20 Best Self-Help Books

Tomas Laurinavicius
Updated on April 23, 2024

Self-help books are the fastest tactic to construct a new path for people who are constantly striving to improve their life situations.

It should be no surprise that best self-help book sales in the US are on the rise.

Self-help books can help you unlock your potential, push past your fears, and feel happier and healthier. Whether you want to be braver, incorporate new habits into your daily life, stop worrying, or become more productive, self-help books can help.

Here are the best self-help books, from the newest to the most famous and influential.

We’ll shortly review the best new self-improvement literature on the market.

Before that, however, there are important books that everyone who wants to be a better version of themselves needs to read.

These five self-help and self-improvement books are ideal for people embarking on a path of rediscovery or those trying to get their lives back on track after a minor setback.

Also, the list is in no particular order.

Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck? by Seth Godin

While most self-help books focus on one area, this book outlines an unlimited number of ways you can develop yourself.

With his uncompromising honesty and sincere inspiration, Godin gets you to examine the difficult things you would never dare ask yourself.

The result is a whole new way of looking at the world that is more vibrant, fresh, and full of new and daring possibilities.

👉 Read Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?

Feeling Good by David D. Burns

While the science behind David Burns’ book Feeling Good: Although the New Mood Therapy is no longer cutting-edge, its core message remains relevant. It is based on the fundamentals of cognitive-behavioral therapy and is a more down-to-earth version of stoicism (CBT). Feeling Good shows how our thought patterns influence our feelings.

👉 Read Feeling Good

Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

We often attribute competence to luck. We confuse correlation and causation and underestimate the significant impact that modest changes can have.

This book teaches you something you may never have heard before: You can do everything right and still lose, or you can do everything wrong and still win.

It’s not about the end or what we accomplish. It’s about the deeds that got you there.

This crucial lesson can help you with many decisions in your life. It is true that sometimes our attempts fail and that we live in a world that no one can fully comprehend.

But this self-help book by Taleb can help you with your personal development and give you a new perspective that can move you forward in life.

👉 Read Fooled by Randomness

Top 5 Influential Self-Help Books

Some self-help literature can genuinely help us become better people.

And not better in a competitive sense, but better in an ethical sense: the improved self can direct its energy outward toward activities, other people, and the communities they live in.

Here are the top 5 most influential and best self-help books of all time.

Walden by Henry David Thoreau

American transcendentalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau reportedly retreated to a house in the woods near Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, to enjoy life and live “deliberately.”

He invented the remarkable concept of the “life cost,” the ideal antidote to mindless materialism and the toxic Protestant work ethic many of us have fallen today.

According to Thoreau, paid work is an unavoidable evil to which we should devote as little time as possible.

👉 Read Walden

No Excuses! by Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy has packed this book with tasks and exercises to help you break out of your comfort zone and achieve your personal, business, financial, and overall satisfaction goals.

You should pick up a copy of this book if you think you are falling behind on your schedule.

There’s nothing better than knowing you can get back on track.

👉 Read No Excuses!

The Rules of Thinking by Richard Templar

Many of us have been taught that our thoughts determine who we are. You can learn to regulate your thoughts, make better judgments, stop obsessing about certain things, engage your brain, and think happier and healthier thoughts.

In summary, anyone who wants to start improving their thinking should read this book.

After this book, read David Robson’s The Intelligence Trap or Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow.

👉 Read The Rules of Thinking

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

Covey describes seven habits we should adopt to be genuinely productive in whatever we try to accomplish.

Naturally, it’s not that simple. He emphasizes the importance of a paradigm shift or a fundamental change in how we see the world and ourselves.

This book can be used as a guide to go through the steps of habit formation and such a change, complete with exercises and everything.

Covey’s book is packed with advice that genuinely makes a difference.

👉 Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

How to Do the Work by Nicole LePera

This self-improvement book contains helpful methods for training our minds to challenge negative thoughts about ourselves or others.

This book offers several practical ways to deal with automatic, dysfunctional thinking daily.

Whether you suffer from anxiety or depression, this book reminds you that we are not purely rational creatures and that we all fall sometimes.

👉 Read How to Do the Work

If you are one of the many looking for books to help them on their spiritual growth path, you absolutely must read these books.

Of course, the list of exceptional books on spiritual growth goes beyond what you see here.

But we have done our best to mention the essentials.

Altruism by Matthieu Ricard

Many theologies and wisdom traditions consider Altruism to be the highest virtue.

Psychologists have recently discovered that selfless acts help the recipient and make the people who perform them happy.

According to the French Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, the practice of compassion is the way to find life’s purpose and the significance of the leading social, financial and environmental challenges.

“To connect the challenges of the economy in the short term, the quality of life in the medium term, and our future environment in the long term harmoniously,” according to Altruism.

👉 Read Altruism

Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach

Self-knowledge has always been a timeless desire of humans, as has the discovery of the roots of what causes them pain.

In her transformative self-help book, Tara Brach asserts that our idea that we’re imperfect causes us unnecessary suffering.

So how can we free ourselves from harmful patterns like toxic relationships, workaholism, self-doubt, or isolation? Radical Acceptance.

Dr. Brach’s book draws on her twenty years of experience as a psychotherapist and her unique Buddhist worldview.

