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 best self-help book for you. Before you buy your first or next self-help book, consider the following.
- Who is the author? – Anyone can write ebooks, so be sure to research the author’s credentials prior to purchase. Are they the type of person who inspires you?
- 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.
Below, we’ve picked out the 24 best self-help books available on Amazon (and elsewhere). 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 and the best books for men.
1. How to Make Sh*t Happen by Sean Whalen
BEST FOR THE PROCRASTINATOR
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.
2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
BEST FOR THE CAREER MAN
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.
3. Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven
BEST FOR THE RECENT GRADUATE
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. In the book, Admiral McRaven offers up lessons and principles that he learned as he trained and eventually became a Navy Seal. And even if you think that his advice is targeted towards those in the military, you would be wrong because you will find practical and straightforward steps to help you deal with some of your most challenging times.
4. Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop
BEST FOR STRAIGHTFORWARD ADVICE
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.”
5. 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?
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
BEST FOR THE MODERN MAN
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.
9. Atomic Habits by James Clear
BEST FOR BUILDING GOOD HABITS
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.
10. The Healing Self by Deepak Chopra M.D. and Rudolph E. Tanzi Ph. D.
BEST PHYSICAL HEALTH
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.
11. You are a Badass by Jen Sincero
BEST FOR THE SELF-SABOTAGING MAN
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.
12. 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.
13. Who Moved My Cheese? by Dr. Spencer Johnson
BEST SELF-HELP BOOK YOUR PARENTS PROBABLY READ
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.
14. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
MOST TIMELESS ADVICE
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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
BEST PSYCHOLOGY-BASED BOOK
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.
18. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins
BEST FOR THE ATHLETE
Any self-help 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.
19. Your Turn: How to Be an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims
FOR YOUNG PEOPLE
No one said growing up and making your own decisions would be easy, and quite frankly, there are no perfect answers. But in Your Turn: How to Be an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims, the author addresses what it means to be successful, homeownership, marriage, choosing your career, and what that means if it diverges from your passion. Plus, the anxieties of student loan debt and the ever-changing economy. Through stories told by millennials, Lythcott-Haims guides you on how to deal with life’s challenges and emerge as your adult self. It may be one of the best self-help books for those in their early 20s.
20. Betting on You: How to Put Yourself First and (Finally) Take Control of Your Career
BEST FOR PEOPLE PLEASERS
As you start to head back into the workplace, it may just be time to flip the switch and become more focused on pursuing what you want. This is where Betting on You: How to Put Yourself First and (Finally), Take Control of Your Career by Laurie Ruettimann comes in. Ruettimann, a career coach and HR consultant, guides you based on her own experience of feeling unhappy and uninspired, plus stories and advice from others who were able to get back into the driver’s seat of their lives. Ruettimann will teach you about the importance of signing off for the day, fixing finances, and losing imposter syndrome. Above all Ruettimann lays the framework that teaches you the value of betting on yourself.
21. Broken (in the best possible way) by Jenny Lawson
HEALING ROM DEPRESSION
It is understood that Jenny Lawson suffers from depression as she addresses it in her books. And once again instead of keeping her coping skills under wraps, Lawson in her new book Broken (In the Best Possible Way), is transparent in a brutally humorous way. She shares information of her experimental treatment of transcranial magnetic stimulation and other daily events that be difficult, but through Lawson’s authentic tone, it may help you to start to understanding that everything is an ebb and flow and that disappointments will eventually pass.
22. Four Sacred Secrets by Preethaji and Krishnaji
SELF HELP THROUGH MEDITATION
If you are trying to understand better how to manifest the things you want, you should pick up a copy of The Four Sacred Secrets by Preethajiand and Krishnaji. The authors talk about using meditating to attract the things you need, which you may want to let go of. The steps are geared towards learning to change how you think so that everything will start to align and be in sync. There is also an emphasis on letting go of perceptions you have had of yourself from past experiences and how to rewrite a new story about who you currently are. While you can buy a paper copy or download the regular book, the audio version may be the best way to experience The Four Sacred Secrets. The authors lead the 9-minute meditation practices, so you can focus and concentrate, allowing you the full experience, making it one of the best self-help books when you need to remember the importance of being grounded and mindful.
23. What Happened to You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing
SELF HELP BY OPRAH
It is very easy to ask someone what is wrong with them or even to ask yourself, “Why did I do that?” in the hopes of finding out why a behavior occurred that seemed illogical or thoughtless. However, you may learn by reading What Happened To You: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Bruce D. Perry, MD, Ph.D., and Oprah Winfrey that may not be the question you should be asking. They instead suggest that to get to the core of someone’s behavior, a more valid question may be to ask what happened to them. It can get to the root of what trauma you might have experienced that now caused you to react the way you do. And asking “what happened to you” could be an excellent way to deal with the past and build a healthier future.
24. Get Over It!: Thought Therapy for Healing the Hard Stuff
Iyanla Vanzant has been dispensing no-nonsense advice for more than 25 years. And the message is always geared towards self-examination and coming to terms with what you have gone through to get to adulthood. And once again, Get Over it, Vanzant talks us through fear, tragedies, and suffering, making it clear that though there are at times when other people and circumstances can impact us, some of what we experience is based on what we think. In Get Over It!: Thought Therapy for Healing the Hard Stuff there is an emphasis on “thought therapy,” a process of neutralizing self-destroying negative thoughts and patterns. If you are willing to do the work and dig deep, it can help you to change and grow.
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