Book Club: My favourite Self Help Books

Anyone who knows me well, knows how much I love self-help books. Especially as, doing a philosophy degree, I spend a lot of my time reading, so I find them a nice change and sometimes easier to commit to than fiction, I’m not quite sure why. Whatever the reason, they are by far my favourite genre of book.  Although, I think perhaps ‘self-help’ is too much of a buzzword, as I am not trying to get out of alcoholism or anything, but more like self improvement.

I am one of those people who constantly wants to be improving and bettering themselves, in all different areas of their lives. I love nothing more than helping people out and giving advice and one day I hope to be a Life Coach and Psychologist. For now, however, I entertain myself through reading or listening to self improvement books. So if you are like me, or have never given it a go and want something new to read, here are some of my all time favourites.

You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero

Okay. So I will admit that the title of this book makes me cringe somewhat, but without a doubt this is my most favourite book of all time, fiction or non-fiction. I red this book following a recommendation (of sorts) from one of my favourite Youtubers, Kayln Nicholson. In one of her videos she describes how she finds this book so motivating that she listens to it every couple of months, and I have to admit I do do the same. It’s a guide for anyone in any situation into changes they need to make and things they need to be aware of in order to start being the best them they can be. It is definitely not aimed to any particular audience, which is partially why I love it so much, as I feel many of the titles in this genre are aimed at ‘proper’ adults with a job and mortgage and suit, which I most definitely am not. Instead, Jen looks at everything from why we have a bad attitude towards money, to how to stop negative thinking, and getting out of fear, and she does it all with a funny but no-nonsense narrative. I love it so much I have a physical copy as well as the audiobook on my audible account. Ten out of Ten, Jen, I bloody love it.


The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

I think this was the first self-help book I ever read. My mum lent it to me when I went to Japan as I was borrowing her kindle, and I absolutely adore it. Although it was written all the way back in 1952, it is still as popular and relevant as ever. Norman Vincent Peale has written loads of books on positivity, and the impact it has on his life and pretty much started up the positive thinking movement, earning him the affectionate title ‘The Father of positive thinking’ but this one is perhaps his most influential. NVP was actually a minister, so there is a lot of referencing to religion and the works of Jesus, which I know doesn’t go down well with everyone. But even if you ignore the more religious element, the book spreads some wonderful ideas about positivity and is a really beautiful read, you will feel about three stone lighter just from reading it.


The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Ahhh, this book is so so lovely, I have listened to it four times now, and read it twice, and I don’t think I could ever get sick of it. The positivity in the writing radiates off the page and is so inspiring. It’s all about personal development and how the morning is the perfect time to work on yourself. Hal Elrod tells you his story and how he came up with the idea (which is rather harrowing at times) and how it has changed his life and the life of countless others. One of the nicest things about this book, is the community that comes with it, there is a facebook page for TMMers, or those who partake in the Miracle Morning routine and it is full to the brim with positivity, support and wonderful people, which makes this book even more wonderful. I admit that being a uni student, keeping up with the miracle morning routine can be hard, but I also know that the days in which I do implement it are usually my happiest and most productive.

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The Willpower Instinct by Kelly McGonigal

The Willpower Instinct is in many ways a lot more scientific than the other books on this list. It looks a lot more closely on the evolution of the human mind and how it has shaped our desires, needs and willpower. A whole host of scientific experiments and examples are used to provide a clearer understanding of what our willpower really is, and how we can shape it and strengthen it to improve our day to day living. I love how informative and straight forward this book is, as well as how much you can learn about human nature, not just a list of instructions. I have found this really powerful and helpful when deciding to make changes such as committing to a vegan diet, and I have happily listened to this book a few times now*.


Get Things Done by Robert Kelsey

Not to be confused with ‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen, this book is a really good introduction to the world of self-help literature. Primarily because throughout the book, Kelsey uses ideas and techniques that he has taken from all the self-help books he himself has read, so really he’s done the hard work for you. This book is an absolute goldmine of lists and techniques from some of the best selling authors, as well as lots of input from the author, on how to be the most productive person you possibly can be. Some of my favourite techniques that help me with essay writing, chores and revision come from this book and many I’ve passed on to my friends, family and housemates. As an inherently organised person, I love how factual and informative this book is, and all the neat lists and step by step breakdowns it provides. I would definitely recommend this to beginners.


*I know I have mentioned for several books that I have read and/ or listened to them more than once, and it is true! But my reason for doing so is that I believe the more times you read books like these, the more you can learn from them.


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