18 of the Best Self-Help Books to Read When You Need a Boost

Updated 04/18/19
Best Self-Help Books
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Life can be overwhelming. Sometimes, when family responsibilities and social obligations have you in a darker mood, you may think that there’s no way back to the light. We are here to tell you that you can pull yourself back up and be a better child, parent, sibling, friend, and partner than ever before.

It is a process, of course. Manicures and spa days are great in the name of self-care, but there are deeper ideas that we must wrestle with in order to truly restore balance to our lives. Maybe you are preoccupied with your career, whether in finding new opportunities or trying to keep up with everything that is on your plate currently. Family strife is a common but brutal difficulty that everyone endures, and it can completely cloud your mind during the toughest of times. We all seek fulfillment with how we spend our days, and if you are a spiritual person, you may be struggling to find the right balance between doing what we want to and what we need to.

We have taken the time to research the best self-help books that are available on Amazon. If you identify with any of the above stresses or have been seeking guidance for something else in your life, you will find answers in the pages of these books. Browse our list below and take a deep breath; this too shall pass.

Shonda Rhimes Year of Yes $13
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The impetus for Shonda Rhimes’s Year of Yes actually came from her sister. As a natural introvert, Rhimes needed encouragement to get out of her comfort zone, and by setting her mind to say yes to new experiences and opportunities, she realized she had barely been living.

The Lesson: “Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.”

Sheryl Sandberg Lean In $13
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What began as a TED talk promptly became a rallying cry for working women everywhere. The term “lean in” has now become part of feminist vernacular, proving the endurance of Sandberg’s ideas.

The Lesson: “There is no perfect fit when you're looking for the next big thing to do. You have to take opportunities and make an opportunity fit for you, rather than the other way around. The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.”

Stephen R. Covey The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People $6
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Another popular title among the already-successful, Stephen Covey lays out the exact steps to achieving your own prosperity. While you must pay attention to your specific circumstances, the ideas are applicable for just about anyone.

The Lesson: “We see the world, not as it is, but as we are──or, as we are conditioned to see it.”

Eckhart Tolle The Power of Now $9
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Reviews of Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now talk candidly about how this book helped them to see past depression and anxiety. This clinical psychologist recommends taking the time to read it slowly and practice Tolle’s ideas regularly.

The Lesson: “If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within; secondary reality without.”

Dalai Lama The Art of Happiness $16
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Psychiatrist Howard Cutler sat down with the fourteenth Dalai Lama, posing thought-provoking questions to one of the wisest figures in the world. He compiled the answers in this beautiful, meditative book.

The Lesson: “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

Marie Kondo The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up $10
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You don’t have to be suffering from clutter to have a scattered life. And that is what’s at the heart of Marie Kondo’s popular book; she will even tell you how to put everything back together once you take stock.

The Lesson: “No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important.”

Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom $12
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Some autobiographies are inspiring enough by themselves. Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk To Freedom is that kind of book. His story is inspiring and proves that you can always pull yourself up, no matter the cards you’re dealt.

The Lesson: “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends and Influence People $12
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Carnegie’s time-tested How to Win Friends & Influence People will teach you the art of persuasion. It has been recommended by a gamut of successful figures and can help you in several areas of your own life.

The Lesson: “It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”

Deepak Chopra The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success $6
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If you find yourself dogged by your own expectations of life, this book will put your mind at ease. You’ll only need to spend an afternoon with Deepak Chopra’s succinct Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.

The Lesson: “Least effort is expended when our actions are motivated by love, because nature is held together by the energy of love.”

Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich $15
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Think and Grow Rich might be the oldest book on our list, having been originally published in 1937, fresh on the heels of the Great Depression. Some of the verbiages are clearly from the time period, but the wisdom is timeless. 

The Lesson: “When defeat comes, accept it as a signal that your plans are not sound, rebuild those plans, and set sail once more toward your coveted goal.”

Malcolm Gladwell Blink $12
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Malcolm Gladwell is a compelling writer, who uses verifiable research to back his insights. What may seem like contrasting ideas on the surface can lend you a new perspective.

The Lesson: “The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.”

Elizabeth Gilbert Big Magic $13
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Elizabeth Gilbert is the same author that gave us Eat Pray Love, which changed many lives, especially after it was turned into a film starring Julia Roberts. Big Magic is a more recent title from Gilbert that offers a broader sense of enlightenment than her previous. That said, if you haven’t read Eat Pray Love, that should also go on your reading list.

The Lesson: “So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

Robert T. Kiyosaki Rich Dad Poor Dad $5
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Though some parts of this well-read book come across as dated (it was originally published in 1997), the basic principles it preaches still apply. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a self-help book that focuses on finances, with plenty of concrete advice along with other bits of wisdom.

The Lesson: “The single most powerful asset we all have is our mind. If it is trained well, it can create enormous wealth in what seems to be an instant.”

Norman Vincent Peale The Power of Positive Thinking $12
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This book leans on the religious side but has valuable ideas that are universal regardless of your faith (or lack thereof). Amazon user Zachary calls it “a wonderful book to add to your self-empowerment collection.”

The Lesson: “Stand up to an obstacle. Just stand up to it, that's all, and don't give way under it, and it will finally break. You will break it. Something has to break, and it won't be you, it will be the obstacle.”

Oprah Winfrey What I Know for Sure $12
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Oprah’s musings in her monthly magazine column, What I Know For Sure, were compiled into this book, which has a beautiful binding if you’re interested in owning a paper copy instead of an ebook. As proven by the popularity of her talk show, book club, and other ventures, Oprah is universally relatable.

The Lesson: “There is one irrefutable law of the universe: We are each responsible for our own life. If you’re holding anyone else accountable for your happiness, you’re wasting your time. You must be fearless enough to give yourself the love you didn’t receive.”

Don Miguel Ruiz The Four Agreements $5
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Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements can reaffirm your life rather than change it. This classic book touches on experiences of freedom, happiness, and love.

The Lesson: “Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”

Rhonda Byrne The Secret $12
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This controversial book (adapted from a documentary also made by Byrne) has changed many lives, and the first thing that they’ll tell you is that they didn’t think it would work. The power of thought and the law of attraction are seen through a new lens in The Secret.

The Lesson: “Your power is in your thoughts, so stay awake. In other words, remember to remember.”

Mark Manson The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck $13
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With a title like that, it is understandably met with some skepticism. But even reluctant readers agree that the art lies not in nihilism, but in narrowing the stresses that buzz around us every day.

The Lesson: “The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.”

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