45 MUST-READ Self-Help Books Of All Time (Up To 2023)

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45 Most Influential Self-Help Books In Every Category

In this article, I’ve curated the BEST and most POPULAR 45 self-help books ever written.

Aiming to create change for the better – habits, character traits, physical appearance – every self-help book in this article is the best in its category.

With the help of Audible, Goodreads, and Blinkist teams, we sifted through over 5,000 books to vote for the best 45 books in the self-improvement category.

And, to save you time, we cataloged the books by category – self-help for women, men, teenagers, relationships, health, mindset, and so on.

IN THIS ARTICLE

45 Best Self-Help Books Of All Time

Best Self-help books for womenBest Self-Help Books For Women

Best self-help books for menBest Self-Help Books For Men

Best self-help books for anxietyBest Self-Help Books For Anxiety

Best self-help books for relationshipsBest Self-Help Books For Relationships

Best Self-Help Books For DepressionBest Self-Help Books For Depression

Best Self-Help Books For TeenagersBest Self-Help Books For Teenagers

Best Self-Help Books For WorkBest Self-Help Books For Work

Best Motivational Self-Help BooksBest Motivational Self-Help Books




SELF-HELP BOOKS FOR WOMEN

1/45
You Are a Badass

by Jen Sincero

2013

You Are a Badass best self-help books

Amazon | from $5.10

ThriftBooks | from $3.99

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

‘Audie Award’ winner in the personal development books category, Jen Sincero is a 2014 best-selling author, speaker, and success coach.

Jen Sincero cuts through the din of the self-help genre with her verbal meat cleaver in ‘You Are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life’ self-help book.

Making use of stories and pieces of advice, as well as easy exercises, the author provides a good starting point in your life-changing journey.

The book gives excellent advice on how to stop caring what other people think and figure out what you want without obsessing about how you’ll get there.

Key Takeaways

  • Tips on how to keep your motivation strong and your vibe high in your quest for unstoppable transformation.
  • Examples of how to figure out what you want.
  • Ways of achieving goals without obsessing about how you’ll get there.

Reviews

“Sincero (Don’t Sleep With Your Drummer) brings a fun, feminine verve to now well-tread self-help tropes… The tone is far more contentious than academic, and there’s humor on every page, which is exactly what she intended audience most needs”Publishers Weekly.

“I adore Jen’s realistic and funny take on living an awesome life. She has such a gift for writing in a very digestible way that will appeal to everyone. If you’re looking for purple unicorns and rainbows, you won’t find them here; what you will find are practical and easy ways to connect with your inner badass and change your life.”Madisyn Taylor, Co-Founder, DailyOM.

Ratings





2/45
Dare to Lead

by Brené Brown

2018

Dare to Lead Self Help Books

Amazon | from $12.28

ThriftBooks | from $8.69

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

Dare to Lead is the culmination of seven years of research on courage and leadership and a book for those who choose courage over comfort, make a difference, and lead.

Brene Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston, visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business, and an author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers.

In this #1 NYT bestseller, Brene Brown will teach what it means to dare greatly, rise strong, and brave the wilderness, and how to put those ideas into practice and take the lead.

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t lead by pretending to know all answers; stay curious and ask the right questions.
  • Leadership is not about titles, status, and power over people but accountability.
  • Benefit from Brown’s two decades of research in courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy.

Reviews

“With Dare to Lead, Brené brings decades of research to bear in a practical and insightful guide to courageous leadership. This book is a road map for anyone who wants to lead mindfully, live bravely, and dare to lead.”Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook.

“Brené visited Pixar to talk with our filmmakers. Her message was important, as movies are best when they come from a place of vulnerability when the people who make them encounter setbacks and are forced to overcome them when they are willing to have their asses handed to them. It is easy to sit back and talk about the values of a safe and meaningful culture, but extraordinarily difficult to pull it off. You don’t achieve good culture without constant attention, without an environment of safety, courage, and vulnerability. These are hard skills, but they are teachable skills. Start with this book.”Ed Catmull, president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Ratings





3/45
More Than Enough

by Elaine Welteroth

2019

More Than Enough Self-help Books

Amazon | from $10.43

ThriftBooks | from $5.19

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

Elaine Welteroth moves beyond the headlines and highlights reels to share profound lessons and struggles of being a barrier-breaker across many intersections.

As a young boss and the only black woman in the room, she’s had enough of the world telling her – and all women – they’re not enough.

An instant New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2020 NAACP Image award for outstanding literary work, ‘More Than Enough’ offers a path to success as carved by a black woman in a predominantly white workplace.

Key Takeaways

  • As a change maker and young boss, Welteroth shows young black girls and women that they are more than enough.
  • Part manifesto, part memoir, this self-help book infuses a wide range of concepts like race, identity, love, quality of life, and friendship into the social consciousness.
  • Elaine’s book calls for young women to find their voice and courage to pursue a happier life.

Reviews

“Elaine gifts us all with a beautifully intimate and powerful retelling of her ever-unfolding journey. In sharing her joys, pitfalls, adventures, self-doubt, and successes, she reminds us that we are more than enough through uncovering and discovering the many facets of ourselves”Yara Shahidi.

“Throughout her career, author Elaine Welteroth has often been the only black woman in the room. Learn how she broke down barriers—across several different intersections—to succeed in the media and fashion industries and become one of her generation’s changemakers. . . . Welteroth’s words may be just what you need to take back your confidence and head down the path toward a new job.”Forbes.

Ratings





4/45
Big Magic

by Elizabeth Gilbert

2015

Big Magic Self-help Books

Amazon | from $7.89

ThriftBooks | from $5.39

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

From Elizabeth Gilbert, the worldwide best-selling author of Eat Pray Love and City of Girls: The path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of, ‘Big Magic‘ is an instant number one New York Times best seller.

The author digs deep into her generative process to share wisdom and a unique perspective on creativity.

With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration.

Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages readers to uncover the “strange jewels” hidden within each of us.

Key Takeaways

  • A world of wonder and joy filled with challenges, mindfulness, and passion for cheering you up.
  • A no-BS attitude towards unrealistic expectations and unnecessary melodrama attached to the concept of “creative living.”
  • Accept your creative life and any creative inclinations or ideas as gifts from the universe.

Reviews

“Big Magic is a celebration of a creative life…Gilbert’s love of creativity is infectious, and there’s a lot of great advice in this sunny book…Gilbert doesn’t just call for aspiring artists to speak their truth, however daffy that may appear to others; she is showing them how.”Washington Post.

“In [Gilbert’s] first foray into full-on self-help [she] shares intimate glimpses into the life of a world-famous creative, complete with bouts of paralyzing fear and frustration, in an attempt to coax the rest of us into walking through the world just a little bit braver.”Elle.

Ratings





5/45
Daring Greatly

by Brené Brown

2012

Daring Greatly Self-help Books

Amazon | from $8.58

ThriftBooks | from $5.59

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

Embracing your vulnerabilities can be a difficult thing to do.

Yet, if you have the right approach and know how to do that, you’ll soon realize that you can dare to do anything.

