Self help books are plentiful, but not all of them are created equal. Some may provide you with the same guidance as everyone else while lacking new insights or practical knowledge.
So before you spend money on another self-improvement book, read this article first. I’ve scoured Amazon, GoodReads, and asked members of book clubs for their top picks, unique finds and new releases they love. This list includes 38 of the best self-help books that have helped millions of people improve their lives in just about every way imaginable.
You’ll find out why these books became so popular (hint: it’s because they work!) and how each one can help your life today. So pick up one (or all) of these amazing reads today!
Disclosure : I may receive affiliate compensation for links posted here, at no cost to you if you decide to purchase something
Best Self Help Books for Emotions
1. Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brené Brown
Brené Brown’s new release has already become a New York Times bestseller and Amazon Best Book of December 2021. In Atlas of the Heart, she equips us with the words and tools to identify our emotions we need to enter a universe of new options and second chances. Brené describes 87 different emotions and how they affect our life, providing us a roadmap for self love and a better self.
Another New York Times bestseller by Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection is a self-help book about self discovery and personal growth. She discusses how doubt, fear, and shame stop people from being happy and free. She then teaches readers how to accept themselves, build self esteem, and have a fulfilling life.
3. Love for Imperfect Things: How to Accept Yourself in a World Striving for Perfection by Haemin Sunim
Haemin Sunim is a Zen Buddhist monk and bestselling author. In this follow up book to The Things You can See only when you slow down, he teaches us the art of self care and how to love for all things that are flawed and yet still beautiful in the world. Beautifully illustrated, Love for Imperfect Things allow you to open your heart to forgiveness, compassion and healing. It is a gentle book that reads like a cup of warm tea that lights up your heart.
The Things You can See only when you slow down: How to be Calm in a World of Speed is a self-help book that teaches readers how they can become calmer and more at peace with the world. This book uses Haemin Sunim’s personal experiences as a monk to help others with little nuggets of wisdom that touches on relationships, love and spirituality – that allows you to reflect quietly with your thoughts and build mindfulness.
The Year of Magical Thinking is a memoir about learning how to cope with grief. Author Joan Didion offers her own story on dealing with the sudden loss of her husband and how it changed her life forever. This book shares what it takes to heal from a personal tragedy and is a melancholy book that is authentically written and provides honest advice.
Man’s Search for Meaning offers insight into survival and coping with life’s hardships and adversity. Author Viktor Frankl offers his experience of living in concentration camps during World War II to give readers insight on what suffering means and finding meaning. It is a thought provoking book that remains a well loved classic that has and will continue to inspire many generations to come.
Best Self Help Books for Mental Clarity
A Chaotic Guide to Mental Clarity is a book that is warm, insightful and funny. It takes the complex subject of mental health, demystifies it, and provides colourful illustrations that make this book a fun yet actionable read. The author Campbell Walker also has a YouTube channel sruthless where he often discusses relatable life stories and advice – if you like his Youtube, chances are you will love this book.
Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds is a self-help book that uses author David Goggin’s personal experiences to motivate you through self discipline, mental toughness and hard work. David Goggins is the only man to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger and Air Force Tactical Air Controller. It is a powerful book that provides different insights to call yourself out with honestly in order to live your best life.
The Untethered soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself is a self-help book that opens you to a new dimension of thought and allows you to step into the realm of your consciousness. Powerfully written, it will teach you to be more self aware and get in touch with your inner self.
Jay Shetty traveled to India and spent three years as a monk on a self-discovery quest. In Think Like a Monk, he describes the teachings he gained and how you can put them to use in your own life. Jay applies Eastern philosophical ideas to explain how you can train your mind to develop peace and happiness.
Ego is the Enemy is a GoodReads Choice Award Nominee that teaches readers about the importance of humility. Author Ryan Holiday gives practical wisdom that you can apply and make you think about your own actions and your ego – which if blown out of proportion, can cloud your judgement. Impactful read that takes on tough questions and reminds you to focus on the greater good before the self.
Best Self Help Books for Entrepreneurs
The Almanack of Naval Ravikant: A Guide to Wealth and Happiness is a self-help book full of life lessons from Naval Ravikant’s wisdom and experience. Author Naval Ravikant has done everything from being the CEO of AngelList to building startups and bootstrapping businesses. This book contains all his knowledge around how to get rich without getting lucky, and learning happiness. The best part is the digital copy of the book is available for free at Naval’s website – but you might end up liking it so much that you will get the paperback.
