Back button

Best Mental Toughness Books

Published or Updated On: 
November 7, 2022

Mental toughness is a blend of resilience to challenging circumstances, strength of will, and internal discipline. How mentally tough you are is directly correlated to your ability to do hard things, such as changing your body through diet & exercise or launching a new business. The more mental toughness you have, the greater the likelihood that you can stick it out through the challenging parts on your road to doing something awesome. Fortunately, it’s also a characteristic that can be built, and there are some great books out there to help & inspire you.

In my opinion, these are the best mental toughness books:

  1. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

I have mixed feelings about Goggins, but one thing is certain: his mental toughness is second to none. This book is an easy read which features his personal story, one that demonstrates the true power of mind of matter. His physical feats described in the book are utterly jaw dropping such, as running an ultramarathon largely untrained & unsupported. He shows just how far resoluteness can take you. I recommend this book if you’re looking more for inspiration than practical advice.

  1. Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink

Another from a US Navy Seal, this book is a mixture of drill sergeant style coaching, self help, and perhaps a new genre of writing I might call “battle poetry”. Much of this book is Jocko just yelling at you. I found some of it to be over the top, but there are also some really excellent nuggets of wisdom in here about building mental toughness. He addresses the power of beginning, detaching from ego, feeling and perspective, how to “stay motivated” and more. 

  1. The Stoic Challenge by William Irvine

The ancient Stoics were some of the most mentally tough people to have walked the Earth. They documented the mental tools that they used to cultivate toughness and now modern writers like Irvine are making their ideas more accessible to mainstream audiences. Irvine talks specifically about Stoic toughness training in this book. He also describes Stoic techniques of perspective, and how you can turn everyday challenges into opportunities to build mental toughness. 

  1. Mindset by Carol Dweck

Dweck is a giant in the field of performance psychology, and her book Mindset is a very worthwhile read for someone looking to build their mental toughness. While the book is focused more on performance, all of the characteristics of a “growth mindset”, as described in her book, are synonymous with mental toughness. Developing a growth mindset will make you more resilient to setbacks, put you in a better position to learn from them, and teach you to see failure as invigorating rather than devastating. Few lessons are more valuable for creating a truly tough mind.

  1. Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabbat-Zin

This may seem a strange addition to the list, but hear me out. Mental toughness is not just the flashy moments of powering through a particularly difficult period. A more complete picture shows that mental toughness is also quiet strength, the durable calm attitude that flys unperturbed through both sunny skies and thunderstorms alike. This kind of resilient equanimity is built through meditation, and Jon Kabbat-Zin has written an excellent book describing meditation practice & theory. 

That’s the roundup! While none of these books is perfect, all will certainly help you on your path to increase your mental toughness. I also recommend you check out my post on how to read books more effectively to maximize how much value you get from anything you try on this list. 

PS if all else fails, this inspirational video should help.

Enjoy this? Subscribe for more.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.