Although bone-chilling thrillers and twisting mystery novels tend to steal the spotlight this time of year, we're making a case for expanding your summer reading list to include at least one book from an oft-overlooked subset of literature: self-help books. Inspiring, confidence boosting, and motivating; we'd argue that no well-rounded to-read pile is complete without a book or two from the self-improvement genre.
Seeing as we're poised to stock up on beach-worthy reads for summer, we culled through the best sellers on Amazon to bring you a curated list of the best self-help books of 2019 so far. Spanning a field guide on the art of doing nothing, to a memoir for anyone who's fallen down and is looking to pick themselves back up again, these books are so good they'll have you turning pages poolside. Keep scrolling to find out which must-read self-care books made the cut—and prepare to edit your summer reading list accordingly.
How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell
A field guide to slowing down, How to Do Nothing makes the case that doing nothing is vital for our health and happiness. This book "is genuinely instructive, elaborating a practical philosophy to help us slow down and temporarily sidestep the forces aligned against both our mental health and long-term human survival," writes Akiva Gottlieb in The Los Angeles Times. You can knock the hustle—and you should.
Era of Ignition by Amber Tamblyn
Amber Tamblyn's Era of Ignition should be considered required reading for anyone aiming to make the world a better place in 2019 and beyond. "Acknowledging the fury and complicity that make social activism both catalytic and precarious, Tamblyn’s book is a work of personal upheaval and political reckoning,” recommends Rebecca Traister, the New York Times bestselling author of Good and Mad.
No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny
In the wake of losing her father, husband, and unborn child, the host of the wildly popular podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking offers up her signature hilarious, poignant, heartfelt advice in this must-read memoir. “No Happy Endings is the book for anyone who’s fallen down and is trying to pick themselves back up again," offers Brenda Janowitz in Popsugar. "An emotionally honest and thoughtful read."
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb
Deemed a must-read by Refinery 29, O, The Oprah Magazine, and more, Maybe You Should Talk To Someone is hands down the most buzzed-about self-help book of 2019. “Gottlieb’s book is perhaps the first I’ve read that explains the therapeutic process in no-nonsense terms while simultaneously giving hope to therapy skeptics like me who think real change through talk is elusive," endorses Judith Newman in The New York Times.
Save Me the Plums by Ruth Reichl
In this memoir, Ruth Reichl, notable restaurant critic, and food writer reflects on her tenure as editor in chief of Gourmet—which was a dream job that she, shockingly, almost turned down. It's a must-read for food lovers and anyone grappling with their next career move. “Reichl is in top form and ready to dish, with every chapter seeming like a dedicated behind-the-scenes documentary on its own,” writes Soleil Ho in San Francisco Chronicle.
The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates
At the heart of The Moment of Lift is a deceivingly simple premise: To lift a society up, don't keep women down. Philanthropist Melinda Gates' book "is a moral appeal, imploring each of us who reads it to look around―at our own families, our own workplaces, our own place in a gigantic, but highly connected, world―and get to work making it more equal,” writes Heidi Stevens in The Chicago Tribune.
Range by David Epstein
In this groundbreaking book, David Epstein upends the traditionally held belief that specialists—not generalists—are primed for success. "Range is an urgent and important book, an essential read for bosses, parents, coaches, and anyone who cares about improving performance,” divulges Daniel H. Pink, author of When, Drive, and A Whole New Mind.
It's Great to Suck at Something by Karen Rinaldi
A must-read for self-proclaimed perfectionists, Karen Rinaldi's It's Great to Suck at Something presents a compelling case for embracing the risk of failure. “Rinaldi’s book feels more like a movement than just another self-help guide," writes Angela Haupt in The Washington Post. "The book is lighthearted but intimately introspective; the overarching message is empowering without being cheesy.”
Everything Is F*cked by Mark Manson
From the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, comes an irreverent book on the topic of hope (or hopelessness, depending on your point of view). This is "a wonderfully accessible book that tackles some of the deeper questions about where our world is headed, as well as how to take better care of ourselves (and each other) until we get there,” according to Scott Barry Kaufman, host of The Psychology Podcast.