10 self-help books that can help you become the best version of yourself

“Mutual aid” as a category can sometimes be derided by great literary minds. And it’s true – as a category, there really is a lot of clutter to navigate. But that doesn’t change the fact that people are always trying to find personal help that can actually make a difference and have something worthwhile to offer. Whether it’s improving our careers, our relationships, our habits, or just ourselves at large, we all seek to be the best version of ourselves. These books may not be a one-size-fits-all solution, but they can definitely guide you on your journey to get there…

10 self-help books that can help you become the best version of yourself

1. The courage to be hated | Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga

The courage to be hated | Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga

Self-help books can often be condescending, but The courage to be hated takes a form that is the opposite of that. Conceived as a conversation between a philosopher and a young man, the book is grounded in the ideologies of Alfred Adler, one of the three great dogs of 19th century psychology (apart from Freud and Jung). It’s about dismantling past experiences, freeing ourselves from the need to please people, and charting our own path. Definitely something every millennial needs.

2. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living | Dale Carnegie

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living | Dale Carnegie

Best known for his hugely successful Relationship 101; How to make friends and influence people, this book is a useful starter kit for the anxious among us. The 1948 book tries lessons and strategies to employ to start living a happier life less filled with the stresses and anxiety of everyday life. Even though it was written nearly 80 years ago, it has remained surprisingly relevant over time, as stress has remained an unsurprising constant over time.

3. The power of the moment | Eckhart Tolle

The power of now | Eckhart Tolle

One of the most iconic books in the world of modern philosophy, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment is a spiritual bible for many. An extremely important intersection between philosophy and the action of this philosophy for a more present life, Tolle’s book describes a “new-age Zen” which is inspired by Buddhism, mysticism and even certain principles of Christianity; but his main thought is how to really improve the present and live in it without being attached to the past or focused on the future like we all usually are.

4. The magic of life-changing storage | Marie Kondo

The magic of life-changing storage | Marie Kondo

You probably know Kondo from his Netflix series Tidying up with Marie Kondo, but the Japanese organizing consultant is above all an author. His ideology, the KonMari Method, was first immortalized in this book for easy access to anyone who really wants to sort through the clutter in their lives. The philosophy? Gather all your stuff by category and keep only the things that “spark joy.” Assessing the value and usefulness of objects through the KonMari Method eases the impossible task of deciding what to hold on to and what to let go of.

5. Atomic Habits | James Clair

Atomic Habits | James Clair

Claiming to be one of the world’s foremost experts on habit formation, Clear’s book regularly appears on self-help lists through the ages because of the way it breaks down areas of life, business to parenting and how to do more by focusing on less. With a mix of exercises and clear strategies to consolidate good habits and break bad ones. If you’ve ever wanted to start running, eat healthy, quit smoking, or drink less (among a myriad of other habits you want to get rid of), this could be the answer.

6. Calm: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking | Susan Cain

Silent: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking | Susan Cain

In a world where most self-help is geared towards a caring attitude and meant to make you a more responsible person, Cain’s book is a breath of fresh air. The author of the 2012 book and co-founder of the mission-based company Quiet Revolution advocates the power of introversion among the “extroverted ideal.” The book recounts how Western culture has changed from a “culture of character” to a “culture of personality” in which extraversion is praised and introversion is rejected; and how to recover this power.

7. Thinking, fast and slow | Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, fast and slow | Daniel Kahneman

If there’s one person you should take seriously, it’s a Nobel laureate. Israeli-American psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman (also professor emeritus of psychology and public affairs at Princeton), a man who knows what he’s talking about; or, in this case, think. In this book, Kahneman distinguishes between System 1 thinking (fast, intuitive, and emotional) and System 2 thinking (slower, more deliberative, and more logical), highlighting the capabilities — and flaws — of both. .

8. The Happiness Project | Gretchen Rubin

The Happiness Project | Gretchen Rubin

When you expand the name of this book by Rubin–The Happiness Project: or why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight well, read Aristotle and generally have more fun– it’s pretty self-explanatory. The 2016 New York Times bestseller is a guide to finding happiness; an experiment Rubin undertook by dedicating a full year of her life to using age-old wisdom, scientific studies, and everything she had learned from pop culture about what it takes to be truly happy and how to get there.

9. Nice girls don’t have the office corner | Lois Frankel

Pretty girls don’t get the corner office | Lois Frankel

To be honest, you got us in the title. Frankel’s guide for women in the workplace (and beyond), Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unknown Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers, identifies a specific set of behaviors (about 130 or more) that women learn in childhood that end up sabotaging them as adults. For any woman wondering how to push back and take her rightful place in a “boy’s club” environment, this book is a godsend.

10. Mating in captivity | Esther Perel

Mating in captivity | Esther Perel

There’s never been a shortage of self-help books that attempt to help you unlock positivity, career success, and powerful thinking. But books of the genre that tackle intimacy and sex – in a real and useful way – are rare. Considered one of the world’s most respected voices in erotic intelligence, Perel draws on more than two decades of experience as a couples therapist. She examines the nuances of keeping desire alive with a mix of case studies and lively discussions. Perfect if you’re in a long-term relationship and looking to rekindle the old spark.


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