Self-care and self improvement have become buzzwords over the past decade or so. As the stresses of everyday life become much harder to deal with, people are finding they need help to keep themselves motivated and on the right path. It’s very easy to fall into the trap of self-loathing and find yourself struggling to deal with the hardships of everyday life. This can very often lead to depression or worse. That’s where the self-help market has become a factor. Now you can see professionals who can help you make changes in your life or pick up one of the many self improvement books available and get some tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your life better.
As is the case with anything like this, you have to be willing to make changes to your life. Just picking up a book and glazing over it won’t suffice. If you can pinpoint what is wrong or the negative behaviors you are exhibiting, then self improvement books can help you change for the better. They can assist you to grow as a person so you can ultimately become the best version of yourself.
The self-help market is flooded with hundreds of books on how to get the best out of yourself. To make sure you are only reading the pick of the bunch, we’ve selected 14 of the best self improvement books that are sure to have you living your best life in no time.
14 Best Self Improvement Books on the Market
1. The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
Unlike most of the books on this list, The Alchemist isn’t divided into sections offering advice on how to improve your life. Nor is it a book with lots of information on how to think positively or change your behaviors. Paulo Coelho’s incredible book is a fictional story about Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of traveling to Egypt and the pyramids to find a hidden treasure. During his journey, Santiago encounters many different people and learns much about himself and life.
The main themes running through The Alchemist concern following your dreams and manifesting your destiny. In a similar vein to The Secret, Coelho believes that manifestation and positive thinking can work, and if you want something in life you must chase it and never give up hope, no matter how bad things get.
While the manifestation strategy is one best taken with a grain of salt, Coelho’s story makes a great read. His outlook on life and philosophy on trusting your heart and pursuing your desires is great food for thought. The fact that he manages to get his message across in a fictional tale will certainly appeal to those who struggle with standard personal development books.
2. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell is a successful writer who tackles psychology and sociology issues that impact the human experience. While his best-known book is arguably The Tipping Point, Outliers is the one we recommend. His second book explores the factors that make people successful, which makes it a great read for anyone looking to start a business or improve their wheeling and dealing skills.
Gladwell argues we worry too much about how successful people are and should be concentrating more on where they come from and how they got to where they are. He examines how Bill Gates turned Microsoft into one of the biggest software companies in the world, how the Beatles became the number musical act, and how two extremely smart men ended up on different paths to success.
Outliers is a brilliant read packed full of useful information that points to people’s surroundings and circumstances as to what makes them successful. It also includes the handy “10,000-Hour Rule,” which Gladwell constantly references. He suggests that if you do something repeatedly for over 10,000 hours, you will become a master of that skill. So practice really does make perfect.
3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck – A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life – Mark Manson
Most self improvement books are all about thinking positively. This is not the case with The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck – A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. Mark Manson believes it’s the struggles we encounter that help us become better people and adjust to the world around us. Backed by science and humor, Manson makes it clear that sometimes in life you have to deal with failure and not getting what you want and live with it.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck is all about embracing our fears and understanding our limitations. Not everyone can be Kim Khardasian or Brad Pitt. One of the best self improvement books on this list hands-down.
4. The 48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene
When people like Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Will Smith, and Busta Rhymes are endorsing a book, you know it’s worth a look. Author Robert Green draws on the philosophies and rules some of the most powerful people in history lived their lives by to bring you 48 laws to apply to modern life. It’s very much aimed at the business-minded, with many of the laws created by Greene about achieving absolute domination.
While The 48 Laws of Power has come under fire from some critics for its sometimes contradictory laws, it’s still a solid read with plenty of sage advice that will help you form good habits in your everyday life.
5. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers – Tim Ferris
American writer Tim Ferris has interviewed hundreds of people for his hugely successful podcast The Tim Ferris Show. Inspired by the people he’s talked with, Ferris decided to turn his experiences into a book. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers is an informative guide to what it takes to be a success in life.
Ferris chose 100 highly successful people, such as actor and former Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, motivational speaker Wim “The Iceman” Hof, writer, research professor, and podcaster Brené Brown, and snowboarder Shaun White, to find out what it is about them that sets them apart from the rest of us.
Ferris found these successful people have very similar traits and routines, with more than 80% practicing daily meditation of some sort. Many don’t eat breakfast and believe that failure is not an option. Split into three main chapters (Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise), Tools of Titans is a great insight into the type of mindset needed to be a success in the modern world.
6. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R Covey
Here is another one for the business heads. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a business and self help book that’s been highly praised since hitting bookstores in 1989. Written by Stephen R Covey, an American educator, writer, and businessman, the book contains seven habits that will not only turn you into an effective business person but also enhance your character and help you grow your values.
The seven habits Covey explores are “Be Proactive,” “Begin with the End in Mind,” “Put First Things First,” “Think Win/Win,” “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood,” “Synergize,” and “Sharpen the Saw.” Follow the tips he outlines about each habit and you’ll be well on your way to living a successful life.
7. Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert
You might laugh at this one being included, but it’s hard to argue with a book that stayed on the New York Times Best Sellers list for 187 weeks and was made into a film starring Julia Roberts. Eat, Pray, Love is the real-life story of Elizabeth Gilbert, a woman in her mid-30s who seemingly had it all. Although married to a wonderful husband with a successful job as a writer, Gilbert felt unfilled. She divorced her husband and set out on a year of travel to discover herself and find out what she wanted from life.
