The 18 Best Self-Help Books for Personal Development

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If you feel like you’ve tried everything and life still isn’t panning out the way you had hoped, it’s time to sit down with a good read. Self-help books are specifically written for people in your position. Each of the best self-help books on Amazon has hundreds, if not thousands, of previous readers who have taken the time to read and come out the other side for the better. Many feel their lives are so improved that they’ve left glowing reviews.

Though some think self-help books amount to a whole lot of nothing, those who have sat down, read and listened to what has been written would argue their worth. Just remember, it’s important to pick the right self-help book for you. Before you buy your first or next self-help book, consider the following.

2 years
Great books!! Thanks for sharing.

  • Who is the author? – Anyone can write ebooks, so be sure to research the author’s credentials prior to purchase. 
  • Will the book’s tone speak to you? – There are self-help books written for every age group and every type of person. Some are quite informal while others are quite demanding. Read the first few pages of the book before purchase to check if the author’s tone resonates with your personality.
  • What do you need help with? – There are self-help books for people who need help with their finances, people who need help with the loss of a loved one, people who need help with their health and everything in between. Think long and hard about what topic you want to learn more about before diving in.

Once you’ve answered the questions above and selected your self-help book, don’t be afraid to read it critically. You definitely don’t have to agree with everything the author says.

2 years
Great books!! Thanks for sharing.

Below, we’ve picked out the 18 best self-help books available on Amazon. There are titles for a number of different problems and even an option for minds who prefer a mix of reading and writing. Generally, each book is aimed at a life problem and offers you methods for fixing it. Check out the titles and choose the one for your needs. Alternatively, if you’ve read all of the self-help books, try visiting another world with our round-up of the best sci-fi books.


1. How to Make Sh*t Happen by Sean Whalen


Ah, procrastinating. It’s great, isn’t it? I bet half the reason you’re reading this is to put off doing something important. If that’s the case, it may be time to sit down with How to Make Sh*t Happen by Sean Whalen. Inside this book, you’ll find the secrets to making more money, getting in shape, creating epic relationships and generally getting your life where you want it to be. Stop being taken for a ride by your out of control life and get behind the wheel with Whalen’s tips and tricks.

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2. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz


Any book featured in the premiere issue of O: The Oprah Magazine and on Oprah’s Favorite Things segment has already won us over. Add in over 7,000 positive Amazon, and we’re at a loss for a downside. Inside The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, you’ll learn about the self-limiting beliefs preventing you from feeling joy and permitting you to endure needless suffering in your life. The book is based on ancient wisdom with four fundamental ideas — be impeccable with your word, don’t take anything personally, don’t make assumptions and always do your best. It may sound simple, but with so much positivity surrounding it, can you really afford to ignore The Four Agreements?

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3. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki


First published 23 years ago, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki is still challenging the way people think about money. This book chronicles what Kiyosaki learned growing up with two father figures. His dad was “poor dad,” while his best friend’s dad was “rich dad.” Kiyosaki then shows readers how to leverage assets and cash flow in order to become wealthier. This book might redefine the way you look at and spend money for the better.

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4. Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson


If you’re old enough, you likely remember the immense popularity of Who Moved My Cheese? back in the late 1990s. While you won’t see incessant ads for the book nowadays, the message remains as important as ever. Dr. Spencer Johnson, who is “one of the world’s most respected thinkers” according to his bio, explains how humans emotionally react to change and then gives tips on how to control those reactions in a very methodical manner. However, this isn’t done in the style of a normal self-help book in which the author simply gives his or her advice to the reader. Instead, this book is written as a fable, keeping the reader entertained while imparting the wisdom of Dr. Johnson.

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5. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill


Back at the beginning of the 20th century, Napoleon Hill spent more than 20 years studying more than five hundred individuals to test one specific formula for wealth handed down to him by Andrew Carnegie. His studies led him to believe that this formula is, in fact, effective at creating a fortune. You’ll have to read this book to find out what that formula is. This self-help book was first published in 1937, but even after more than 80 years, people still profess this book has changed the way they think about money.

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6. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle


Brought to fame thanks to Oprah’s Favorite Things show back in 2002, The Power of Now has sold more than two million copies and has been translated into 30 languages. The main crux of the book is that your thinking mind is the “natural enemy” of enlightenment. With enlightenment, we can embark on a journey of personal growth leading to a deep understanding that being fully present is the only way to enjoy a pain-free life. Reviewers of the book claim that it has changed their emotional state for the better.

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7. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho


Not all self-help books have to be non-fiction. In The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho has inspired millions of people to follow their dreams and listen to their hearts. This is a tale of self-discovery that gently teaches its lessons through a very entertaining story full of magic and mysticism. Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy, travels to far-away lands in search of treasure. What he finds along the way might surprise and inspire you to recognize the opportunities your life has provided.