A unique masterpiece that combines a self-help approach with the characteristics of a business book, Daring Greatly is a manual for those who want to end their mental clutter and negative thinking.

Daring Greatly is a book about courage to be vulnerable in a world where everyone wants to appear strong, confident, and in control of their actions.

Key Takeaways

  • Powerful techniques to help you to overcome insecurities and live fearlessly.
  • Vulnerability means strength, not weakness.
  • Learn to acknowledge and verbalize shame to make it go away.

Reviews

“The brilliantly insightful Brené Brown draws upon extensive research and personal experience to explore the paradoxes of courage: we become strong by embracing vulnerability, and we dare more greatly when we acknowledge our fear. I can’t stop thinking about this book.”Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project.

“A wonderful book: urgent, essential, and fun to read. I couldn’t put it down, and it continues to resonate with me.”Seth Godin, author of Linchpin.

Ratings





SELF-HELP BOOKS FOR MEN

6/45
12 Rules for Life

by Jordan Peterson

2018

12 Rules for Lifeby Jordan Peterson best self-help books

Amazon | from $13.09

ThriftBooks | from $24.31

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

Essential writing in the self-help literature, Peterson’s book shows that inevitably, life will turn chaotic at some point in your life, and things won’t just make sense.

According to Dr. Peterson, there are rules and principles for life that everybody should know.

The author takes the time to explain each of the 12 rules for life in a humorous and informative way.

12 Rules For Life is a stern, story-based, self-help manual for young people. The book lays out simple principles designed to help you become disciplined, act with integrity, and be in harmony with the world around you.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn what is meaningful, not convenient.
  • Treat yourself like a child you’re responsible for.
  • Clean your patio before pointing to the city’s dirty street.

Reviews

“Jordan Peterson has become one of the best-known Canadians of this generation. In the intellectual category, he’s easily the largest international phenomenon since Marshall McLuhan. . . . By combining knowledge of the past with a full-hearted optimism and a generous attitude toward his readers and listeners, Peterson generates an impressive level of intellectual firepower.”Robert Fulford, National Post.

“In a different intellectual league. . . . Peterson can take the most complex ideas and make them entertaining. This may be why his YouTube videos have had 35 million views. He is fast becoming the closest academia has to a rock star.”The Observer.

Ratings





7/45
The 48 Laws of Power

by Robert Greene

1998

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene best self-help books

Amazon | from $9.74

ThriftBooks | from $11.59

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Critic’s Summary

Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills 3,000 years of the history of power into 48 well-explicated laws.

Robert Greene’s excellent self-help book outlines the laws of power in real essence by synthesizing the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, Carl von Clausewitz, and other infamous strategists.

The 48 Laws of Power is a self-help manual for gaining, observing, and defending against ultimate control.

Inspired by history’s most influential conflicts, The 48 Laws Of Power cracks open the concept of power: what power looks like, how to get it, how to defend against powerful others, and, most importantly, how to use and keep it.

Key Takeaways

  • Always make superiors look more competent than you.
  • Confuse competitors by acting unpredictably.
  • Don’t force people to do what you want; seduce them instead.

Reviews

“Machiavelli has a new rival. And Sun Tzu had better watch his back. Greene . . . has put together a checklist of ambitious behavior. Just reading the table of contents is enough to stir a little corner-office lust.”New York magazine.

“Beguiling . . . literate . . . fascinating. A wry primer for people who desperately want to be on top.”People magazine.

Ratings





8/45
Awaken the Giant Within

by Tony Robbins

1991

Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins best self-help books

Amazon | from $10.99

ThriftBooks | from $4.19

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Critic’s Summary

Awaken the Giant Within is more than a self-help book but an ultimate program for improving the quality of every aspect of your life (personal or business, physical or emotional).

Awaken the Giant Within gives you the tools you need to become the master of your fate immediately.

In a revolutionary self-help book based on his enormously popular ‘Date with Destiny’ seminars, Anthony Robbins unleashes the ‘sleeping giant’ within us through direct techniques that harness untapped abilities, talents, and skills.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to believe in yourself and develop self-efficacy.
  • Quick steps to set simple, actionable goals.
  • Learn how to build better habits, or as Tony calls it, “success conditioning.”

Reviews

“Yet another profound and powerful tool in the Robbins arsenal of self-awareness. It has been an enormous source of strength and insight for me personally and professionally. “Peter Guber, Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment.

“Anthony Robbins is the ‘ultimate coach’ for that special breed of men and women who will never settle for less than they can be.”Pat Riley, NBA “Coach of the Decade.”

Ratings





9/45
Get Out of Your Own Way

by Mark Goulston & Philip Goldberg

1996

Get Out of Your Own Way by Mark Goulston & Philip Goldberg best self-help books

Amazon | from $4.92

ThriftBooks | from $6.69

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

The book tackles the concept of self-defeating behavior, explaining how it poisons and prevents you from achieving the love, success, and happiness you want.

‘Get Out of Your Own Way’ is an antidote book that explains why we sabotage ourselves, going back to childhood origins of various behaviors.

More importantly, it offers proven steps of action to transform behavior from self-defeating to life-enhancing.

Change 40 common self-defeating behaviors, such as procrastination, envy, obsession, anger, self-pity, compulsion, neediness, guilt, rebellion, and inaction, with practical, proven self-help steps.

Key Takeaways

  • Self-defeating behavior is the single most common reason that people seek psychotherapy.
  • Learn how to stop avoiding pain if you want your life to improve.
  • Spot and break out of the limiting beliefs holding you back from reaching your full potential.

Reviews

“Powerful practical insights that can help many to live more rewarding lives.”Harold Bloomfield, How to Survive the Loss of a Love

“Provides clear insight, compassionate understanding, and practical solutions.”Jack Canfield, Coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Ratings





10/45
Beyond Anger

by Thomas J. Harbin

1999

Beyond Anger by Thomas J. Harbin self-help book

Amazon | from $9.69

ThriftBooks | from $4.69

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Critic’s Summary

Written by a psychologist specializing in treating male rage, Beyond Anger shows angry and miserable people how to improve their lives and relationships.

An excellent self-help book explains the symptoms of chronic anger and how actions taken under irritation and pressure negatively impact family, friends, and coworkers.

It is a book that helps people control violent feelings by using simple exercises designed to identify when and why anger occurs and by helping form new habits to prevent it before it starts.

Key Takeaways

  • Don’t let others control how you feel.
  • Understand how your emotions and anger work.
  • Understand how anger impacts your body.

Reviews

“I highly recommend Thomas J. Harbin’s “Beyond Anger: A Guide For Men” as a reading reference for the angry male patient. Harbin, a clinical psychologist in private practice specializing in treating angry men, has written a clear and direct self-help book to treat male anger. With simple, straight talk, Harbin discusses the signs and symptoms of clinically significant anger, explains the various factors contributing to male anger, and provides multiple approaches, strategies, and suggestions to reduce anger problems.”Hawai’i Psychologist.

