Best Books On Mental Toughness

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Written By Dan
Dan Smullen has a Bsc. in sport science & has over 9 years of experience in personal training. Apart from training and blogging, he is also a tech fanatic & loves his coffee.

As we continue to see an upwards trend of mental health issues, having the capacity to overcome your stress and anxieties is not something that can always be achieved on your own.

Having a helping hand along the way that can help guide you and show you that not everything is as bad as it seems, can be a guiding light in a somewhat dark time.

Today we are going to take a look at some of the best books on mental toughness, and how you can overcome your challenges by buying some of the best authors on the topic.

Whilst mental toughness is an important trait; if you really are struggling then of course you must seek help from your doctor or a professional mental health advisor.

But with the books listed below, it may still help you on your journey to a bulletproof mindset.

Best Books On Mental Toughness


Dale Carnegie Is famous for helping those who struggle to communicate in his seminal book How To Win Friends And Influence People.

In this volume, We can read expert advice on how to eliminate fear and worry from life and embrace a hopeful future.

This is a great read on how to eliminate up to 50% of business worries, reduce financial burden, and also how to look and feel young by reducing the fatigue that ultimately comes with worry.

However, due to the age of the book (1948), a lot of the stories are outdated and may not resonate with a modern audience.


  • It will help to eliminate fear and embrace a positive outlook on the future.
  • Can reduce up to 50% of business worries.
  • Helps to lower fatigue and make you look younger.


  • Because this is an older book, it may not resonate with a modern audience.


If anyone Is going to have the tools to help you build mental toughness, it's Going to be a former US armed forces Navy SEAL.

David Goggins has had a troubled past, with poverty, physical abuse, and living in an overweight body with not much hope for the future.

This inspiring read shares the life story of someone that has faced unbelievable adversity and will guide you to tap into all of the unused capacity that you have inside you.

One downside is that sometimes the writer comes across as simply doing things to prove himself which may put off some readers.


  • Will help you tap into your unused potential.
  • Guides you through the process to push past pain and discomfort.
  • An inspiring read for those going through a tough time in their life.


  • Often does things just to prove himself which is not suited to everyone's taste.


We live in a world that is forever fast-moving and never feels like slowing down, which can make it difficult to stay true to your values.

This book will teach you how to be mentally strong, make others like you even more, and help to build strong work relationships.

There are some interesting concepts in this book, and you will learn about the 49 archetypes which can help you to find your personality traits, which may uncover truths about yourself.

Whilst the concepts are good, It is not the most enjoyable read and some might find it quite boring.


  • Learn to be mentally strong and build strong work relationships.
  • Shows you 49 archetypes that can help define your personality trait.
  • Can teach you to be liked even more by others in all walks of life.


  • Not the best written, and may bore some readers.


We head back to the US armed forces, With this seminal work from Jocko Willink and Leif Babo: two tough characters that have seen their fair share of Horrors in a war-torn land.

If you want to learn the secrets to discipline and leadership, then you should pick up a copy of this book.

Expect to learn how to become a powerful leader in business and in life, which will be a fantastic read for those running a business or working as a manager or leader role.

However, the concepts used in this book seem to be repeated over and over, so you may only need to read a small section to get the gist of the book.


  • A great work for those running a business or managing others.
  • Learn how to be a high-performance individual.
  • Ideal for those that resonate with the armed forces and their ability to be disciplined.


  • The same concept is repeated enough that you won’t need to read the entire book to get it.


We often look for the answers to what we should be doing, a lot of the time success comes from things that we shouldn't be doing.

And this book is a clear guide for avoiding those classic thoughts that keep you stuck for a long time.

Expect to learn great stories on how successful leaders and entrepreneurs think, how to be motivated to succeed, and how you can look at difficulties from different angles to push through limiting beliefs.

One thing to note is that the concepts in this book are quite basic, and may not resonate well with someone that is further along the mental toughness journey.


  • Learn what not to do and how to think like a successful person.
  • Insightful stories to help contextualize how to be mentally strong.
  • A great resource on how to be motivated to smash through limiting beliefs.


  • A lot of simple concepts might not motivate those who have studied this field a lot.


Martin Seligman is the seminal figure of the modern branch of psychology known as positive psychology, and his insights into how to think like a happy person and how to live like a happy person show readers how to identify the highest purchase with these accessible insights.

There are plenty of exercises to sink your teeth into, and for those that enjoy a practical guide, this will suit those types of learners.

However, some of the concepts are quite thin on the ground and need either substance to get home the point it is trying to make.


  • A super guide for learning the art of positive psychology.
  • Plenty of practical tasks to keep you interested.
  • Easy to read and not much fluff when compared to other mental toughness books.


  • Some of the concepts do not get much substance and could do with more explaining.


On the path to a healthy mindset, it is important to remember to be kind which will inspire and lift others, as well.

You can learn that the secret to having a happy life is to ensure that you adopt a positive attitude towards yourself and others.

This is a book that will guide you through the steps to no longer doubt yourself, feel self-conscious, or lack the confidence to go and get the life you deserve.

Similar to other books on how to improve your psychology; the concepts in this book are quite simple and many people will already be aware of them.


  • Build a healthy mindset with the advice in this book.
  • Learning about becoming a kind person is featured heavily which is a fundamental step in mental health.
  • Advice on how to build confidence, improve your self-esteem, and live a better life.


