10 Self-Help Books That Really Work


We've rounded up the best books to help with everything from anxiety to stress eating

10 self-help books that really help

There are a lot of self-help books out there - it can get overwhelming. Which ones will resonate? Which ones will fall flat, sitting on the nightstand collecting dust? Reading some, I’m reminded of a well-meaning aunt doling out advice, others read like a stuffy professor speaking in academic terms I don’t understand.

But some of them, the really good ones, get us to see something that needs changing. The really, really good ones have the power to actually make us DO something different. Maybe we need to get rid of a harmful thought pattern, maybe an action that we’re holding on to when it’s long past time to let go. Maybe we start doing something that’s good for us, that we’ve resisted for too long.

So we’ve combed through the volumes to find ten books that have actually helped people. Think about it like going out to dinner with a good friend and them telling you what worked for them. As a side note, swearing seems to be a big trend in self-help books right now.

1. IF YOU NEED MOTIVATION

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Robbins is a CNN commentator, host, author, and motivational speaker. She gave one of the most watched TEDx Talks ever, which led to this book. Robbins says that if you suspect you’re holding yourself back because of lack of confidence, worrying, anxiety, or procrastination, the 5 Second Rule might be for you. She suggests that counting backward from 5-4-3-2-1 creates a mental shift that distracts us from excuses and gets us moving. Reviewer Jody Naylor notes, “It has helped me stop procrastinating, get out of my funk, and get my s*#t together- both on a personal and business level.”

2. IF YOU’RE A STRESS EATER

The Intuitive Eating Workbook: Ten Principles for Nourishing a Healthy Relationship with Food by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch

When you need to have a healthier relationship with food, and not use it as a crutch, this one is for you. The book uses a 10-step program to stop obsessing over losing weight, end chronic dieting, and start using the wisdom you were born with to eat intuitively.

3. IF YOU’RE WASTING PRECIOUS TIME ON THINGS THAT DON’T MATTER

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

With a refreshing dose of hard, cold truth, backed by research, Manson shows us how embracing fears and taking responsibility can get us on the road to figuring out what really matters. One Amazon reviewer writes that it is “an immensely readable treatise on where to focus your energy and attention.”

4. IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING TO LOVE YOURSELF, IMPERFECTIONS AND ALL

I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn’t): Making the Journey from “What Will People Think?” to “I Am Enough” by Brené Brown

Doctor and bestselling author Brown examines the agonizing and debilitating effects of shame on women, and how the shame is present in everyday ways like addiction, fear, and blame. She then opens a dialogue of hope through personal narratives, allowing us to have full acceptance of ourselves and others.

5. IF YOU WANT TO CREATE A LIFE YOU LOVE

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Sincero shows how to overcome the fear, doubt, and uncertainty holding us back from accomplishing our goals. One reader, Nicci Rosted, says this quote from the book really resonated with her: “A good way to make yourself accountable is to make a bet with someone who will hold you to it.” Rosted took action on Sincero’s advice, and added, “I’m writing a memoir and I’m at the point where I know I need to make a pitch to a literary agent, but I get bogged down with trying to make it ‘perfect.’ I’m nervous sending my baby out into the world. So, I told my husband that if I don’t pitch this memoir by May 1st, I have to send in a check to an organization that we both would rather die than contribute a dime toward. It’s been an incredible incentive.”

6. IF YOU’RE A TEEN WHO NEEDS SOME ANSWERS

The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make: A Guide for Teens: Updated for the Digital Age by Sean Covey

With teens under more stress than ever, Covey talks about navigating life decisions about sex, drugs and addiction, relationships with parents, self-esteem, and more. Many reviews from parents say that it’s a nice way to open up a dialogue with a teen as well.

7. IF YOU’VE EXPERIENCED A LOSS

How to Survive the Loss of a Love by Harold H. Bloomfield, Melba Colgrove and Peter McWilliams

An easy-to-digest book of short, comforting recommendations for coping with the pain of a loss. “After my dad died, it was very helpful for being present in the grieving process, also later helpful after a tough breakup,” says reviewer Becky Jerome.

8. IF YOU’RE A PERFECTIONIST

Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living by Shauna Niequist

This collection of essays invites you to leave behind feeling swamped and overscheduled all the time, trying to be everything for everyone. Instead, Niequist shows you, through her own personal journey, how to move to a life of grace and your essential self.

9. IF YOU HAVE A RELATIONSHIP WITH AN ADDICT

Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself by Melody Beattie

An oldie but still a goodie, this classic talks about how we oftentimes make someone else’s problem our own. One reviewer on Goodreads writes, “This book opened my eyes to the path toward self-discovery, self-love, and learning how to deal with difficult relationships. I very highly recommend this book, not just for people who live with an alcoholic, but for anyone who is trying desperately hard to fix a bad relationship, whether it’s with your spouse, your parents, your children…with anyone you love.”

10. IF YOU FEEL LIKE SOMETHING’S MISSING

7 Cups for the Searching Soul by 7 Cups

By the founder of 7cups.com, Glen Moriarty, and the 7 Cups community, this book shares the learnings gathered from providing emotional support to over 35 million people. This free (!) ebook will “Help you understand and break free from the traps that keep you stuck” and “Empower you to move through worry and fear to the life your heart desires.” One Amazon reviewer says, “This book introduces a 7 step program for personal growth that is easy to read and to implement. It can be a real lifesaver to anyone who reads it.”

There you have it, these books can guide you on your path to better mental health and happiness. These books resonated with others and may be able to help you, too.

For more support, join our empathetic community, chat with a free, trained listener, or start affordable online therapy today.


Rachel Cherry White

Rachel Cherry White has a degree in Family & Community Services and is a strong proponent of psychological well being, truly believing that everyone can and should live their best life.

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