Outliers: The Story of Success is an intellectual journey that explores how the ultra successful come to be. It talks about the factors that came to make someone stand out for the rest, i.e. an Outlier and also about the 10,000 hour rule that is needed to be proficient in any field. Thought-provoking and fascinating, it leads to deep and interesting conversations about how people come to succeed.
The title is a little Clickbaity – but The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich is a really interesting book that makes you rethink what you are doing and reinvent your career and lifestyle. Author Tim Ferriss explains how you can have more time for yourself with the idea of mini retirements, escape the 9-5, and gain more time freedom and joy throughout your life.
The Magic of Thinking Big: A Book That Changes Lives is a self-help book that teaches readers how to be optimistic and challenge their thinking to dream big. Author David J. Schwartz offers timeless advice which is comprehensive, simple, yet life-changing. You’ll learn how to believe in yourself, challenge your own thinking, dream big, and how to push yourself to the next level!
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is written by renowned psychologist Jordan B Peterson. He shares 12 Rules for Life that you can easily apply right now to improve your life immediately. At the same time, he uses story telling to share deep profound ideas in psychology, sociology, religion and history which will provoke your thoughts and give you new insights.
Best Self Help Spiritual & Philosophy books
The Courage to Be Disliked is a self-help book that discusses ideas from Alfred Adler‘s individual psychology. It teaches simple yet profound lessons to liberate our real selves and live life more fully. This book’s wisdom is told in an interesting format where a youth speaks to a philosopher in a conversation which challenges conventional thinking and will give you a different life perspective.
The Art of Happiness is a personal development book written with wisdom from His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, the world’s foremost Buddhist leader. You will learn about happiness, compassion, transforming suffering and be introduced to Buddhist philosophy that is easy to apply and understand. It also teaches you how to release negative emotions like anger, hatred and anxiety while building your own self-esteem.
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom is a self-improvement book based on Ancient Toltec Wisdom that teaches the reader about self limiting beliefs that causes suffering. A New York Times bestseller for over a decade and translated into over 46 different languages, it is a simple yet powerful book that offers four principles to live by which promote personal freedom and happiness. This book will help you live a more peaceful and loving life.
Meditations is written by Marcus Aurelius, the sixteenth emperor of Rome and one of the most powerful man in the world during that period. Robin Waterfield has translated this text to become much more accessible and easy to read for the modern reader. This book introduces Stocisim and furthers the understanding of any reader interested in philosophy.
21. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment is a self-help book that has helped millions of people find happiness and contentment in the present moment. The author, Eckhart Tolle, offers insightful advice on how to live in the present moment and enjoy life as it unfolds. If you’re looking for a new perspective on mindfulness or are seeking spiritual enlightenment, this book might be right up your alley!
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is a self-help book that uses ancient texts to discuss what life is, who you are, and how to live. Tibetan Buddhist teacher Sogyal Rinpoche discusses the nature of reality in this text, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and this is the 25th edition of the book. Simple and complex at the same time, it is a practical book that lets you relook at what life and death means.
Do you struggle with anxiety or worries? Craig Groeschel helps you identify your thoughts to win the battle of your mind and how to develop thought practices with biblical truths. You can get unstuck from destructive thoughts, reduce stress and overcome self doubt.
Best Self Help Books for Career
Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life is a personal development book that discusses finding your life’s purpose. Author Hector Garcia and Francesc studied the concept of “ikigai” in Japan and decided to write about it for Western audiences. Ikigai is about finding happiness and meaning, and the book’s knowledge came from research based on residents of a Japanese village that had the highest percentage of 100-year-olds.
Act Like A Success, Think Like A Success: Discovering Your Gift and the Way to Life’s Riches is a book that helps you discover your own gifts to have the greatest chance at success. Steve Harvey offers advice on how to make the most of your natural talents and abilities, and provides practical, actionable tips that can transform your life. If you are wondering what your gift is or have lost your way, this is the book you need to pick up right now.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change is a classic, timeless self-help book that has helped people become more successful by implementing 7 Habits. Author Stephen Covey offers insightful advice on how to set goals, live with integrity, and much more. With over 25 million copies sold, this book is chock full of common sense that you can apply to your life.
The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream is a self-help book that tells the story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. This magical fable teaches about the essential wisdom of listening to one’s heart, of recognizing opportunity when it presents itself, and above all, of pursuing dreams.
