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We’ve found the ones that won’t waste your time
The best self-help books – where do you start? There are so many out there that it can make it impossible to choose one. Some claim to be the best self-help books for confidence, others promise that they’re the sacred text for career progression, and more than a few vow to turn you into a wellness angel.
So how can you separate the wheat from the chaff and find the best self-help book for you? You’ve probably heard of The Power Of Now, The Secret, and The Power Of Positive Thinking – but which other releases can compete? Is there a book out there that can genuinely empower you, break bad habits and change your life? And is there anything out there to convert the self-help sceptics?
Read on for our complete roundup of 10 self-help books that are actually worth reading, from new releases to timeless classics and more. We’ve broken it all down for you so that all you have to do is pick up a copy and get stuck in.
Think about every time you haven’t done something because you didn’t feel good enough to. Didn’t apply for that job you wanted because you didn’t think you were qualified? Gave up writing that novel because you convinced yourself your ideas weren’t up to scratch? Or found yourself re-writing emails so that it’s worded just right (and people don’t think you’re too pushy)? Yep – you’re probably a perfectionist. But it’s time to unlearn everything you thought you knew about how to be brave with the help of Girls Who Code founder, Reshma Saujani.
The book focuses on ways in which women are primed to be perfect (and therefore feel inadequate when they don’t achieve what they set out to) before offering up tips and tricks to ensure you’re making courageous decisions in every day life, whether that’s standing up for yourself in a meeting or quitting your job completely and moving to a remote island. Reshma is like your fearless friend throughout, encouraging you to take a leap of faith – even if it means potentially landing on anything but your feet.
Best self-help books: one for the anxiety stricken
Bella Mackie’s book begins at rock bottom. The journalist and writer starts her story looking back over the days following her divorce, in which she realised she had never learnt any real coping mechanisms, including how to deal with her GAD (generalised anxiety disorder) and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) symptoms she’d had since childhood. She takes the reader back with her over her life during her hardest moments, explaining in detail how her mental health has impacted everything from school to her first marriage.
As the title suggests, the ongoing thread in the book is how Bella used running to self medicate and get her life back on track. So often those of us suffering with our mental health are made to feel as though there are only two lines of treatment: therapy and/or medication. And while these are of course front and centre when it comes to treating mental health, Bella’s book makes a brilliant case for also taking up exercise. Not only will this book encourage you to take up running – or simply to find something you have a passion for to improve your mindset – it also reminds you that you are absolutely not alone. From beginning to end, Bella’s book is highly relatable (she can only manage 2 minutes on her first run), realistic and will have anyone who suffers with the terror of an anxiety disorder joyously celebrating that somebody finally knows exactly how they feel.
Best self-help books: one to awaken the girlboss within
Founder of global beauty brand, Rodial, Maria Hatzistefanis has written a book about her own experiences, failures and fortunes. After realising that her life needed a new focus, Maria takes you on a journey and shares her own clear, concise and intuitive strategies to help you tackle your own challenges, master your mindset and be in control of your own destiny.
Best self-help books: one for a spiritual awakening
This book has taken social media by storm in the last couple of years, and it’s not hard to see why.
Vex King teaches us how self-love is the key to unlocking your greatness. The book features a range of tips to overcome toxic energy, create positive lifestyle habits (including mindfulness and meditation), manifest your goals and find your higher purpose in life.
This book will convince you to get creative with your life. It’s not just for the poets, painters and performers – it’s for anyone who has lost themselves a little bit and wants to rediscover their passions. The book focuses on finding and appreciating joy in every day experiences, doing the things you love, and ignoring the judgement and opinions of others.
The message is clear: this book is here to remind you that you can live big without selling everything and moving to a remote village, or vowing to commit to a sport so that you can compete in the next Olympics. Whether it’s rekindling your childhood love for ice skating or booking a piano lesson after twenty years off the keys, this book will encourage you to forget what others think, focus on what you want, and follow your own interesting and totally unique path.
If you’re familiar with Knight’s other works, The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, Get Your Sh*t Together and You Do You, you’ll be familiar with her writing style: punchy, energetic and a bit tongue-in-cheek. Her fourth ‘anti guru’ book offers readers an easy framework for dealing with the daily ups and downs of anxiety – from someone who knows what it’s like to deal with it – all interspersed with diagrams, a good sense of humour and relatable anecdotes. It’s a breeze to read and you’ll feel much less alone by the end of it.
Struggle with being honest? Scared to be confrontational? Worried about the consequences of saying what’s really on your mind? Then you need to pick up a copy of Alexandra Reinwarth’s book because it might just change your life for the better.
After going through a BFF breakup, Alexandra decided that she was no longer going to live her life to please other people. Instead, she was going to create her own set of rules and embrace the power of saying ‘no’. She rejects the idea of women having to be ‘nice’ to get where they need to be in life – whether that’s climbing the career ladder, pleasing their peers or having the confidence to do what they really want to do – and instead focuses on ways in which we can ask for (and get) the life that we truly want.
Best self-help books: one for the courage to speak out
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards is ‘enjoying fighting the good fight’. Her memoir details her fight for social justice and acts as motivation for anyone who wants to flex their activism muscle.
From how her journey started to the valuable lessons she learned along the way, Cecile talks about how she fought and won some of the biggest battles of her career – and doesn’t forget about her setbacks, too. She actively encourages being a (hard-working) troublemaker to get where you need to be – even if it all ends in failure. In fact, especially if it ends in failure. Because the most important step following a setback is the ability to pick yourself back up and keep going.
Best self-help books: one to focus on the important things
This book is basically an inside scoop into a therapist’s tool kit. Dr Julie Smith draws upon her years of experience as a clinical psychologist to provide you with the skills you need to get through life’s ups and downs and optimise your mental health. She covers so many important topics such as managing anxiety, battling low mood, building self-confidence and learning to forgive yourself. It is no wonder that the author has become an online sensation with all her amazing advice,
Need some motivation for 2022? Look no further than Jen Sincero’s self-help book. A New York Times bestseller, this book provides 27 bitesized chapters full of inspiring stories, advice, exercises and more to change behaviours that stop you from getting what you want and create a life you love.
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