Welcome to my list of the best self help books of all time!
I’m not sure if this qualifies as a brag or a confession, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that I have read hundreds of self help books.
Now, quite a few of those books were total duds. They didn’t teach me anything. They didn’t offer important insights. They didn’t help me transform. They were soon forgotten, or in some cases, never even finished.
But so many more of the books I’ve read have done exactly what they were meant to do. They have helped! Or more precisely, they have helped me help myself.
On this page, I want to share with you the best of the best. The ones that made it super clear where I had missed the mark in the past and how to majorly improve my life moving forward.
I have divided these very best self help books of all time into the following categories:
- Anxiety self help books
- Career guidance books
- Depression self help books
- Life change self help books
- Relationship self help books
- Self discovery books
And by the way, in case you are wondering how a working mother of three has time to read so many books, my secret is Audible. I listen to audiobooks, while:
- Doing yardwork
- Folding laundry
- Going for a walk at lunchtime
- Running on the treadmill
- Straightening up the house
If you’re not getting as much reading time as you’d like, I highly recommend an Audible membership!
Also, I plan to keep updating this page, as I run into new gems, so be sure to pin it or bookmark it for future reference. 🙂
Best Self Help Books of All Time
Anxiety Self Help Books
#1 The Anti-Anxiety Diet: A Whole Body Program to Stop Racing Thoughts, Banish Worry and Live Panic-Free (2018) by Ali Miller, RD.
- Read if you want to explore and address the ways your diet might be contributing to your anxiety symptoms.
#2 Conquer Your Anxiety for Introverts and Highly Sensitive People (2019) by ME 🙂
- Read if you don’t mind my shameless self promotion and if you want a practical step-by-step program for anxiety-proofing your body, mind, and lifestyle.
- Read if you want to overcome social anxiety.
#4 Overcoming Overwhelm: Dismantle Your Stress from the Inside Out by Samantha Brody, ND
- Read if you want to reduce stress and overwhelm – two states that are often precursors to anxiety.
#5 Take Control Of Your Life: How To Silence Fear And Win The Mental Game by Mel Robbins
- Read if you want to figure out how your past is contributing to your fears. (Note that this one is only available as an audiobook. There is no print version.)
- Read if you want to overcome low self worth and learn techniques for changing your self talk.
Career Guidance Books
#7 The Pathfinder: How To Choose Or Change Your Career for A Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success (2012) by Nicholas Lore
#8 I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How To Discover What You Really Want And How To Get It (1994) by Barbara Sher
- Read the two above if you have no idea what kind of work you would actually like to do.
#9 How To Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don’t Know What They Want To Be When They Grow Up (2017) by Emilie Wapnick
- Read if you have a hard time committing to just one career.
#10 Be A Free-Range Human: Escape the 9-5, Create a Life You Love, And Still Pay The Bills (2013) by Marianne Cantwell
#11 Making A Living Without A Job: Winning Ways For Creating Work That You Love (2009) by Barbara Winter
- Read the two above if being tied down to a traditional 9-5 just isn’t for you.
#12 Grit: The Power of Passion And Perseverance (2016) by Angela Duckworth, PhD
- Read if you want to learn the secret to success in any career.
Depression Self Help Books
#13 A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression And How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives (2016) by Kelly Brogan, MD
- Read if your depression symptoms include feeling “tired and wired”.
#14 Constructive Wallowing: How To Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them (2014) by Tina Gilbertson
- Read if “just think positive” didn’t work for you.
#15 Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – And The Unexpected Solutions (2018) by Johann Hari
- Read if treating “the chemical imbalance” didn’t cure your depression.
#16 Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise And The Brain (2008) by John Ratey MD
- Read if you want the extra motivation that comes from knowing the science behind why exercise is so good for your mental health.
Life Change Self Help Books
#17 Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way To Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones (2018) by James Clear
#18 Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits of Our Everyday Lives (2015) by Gretchen Rubin
- Read the two above if you want a ton of practical tips for changing your habits.
#19 The Decision Makeover: An Intentional Approach to Living The Life You Want (2017) by Mike Whitaker
- Read if you want to learn how to make better decisions.
- Read if you want to stop caring what other people think and focus on your own life.
#21 The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, And Energy (2016) by Chris Bailey
- Read if you want to maximize your productivity.
#22 Wishcraft: How To Get What You Really Want (1993) by Barbara Sher
- Read if you want a system for getting what you want in life.
Relationship Self Help Books
#23 Boundaries: Where You End And I Begin (1998) by Anne Katherine
- Read if you have trouble with boundaries in relationships.
#24 Just Your Type: Create The Relationship You’ve Always Wanted Using The Secrets of Personality Type (2000) by Paul Tieger & Barbara Barron-Tieger
- Read if you want to improve your marriage by addressing personality clashes.
#25 The Introvert And Extrovert In Love: Making It Work When Opposites Attract (2007) by Marti Laney & Michael Laney
- Read if you and your partner clash because one of you is an introvert and the other an extrovert.
#26 The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided By Politics And Religion (2012) by Jonathan Haidt
- Read if you have a hard time understanding and accepting people with different political or religious leanings from your own.
Self Discovery Books
#27 Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type (1995) by Isabel Briggs Myers
#28 Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence (1998) by David Keirsey
#29 The 16 Personality Types: Profiles, Theory, And Type Development (2017) And My True Type: Clarifying Your Personality Type, Preferences, & Functions (2017) by A.J. Drenth
#30 Was That Really Me? How Everyday Stress Brings Out Our Hidden Personality (2002) by Naomi Quenk
- Read the five books listed above if you want to thoroughly understand your Myers Briggs personality type.
#31 Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (2012) by Susan Cain
- Read if you are an introvert and want to learn to embrace your introversion.
- Read if you want to learn how to use knowledge of your “tendency” to your advantage when working on life improvements. (If you’re into Myers Briggs, then you’ll love this personality type model too!)
#33 The Highly Sensitive Person: How To Thrive When The World Overwhelms You (1996) by Elaine Aron
- Read if you are a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) and want to learn how to create a life that is in alignment with your sensitive nature.