Best Self Help Psychology Books
Think Again is book that teaches cognitive skills of how to learn – and how to unlearn. Adam Grant teaches you how to open your mind and challenge your own beliefs. You will learn a lot from this New York Times bestseller and it is a must read for people in business or professionals that are looking to improve their intellectual ability and open mindedness.
Psycho-Cybernetics will help you understand your subconscious mind better and redirect your thinking to enhance your life. Based on scientific research, it’s a book that gives practical tips to improve your self-image, thus shaping your personality and behaviour. It explores the power of visualisation and goal-setting to help you achieve your goals via clear thinking.
Unfu*k Yourself is your destination for a straight-talking, no-nonsense approach to accessing the most powerful internal resource you have – your mind. Inside these pages, life and business strategist Gary John Bishop will help you to detoxify your mind, uncover your true potential, eliminate self-sabotage and build the successful life you really want. If need a wake up call, this book is it.
Thinking Fast and Slow is a self-help book that discusses how humans are irrational. Author Daniel Kahneman, Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, uses the concept of two minds, or systems–one fast and one slow–to discuss how people think. Based on behavioural psychology and the author’s life work, Thinking Fast and Slow will change the way you think about thinking.
Best Self Help Books that Actually Work
32. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a ****: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
Interesting title aside, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a **** is a refreshing self-help book that will teach you how to be more confident and stop giving a f*** what other people think. This New York Times bestseller help readers achieve long-term life goals by not becoming caught up in unimportant problems that so many people face in today’s society and is written with straight up advice and honest truths. The author, Mark Manson, emphasizes that having an awesome life is about your values – what you care about and what you don’t – which is easily applicable in our own lives.
Procastination is one of the things that stops people from succeeding at their goals and dreams. Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time is an easy read that teaches readers how to take action, develop a system to get maximum productivity and prioritise tasks. If you find yourself putting off things that you’ve wanted to get done, this guide will teach you how to kickstart your engine and crush your goals.
34. Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny! by Tony Robbins
Tony Robbins is well known as being an expert in the psychology of change. This book is a step by step guide and a profound read that serves as a powerful tool for you to change your life through looking at your life beliefs, improve your financial health and happiness. It also provides actual tools backed by psychology which you can use to change and get the life you’ve always wanted.
Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement is a brilliant book that will help you improve your life by reprogramming your mind. Author Tony Robbins shows you how to overcome emotional barriers and release self doubt, which he calls “limiting beliefs,” so that you can become more successful at anything you do.
How to Win Friends & Influence People is another timeless classic self-help book that discusses the fundamentals of social interaction. Author Dale Carnegie breaks down how to communicate more effectively and influence people, which can make you more effective in life. This book is full of practical advice on how to win friends and handle yourself around other people.
37. Ultralearning : Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career by Scott Young
Want to learn a complex skill? Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career is a self-help book that will help people learn faster. The author Scott Young discusses how to get ahead by becoming an ultralearner, someone who learns very quickly. He has shared a roadmap that guide readers exactly how to get the most out of their learning process.
James Clear, the author of this book, provides readers with simple steps to make any kind of positive change or drop negative habits. The habits that you can create are not limited to physical changes like losing weight or growing muscle; they also include mental changes like becoming more productive and an all-round better version of yourself. This New York Times bestseller is very easy to apply and implement in your daily life, and will be a valuable read for any person looking to improve their lives through better habits.
It’s never too early to start thinking about what you want your life, happiness or career to look like in 2022. New self-help books are releasing every year that offer a variety of perspectives and insights into how we can challenge our thinking and create new growth opportunities for ourselves. Whether it’s spirituality, self love or personal development, there is something for everyone on this list of the best self-help books to read in 2022.
What book will be first on your reading list? If there’s a book you think should be on this list, drop a comment down below!
Frequently Asked Questions about Self Help Books
What can you expect from reading self-help books ?
Expect to gain a valuable insight into the way that successful people think and how they go about achieving their goals in life. You will also be challenged to reflect on yourself and your life situation. You can expect to come out of reading a good self-help books with more inspiration, motivation, and determination to achieve your goals in life.
Is it possible to read too many self-help books?
Reading too many self-help books can give you high expectations of how the future is going to be. Keep in mind that self-help books are simply guides; success (on your own terms) is all about what you put into practice and take action in applying to your life.
Do self help books actually work?
Self help books can help you to form a new habit, change your attitude and give you a new perspective on life. It also depends on the self-help book you are reading, the timing in your life when you read the book and the application of the advice you receive from it.