“Anger and dreaming have this in common: everybody has both, but subjective awareness runs the gamut from being oblivious to being overwhelmed. Those who find the happy medium can process what goes on inside and make good use of it, or just put it aside if they choose. Psychologist Harbin effectively brings the reader to this happy medium. He speaks from experience and writes well.”Forward Magazine.

Ratings





SELF-HELP BOOKS FOR ANXIETY

11/45
The Four Agreements

by Don Miguel Ruiz

1997

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz self-help book

Amazon | from $7.73

ThriftBooks | from $5.49

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

The Four Agreements has been a New York Times bestseller for over a decade, translated into 46 languages.

In the book, the author, don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering.

Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offers a robust code of conduct written to transform your life and achieve the authentic experience of freedom, happiness, and love.

Draws on the tradition of the Toltecs, an ancient indigenous people of Mexico, The Four Agreements posits that people are ‘domesticated’ from childhood and how these guiding rules hurt them in the long run.

The book gives techniques to break and replace these unwanted “agreements” with a new set of self-promises.

Key Takeaways

  • Be impeccable with your word.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions.

Reviews

“This book by don Miguel Ruiz, simple yet so powerful, has made a tremendous difference in how I think and act in every encounter.”Oprah Winfrey.

“Don Miguel Ruiz’s book is a roadmap to enlightenment and freedom.”Deepak Chopra, Author, The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.

Ratings





12/45
The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up

by Marie Kondo

2010

The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo best self-help book

Amazon | from $7.90

ThriftBooks | from $4.69

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

Your environment dictates your mood, which also applies to your home.

If your home is cluttered with all sorts of things, your mood will be impacted accordingly.

Tidying up your house might help you reach a feeling of calmness and to change your mindset – all for the better.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up takes you through simplifying, organizing, and storing your belongings to turn your home into a place of peace and clarity.

Key Takeaways

  • Start with expensive items when considering what to discard and keep.
  • YODO – you only declutter once (if you do it right).
  • Ask yourself a few simple questions for each item.

Reviews

“Ms. Kondo delivers her tidy manifesto like a kind of Zen nanny, both hortatory and animistic.”The New York Times.

“A literal how-to-heave-ho, and I recommend it for anyone who struggles with the material excess of living in a privileged society. (Thanks to Ms. Kondo, I kiss my old socks goodbye.) . . . To show you how serious my respect for Ms. Kondo is: if I ever get a tattoo, it will say, Spark Joy!”Jamie Lee Curtis, Time.

Ratings





13/45
The Power Of Now

by Eckhart Tolle

1997

The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle self-help-book

Amazon | from $7.13

ThriftBooks | from $4.59

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

According to Eckhart Tolle, living in the present moment is the only way to a happy life.

However, the complicated part for most people is consciously deciding to live in the moment, but this self-help book does just that.

Packed with helpful information and inspirational ideas, this guidebook will inspire you to improve your life.

The Power of Now shows you that every minute you spend worrying about the future or regretting the past is lost.

A self-help book that will help you live in the present, the now, by giving actionable strategies to live and enjoy every minute as it occurs.

Key Takeaways

  • Life is just a series of continuous moments taking place in the present.
  • Pain is the result of resistance against the things you cannot change.
  • Learn how to free yourself from pain by observing your mind without judging your thoughts.

Reviews

“The Power of Now can transform your thinking. The result? More joy, right now.”Oprah Winfrey.

“Pointing to the portals of the eternal Present, this practical mystic’s modern gospel offers transcendent truths that set us free.”Dan Millman.

Ratings





14/45
The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook

by Edmund Bourne

2015

The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund Bourne self-help book

Amazon | from $14.99

ThriftBooks | from $4.05

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

Celebrating 30 years as a classic in its field and recommended by therapists worldwide, The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook is an unparalleled, essential resource for people struggling with anxiety and phobias.

Living with anxiety, panic disorders, or phobias can make you feel like you aren’t in control of your life.

Tackle the fears that hold you back with this go-to guide, packed with the most effective skills for assessing and treating anxiety; this evidence-based workbook contains the latest clinical research.

You’ll find an arsenal of tools for quieting worry, ending negative self-talk, and taking charge of your anxious thoughts.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to use relaxation and breathing techniques
  • Discover the latest research on exposure therapy for phobias
  • Great lifestyle, exercise, mindfulness, and nutrition tips

Reviews

“Several generations of counselors and physicians have had the benefit of Edmund Bourne’s intensely researched and extremely handy The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. This book is critical today as climate change continues to inflame the anxieties of our already-stressed social fabric. The WHO and NIH are all reporting sweeping increases in ‘eco-anxiety.’ If you don’t already have this updated edition of the ‘gold standard’ in anxiety treatment, now is the time to add it to your clinical armamentarium.”Christian R. Komor, PsyD, author of Climate Deadline 2035.

“Here is the valuable and comprehensive update to a classic in our self-help field. This fast-paced guide unravels the mysteries of anxieties, phobias, and worry, then delivers action-focused ‘how-to’ techniques. With these powerful tools in your hands, you can more than survive; you can thrive.”Reid Wilson, Ph.D. and author of Stopping the Noise in Your Head.

Ratings





15/45
The Highly Sensitive Person

by Elaine Aron

1996

The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron self-help books

Amazon | from $10.99

ThriftBooks | from $7.49

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Critic’s Summary

According to author Elaine Aron (also an HSP), sensitive people have an unusual ability to sense subtleties, spot or avoid errors, concentrate and delve deeply into the most complex life issues.

This book helps HSPs understand their sensitive trait and their impact on personal history, career, relationships, and inner life.

Written for compassionate people overwhelmed by stimuli, easily startled, and affected by others’ moods, this is an essential self-help book to learn about ourselves.

Key Takeaways

  • Honor your intuition.
  • Limit sensory overload.
  • Have plenty of sleep and a relaxing time.

Reviews

“Elaine Aron’s perceptive analysis of this fundamental dimension of human nature is must read. Her balanced presentation suggests new paths for making sensitivity a blessing, not a handicap.”Philip G. Zimbardo, author of Shyness.

“Enlightening and empowering, this book is a wonderful gift to us all.” Riane Ensler, author of Nurturing Our Humanity.

Ratings





SELF-HELP BOOKS FOR RELATIONSHIPS

16/45
Atlas of the Heart

by Brené Brown

2021

Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown self help book

Amazon | from $14.16

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

With the help of science-backed facts and research, Brown explores over 87 human emotions and offers unique tools for expressing and understanding them.

This excellent self-help book is for those who seek to understand, control, and use emotions for a better connection with themselves and others.

Atlas of the Heart is a self-help book that maps human emotions, their meanings, and the psychology behind feelings. Then, the book unveils how to make the most out of them to change your behavior and build meaningful connections.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to traverse the daily struggles of being human.
  • Know how to learn from hard feelings and past experiences.
  • Give language and voice to your emotions to create empowered conversations.

Ratings


17/45
The Five Love Languages

by Gary Chapman

1992

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman self-help book

Amazon | from $6.91

ThriftBooks | from $3.99

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

According to Chapman, the five love languages are five unique ways of expressing and receiving love: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.

As not everyone communicates and receives love in the same way, people have different ways they prefer to give and receive love.

