7 Types Of Motivational Books: Share Your Top Story In The Best Format

Posted on Jun 21, 2023

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Written by Sarah Rexford

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There are various types of motivational books, but despite the variety, it is still a highly contested marketplace. An extremely large market of individuals want to improve themselves. In fact, did you know that the market for self-improvement is expected to rise to $14 billion by 2025?

Enter, the various types of motivational books. Readers are motivated through various types of stories: Maybe they need a true story of someone overcoming difficulties to feel motivated. Maybe they simply need a theory-heavy book to inspire them to use their finances differently. Or maybe they just need a writer to act as a personal life coach, hyping them up chapter by chapter.

In this article, I discuss what motivational books are, present seven examples, and lastly, provide a guide to help you decide which type to write. First, let’s start with a definition. 

What Is A Motivational Book?

There are many types of motivational books, but at it’s core this genre is a guide written by an experienced individual for the purpose of teaching readers to take action. Think of a motivational book as a type of personal coach you can access at any time. Simply pick up your book, read a chapter, and find inspiration to continue on. 

Oftentimes, motivational books are full of examples, personal stories, and data. These examples are intended to prove that you too, can find motivation to accomplish your dreams. Books in this genre make fantastic graduation gifts, summer reads, and your January book list.

7 Types Of Motivational Books 

But what if you want to be the one inspiring readers? How do you decide which types of motivational books to write? The good news is, while motivational books and self-help is a broad genre, there are many types of subgenres for you to choose from. 

1 – Built On Theory  

Atomic Habits is a classic example of one of the many types of motivational books built on theory. James Clear takes readers through a lengthy discussion of how to create lasting, personal change, simply by committing to small habits. Another classic is Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

2 – Financial 

Rich Dad Poor Dad took the world by storm and is classified as the number one personal finance book of all time. If you are an investor, broker, or have other financial literacy you could share with your audience, writing a financial motivational book may be for you. Think and Grow Rich is yet another classic.

3 – Inspirational 

The inspirational, motivational book market never seems to go out of style. Running For My Life is one such example. While you don’t need to have survived a civil war or made it to the Olympics to share your story, Lopez Lomong’s book can inspire your own. Unbroken is another such book.

4 – Down To Earth

What if you don’t feel like you have an inspirational story to share, but you are the type of person who just refuses to give up? Read Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance for an example of types of motivational books that are down to earth. You don’t need to be an Olympian to inspire those around you.

5 – Focus

In today’s world of social media, constant ads, endless Netflix shows, and the Internet tucked away in your pocket, it’s easy to lose focus. The Power of Positive Thinking is an example of using practical techniques to enhance your focus. The Magic of Thinking Big acts as another standout example of motivational books written with a focused mindset as its theme. 

6 – Interpersonal

Emerging from a global pandemic, many of us entered the world slightly uncomfortable with interaction. How To Win Friends and Influence People teaches interpersonal lessons that can be applied no matter your situation. The 5 Love Languages, Relational Intelligence, and How To Talk To Anyone also fall into this category.

7 – Soft Skills

Have you ever wished you knew a few tactics on how to succeed in everyday interactions? Choosing a restaurant everyone can agree on? Asking for the raise? 

Never Split The Difference by former US lead hostage negotiator, Chris Voss, is an example of using hard-earned skills to teach everyday soft skills. Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before is another example of a motivational book aimed at soft skills.

Types Of Motivational Books: How To Decide Which To Write

Deciding which of the many types of motivational books to write isn’t as hard as you might imagine. Start by asking yourself a few questions: 

  • Are you a left-brained, theory heavy thinker? 
  • Do you thrive in your finances and want to help others do the same? 
  • Do people come to you about their relational issues for advice? 
  • Or maybe when someone needs help with a daily task, they call you?

Once you identify your natural talents, it’s time to ask the next set of questions: 

  • Do I have specific training in my area of talent? 
  • What accomplishments have I achieved in this area?
  • Will readers view me as credible to write on this topic?

After you determine your level of credibility, proceed to question set number three: 

  • Is my story or my knowledge base the driving focus?
    • If your story is the focal point, consider writing an inspirational or down to earth motivational book.
  • How do I naturally connect with people?
    • If you connect with people at a more theory-based level, consider writing in this vein, sharing your financial literacy, or writing about soft skills from a more scientific viewpoint. 
    • If you connect with people at a more personal level, consider reading Rich Dad Poor Dad as an example of this type of writing voice and cutting back on your theories and statistics. 

The good news is, no matter your natural abilities, credibility, or focal point of your story, you can mix and match your voice and story theme and write nearly any sub-genre. If you’re not credible in soft skills to the level of Chris Voss, but you have helpful lessons to share, take a come alongside approach. 

If you have a doctorate in psychology and want to teach on interpersonal relationships, use your training to take a more theory-based angle.

What If You Have Too Many Ideas?

Some of us writers have way too many ideas to feel like we can pick just one, while some of us feel we don’t have enough. If you are stuck on one idea you are likely most passionate about it and should move forward. 

But what if you have five, ten, fifteen ideas and you love them all? Consider the following question: If you could only write one more book, on one topic, for one audience, which idea would you choose? 

Answering this question will help you narrow down your ideas, hopefully to just one. However, if you still feel stuck and need a bit of extra help, consider taking our Too Many Book Ideas Quiz. This quiz is built to help you narrow down your selection and choose one to take action on.

Remember, many people dream of becoming writers. Countless ideas are jotted down everyday—great ideas that never make it into book form.

Those who dream of becoming writers live their dream when they choose one idea and start writing. Thankfully, you can always choose another idea next time. Best wishes with writing your motivational book!

Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Self-Publishing School may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.
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