The 21st century brought a rebirth of philosophy. More than 2,000 years after Marcus Aurelius, Socrates and Plato penetrated the inner workings of the human mind, we are once again exploring our headspace and mental faculties, but this time with the goal of self-improvement and personal development. With this renewed focus on mindset as the key to unlocking our full potential, self-help books have become mainstream reading material.
Now people are turning to self-help books as an authority on life, rather than having their own personal life coaches – these can be quite expensive. But despite the widespread interest in self-help books, much of the genre remains—for lack of a better term—total bullshit. In such an overcrowded market, plenty of self-help books make excellent Christmas stocking stuffers and Father’s Day fodder, which means they’re usually best approached with caution. However, hidden beneath the pile of mediocrity is a select group of self-help books that can truly help you. With philosophies that, if adopted, can help you as you climb the career ladder, aim for a PB in the gym, hope to navigate the complicated world of relationships, or simply try to strengthen your mental fortitude.
With so much on offer, searching the self-help section of your local bookstore can be a daunting task. No matter, we’ve done the work for you and rounded up the ten best self-help books available for purchase right now. Since, as many of these books will tell you, getting bogged down with an overwhelming amount of choices is one of the easiest mistakes to make, reading our reduced list will save you time and energy. And there you are, already making progress.
Mind Gym: Achieve More by Thinking Differently – Sebastian Bailey and Octavius Black
Think of this book as a mental treadmill, a piece of equipment that will guide your brain through exercises designed to increase productivity and creativity. Bailey and Black show us the power of resetting your mind from automatic thinking and taking control of your actions through conscious choices. Mind Gym will help you get rid of mental sluggishness and welcome a smooth, toned mind ready to tackle life’s challenges.
Make Your Bed: The Little Things That Can Change Your Life…and Maybe the World – William H. McRaven
The advice that ‘doing the simple task of making your bed can make a big difference in your life’ is nothing new. Written by a retired US Navy SEAL, this book offers a refreshing take on that almost ubiquitous adage, breaking down ten small tasks that can have a big impact on your life and, as the title suggests, can even change the world.
Atomic Habits: The Simple and Proven Way to Create Good Habits and Break Bad Habits – James Clear
You’ve probably seen this book on the shelves before. Maybe it’s on your shelf now after you got it as a gift and you’ve been putting off reading it ever since. Atomic Habits has been one of the best-selling self-help books since it was published in 2018, and for good reason. It’s intense, effective, and leaves you wondering why you didn’t embark on a transformative habit-changing journey sooner. If you’ve never considered the power of habit formation before, now might be the time to start.
You Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds – David Goggins
‘Man! Have you read Goggins?’ It’s a question that’s being asked a lot in gyms, running groups and training classes right now, as the buzz around the self-help book continues to grow at the moment. Can’t Hurt Me has been out for a few years now, but Goggins’ high-octane, assertive and seemingly on-target motivational speeches have recently gone viral on social media, inspiring people everywhere to push themselves a little harder. A former Navy SEAL (those guys are obviously great writers), ultra-marathoner, and endurance icon, Goggins shows us how we can use the mind to discipline the body.
Subtle Art Don’t Fuck – Mark Manson
Since its publication, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a *ck has created a fantastic place to fill the space in the aesthetically pleasing Instagram posts of influencers trying to convince their followers to read. However, this book can do much more than take up space. Especially relevant given the 24/7 onslaught of information we’re now used to in the 21st century, Manson’s no-nonsense approach teaches us how to shed unnecessary mental weight, screw ourselves up less (as the title promises) and focus on what really matters .
You’re a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living a Great Life – Jen Sincero
Sincero’s book is the motivational camp you’ve been waiting for. Everyone goes through periods of self-doubt, with impostor syndrome especially prevalent today, but this book shows us how to push those feelings to the curb. As much a lesson in positive affirmations as a self-help book, read You Are a Badass to feel certified
you are wicked.
The Man in the Mirror: Solving 24 Problems Men Face – Patrick M. Morley
Here is a classic option. First published in 1989, The Man in the Mirror is an award-winning bestseller that specifically addresses the issues men face every day. And it is just as effective now as it was 25 years ago. Addressing everything from relationship issues to financial stress, The Man in the Mirror is ideally suited for the modern man.
The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Business, and Confidence With Everyday Courage – Mel Robbins
True to its name, Robbins’ book is a high-intensity self-help interval training. It’s fast, efficient and forces you to make life-changing decisions in just five seconds. If you’re someone who struggles with indecision and procrastination, The 5 Second Rule will change that.
Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time – Brian Tracy
No, you shouldn’t actually eat frogs, but Tracy’s book will teach you the value of getting things done without procrastination. With a simple change in your mindset, you can say goodbye to procrastination and become more efficient, more focused. Devour that metaphorical frog, reclaim your time and feel the difference immediately.
Man Enough: Not Defining My Manhood – Justin Baldoni
Tackling an incendiary topic that is becoming increasingly relevant in a world that now has a more nuanced approach to masculinity, actor and social activist Justin Baldoni looks at how toxic masculinity has affected our society in Man Enough. Toxic masculinity is not only harmful to women, Bardoni’s work also reveals its harmful influence on men’s mental health, which is the result of a culture that teaches us to suppress feminine qualities. This book will make you question what it means to be a man and you will be better for it.