The Five Love Languages: How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate is a best-selling self-help book that outlines five main ways romantic partners should express and experience love.

Key Takeaways

  • There are five different ways people give and show love.
  • Identify your and your partner’s love language to deepen intimacy.
  • As your relationship evolves, discover and learn your new love language.

Ratings


18/45
How To Win Friends And Influence People

by Dale Carnegie

1936

How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie self-help book

Amazon | from $10.54

ThriftBooks | from $5.69

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Critic’s Summary

Published one year before another self-help classic, Think And Grow Rich, How To Win Friends And Influence People, has sold over 15 million copies during the 80 years it’s been in print.

This book has shaped behavioral psychology to the current understanding.

The book must be read like an instruction manual on how to be liked by others, get favors, and even change people’s behavior under your influence.

Dale Carnegie’s core idea is that you can change anyone’s behavior by simply changing yours first without manipulation or deceit.

“How To Win Friends And Influence People” is arguably the most popular self-help book ever.

The book comprises critical, easy-to-understand principles on becoming likable, handling relationships well, winning others over, and changing behavior fast.

Key Takeaways

  • You can make a great first impression just by smiling.
  • To be attractive to others, talk about their favorite topic: themselves.
  • If you want to convince people, get them to say yes.

Ratings





19/45
Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

by John Gray

1992

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray

Amazon | from $1.99

ThriftBooks | from $4.19

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Critic’s Summary

“Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus” addresses some of the most common relationship problems every couple experiences.

The book highlights key differences between men and women in thinking, acting, and communicating.

However, we are all unique, and some of you may not fall into these general behavior patterns.

That said, the book provides several solid “aha” moments in the quest to figure out the opposite sex.

“Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” is one of the best self-help books for improving love and family relationships by identifying the critical communication differences between biological females and males.

Key Takeaways

  • Females want males to listen to them, while males think females wish for solutions to problems.
  • Males are motivated when feeling useful; females are inspired when feeling loved.
  • Females and males assign different meanings to the exact words.

Review

“A valuable, much-needed book. A contribution to understanding the communication styles of men and women.”Harville Hendrix, author of Getting the Love You Want.

“Gray offers a Berlitz of the heart, a translation of that foreign language your spouse is speaking. And hearing.”USA Today.

Ratings


20/45
When Sorry Isn’t Enough

by Gary Chapman & Jennifer Thomas

2013

When Sorry Isn't Enough by Gary Chapman & Jennifer Thomas relationships self-help books

Amazon | from $4.13

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Critic’s Summary

Even in the best of relationships, people make mistakes and do and say things they regret, hurting those they love most. Simply saying sorry is never enough.”

‘When Sorry Isn’t Enough is a rare book that’ll help you discover how meaningful apologies can make your friendships, family, and marriage more robust than ever before.

In this excellent self-help book, number-one New York Times best-selling authors Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas unveil several new ways to approach and mend fractured relationships effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to cool down heated arguments
  • Rekindle love that has been dimmed by pain
  • Restore and strengthen valuable relationships

Ratings





SELF-HELP BOOKS FOR DEPRESSION

21/45
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

by Mark Manson

2016

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson - best self-help books

EDITOR’S NOTE

“The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck does away with the positive psychology craze and reverts to the Stoic, no-BS approach of living a life that might not always be happy but meaningful and centered around what’s important to you.”

Amazon | from $12.29

ThriftBooks | from $5.59

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

Sometimes, mustering a positive attitude won’t work, no matter how hard you try.

If that’s you, Mark Manson’s research-backed self-help book, packed with strategies on enduring hard times by recognizing what is worth caring for, is the best resource you can read right now.

Key Takeaways

  • Values you can’t control are not values you want to follow.
  • The belief you know anything with certainty keeps you from learning and improving.
  • The desperation to leave a legacy will ruin your life.

Review

“Resilience, happiness, and freedom come from knowing what to care about–and most importantly, what not to care about. This is a masterful, philosophical and practical book that will give readers the wisdom to do just that.”Ryan Holiday, New York Times bestselling author of The Obstacle is the Way, and Ego is the Enemy.

“Mark’s ability to dig deep and offer amazing, yet counter-intuitive, insight into the challenges of life makes him one of my favorite writers, and this book is his best work yet.”Matt Kepnes, New York Times bestselling author of Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter.

Ratings


22/45
The Alchemist

by Paulo Coelho

1988

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - best self-help books

EDITOR’S NOTE

“The Alchemist is a classic novel turned self-helping book, where the main character learns the true importance of who he is and how to improve his persona by focusing only on what matters in life.”

Amazon | from $16

ThriftBooks | from $5.09

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Critic’s Summary

It only took Paulo Coelho two weeks to write the original Portuguese version of The Alchemist in 1987.

Nowadays, the book is sold over 65 million copies and spent more than 315 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

The Alchemist also holds the Guinness World Record for the most translated book by a living author.

It’s also setting a record here on Four Minute Books as our first-ever summary of a fictional book.

Key Takeaways

  • Have a life-long dream to pursue if you want to be happy and fulfilled.
  • Fear will be holding you back more than anything else.
  • Life’s secret is falling seven times and getting up eight times.

Ratings





23/45
Man’s Search for Meaning

by Viktor Frankl

1946

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl self-help books
Self-help Books: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl – thevou.com

EDITOR’S NOTE

“Written by the holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning details horrifying moments from Nazi concentration camps and his psychological approach of logotherapy – the technique that helped him survive and gain a new life perspective.”

Amazon | from $9.40

ThriftBooks | from $5.59

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Critic’s Summary

This 1946 world-famous book describes the author’s experiences in over three gruesome years spent in various Nazi concentration camps.

Frankl’s teachings – learned during the worst times of his life – insist that people can and must, find meaning in their lives, even if all they know is tremendous suffering.

This approach is known as ‘logotherapy,’ a technique that made the author a key figure in contemporary psychology.

Key Takeaways

  • Sometimes, the only way to survive is to accept the inevitability of your death.
  • Your life has meaning, and it’s up to you to find it.
  • Use the ‘paradoxical intention’ approach to make fears go away.

Reviews

“One of the great books of our time.”Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

“One of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years.” – Carl R. Rogers.

Ratings


24/45
The Antidote

by Oliver Burkeman

2012

The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman - best self-help books

EDITOR’S NOTE

“With a provocative and galvanizing message – inspired by a long and distinguished philosophical lineage ranging from ancient Roman Stoic philosophers to Buddhists – The Antidote has the answer to what’s wrong with positivity-based self-help advice and what you should do instead.”

Amazon | from $11.25

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Critic’s Summary

The Antidote is a series of journeys among people who share a unique way of thinking about life.

The point these people have in common is a constant effort to eliminate all causes that make them feel anxious, insecure, and unhappy.

Burkeman’s self-help book is witty, fascinating, and sometimes counterintuitive by turning decades of self-help advice on its head and forcing readers to rethink their attitudes toward failure, uncertainty, and death.

