What comes to mind when you hear the term self-help book? Back in the 1990’s when I first delved into a self-help book, it was something not often spoken about and definitely not something to be shared in public. After all, self-help books are only for broken people, right? According to the website wordsrated.com the self-help book industry was worth $10.5 billion as of 2020. That’s a lot of self-help books and a lot of ‘broken’ people. But if you are starting out on your self development journey and looking for a self-help book or two, you’d be forgiven for not knowing where to begin. Help is at hand! I’ve put together a list of five self-help books which have had a significant impact on my own self development journey.
With so many genres and titles to choose from, there really is something for everyone. Whether it is money management, creating habits, eliminating toxic behaviours and people from your life, or wanting to feel happier, there is a book out there for you.
‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear - I talk more about this book in my blog ‘Why Should I Read Atomic Habits?’ This is the number one book I mention to people who want to make any type of change in their life. It’s a book I recommend to all my coaching clients, and family and friends when they are working towards transforming their lives.
I can’t say enough good things about this book! It has great insight into why our habits don’t work. How we constantly set ourselves up to fail. It goes on to give advice and suggestions on how we can change our perspective on habits and implement them so that we do succeed in the changes we want to make.
It helped me in so many ways when I was looking to make real measurable change in my life after so many years of half-hearted attempts. If you want to discover more about this book, check out my blog post.
‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coehlo - I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read this book. Coehlo writes in such a magical way about the simple concept of how we be in the world. It is parable like in its storytelling and takes the reader on the journey of a young shepherd boy who dreams of travelling the world.
The message thoughout is poetic. Reminding all of us to follow our hearts and follow our dreams. It shows us how the Universe is always listening and putting opportunities in our path, but that it is still down to us to make the choices we want to for our lives.
I would call this more of an inspirational rather than a self-help book, but we can still apply the message to our own lives on a day to day basis. It's a book I come back to when I feel as if I've lost my way and need to anchor back into where I am in life.
‘The Soul of Money’ by Lynne Twist - We all have some type of money story. Whether it’s one that has been passed down to us through the generations, or one that has been born of our own experiences. I found my own money stories blocking me from living the life that I wanted. I was always living from a scarcity mindset even when I was financially abundant. Once I started to work on my attitude and relationship with money, partnered with the advice in this book, it helped me to put financial goals in place and work towards building a secure future for myself.
If you have grown up believing and being taught that money is the root of all evil, I would encourage you to read this book. It will change your perspective and give you insight into how these type of beliefs are holding you back financially in your life and how to make steps, however small, to living more abundantly.
‘The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’ by Deepak Chopra - What does success mean to you? It is something different for everyone, but a lot of us are looking for success in our lives. We have be brought up to think that success is about material wealth, working hard and having drive and ambition, but it is much more than that.
Chopra takes us through the seven spiritual laws which help us to realise success. He shows us principles that can create success in all areas of our lives. It really can be easier than we are led to believe!
‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes - This is a book I picked up a couple of years ago as part of a book club. As women we have been repressed and our femininity has made way for masculine traits and behaviours. As I read this book I could see patterns in my own life from early childhood. The stories I’d been told and the way I had been encouraged to behave. All keeping me small and like everyone else.
Studying more about femininity and coming back to the feminine was instrumental with this book. It began to open up more discovery for me about my true nature as a woman. It led me to go even deeper into reconnecting with myself and healing my nervous system. If you are looking for ways to get deeper into or back in touch with your inner wild woman, I would recommend this book for you.
It's not the easiest of reads and I would recommend reading it at a relatively slow pace so that you can absorb the information. I remember one of our book club members being very activated by this book and reconsidering her life choices. Don't worry, everything worked out perfectly!
Although these are my current five top self-help books, it really does depend on where you are in your life and where you are on your self development journey. Some of these books have become favourites in the last few years, whereas ‘The Alchemist’ has been a favourite since I started reading books in this genre. It has been a case of the right book coming to me at the right time and helping to guide me on my journey. I have found that the books that helped me the most were written in down to earth, understandable language rather than those that contained too much jargon or complex academic ideas.
There are also books I read years ago which didn’t seem to resonate with me, but that I have revisited and found extremely helpful. Don’t write a book off if it doesn’t immediately feel right. Maybe you are not ready for each other and need to wait a while until you meet again so that you can go on the journey you are destined for.
Self help books are one of the cheapest and accessible ways to change your life. They are relatively inexpensive (or free if you get them from a local library) and only take up as much time and effort as you are willing to spend on them and any work you wish to do in relation to them.
You can purchase the books I’ve mentioned through the links below: