By Pieter De Wit

If you are ambitious and want to be successful in your career or personal life, motivation alone won’t cut it. As a millennial you know it’s possible to work your way to the top, wherever your starting point may be.

But to get there, you must get insight into how others have achieved their success and how you can get there too. Let these five masterpieces inspire and guide you to becoming a high achiever in your career and personal life.  

Outliers: The Story Of Success By Malcolm Gladwell 

Since reading The Tipping Point, I’m a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell. He explains concepts in such clear and inspiring ways that suddenly you start seeing things totally differently. In Outliers: The Story of Success he examines the realms of high-achievers and why they became successful. He shows that talent is not what distinguishes stars from ordinary people. 

Making it to the top is less nature and more nurture: your culture, family, generation, the circumstances and experiences you grew up with. He explains the secret of the Beatles success, and why the Chinese are good at math. And maybe you might discover why the next outlier could be you.  

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons By Kevin Hart 

Kevin Hart is better known as an actor and comedian, than as an author. Born an accident, unwanted by his parents, his life story did not start well, but he has a tale to tell. He had a drug addict father, a strict, abusive mother, and he couldn’t count on the support of his crack dealing, thief brother either.  

But he defied the odds. By seeing life as a sequence of chapters and giving each one a significant meaning, he managed to create a strong mindset and became successful. I Can’t Make This Up is not only a memoir but also a training manual designed to teach you how to have a positive outlook on life and find the strength to overcome every obstacle in your way. And it is funny too! 

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter By Meg Jay

If you’re twenty-something and thinking you’re just living in an extension of your adolescence, think again. Clinical psychologist Dr Meg Jay argues that your twenties could be one of the most pivotal times of your life. 

Your brain changes more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood, and how the choices you make may impact on every aspect of your life. Why Your Twenties Matter is not only an insightful work for this demographic but for everyone trying to figure out how to give their life direction and momentum. 

Deep Work By Cal Newport 

It is said: what you focus on will grow. Professor Cal Newport shows how important it is to be able to focus on your tasks and get deep into them. In Deep Work, he explains why focus is the new IQ in this overstimulated society where being busy instead of being productive is the norm. 

Thanks to his profound insights, you’ll finish this book wondering how you have worked and lived the way you did. But with his rigorous training regimen and four “rules” for transforming your mind and habits, you can achieve real superpowers. (Disclaimer: You won’t become Spiderman, but your mind will be more attuned to success!)

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People By Stephen R. Covey

This masterpiece is not “just” a New York Times Bestseller. Fortune listed it as one of the bestselling books of all time and Chief Executive magazine named it the “#1 most influential book of the 20th century”. Stephen R. Covey outlines the seven characteristics or habits all successful people have in common. Be careful, though, or you might end up very successful, but in the wrong place, which isn’t highly effective. 

This book, or more correctly, guide, is not only for those who are pursuing ambitious careers. It is also about taking ownership of your whole life. Only when you discover and truly know the values you want to live by, can you make the right choices. If you want to spend your days more intentionally and have a clear direction in life, The 7 habits of highly effective people is a must-read. 

Worldwide the economic climate seems very unpredictable, and for many millennials, there are hard times ahead. But for those who know where and how to look, every crisis holds an opportunity. With the right mindset and know-how, you can set yourself apart from the pack, ready to achieve success, in your professional or personal path, regardless of whatever cards you’re dealt. So take this time to learn more, develop the skills you need, and with the help of some good books, set yourself on the path to success.