Key Takeaways

  • Thinking about happiness and pursuing happiness is not the same thing.
  • Imagining the worst-case scenario should make you resilient, not depressed.
  • Choosing and chasing goals might make you happy, but it could also make you miserable.

Reviews

“Burkeman’s tour of the ‘negative path’ to happiness makes for a deeply insightful and entertaining book. This insecure, anxious, and sometimes unhappy reader found it quite helpful.”  – Hector Tobar, The Los Angeles Times.

“Some of the most truthful and useful words on [happiness] to be published in recent years . . . An amazing synthesis of good sense would make a bracing detox for the self-help junkie.”  – Julian Baggini, The Guardian.

Ratings


25/45
Change Your Brain, Change Your Life

by Daniel Amen

1996

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life by Daniel Amen Self-help Books

Amazon | from $9.97

ThriftBooks | from $4.19

Critic’s Summary

According to neuropsychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen, the key takeaway of this book is that you’re not stuck with the brain you’re born with.

Hailed as “The book of brain prescriptions that works,” ‘Change your Brain, the book is a clear-cut self-help manual.

Discover how to quell anxiety and panic, fight depression, curb anger, stop obsessive worrying, conquer impulsiveness and learn to focus.

‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Life’ is a breakthrough bestseller that uses the latest scientific evidence in anxiety, depression, anger, obsessiveness, and impulsiveness and provides tools to keep them under control.

Key Takeaways

  • Thoughts have a real and substantial impact on how you feel and behave.
  • Develop an ability to stay focused for long periods.
  • Learn something new every day.

Reviews

“With a cutting-edge, easy-to-apply plan, Dr. Daniel Amen proves you needn’t succumb to depression, anger, and other negative emotions. This must-read book provides the key to heal your brain and transform your life.” – JJ Virgin, Celebrity Nutrition & Fitness Expert, Author of the NYT bestsellers: The Virgin Diet & Sugar Impact Diet.

“This is the definitive manual for taking care of your brain, so it can take care of you. Prevent one of the most important hidden agers of your body.”Sara Gottfried MD, Harvard Trained Physician and NYT bestselling author of The Hormone Cure.

Ratings





SELF-HELP BOOKS FOR TEENAGERS

26/45
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

by Charlie Mackesy

2019

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy - best self-help books

Amazon | from $8.71

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Critic’s Summary

Enter the world of Charlie’s four unlikely friends, and discover their story and most important life lessons.

“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” has been shared millions of times online, read by children in schools, and hung on hospital walls.

Here, you will find them together in this book of Charlie’s most-loved drawings, adventuring into the wild and exploring the thoughts and feelings that unite us all.

“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” is a graphic novel by Charlie Mackesy, packed with pictures and text that tells a beautiful story about friendship and acceptance.

Key Takeaways

  • Have the courage to ask for help.
  • Learn how to accept your innermost feelings of delicate sensitivity and sincerity.
  • Don’t get rid of people or animals just because they get old, and don’t give up on those who have been faithful to you.

Reviews

“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is not only a thought-provoking, discussion-worthy story, but the book itself is also an object of art.”New York Times.

“The world that I long to inhabit is the one that Charlie Mackesy has created – a world of infinite kindness, wisdom, mutual care and tenderness, and true love between real friends. My prayer/hope is that our world will become more like this one.”  – Elizabeth Gilbert, New York Times bestselling author of Eat, Pray, Love and Big Magic.

Ratings


27/45
Just As You Are

by Kelly Skeen and Michelle Skeen

2018

Just As You Are by Kelly Skeen and Michelle Skeen - best self-help books

Amazon | from $9.99

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Critic’s Summary

Sometimes it’s hard to see yourself with clarity and kindness.

This critical self-help guide teaches you to overcome your faults, celebrate your strengths, and discover what matters.

You’ll also learn to be aware of your thoughts and feelings using powerful mindfulness tools and build a plan of action for the future, all according to your values.

In Just As You Are, psychologist Michelle Skeen and her daughter, Kelly Skeen, offer tips to overcome inadequacy and unworthiness, stop comparing yourself to others, and accept who you are.

Key Takeaways

  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
  • You’re unique, just as you are.
  • Silence your nit-picky inner critic, and cultivate self-compassion.

Reviews

“This book provides effective tools for combatting feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, and low self-esteem that are so common among teens. Readers will learn strategies for self-acceptance, changing negative thinking patterns, and communicating effectively. The book is clear, easy to read, and filled with practical exercises. Highly recommended!”Martin M. Antony, Ph.D., ABPP, professor of psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto, ON, Canada.

“Just As You Are helps young people examine their negative self-stories from a place of compassion and value. The personal stories and exercises will resonate with a broad range of readers. Such a helpful book.”Ben Sedley, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author of Stuff That Sucks.

Ratings


28/45
Dr. Christian’s Guide to Growing Up

by Christian Jessen

2013

Dr Christian's Guide to Growing Up by Christian Jessen - best self-help books

Amazon | from $7.64

Critic’s Summary

TV’s favorite doctor, Dr. Christian, comes to the rescue of parents, boys, and girls with a self-help collection of answers to the most complex questions about adolescence, sexuality, and puberty.

Covering issues such as puberty, diet, sex, self-esteem, body image, personal health, and emotional health, the book is a godsend for every family household with children under the age of 15.

Addressing questions parents squirm at answering, Dr. Christian’s sensible, light-hearted advice guides boys and girls in becoming healthy, happy adults.

In his assured, no-nonsense fashion, Dr. Christian alleviates the fears and uncertainties of growing youngsters (and helps parents find answers) about puberty, sex, personal and emotional health, and body image.

Key Takeaways

  • Plain-speaking book for boys and girls.
  • Details on weird feelings, hair growth in odd places, reproduction, STIs, contraception, bullying, intoxicants, and more.
  • Sensible, light-hearted advice for boys and girls on becoming healthy, happy adults.

Ratings





29/45
Shoot Your Shot

by Vernon Brundage Jr.

2018

Shoot Your Shot by Vernon Brundage Jr. - best self-help books

Amazon | from $5.99

ThriftBooks | from $7.39

Critic’s Summary

‘Shoot Your Shot’ unveils the fundamental principles that the world’s most elite basketball players have applied to become the celebrities they are.

Shooting your shot takes bravery, nerve, and willingness to be embarrassed if things don’t go your way.

The author details in this self-help book how to use those same principles to help you navigate life, accomplish your goals, and realize your dreams.

Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Stephen Curry, and Kevin Durant are some of the most high-profile names in the world’s most popular sport, basketball. The question is, what steps did they take to reach superstardom?

Key Takeaways

  • Entertaining reading experience while equipping you with proven tools for success.
  • Suitable for everyone–regardless of age, gender, background, or standing.
  • Shooting builds confidence and the ability to believe in oneself.

Reviews

“I’ve spent my entire life in the game of basketball…and recently made the pivot (pun intended) for sharing the lessons I’ve learned from the game with the business world. This book encapsulates it perfectly! Well done, Vernon!”Alan Stein Jr., bestselling author of Raise Your Game.

“Jewels and universal laws all through it!”Sean Singletary.

