Self-help books are a dime a dozen, but not all of them are worth your time. We’ve scoured the shelves to find the most popular, highly rated, and frequently recommended self-improvement books available right now.
Whether you’re looking to improve your social skills, find purpose in your life, or balance your checkbook, you can learn how to do it all with the advice in the books below.
You’re unlikely to find a list of the best self-help books without this one on it somewhere. Dale Carnegie penned it way back in 1936, but it’s as valuable today as it ever was. By reading How to Win Friends and Influence People you can learn useful strategies to become more likable in all aspects of your life.
Don’t worry, it’s not about creating a fake persona. It’s actually about learning how to listen to other people, how to understand their wants and needs, and how to make them feel appreciated. Needless to say, if you internalize these lessons, you’ll find that friends, jobs, and sales are far easier to come by.
Despite its title, Think and Grow Rich is not solely about making a pile of money big enough to make Scrooge McDuck jealous. Although a portion of the book is certainly dedicated to monetary wealth, author Napoleon Hill wants you to grow rich in ideas, too.
This is another self-improvement book from the 1930s, but its also just as relevant now as it was back then. The author spent 20 years studying the most successful people of his time—including Henry Ford and Alexander Graham Bell—in research for this book.
You can use his findings to achieve what you want most in life, whether that’s a bank balance or a state of mind.
During the Second World War, Viktor Frankl spent three years as a prisoner in four different Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. Having survived the Holocaust, Frankl wrote about what he learned from the experiences in Man’s Search for Meaning.
Needless to say, this book paints a harrowing picture of what life was like in these torturous camps. But as a psychiatrist and neurologist, Frankl uses the opportunity to show how important it is to find meaning and a sense of purpose for your life.
He demonstrates their importance for resilience with examples of how his fellow prisoners coped through the most difficult years of their lives.
Norman Vincent Peale wrote this book in 1952, and it’s still one of the best self-help books around. The core message is simple: if you think in a positive way, you’ll start to see positive results. That’s because you’re more likely to try harder, to stretch further, and to dream bigger.
Of course, it isn’t easy to achieve a permanently optimistic attitude, but The Power of Positive Thinking endeavors to show you all the ways it can be worthwhile to do so. Thinking about what you want is a powerful motivator to get you moving toward it.
If you’re struggling to change your mindset, sit down in front of some motivational YouTube videos . Many of these are tailor-made to inspire you into action whenever you need a boost.
You’ve probably heard of this book. Released in 1989, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the most popular personal-development books around. Stephen Covey studied the past 200 years’ worth of self-help books and discovered that many of them focused on external “Personality Ethics” rather than internal “Character Ethics.”
The problem is that good Character Ethics lead to good Personality Ethics, not the other way around. This book shows you the habits you need to internalize to become effective and successful in the most genuine way possible. It isn’t easy, but Covey includes practice exercises to make those changes happen.
Tony Robbins is a hugely popular self-help guru with a number of books on the topic. This might be his best. Awaken the Giant Within explores fundamental lessons of self-mastery. You will feel encouraged to discover your true purpose and take control of your life.
Robbins puts a lot of weight on consistent actions, saying that it’s what you do every day that counts, not what you do every now and then. By following the advice in his book, you can awaken the giant within you and create positive change in your life—no matter what change you want that to be.
While many of the self-development books on this list focus on creating a better future for yourself, The Power of Now encourages you to return your focus to the present. That’s where you’ll always find yourself, after all.
Eckhart Tolle believes that spending too much time living in either the past or the future leads to regret, anxiety, and other negative emotions. By learning to embrace the now, you can lessen this suffering, increase your emotional intelligence, and develop stronger compassion for the people around you. The Power of Now shows you how to do that.
If embracing the present sounds like something you’re interested in, you should also check out the best meditation and relaxation apps .
With his 1997 book, Don Miguel Ruiz asks you to make four agreements with yourself. By sticking to these agreements, Ruiz suggests you can start living as your authentic self, alleviate suffering, and lead a more fulfilling existence.
The first agreement is to be impeccable with your word; make it mean something. The second is to avoid taking things personally, accepting that what people say is often more telling of their own character than yours. With the third agreement, Ruiz asks you to avoid assumptions. And the fourth accepts that you can’t be perfect, but encourages you to always do your best.
Rich Dad Poor Dad is one of the best self-help books available if you’re hoping to improve your financial situation. Robert Kiyosaki’s book demonstrates financial principles by contrasting two characters: Rich Dad and Poor Dad. In essence, he teaches you how to gather assets while eliminating liabilities.
By following Rich Dad’s examples, you can learn the best practices to improve your own finances. Don’t let its simple language fool you. This is an excellent self-help book for people who aren’t the best with money. The author has an estimated net worth of over $80 million after all, so there must be some truth to his words.
The Best Self-Help Books as Audiobooks
All the best self-help books are available as audiobooks as well. That means you can keep working on yourself even when you’re not able to sit down and read. Make sure you don’t let yourself get too distracted though, it’s important to internalize the lessons in these books for them to make an impact on your life.
If audiobooks sound more like your thing—perhaps you like to listen to them at the gym or on a long drive—take a look at our suggestions of the best self-improvement audiobooks . There are some truly excellent audiobooks on the list that we didn’t have space to mention here.
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