Best Self Help Books: Actionable Ways to Improve Your Life
Everyone needs a bit of uplift and help at some point in their lives that’s why we’ve put together this list of some of the best self help books of all time.
Whether you’re at a crossroads in your professional life, stuck in a rut, or looking for self-fulfillment, getting the right advice at the time you need it can be the right push.
And while not every self help book is scientifically backed, they can resonate and be the little push in the right direction that’s needed. Good advice comes from all sorts of places-friends, counselors, family, and even books.
The great thing about self-help books is that you can choose the one that is right for your situation. This can also be the challenge of self-help books, since there are so many themes and more writers published every day.
This guide will help navigate through the immense selection that is available. Only the best of each self-help theme was selected for this list, so everyone is sure to find something that fits their needs.
Before we look in to each self help book in depth, here are our 3 favorites:
We think that when combined with the right supplements that your body needs, reading about how others have overcome adversity in their lives is a great foundation to overall well-being.
Read on for a more detailed overview of each of these great books:
1.Quarter-Life Calling: How to Find Your Sweet Spot in Your Twenties by Paul Sohn
Award winning leadership coach, speaker, and blogger Paul Sohn has created the perfect guide for millennials who are struggling to find their place in the world. Sohn’s book is geared toward those who are not satisfied with just going through the motions, but are looking for a deeper meaning to their lives and want to bring a personal sense of purpose to their work.
This book is unique in that it was written by a millennial for millennials. This generation is faced with an information overload, an overabundance of options, and a work environment that is changing faster than any other generation has witnessed. Sohn introduces a roadmap that splits from the rat race and instead focuses on living a life based on intentionality and significance.
While this book is geared toward millennials, anyone who is ready for a change and reconsidering their direction in life will benefit from this read. Sohn’s idea of one’s “sweet spot” is where personality, talents, and life experiences conjoin, and this can change over time. In addition to a roadmap to personal fulfillment, the book introduces practical tools to help us function in society, such as personality assessments that will help your day-to-day interactions.
2. Life Lessons from a Total Failure by M.J. Dougherty
The freshman work from M.J. Dougherty, this book is a relatable and entertaining look back at the author’s journey towards self-realization, acceptance, and fulfillment. The failures experienced by Dougherty is what makes this book so relatable, especially for those of us who feel trapped by a current situation. The author shows us that perspective and honesty are the keys to living a genuine life.
The author spent his early years travelling and exploring his identity and passions, finding his partner with whom he eventually opened a business. A series of unfortunate events forced the couple to sell the business, file for bankruptcy, and move across the country. Dougherty then took an honest look at his path to failure, and emerged with a stronger sense of self and a changed perception of what success truly is.
This book gives the reader a candid look at the author’s struggles and mistakes in his efforts to “make it” according to society’s standards. While it took a series of failures to help the author realize his mistakes, his humor and resilience bring a refreshing perspective of what it takes to reach personal fulfillment.
3. Mutuality Matters How You Can Create More Opportunity, Adventure & Friendship With Others by Kare Anderson
Grammy-winning journalist and TED presenter Kare Anderson combines personal experience with behavioral research to create a guide on how to establish meaningful connections with others. In her book, the author describes over 40 ways to form mutually beneficial connections that can be used in professional or personal interactions. This guide is especially beneficial to professionals who rely on solid relationships and image for success.
The author herself was once a shy, ineffective communicator, and she brings her experiences and growth to her guide. In this way, Anderson was able to create a realistic and relatable guide that can be helpful to the most fearful of speakers. The guide helps us find the “sweet spot” we can share with others and base meaningful conversation around.
In addition to the 40 specific ways to forge bonds, the author explains how being an effective listener can help us understand others’ motives and true interests. Effective body language, attention, and trust-building conversation skills are listed as a guide to becoming a good listener. Anderson also describes the best ways to turn conflict into opportunities while encouraging constructive behavior in those around us.
4. Three Points of Contact: 12 and a Half Ways to Jumpstart your Life and Weather Any Storm by Gregory Cheek
Combat veteran and cancer survivor Gregory Cheek describes the unique 12-½ step strategy he has used to survive failures and setbacks throughout life. Once a homeless high-school dropout, the author managed to pull himself up to earn several college degrees, serve the military as a commissioned officer, and teach as a college professor. A stage III cancer diagnosis caused Cheek to reach back to his 12-½ step strategy, and this is when he realized he needed to share it with others.
This book breaks down the ways to change one’s attitude from one of despair to one of motivation and positivity. This critical change is meant to propel the individual through life’s challenges, and give strength and direction during a time when difficult decisions are necessary.The key concepts of optimism, visualization, and action are key instruments in the 12-½ step strategy, and act together as the foundation for a plan to improve health, satisfaction, and confidence.
5. Kindness Wins by Galit Breen
Veteran teacher Galit Breen uses her experience in classroom teaching and freelance writing to create a guide on how to navigate social media in a positive way. As cyber bullying becomes a bigger problem due to the growing importance of social media, the author presents a guide on how to teach our children to respectfully communicate online in an era of “trolls”.
