should look into!