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6 Best Books on Problem-Solving For Personal Development

Are you having trouble solving problems at work? Need a good problem-solving book for your relationship struggles? Discover the best books about problem-solving.

Solving problems is a huge part of our daily lives, from untangling staff issues to navigating a trip to the grocery store. However, problems come in all shapes and sizes — and knowing how to tackle them is often a boss’s key indicator of how well you can manage under pressure. Because it’s not uncommon to face problems in every aspect of life, it can pay off to have problem-solving skills in your back pocket. 

As an effective problem-solver, you’ll need to follow a streamlined process to ensure you’re not risking negative outcomes. For instance, leaders in professional environments are bombarded with several issues that often require immediate action and decision-making. If not done correctly, this could severely impact their career and workplace. Luckily, one of the best places to find effective tools and methods for problem-solving is none other than the pages of a book.

With the right resource, you can improve your problem-solving skills quickly. The Headway app offers a selection of short 15-minute book summaries designed to help you leverage your ability to solve any issue. Download the Headway app to start thinking systematically and begin your personal development journey.

Self-help books can be fantastic tools in helping you manage difficulties and find solutions to your problems. In this article, you can learn all about effective strategies to overcome issues and adversity in the workplace and beyond.

Key points:

  • Knowing how to solve problems at work and in relationships is an essential skill that can enhance your way of life. For example, it can help you become more self-assured and calm in handling adversity.

  • Reading books about problem-solving can effectively boost confidence and enhance your ability to make sound decisions. Some of the best problem-solving books worth checking out include Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol and The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen.

  • An external resource is often needed to help us see our problems clearer — in which case, the Headway app can be a fantastic solution. Use Headway as a tool in your personal development and refine your ability to approach various problems easily and efficiently.

What is problem-solving?


Problem-solving is a broad term to describe the process of identifying issues and figuring out ways to manage or eradicate them. This process is a key skill often used in the workplace and at home. It involves identifying problems, brainstorming ideas, implementing solutions for risk prevention, and increasing the likelihood of long-term success.

Effective problem-solving usually begins with a five-step process:

1. Identify the problem

When a problem occurs, the first step to solving it is to identify what it is immediately. Consider the type of problem, where it came from, and the effects it could have on various aspects of your life. In doing this, you can better understand the deeper issue at hand, such as whether this is a rational or emotional issue and whether it needs to be solved in the first place.

2. Gather information

Once you know what kind of problem you’re dealing with, you can start taking in more details about the problem. For instance, asking team members their thoughts and opinions on the issue may be a good idea if a workplace alteration occurs. This will allow you to get different perspectives that will help to decide on a solution where everyone is as satisfied as possible.

3. Plan a solution

Before you can come to a solution, you’ll need to plan out exactly what a solution would look like with your desired outcome. Consider how the solution would come about, when and where it would take place, and what the solution could offer you and others. For instance, if you are facing a staff shortage at work, you’ll need to plan out exactly what needs to happen to increase staff numbers, such as creating a hiring campaign or introducing new employee benefits. You might plan by writing down your ideas on a list or creating a “vision board” to help visualize your solution. 

4. Implement your strategy

This step is arguably the most important, as it requires you to carry out your plans to fruition. However, implementing your strategy will look different according to each situation. Some solution strategies might need to be implemented over time, while others would only need a short-term plan. For example, a solution to a relationship problem may take days or even months to complete as relationships are constantly ebbing and flowing. Once the finer details have been established, you can test the strategy for effectiveness.

5. Assess and reflect

You should be able to look back on your problem-solving progress and pinpoint your areas of strength and weakness. This will allow you to realize which parts of the process have brought out positive qualities in you and which still require improvement. Later, you can begin to create effective preventative measures to ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes and resurface previous problems.

Using this five-step process can open up new opportunities in your career and personal life. However, it can take a little more time to understand how to apply these strategies to your life fully. In such a case, reading problem-solving books can help you get started.

6 best problem-solving books

Learning the art of problem-solving can be difficult if you aren’t sure where to begin. In any case, here are six of the most note-worthy books designed to help you effectively solve problems in your daily life.

1. Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath

Upstream explores the intricate nature of problem-solving through a preventative lens rather than figuring out how to fix problems only after they happen. However, this isn’t a book about eradicating all of life’s problems. Dan Heath acknowledges that there will certainly be problems that cannot be solved before they arrive. This book, therefore, focuses on having set strategies and solutions put in place to keep inevitable issues controlled and contained.

With Heath’s lessons and stories about “upstreaming” success, readers can find that their future failures can be cushioned or even prevented with a few simple tips and tricks. They can also become inspired to conquer their own challenges with hard work and perseverance. For instance, Heath suggests that leaders must be able to target potential successes and introduce new ways of working with others. In doing so, they can learn to accept their issues and create permanent, long-term solutions to existing and future problems.

2. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz

Sprint was written by three authors, all partners at Google Ventures. Together, they have built a life-changing summary designed to help you test new problem-solving ideas — which have already been proven successful. This involves following a detailed step-by-step plan that sets aside specific daily tasks. Perfect for those in the programming, technology, and software industries, the last steps prompt readers to test a prototype and move forward with their plans.