Breen describes ten habits to teach children, all of which focus on kindness and accountability in online communications. Everything is laid out in the author’s signature comfortable, relatable style that isn’t preachy or matronly. Even though the steps are geared towards teaching children responsible habits, everyone can benefit from this guide since it shows us how to keep our information safe while promoting meaningful dialogue online.
Included in the guide are additional resources, ways to promote cyberbullying awareness, and key points to help reinforce the lessons in the book. The book ends with two contracts: one for adults and one for children to help forge an agreement to continue healthy online communication habits.
6. 7 Strategies for Wealth & Happiness: Power Ideas from America’s Foremost Business Philosopher by Jim Rohn
Jim Rohn, a powerful speaker and mentor to self-improvement experts like Tony Robbins has compiled his tried and true strategies for success in a readable, concise book. Coming from humble beginnings, Rohn spent most of his life in search of the fundamentals required for achieving wealth and happiness, and he has broken them down into concepts that are easy to understand and implement.
Rohn’s primary philosophy is that wealth and happiness are linked in that you must have some sort of wealth to achieve happiness. While there are different kinds of wealth, they can all be obtained in similar ways that the author describes in his guide. The seven strategies are broken down into beliefs, behaviors, and skills that will lead to happiness and wealth that are meant to form a new, forward-thinking lifestyle to put you in the best position for success.
The goal oriented strategies include ways to take control of your finances, surround yourself with positive influences, and direct your energies in a way that yields results. While most of the book is focused on obtaining wealth and happiness, but there is a chapter that focuses on teaching oneself to be content with the wealth and success once they have earned it, rather than constantly striving for more.
7. Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! By Tony Robbins
A recognized expert in life change, Tony Robbins is a prolific and highly regarded speaker and writer in the self-improvement field. This is just one of his many acclaimed books that give a step-by-step guide on how one can take control of their destiny and achieve a level of satisfaction they crave.
This book is unique in that it is not just a wealth and success strategy guide, it also takes a holistic approach to making changes that are lasting and meaningful. Robbins uses two of his signature concepts in his holistic approach: The Ultimate Success Formula and The Master System.
In The Ultimate Success Formula, there are four decisions that have to be made before meaningful change can occur. The individual must decide what they want, what actions are required, what works, and how to change their approach when necessary.
The Master System that Robbins describes consists of: 1) Core beliefs and rules 2) Values 3) References 4) Questions one frequently asks themselves, and 5) Emotions that occur during experiences. With the strategy laid out in this book, decisions from the Ultimate Success Formula combined with a change to at least one component of the Master System will result in a measurable change in one’s life.
8. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferriss
Written by one of Fortune’s 40 under 40 people you must know about, this book is a collection of tips, strategies, and philosophies that come straight from over 200 of the world’s top performers. These successful people have been interviewed for the author’s popular podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. The book is divided into sections that address each topic individually with the tips and strategies collected from interviewees over the years.
The book begins with a chapter that analyses the commonalities shared by the “Titans”. There are some uncommon habits that have resurfaced during most of the interviews, such as the daily practice of meditation, unusual eating habits, and the use of different tools to keep one’s rhythm throughout the day. These habits won’t work for everyone, but some could help you establish a foundation for productivity.
The tools described in the book range from eating habits to investment strategies and even include a few alternative lifeways like the scheduled, supervised use of psychedelics to maintain well-being and encourage self-exploration. For those who prefer a more conservative, gradual process towards improvement there are some great lists of ways to challenge yourself and analyse what can be done differently to bring positive change to your life.
9. The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin
In his book on developing learning strategies, former child prodigy Josh Waitzkin tells his amazing life story and explains his methods of learning that made him a master of very technical arts. Waitzkin won his first National Chess Championship at the age of 9, and inspired the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer, which was based on a book written by Waitzkin’s father. The author went on to dominate the chess world for a decade, then switched his focus onto the martial art Tai Chi Chuan, in which he also excelled.
Waitzkin realized that his learning strategy was what propelled him to the top of technical and competitive fields, and he has broken his methods down for this guide. The Art of Learning shows us how to create a lifestyle that fosters a creative and systematic learning process that can help anyone master any challenge. The author breaks down his techniques and daily processes that help him achieve an optimal level of performance.
The book is an interesting and exciting read, with stories of the author’s intense experiences in the chess world and competitive martial arts. While these stories are entertaining, Waitzkin does well to focus on how he got to his high level of achievement rather than his thrilling victories.
10. Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior by Philip Goldberg
This is a great book for anyone who feels stuck, or incapable of achieving their goals. Written by screenwriter and novelist Philip Goldberg, this is a practical guide to overcoming 40 common self-defeating behaviors that prevent us from living the best life we can.
The book is divided into several short chapters that address specific behaviors that hold us back. Examples of these behaviors are procrastination, self-pity, envy, neediness, inaction and so many more that are typical for the individual experiencing stress and disappointment. The author describes ways to change these attitudes into positive, action oriented behaviors and break habits and cycles we fall into when we feel defeated.
Get Out of Your Own Way is perfect for anyone who feels as though a goal or desired lifestyle is out of reach despite hard work. Changing the self-defeating behaviors described in the book is the first and most important step toward creating a proactive mindset that will lead you to success.