Ratings


30/45
The Body Image Book for Girls

by Charlotte Markey

2020

The Body Image Book for Girls by Charlotte Markey

Amazon | from $12

ThriftBooks | from $13.09

Critic’s Summary

Body image expert and psychology professor Dr. Charlotte Markey helps girls aged 9-15 to understand, accept, and appreciate their bodies.

She provides all the facts on puberty, mental health, self-care, why diets are bad news, dealing with social media, and everything in between.

Girls will find answers to questions they always wanted to ask, the truth behind many body image myths, and real-life stories from girls who share their own experiences.

Rooted in scientific research on how puberty impacts the female body during puberty, this is a great self-help book packed with advice and recommendations about the girl-to-woman body, dieting, and the impact of social media.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn how to nurture both mental and physical health.
  • Tips on how to improve your body image
  • Learn how to go out into the world feeling fearless.

Reviews

“This book is a must-read for all girls everywhere. It teaches them to invest in themselves rather than the diet culture and myths that rob them of their time and intelligence. Dr. Charlotte Markey is a research expert on this subject, and girls who read this book are much more likely to bloom fully.”Leslie Bloch and Zoe Bisbing, LCSWs, Eating Disorder Psychotherapists.

“It is so refreshing to read a book on positive aspects of body image rather than problems, written in a style that adolescent girls can relate to and provides practical tips on topics central to their lives. The stories, layout, illustrations, and balanced information provide a fabulous resource for girls as they negotiate the adolescent period. I particularly love the Q&A sections that focus girls on the main messages for each chapter in a very concrete way.”Marita P. McCabe, Professor of Psychology, Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia.

Ratings





SELF-HELP BOOKS FOR WORK

31/45
Deep Work

by Cal Newport

2016

Deep Work by Cal Newport self-help books

Amazon | from $7.97

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Critic’s Summary

Another excellent self-help book by Cal Newport, the author behind the ever-so-valuable So Good They Can’t Ignore You.

Newport has been talking about deep work for quite some time on his blog, and finally, the accompanying book is out.

With an accent on deliberate practice, a concept the author described in his book, Deep Work, Newport suggests that the ability to immerse in complex tasks for more extended periods is a rare and valuable skill.

Then, he proceeds to outline four fundamental rules anyone can use to cultivate a deep work ethic.

Deep Work introduces four simple techniques you can use to reclaim the ability to focus deeply again, learn how to immerse in complex tasks, and cultivate it, like a skill, to be able to concentrate for longer than ever before.

Key Takeaways

  • The intention is at the core of all four deep work strategies
  • Meditation will help you work deeper, despite feeling like you’re taking a break.
  • Stop working at the same time each day.

Reviews

“As a presence on the page, Newport is exceptional in the realm of self-help authors.”New York Times.

“DEEP WORK accomplishes two numerous tasks: Putting out a wealth of concrete practices for the ambitious without relying on gauzy clichés. The second is that Mr. Newport resists the corporate groupthink of constant connectivity without seeming like a curmudgeon.”Wall Street Journal.

Ratings


32/45
Thinking, Fast and Slow

by Daniel Kahneman

2011

Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman - best self-help books

Amazon | from $9.49

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Critic’s Summary

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” is about how two systems — intuition and slow thinking — shape our judgment and how we can effectively tap into both.

Using principles of behavioral economics, Kahneman walks us through how to think and avoid mistakes in situations with high stakes.

If you’re prone to making rash decisions that you sometimes regret — or feel too burned out to spend a lot of time weighing out the pros and cons, this book is worth checking out.

Thinking, Fast And Slow describes two brain systems (ways of thinking) that are in a constant fight to control your emotions, behavior, and actions; a top self-help book that teaches the resulting errors in memory, judgment, and decisions, and what you can do to fix it.

Key Takeaways

  • The human brain has two ‘modes of thinking that impact how we act and react.
  • Solving complicated problems requires mental resources, so the brain cuts corners when we’re tired or stressed.
  • The brain uses confirmation bias to jump to conclusions and save mental resources.

Reviews

“It is an astonishingly rich book: lucid, profound, full of intellectual surprises and self-help value. It is consistently entertaining . . . So impressive is its vision of flawed human reason that the New York Times columnist David Brooks recently declared that Kahneman and Tversky’s work ‘will be remembered hundreds of years from now as a crucial pivot point in the way we see ourselves.'”Jim Holt, The New York Times.

“There have been many good books on human rationality and irrationality, but only one masterpiece. That masterpiece is Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow . . . This is one of the greatest and most engaging collections of insights into the human mind I have read.”William Easterly, Financial Times.

Ratings


33/45
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen Covey

1989

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey - best self-help books

Amazon | from $25

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Critic’s Summary

With over 25 million copies sold, this is one of the best self-help books ever published.

The book was published in 1990 and was hailed, in 2022, as the bible of leadership and modern management.

The seven habits are:

  1. Be Proactive
  2. Begin with the End in Mind
  3. Put First Things First
  4. Think Win-Win
  5. First, Seek to Understand, Then to Be Understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the Saw

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People teaches personal and professional effectiveness by changing the readers’ view of how the world works with the help of 7 habits, which, if adopted, will lead to happiness and success.

Key Takeaways

  • Do the funeral test – remember you’ll die one day.
  • Learn how to say no.
  • Practice active listening.

Ratings





34/45
Getting Things Done

by David Allen

2001

Getting Things Done by David Allen - best self-help books

Amazon | from $23

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Critic’s Summary

Considered the bible of productivity, this self-help book by David Allen has sold over 1.5 million copies.

Revised and updated in 2015 to reflect the changes in technology, the book packs a simple but effective productivity system.

Allen states, “there is an inverse relationship between things on your mind and the things you’ll get done.”

In simple terms, GTD is a time management system.

Getting Things Done is a self-help manual for stress-free productivity that works by setting up a system of lists, reminders, and weekly reviews to free up your mind from tasks and to-dos and instead focus on the task at hand.

Key Takeaways

  • Use a “collection bucket” to store things outside your mind and stay focused.
  • Create a “next actions” list for all your projects to avoid thinking at the moment.
  • Do weekly reviews of your lists, tasks, and actions.

Ratings


35/45
Who Moved My Cheese

by Spencer Johnson

1998

Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson - best self-help books

Amazon | from $8.55

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Critic’s Summary

Who Moved My Cheese is a parable about two mice in a maze, Sniff and Scurry, spending most of their time looking for cheese.

Each mouse has a different character, depicting a different attitude towards change, with cheese being what we consider success.

Who Moved My Cheese bestows the readers with applicable and actionable parables they can use to stop fearing what lies ahead and thrive in this modern environment of constant changes and uncertainty.

Key Takeaways

  • Overthinking about ‘cheese’ will paralyze you, so engage in action.
  • No ‘cheese’ lasts forever, so keep your eyes open for changes and bad ‘cheese’ seasons.
  • There’s always new ‘cheese,’ and things will get better when you start moving.

