The books listed below have all sold millions of copies and most people probably know their names. All are now in public domain due to the time elapsed since their initial publication.
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Think and Grow Rich
Author: Napoleon Hill Published: 1937
First published during the Great Depression, Think and Grow Rich has become one of the best-selling self-help books ever published with over 70 million copies sold worldwide.
Hill condenses the principles of personal achievement into easy to understand blocks that are still very relevant today. Although the title implies the book is solely about building wealth, the ideas outlined in the book can be used to improve all aspects of ones life.
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Author: Dale Carnegie Published: 1936
Since its first release almost 80 years ago, How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold over 15 million copies worldwide.
Carnegie believed that success comes from an ability to communicate effectively with others. Through the use of easy to relate examples and analogies, the book teaches you skills to make others feel appreciated and enjoy being in your company.
The Science of Getting Rich
Author: Wallace D. Wattles Published: 1910
Still in print after 100 years, The Science of Getting Rich has built a cult like following in the get-rich-quick investment seminar circuit. Most notably, the book’s principles featured heavily in The Secret (2006), a book and film by Rhonda Byrne.
The book attempts to unravel the mystery behind wealth accumulation and break it down into scientific steps. If I were to sum it up in one sentence it would be “What you think about most is what you will get.”
The Magic of Thinking Big
Author: David J. Schwartz Published: 1959
A motivational book that encourages the reader to push boundaries in all aspects of life and “think big”. Schwartz believed that great success does not come through innate talent but through setting great expectations.
Through multiple examples the author provides a step-by-step guide on how to change your thought patterns and achieve your biggest dreams.
The Richest Man in Babylon
Author: George Samuel Clason Published: 1926
Originally a series of informational pamphlets dispensed by banks and insurance companies, in 1926 they were bound together and published as a book to give financial advice through a collection of stories set in ancient Babylon.
(UPDATE: 5 May 2015)
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