Through a series of resources ranging from meditations to case studies, she reminds us that while we can not always change the past or our circumstances, we can change how we think about them.

👉 Read Radical Acceptance

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri

This fourteenth-century poem follows Dante’s quest narrative.

He gradually overcomes his mental fatigue as he grows older and burns out more and more on his heroic journey.

He travels from Hell to Paradise, accompanied by his instructor Virgil, and is eventually reunited with his beloved Beatrice.

The Divine Comedy can be seen as a cautionary Christian tale or a long revenge fantasy in which many of Dante’s enemies suffer terrible retribution.

But it can also be interpreted as an archetypal story of spiritual development and self-overcoming.

Dante’s various encounters in Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven lead to a gradual re-education of Dante’s doubts.

Finally, Dante reaches a higher spiritual plane and encounters the divine after being purged of his weaknesses.

👉 Read The Divine Comedy

You could become your life coach and master of your progress if you have the right self-help book.

That’s precisely why self-help books make for incredible and thoughtful gifts.

You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

This book has 27 micro-chapters full of Oprah-style self-love anecdotes.

You Are a Badass isn’t just a collection of eulogies and rants: She has some unique tricks up her sleeve that will instantly boost readers’ self-love and confidence.

Sincero is aware of the lies that society imposes on us to suppress our personal development.

👉 Read You Are a Badass

How to Ikigai by Tim Tamashiro

This book is about the way of life of the Okinawans, a small island off the coast of Japan where people live their lives purposefully every day.

After reading it, your loved one will have a different perspective on their happiness and be more focused on the present moment.

👉 Read How to Ikigai

Get your Sh*t Together by Sarah Knight

Ignore the slightly sarcastic title for a moment since this book will teach anyone who reads it to leave their email at the office and strike a work-life balance.

If you know someone around you who struggles to live a happy life and works too much, this serious self-help book is the ideal choice for them!

👉 Read Get Your Sh*t Together

You can find many self-help books worth reading that were written or published in 2021.

Know Your Worth by Anna Mathur

Anna Mathur, the psychologist and Sunday Times bestselling author, has written her second book on how to find your balance and appreciate your self-worth – two things we all struggle with.

This is the book for you to boost your self-esteem and influence others!

👉 Read Know Your Worth

If In Doubt, Wash Your Hair by Anya Hindmarch

Who better to learn how to live a better, more prosperous, and rewarding life than from fashion designer Anya Hindmarch?

The designer is a fantastic source of inspiration and gives you practical ideas on living a better life as a mother of five and an internationally renowned entrepreneur.

👉 Read If In Doubt, Wash Your Hair

Live Well Every Day by Alex George

Dr. George gives you ideas and advice on making better choices and equipping yourself to face the world.

You’ll find interesting insights about unrealistic expectations and the importance of resilience and strength in life.

👉 Read Live Well Every Day

2020 was a strange year. An invisible virus forever changed all aspects of our lives, but on the positive side, several good self-help books were written and published. Here is a list of the best self-help books of 2020.

The Wim Hof Method by Wim Hof

Do you find it challenging to overcome the same weak excuses that keep you from achieving your goals and ambitions day after day?

Your problem could be a lack of self-control or willingness to do what you need to, even when you don’t want to.

This is the ideal book for anyone who wants to learn how to overcome their limitations, improve their health and productivity, and feel better about themselves.

👉 Read The Wim Hof Method

Not a Life Coach by James Smith

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the significance of regaining control over the most vital aspects of your life, such as your health.

We know that mental health is an essential aspect of human health, and recognizing the social patterns that are going on around you can boost your sense of happiness.

After that, you can change how you think about yourself, affecting how you live your life.

👉 Read Not a Life Coach

Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty

Shetty delves into his time as a Vedic monk and uses their ancient wisdom traditions to help readers on their self-improvement path.

The author offers readers a roadmap for reclaiming their power and overcoming evil thoughts and beliefs.

👉 Read Think Like a Monk

People Also Ask

What is the number 1 self-help book?

There are numerous excellent books in the self-help industry, many that we don’t even know about because it is a vast global industry.

Figuring out the number 1 is a pretty impossible task. However, we have compiled a list of the best books in the present article. Read on for more details.

What is the most sold self-help book?

The list of best-selling self-help books includes: How to Win Friends and Influence People, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Think and Grow Rich, The Divine Comedy, Rules of Thought, and more.

Why self-help books are toxic?

“Self-help” becomes toxic when we spend all our mental power blaming others for their failures when they have been dealt a bad hand, when luck hasn’t been on their side, or when they haven’t played their hand correctly in their inner lives.

Are any self-help books actually good?

Yes, they are.

A personal development read can be a friend who understands you, a boss who urges you to go deep into your uncomfortable zone, a wise guru who informs you of what you need to leave behind, or a sage who proclaims the dawn of a new age.

Tomas Laurinavicius

Hi! I'm Tomas, a writer and growth marketer from Lithuania, living in Spain. I'm always involved in multiple projects driven by my curiosity. Currently, I'm a marketing advisor at Devsolutely and a partner at Craftled, building Best Writing and Marketful. Let's connect on X and LinkedIn.