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8. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie


It may have been more than 80 years since Dale Carnegie wrote How to Win Friends & Influence People, but manners haven’t changed. In this book, which has been updated to leave out outdated references to gender and race, Carnegie expounds on the golden rule, “Treat others how you would like to be treated.” Throughout the book, he focuses on using this rule to get people to like you, to convince people of your arguments and to change the way other people think without making them resentful. Because the advice can be used in every part of your life, from your romantic relationships to your career, this book should be on your must-read self-help book list.

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9. The Healing Self by Deepak Chopra M.D. and Rudolph E. Tanzi Ph. D.


In The Healing Self, two of the most important medical minds of our time come together to discuss the importance of the immune system to lifelong health. They bring to the table cutting edge research that explores the connections between your mind and your body, your genes and your immunities. Then, they go on to provide the tools you need to create your own plan for self-healing. The doctors draw on examples, like the fact that Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease and diabetes can develop in your body over decades due to chronic stress and inflammation, to prove that “self-healing” is necessary to peak health.

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10. You are a Badass by Jen Sincero


It’s time you realized how great you are, and with You are a Badass by Jen Sincero, you can make that happen. This how-to guide will make you understand exactly why you are who you are and how to love the things in life that you simply cannot change. By the end of the book, you’ll be ready to create a life you love.

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11. Start Where You Are Journal


If reading alone doesn’t do it for you, then the Start Where You Are Journal could be the answer. In this interactive journal, creativity, mindfulness and self-motivation are nurtured while you learn to navigate the sometimes overwhelming task of dealing with day-to-day life. You’ll find a mix of inspiring quotes from writers, artists and a number of other visionaries. Plus, the journal asks you to use prompts to reflect and write down your feelings. 

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12. Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins


For anyone who really wants to significantly change their life but feels stuck in place, Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins is a must-read. In this book, Robbins teaches the psychology of change, encouraging readers to use the most effective techniques to master their emotions, their relationships, their finances and their bodies. He then outlines a program for self-mastery that helps people to take control of their lives and create their own destinies. While these might seem like big promises, hundreds of reviewers swear this book changed their lives for the better.

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13. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey


By reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, you’ll learn where you’re going wrong in life. The book’s advice has transformed the lives of presidents, CEOs, educators and more. Each one of the seven habits is easy in application without being overly simplistic. In that process lies the beauty of the book. No matter who or what you are, this book is sure to help you in some way.

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14. Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven


Would you believe everything begins by making your bed? If you read and believe Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven, your bed routine is where you start on a path to changing the world. This book is based on a Navy SEAL’s inspiring graduation speech and has since become a #1 New York Times bestseller. Inside, you’ll discover more about the 10 principles McRaven learned during his Navy Seal training. This, in turn, will help you overcome the challenges ahead.

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15. Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop


That’s right, it’s time to unfu*k yourself. In other words, it’s time to start living the life you were meant to, not the one you find yourself stuck in now. Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop is part of a series of books that pride themselves on being BS-free, refreshing and no-nonsense with a tough-love approach to dealing with your self-imposed limitations. Inside the book, you’ll find all the tools you need to correct your trajectory and get rid of what’s holding you back while reminding you of one thing — ”Here’s what you’ve forgotten: You’re a fu*king miracle of being.”

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16. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins


Any book with a five-star rating after over 3,000 reviews on Amazon deserves your attention. That’s exactly why Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins should be next up on your reading list. Inside the book, you’ll find out about David Goggins’ extraordinary journey to become the only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger and Air Force Tactical Air Controller. Because of this, he has set numerous records and become “The Fittest (Real) Man in America” according to Outside magazine. The major principle delivered in the book is based around the 40% rule, which says the average person is nowhere near to achieving their maximum potential. If you want to, you can learn to push past pain and fear and head towards the 100% mark.

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17. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson


You probably think you’ve already mastered this art, but inside The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson, you’ll find completely new levels of uncaring. This may seem unkind, but Manson argues that not caring about every little thing will make you a better and happier person. The #1 New York Times bestseller has sold over six million copies and comes with over 4,000 positive reviews from Amazon customers. One of the key messages of the book is that even though you’ve been taught positivity can fix everything, the world is actually screwed and the best way to deal with it is learning to live with it. Just remember, there are only so many things in this life we can care about at one time, so figuring out which of those to think about is a very important task.

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18. Atomic Habits by James Clear


Atomic Habits by James Clear is all about habits. Wherever you’ve got your sights set, creating good habits and breaking bad habits is a learning process that has remarkable results on day-to-day life. For anyone thinking, “I’ve tried to change, but it just doesn’t work,” this book will give you new and innovative systems to use in changing your habits. Other benefits of the book include finding time for acquiring new habits, overcoming a lack of motivation and creating an environment to easily achieve success.

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