She spent four months in Italy enjoying the local culture (“Eat”), three months in India finding her spirituality (“Pray”), before heading to Bali (“Love”) to find balance, where she fell in love with a Brazilan businessman who she later married.
It might seem a little cheesy, but Gilbert’s story is fascinating, and the way she weaves spirituality through her tales of adventure really seems to resonate with people. This is one’s woman’s journey about finding herself and what it takes to truly be happy with one’s self.
8. How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
Born into poverty, Dale Carnegie was determined to make a success of his life. After graduating college and working as a salesman for several years, Carnegie quit to pursue his dream of becoming a lecturer and speaker. He found much success teaching people how to speak in public, leading to the book How To Win Freinds and Influence People.
This personal development book is one of the most widely revered, having been in print for over 85 years. It offers advice on all aspects of life and it will teach you the six ways to make people like you, the 12 ways to win people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.
How To Win Freinds and Influence People is a fantastic read that will help you form new habits and instill you with the confidence to talk to anyone about anything. American business mogul Warren Buffet swears by its teachings, but so did Charles Manson, who said the book gave him the confidence to manipulate women to do his bidding. Either way, it’s a book that gets results.
9. Awaken the Giant Within – Tony Robbins
When it comes to famous motivational speakers, they don’t come any more well-known than Tony Robbins. When the first wave of self-help books took off in the 90s, Robbins was at the forefront. Getting his start as a life coach at the age of 17, Robbins has been providing people with insights into how to live a positive life and form good habits for decades. He has written more books than you can poke a stick at and has toured all over the world speaking to his followers.
If you want one book to start with, we recommend Awaken the Giant Within. One of Robbins’ early works, the book provides step-by-step details on how to get the best out of all aspects of your life. Learn how to master your emotions and take immediate control of your life. This is a fantastic self improvement book that anyone can pick up with ease and get their life back on track.
10. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life – Jen Sincero
This is another book that is sure to divide opinions. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life is Jen Sincero’s comical guide to living your best life. Split into 28 easy-to-read chapters, Sincero gives advice on how to change your behaviors and become the best version of yourself.
Sincero believes in a greater energy and puts a lot of faith into the “if you try hard enough it will happen” basket, which isn’t exactly a great way to live life. But she does provide plenty of handy tidbits and ways to get the best out of yourself. She mixes advice with real-life experiences and her writing is chock full of humor.
It might not be for everyone, but considering she has written three follow-up books that have all done extremely well, it’s safe to say Sincero knows what she is on about.
11. The Miracle Morning: The Not So Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life (Before 8 AM) – Hal Elrod
Another successful speaker and life coach, Hal Elrod has written over 20 books in the past two decades. His first, and arguably most successful, is the pick of the bunch. Elrod looks at what it is you can do before you start your day to put you on the track to success. It’s all about waking up with the right mindset to tackle the challenges of the day and making sure you are in a good space before you walk out the door (or sit at your laptop for those working from home).
Elrod details his incredible story (he’s a cancer survivor, was involved in a near-fatal car accident, and has failed financially multiple times) before providing techniques to try in the morning (such as exercise and meditation) to get you ready to tackle the day ahead. It’s about prioritizing yourself and making sure you are in a good place before beginning the day.
12. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment – Eckhart Tolle
This book is for those who are looking for a more spiritual approach to life. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment is the first book written by German spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle. The book takes inspiration from a variety of different religions and spiritual teachings to create a belief system about living in the now. Tolle is all about living in the present and not focusing too greatly on the past or the future.
Tolle offers advice on how to meditate and deal with the stresses of life in a calming, relatable manner. The Power of Now became a best-seller after Oprah Winfrey recommended the book on her talk show. It continues to sell well and is one of the most sought-after self improvement books on the market.
13. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl
Viktor Frankl is famous for the philosophical and psychological ideas that helped him develop logotherapy and existential analysis. He believes there are three main ways to understand the meaning of life: by making a difference in the world, by having particular experiences, or by adopting particular attitudes. He came to many of these conclusions while imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.
Those experiences led to Frankl writing Man’s Search for Meaning. The book details Frankl’s time in the camp and how managed to survive. There is a lot of emphasis on positive thinking and identifying motivational forces to keep you going. It can be a heavy read but is very insightful. Man’s Search for Meaning has sold over 10 million copies worldwide and been translated into 24 languages, so you can trust what you are reading.
14. How to Make Shit Happen: Make More Money, Get In Better Shape, Create Epic Relationships, and Control Your Life! – Sean Whalen
Struggling for life balance? Let Sean Whalen help you out with one of the best self help books on the market. Whether you have money problems, relationship issues, are grappling with depression, or are a general mess, this book has plenty of great nuggets to help you sort yourself out. Whalen breaks things down into four key aspects (4CORE) and does so without any fluff. He’s direct and forthright with a hint of wit to make things interesting.
Short, sharp, and sweet, How to Make Shit Happen: Make More Money, Get In Better Shape, Create Epic Relationships, and Control Your Life! provides you with all the tools to get your life back on track.