For almost as long as books have existed, books about power have been written to help people seize and maintain control. From books about military strategy to instruction manuals for dictators, power has been a central theme in many books. As literacy expanded and people who weren’t ruling countries became a greater share of readers, books about power began to focus less on the interests of the ruling class. Modern-day books about power now tend to focus on smaller issues, such as business or interpersonal relationships.

However, not all books about power focus on winning influence and controlling the lives of others. The power to control oneself is also a common desire, and authors have written many books exploring the ways in which the self can be mastered. From meditation to forming effective habits, these books about power can give unique insights into self-destructive behaviors and how to overcome them.

#1 – The 48 Laws of Power

Robert Greene


Drawing on many other books about power written by philosophical figures such as Machiavelli, this book teaches people how to achieve power through methods that won’t win friends. The book describes each of the 48 laws that Robert Greene created after reading about the conquests of military and political figures.

#2 – The Secret

Rhonda Byrne


The author of this book about power promises to let readers in on an incredible secret that has existed for centuries. The book also offers a guide to help people learn use the secret to improve every aspect of their lives, including financial health and personal relationships.

#3 – The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Charles Duhigg


Changing habits can improve lives, from losing weight with a daily exercise habit to improving health by ending a smoking habit. In this book about power, Charles Duhigg begins by examining what habits are and how they are formed. Duhigg examines some of the habits that led to success for well-known individuals.

#4 – The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Eckhart Tolle


Although many books about power focus on material success, this book explains how people can use the power of living in the moment to reach enlightenment and reclaim happiness. Throughout the book, the author explains concepts related to spiritual enlightenment, such as the cycle of life, and frequently encourages the reader to close the book and ponder each section.

#5 – The Power of Positive Thinking

Norman Vincent Peale


In this uplifting book about power, readers can learn how thinking positively can have a significant impact on their goals. According to the author, believing that you can reach an ambitious milestone greatly improves your odds of success. The author also covers other important topics, including being kind to yourself and letting go of worries.

#6 – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

Stephen Covey


First published in 1990, this book has inspired many other books about power and has helped people establish habits for success. By sharing his own personal anecdotes, Stephen Covey explains his seven habits of success, such as envisioning your goal before you actually try to accomplish it.

#7 – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking

Susan Cain


In a world that often rewards outspokenness, introverts sometimes feel out of place. Unlike many books about power, which focus on the power of being loud and assertive, this book focuses on the power of quiet thought and introspection. Self-identified introvert Susan Cain explains the characteristics of introverts and how these characteristics have changed the world.

#8 – Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Robert B. Cialdini


Many books about power focus on learning specific skills to increase your power, and learning the methods of effective persuasion can help you achieve that goal. Readers of this book can learn six simple principles to help them improve their persuasion skills. The book also explains how to defend against persuasion, such as the techniques salespeople use to encourage purchases.

#9 – The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

Niall Ferguson


This book delves into the power of money and its history, starting with the earliest forms of currency in the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia. The author argues that money is an essential part of human progress and that the credit system is one of the most critical inventions in history.

#10 – The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

Dr. Joseph Murphy


The author of this self-help book hopes to aid readers in improving their lives, including getting more sleep, improving their relationships and erasing their worries. Readers will learn the techniques that they can use to control their subconscious mind and heal their inner pain. By reading this and other books about power, readers can learn how to take control of their own lives.