  • Simplistic concepts may not resonate with everyone.


This is the second time that Jocko Willink features on our list, and for good reason.

One of the most important concepts of mental toughness is learning about the principle of discipline, and day in and day out that perhaps don't feel enjoyable right now will set later in life.

Expect to learn why discipline is probably the most important ingredient for a life of happiness, learn the strategies and tactics for conquering weakness, and find advice on workouts and sleeping habits to help you stay healthy.

However, this doesn't read like a typical book and is more like a collection of Instagram motivational posts.


  • A guide on how to build discipline.
  • Conquer weakness from a master of habit building.
  • Plenty of advice on diet, exercise, and sleep to build a healthier lifestyle.


  • Less like a book, and more like a collection of motivational posts which sometimes feels a bit cheap.


Most people think that it's important to have a high IQ, but often people forget about the importance of EQ or emotional intelligence.

This work gives you a step-by-step guide to increasing your EQ by learning about self-awareness, social awareness, and how to build strong relationships.

Taking responsibility for your emotions will help you lead a much more fulfilling life, and help you to overcome obstacles that somebody with a weak mindset would not be able to push through.

Similar to other books in this field, a lot of the book is filler and could have been filtered down to a 2000-word blog post.


  • A fantastic lesson in EQ and how to build emotional intelligence.
  • Tips on building self-awareness, social, and creating strong relationships.
  • The advice can be implemented immediately for results almost instantly.


  • Lots of fluff that could have been condensed to a smaller body of work.


Warning, as this book is not for the faint-hearted.

Follow the incredible journey of Alistair Urquhart as he tells the story of being captured by the Japanese in World War II and the inhumane experience of being a prisoner of war.

After reading this, It's unlikely that you'll ever feel like your life was difficult again, the power of reading about someone else's courage in the face of extreme adversity.

The clear downside is that there are many positive moments in this harrowing tale and those who are sensitive to the thought of torture may struggle to read this.


  • The tale that will inspire those who are going through tough times.
  • Never feel like you have things bad again, by learning of someone who went through the worst of the worst.
  • Despite the sad things that happen, it’s an inspiring story.


  • Not for the faint of heart, and may trouble some sensitive readers.

Best Books On Mental Toughness Buying Guide

Now that we have taken a look at the best books on mental toughness, It's time to pick your favorites and begin reading them as soon as you make the purchase.

But how on Earth do you make the decision on which ones to choose? Here's our guide to picking the best books for you, with concepts to consider in no particular order.

Best Books On Mental Toughness

Picking A Selection

The first tip is that you might want to pick one, two, or three choices rather than go for them all.

Unless you are an avid reader that can get through a lot of books in a short period, the reality is that most of us don't have the time to read a lot and if we buy too many books, what is likely is that we do not read any of them.

If reading the description of the books resonated with you and felt like something that you would enjoy, add it to your shortlist and come up with a few options before making a purchase.

Topic Area

Not all books on mental toughness are created equal, and as you can see from the list above, there are a wide variety of different topics on different areas of becoming a better person from a mindset perspective.

You could take the lessons from one of the US armed forces vets and learn about discipline.

Or perhaps you want to become more emotionally intelligent and need to work on what you are saying to yourself.

You might even consider becoming a more self-aware person and taking the steps to become a master of positive psychology.

Only you will know the answer to this question, that there are plenty of resources on different topics for mental toughness you will never be empty of choice.

Theory Versus Practical Steps

Everybody is different and will respond to books differently.

Some people prefer to learn the why behind something and will naturally gravitate towards Theory, whereas others are not as interested in the why and only care about the how.

These people will naturally prefer a book with plenty of guides and practical steps to help them on their path.

Each book above will have a balance between the why and the how of mental toughness, and it is up to you to decide which of these you prefer.

If you are unsure where you sit, we recommend that you choose a book that has a balance of theory and practical steps so that you get the best of both worlds.

Beginner Versus Intermediate

Not everyone is at the same point of their journey, and some people are at the beginning of their self-development path, whereas others have read a lot of resources on the subject and are looking for those one or two nuggets of information that will help improve their thoughts.

Be honest with yourself and choose whether you consider yourself a beginner that can benefit from basic mental toughness ideas, or whether you are someone with a wealth of knowledge that needs something a bit more intricate to help you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Do If I Have Depression?

Whilst these books are excellent resources on helping to manage negative thought patterns, and the chances of depression and anxiety, it is always best to speak to your doctor and get a diagnosis on whether you have depression and ask them if this can be managed with these types of exercises found in the resources above.

Can Sport Teach Mental Toughness?

Sport is one of the best ways to build mental toughness, and is one of the healthiest ways to live a balanced lifestyle.

Certain sports will challenge you to become resilient in the face of a challenge, which includes both individual sports such as tennis or golf, as well as team-based sports such as basketball or hockey.

Will Mental Toughness Books Make Me A Better Person?

The principles in the box above will help you to become a better human in many different ways, from becoming a better leader or manager, to becoming more likable to others in your professional and social life.

You may also notice an improvement in your self-esteem and confidence, which may open you up to more opportunities in life.

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Written By


Dan Smullen has a Bsc. in sport science & has over 9 years of experience in personal training. Apart from training and blogging, he is also a tech fanatic & loves his coffee.