Ratings


36/45
Rich Dad Poor Dad

by Robert Kiyosaki & Sharon Lechter

1997

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki & Sharon Lechter - best self-help books

Amazon | from $6.45

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Critic’s Summary

“Rich Dad Poor Dad” self-help book describes the author’s life lessons inherited from his two dads – a birth father (poor dad) and his best friend’s father (rich dad).

Robert Kiyosaki distills how both men thought, lived, and shaped their thoughts about money and investing.

The book dismantles several money-making myths, particularly the one that you must earn a high income to become rich.

“Rich Dad Poor Dad” book tells a unique story of a boy with two fathers, one rich and one poor; in the process, the book transforms your financial knowledge and mindset to how you can build a life of wealth and freedom.

Key Takeaways

  • Set realistic financial goals
  • Manage risks instead of avoiding them
  • Build a business on the side

Ratings





37/45
The 4-Hour Workweek

by Tim Ferriss

2007

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss - best self-help books

Amazon | from $9.85

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Critic’s Summary

Written out of frustration, this self-help is Tim’s manual on how he removed himself from the chains of his own company to do what he loves the most: learn and travel.

As suggested by the book’s title, Ferriss’s method demonstrates viable strategies to work only four hours per week without being financially penalized.

“The 4-Hour Workweek” is the step-by-step blueprint to remove the shackles of a corporate job, create a business that will fund the lifestyle of your dreams, and live like a millionaire without having to be one.

Key Takeaways

  • Be sufficient, not perfect.
  • Validate all of your business ideas.
  • Pay a premium if it makes your life easier.

Reviews

“It’s about time this book was written. It is a long-overdue manifesto for the mobile lifestyle, and Tim Ferriss is the ideal ambassador. This will be huge.” – Jack Canfield, Co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

“This is a whole new ball game. Highly recommended.”Dr. Stewart D. Friedman, Director of the Work/Life Integration Project, The Wharton School.

Ratings


38/45
Outliers

by Malcolm Gladwell

2008

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell - best self-help books

Amazon | from $9.91

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Critic’s Summary

You’re probably familiar with the concept that you need around 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill or subject.

Well, Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” is the source of this rule.

Ten thousand hours of practice equals about five years of uninterrupted 40-hour workweeks of practice.

As such, I expected the book to be about deliberate practice and how success is in your own hands if you work hard enough.

Believe it or not, the book argues the exact opposite very compellingly!

“Outliers” is a controversial self-help book centered around the idea that a “self-made man” is a myth, as success is just a series of random events, rare opportunities, and a mix of external factors, all out of your control.

Key Takeaways

  • Your birth month matters.
  • After a certain level, skill and abilities won’t matter.
  • Where you come from matters.

Reviews

“In the vast world of nonfiction writing, Malcolm Gladwell is as close to a singular talent as exists today…Outliers is a pleasure to read and leaves you mulling over its inventive theories for days afterward.”David Leonhardt, New York Times.

“The explosively entertaining Outliers might be Gladwell’s best and most useful work yet…There are both brilliant yarns and life lessons here: Outliers is riveting science, self-help, and entertainment, all in one book.”Gregory Kirschling, Entertainment Weekly.

Ratings





MOTIVATIONAL SELF-HELP BOOKS

39/45
Atomic Habits

by James Clear

2018

Atomic Habits by James Clear - best self-help books

Amazon | from $11

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Critic’s Summary

James Clear’s first book, Atomic Habits, is a New York Times bestseller and the definitive guide.

An atomic habit is a regular practice or routine that is not only small and easy to do but is also the source of incredible power, a component of the system of compound growth.

Bad habits repeat themselves repeatedly, not because you don’t want to change but because you have the wrong system for change.

Atomic Habits is the ultimate self-help guide to breaking destructive behaviors and adopting good ones in four simple steps – the book shows how small, incremental, everyday routines compound into massive, positive change over time.

Key Takeaways

  • A habit is the execution of a four-step pattern: cue, craving, response, and reward.
  • To form new habits, you must make them noticeable, attractive, easy, and satisfying.
  • Use a habit tracker to measure progress.

Reviews

“A supremely practical and useful book. James Clear distills the most fundamental information about habit formation, so you can accomplish more by focusing on less.” 
Mark Manson, #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

“James Clear has spent years honing the art and studying the science of habits. This engaging, hands-on book guides you to break bad routines and make good ones.”
Adam Grant, New York Times best-selling author of Originals, Give and Take, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg.

Ratings


40/45
Make Your Bed

by Admiral William H. McRaven

2017

Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven - best self-help books

Amazon | from $9

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Critic’s Summary

In 2014 Admiral William H. McRaven gave the commencement address at the University of Texas at Austin.

Encouraging the students to improve the world, he offered them many life lessons he had learned during his military life.

Eventually, the admiral’s speech went viral on Youtube and became a book.

In Make Your Bed, McRaven stresses that while life is unfair, what defines great people is how they deal with life’s unfairness.

Make Your Bed is a powerful self-help book that encourages the reader to pursue higher goals and change the lives of others for the better by showing that success is a combination of personal willpower and mutual support.

Key Takeaways

  • Making your bed first thing in the morning is the first easy-to-achieve task that should motivate the direction of the day.
  • Never ring the bell (give up) if you want to change the world (succeed).
  • You need “brothers in arms” to make a real difference.

Reviews

Should be read by every leader in America… [MAKE YOUR BED] is a book to inspire your children and grandchildren to become everything they can. It is a book to discuss with your executive leadership team as a spur to meeting shared goals. Most of all, it is a book that will leave you with tears in your eyes.” – Wall Street Journal.

“Full of captivating personal anecdotes from inside the national security vault…Like his commencement speech, McRaven’s lessons extend far beyond his bed-making. He devotes the 10-chapter book to lessons about moving beyond failure, standing up to bullies, and giving others hope.”Washington Post.

Ratings


41/45
Can’t Hurt Me

by David Goggins

2018

Can't Hurt Me by David Goggins - best self-help books

Amazon | from $9.99

ThriftBooks | from $14.99

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Critic’s Summary

David Goggins starts this excellent self-help biography book with the story of his abusive father and the deep emotional scars he suffered.

Eventually, David Goggins stopped making excuses and started giving life 100%, becoming an Air Force serviceman, decorated Navy SEAL, and an ultra-endurance athlete with several world records.

An excellent book for those at the bottom seeking to take stock of all the difficulties and hardships faced in life and achieve a better self.

Can’t Hurt Me is the journey of a depressed and overweight guy from working as a pest control technician (spraying cockroaches) to becoming a record-breaking athlete, highly-decorated military leader, world-class personal trainer, and arguably the toughest mother f..r on earth.

Key Takeaways

  • Past experiences and trauma don’t matter – you will always come out stronger with focus and hard work.
  • There’s no overnight success but hard work if you want to discover your best self.
  • Take advantage of the 40% rule to become the master of your mind and achieve impossible feats.

Reviews

“David Goggins is a being of pure will and inspiration. Listening to this guy talk makes you want to run up a mountain. I firmly believe people like him can change the course of the world just by inspiring us to push harder and dig deeper in everything we do. His goal to be ‘uncommon amongst uncommon people’ is something we can all use to propel ourselves to fulfill our true potential. I’m a better man having met him.”Joe Rogan, Standup Comedian and Host of the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast.