If you’re looking for a way to build your project management skills, Sprint can be an instrumental tool in helping you set long-term goals and reduce the risk of failure. Knapp, Zeratsky, and Kowist lay out a complete guide map as a means of taking action in solving problems as quickly and efficiently as possible. Some of their tips include maintaining high levels of an organization and setting goals that everyone on your team can work together on and accomplish.

3. Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life by Ozan Varol

Climbing the corporate ladder to achieve big promotions requires serious drive and willpower. However, Ozan Varol makes it much easier with a set of simple strategies designed to increase your chances of success in the workplace. Not only have these strategies been used by real-life rocket scientists to help solve complex problems and manifest fruitful results, but they also have the potential to help you become more satisfied with your life and career.

According to Varol, using the same thought process as a rocket scientist is simple. The first step involves trying to carve out your own path in your chosen field rather than following the crowd. Then, you’ll need to shy away from your usual routine so you can begin innovating new ideas and moving toward lasting results. Once you understand your goals better, you can apply the wisdom from past failures to your current situations. In essence, Varol proposes that consistent personal development is key to preventing failure from impacting our success.

4. The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

During the hustle of daily life, it’s easy for your mind to become fogged up with worry, stress, and anxiety. In The Art of Thinking Clearly, Rolf Dobelli explains that many psychological processes are biologically programmed into our brains for survival purposes. However, nowadays, these processes can cause serious negative effects on our mental health and lead us down a rabbit hole of panic and decision fatigue. As such, readers can gain wisdom from Dobelli’s lessons on how to break away from emotional biases and poor values.

Readers who enjoy exploring mental health and the brain’s internal processes may find Dobelli’s research interesting. For one, he introduces the idea of businesses using biological tendencies of comparison and control as an advantage to solve your professional problems and reach new lengths in your career. In doing so, business owners can think more in-depth about their marketing decisions and learn how to overcome psychological biases.

5. The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail (Management of Innovation and Change) by Clayton M. Christensen

In his book, Christensen offers a fresh approach to problem-solving for business moguls and enterprises that involves stepping out of the box to view your problem from an outsider’s perspective. This perspective considers the phenomenon of great firms failing due to industry growth and technological revolution. With the right resources, processes, and values, these firms can sustain growth and easily solve issues.

The Innovator’s Dilemma provides an insightful look into how businesses are tied to their target niches and are susceptible to problems such as stagnant progress and poor innovation. Luckily, readers can find a solution to the disruption dilemma through Christensen’s long-lasting entrepreneurship principles. Christensen teaches readers how to keep their businesses thriving throughout a changing market by implementing advancements to their market outreach.

6. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Dan Heath and Chip Heath

Change is an inevitable part of life, but it can still stir up unwanted feelings when it occurs. According to brothers Dan and Chip Heath, humans have an inherent need for control which is created by two separate psychological systems: the rational mind and the emotional mind. Being prepared to handle both can ensure you enact positive changes in your career and personal life. In their book, the Heath brothers explain how to switch between the two internal systems and find a balance that allows for complete control and smarter decision-making.

Switch explores the concept of the two sides of the mind. It does this by proposing an analysis of the well-known analogy of the elephant, the rider, and the path. The brain plays the rational rider who rides an emotional elephant while attempting to control its movements down a certain path. The Heath brothers, therefore, offer many ways to influence the path of the rider and the elephant with effective strategies. This includes calming the rider with clarity, having the elephant focus on positive emotions, and making the path easier to follow.

Read more problem-solving books with Headway

In many cases, solving a problem on your own can be next to impossible. Fortunately, books about problem-solving can provide you with revolutionary methods of learning how to tackle issues head-on and prevent their return. The Headway app allows you to use detailed book summaries to receive all the advice you need to solve various problems in less than half the time. 

Headway is a bite-sized learning app that provides solutions to many common dilemmas: time management, business growth, and emotional regulation, to name a few. There is a broad selection of books from various experts in psychology and philosophy, all found on the Headway app. The revolutionary app condenses the most important parts of the world’s leading self-help books into quick, easy-to-digest summaries. Book fanatics may also be enamored by unique features like progress trackers, collective achievements, and a personalized library.

Download the Headway app on Google Play or the Apple store to gain unlimited access to a library catalog of over 1500 summaries on the best problem-solving books.


What is the best problem-solving book?

The best problem-solving book can be the one that solves your specific issues at work or in your personal life. For instance, if you have been dealing with altercations with your co-workers, finding a book that helps you find effective strategies for building and maintaining professional relationships may be ideal. Or, if you are facing issues within your personal relationships, then reading a book detailing ways to overcome relational troubles would be a better way of solving your problems.

How can books help me solve problems?

Problem-solving books are designed specially to help you figure out the appropriate method you need to solve your specific issue. You can choose either a book dedicated to your specific issue or a book about general problem-solving. Either way, you are bound to learn new ways of solving problems that you can use every day.

Which book is best for solving problems at work?

If you are facing issues at work, books are available that can help you make the right decisions that will lead to success. For example, Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Caroll offers key strategies to help you succeed to new lengths in your career. Otherwise, business owners might find their professional development challenged by The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen as they learn how to use resources to stay relevant in an ever-changing market.

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