“David Goggins lives out every goal, every dream no matter what. PERIOD. He’s unstoppable. Goggins proves that your body can handle anything if you let your mind keep up. There’s no way to stop something or someone that doesn’t understand the concept of being beaten.” – Marcus Luttrell, Retired Navy SEAL, Author of New York Times Best Seller Lone Survivor.

Ratings





42/45
Quiet

by Susan Cain

2012

Quiet by Susan Cain - best self-help books

Amazon | from $12.68

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Critic’s Summary

The author shows that no matter what you are, an introvert or an extrovert, you are valuable and essential to society.

The book is a sensible guide for all young introverts in today’s world, designed to help them navigate challenges and find success.

Quiet showcases how extrovert ideas of success took over in the 20th century while the power of introverts became underappreciated.

In the process, the author delivers new ways for both forces to cooperate in the form of an excellent self-improvement book.

Key Takeaways

  • The world mistakenly thinks there’s something wrong with introverts.
  • To reach out to quiet students, teachers must use the proper techniques.
  • Introverts can succeed with the help of friends, a quiet spot, and focus.

Reviews

“An important book that should embolden anyone who’s ever been told, ‘Speak up!'”People.

“Cain offers a wealth of useful advice for teachers and parents of introverts. . . . Quiet should interest anyone who cares about how people think, work, and get along or wonders why the guy in the next cubicle acts that way. It should be required reading for introverts (or their parents) who could boost their self-esteem.”Fortune.

Ratings


43/45
The Secret

by Rhonda Byrne

2006

The Secret by Rhonda Byrne - best self-help books

Amazon | from $11.62

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Critic’s Summary

Rhonda Byrne’s self-help book, a global bestseller that has sold almost 30 million copies, explains the law of attraction and how it works.

It details how positive energy attracts positive things into your life, governs thinking and actions, and how to use the power of positive thinking to achieve anything you can imagine.

According to The Secret, if you want to attract something into your life, you must make it your dominant thought and direct all your focus and energy toward it.

The Secret is a spiritual self-help book built on the “law of attraction,” which states that your thoughts control the physical universe, and thus, you have the power to manifest” your desires, just like placing an order from a catalog.

Key Takeaways

  • The law of attraction is a powerful principle in the world.
  • To use the law of attraction, you must think about what you want, not what you want to avoid.
  • The three steps of the law of attraction are asking, believing, and receiving.

Ratings





44/45
The Magic Of Thinking Big

by David J. Schwartz

1959

The Magic Of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz - best self-help books

Amazon | from $8.58

ThriftBooks | from $4.19

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

Success comes down to how you think.

If you think negatively, you will get damaging results; if you think positively, you will get positive results.

Successful people know this and use the power of belief to live more fulfilling lives.

Thinking big works like magic.

It will open new ways of solving problems, encourage action, help you to conquer your fears, and even earn you the respect of your friends and peers.

Thinking big begins with believing in yourself.

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz is a book on self-belief and confidence, teaching the reader how to think and act towards self and others.

Key Takeaways

  • Always be open to new ideas.
  • Learn something new whenever you can.
  • Ask yourself, “How can I do a better job today?” every day.

Ratings


45/45
Meditations

by Marcus Aurelius

161 – 180 AD

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius - best self-help books

Amazon | from $9.49

ThriftBooks | from $5.99

Audible | Listen for Free

Critic’s Summary

Marcus Aurelius, Rome’s emperor for almost two decades, was one of those time’s most powerful and influential men.

Although Marcus was a powerful ruler, his problems appear similar to our daily issues.

For example:

  • he felt anxious about his son getting sick;
  • he worried about other people’s opinions;
  • he tried not to get angry with selfish people;
  • he sometimes had trouble climbing out of his comfy bed.

As such, Marcus started to journal ideas that would help him deal with these fears.

Above all, these thoughts were never meant to become public, which makes the book even more special.

From a journal by Marcus Aurelius, a powerful Roman emperor and great Stoic philosopher, Meditations became the self-book bible for those seeking to cultivate self-discipline, stop caring what people think, and prepare for life’s inevitable storms.

Key Takeaways

  • While logic doesn’t always make sense, everything happens for a reason.
  • Life is too short to complain.
  • The only pain you suffer is the one in your mind.

Reviews

“Here, for our age, is [Marcus’s] great work presented in its entirety, strongly introduced and freshly, elegantly translated.”Robert Fagles.

Ratings





TOP 10 BESTSELLING SELF-HELP BOOKS OF 2023

These are the best hits ever; the most popular self-help books you can buy and read.

Title Author
1. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck Mark Manson
2. Atomic Habits James Clear
3. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse Charlie Mackesy
4. Atlas of the Heart Brené Brown
5. You Are a Badass Jen Sincero
6. The Five Love Languages Gary Chapman
7. Make Your Bed Admiral William H. McRaven
8. Dare to Lead Brené Brown
9. Can’t Hurt Me David Goggins
10. The Alchemist Paulo Coelho




Self-help Books FAQs

Are Self-help Books Helpful?

Self-help books are incredibly beneficial and effective in improving yourself and aspects of your life, whether it is your health, nutrition, financial wisdom, or a better, more successful mindset.

Which Book Should I Read to Improve Myself?

These are the five best self-help books anyone should read, regardless of age, social status, or financial power:

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People.
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  • Think and Grow Rich.
  • The Power of Positive Thinking.
  • The Power of Now.

Are Self-help Books Worth Reading?

Self-help books are worth reading for providing excellent information, guidance, and practical strategies applicable to many personal and professional development goals.

Are Self-help Books as Good as Therapy?

While self-help books provide excellent information about different strategies and techniques for managing and improving mental health and well-being, they are not a substitute for professional therapy or medical treatment.

Conclusion

Self-help books require that you follow the advice given if you want to trigger positive change and yield life-long rewards.

With or without the help of books, changing one’s mindset, personality, habits, and behavior is a never-ending process.

Yet, change must start somewhere, and these self-help books are an excellent starting point for your journey.

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Now it’s your turn…

Which one of these self-help books are you going to read first?

Which self-help books do you think we’ve missed and should include in our next article update?

What are the most important factors you consider when it comes to self-help books?

Please leave your comments below; we always appreciate them and use them to learn, improve, and update these articles.



A passionate traveler with over ten years of experience in the tourism industry, Rebecca Siggers pens down her real-life experiences, lifestyle views, and advice on the best holidays, best ways of traveling, and the best ways to stay happy and content while living a semi-nomad lifestyle. Rebecca's life and pocket-saving insights have made it to some of the best traveling and lifestyle magazines right now, such as Travel + Leisure, AFAR, Global Traveller, SurferToday, The VOU, INSC Magazine, The Levant, FashionEdits, Sooper Articles, Outdoor Life and Escapism Travel Magazine.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. One of the best selections of self-help books there is, I’ve read them all and I concur. Above all, I can’t recommend enough David Goggin’s book, it is the self-help book that changed my life. READ IT!

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