18 Self-Help Books That Will Change Your Life After Reading One Chapter
The growing self-help books section of your nearest bookstore is a little daunting, isn’t it? You want to change your life (or you wouldn’t be here) but you can’t figure out where to start. There are so many authors and books, that it can be pretty confusing. Which of the self-help books would be best for you?
Perfect. I’m glad you’re here. For you, I’ve assembled a list of 18 self-help books that will get you on the path to your future. Read all of them or none of them. The choice is yours. I’ve personally read each of these and I have to tell you, none will steer you wrong.
Start With Why – Simon Sinek
Or as I like to call it, the “Holy Grail of Finding Your Purpose”.
Simon Sinek became the 3rd most watched Ted Talk of all time when he gave a talk entitled “How Great Leaders Inspire Action”. In it, he discusses many of the principles of this book. Throughout the book, Sinek argues that nobody cares who, what, where, how, or when you do something. All they care about is why you do something. And you know what? He produces a really great argument.
If I had to start over and I was only able to choose one self-help book to grow my empire on, without question I would choose Start With Why. Even if you don’t like to read (although you’re reading right now), you MUST read Start With Why.
Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek
Is it any wonder that I have another of Simon Sinek’s books on this list?
Look, the guy is an outstanding speaker, thinker, and writer. The effort that he puts into research, storytelling, and the overall delivery of each book that he writes, is second to none. While I can’t take back Start With Why as being the book that I’d build an empire on, Leaders Eat Last easily gets into my Top 10.
Like the ingredients in a decadent piece of chocolate cake, Leaders Eat Last is the perfect combination of storytelling and fact using.
The Power of Habit – Charles Duhigg
Did you notice that I’ve been running a contest on this website for one lucky person to win a copy of the two books that changed my life? Did you also notice that along with Start With Why this is the other book in the contest?
The Power of Habit is one of, if not the easiest to read, easiest to understand, and easiest to implement books on the topic of habits currently on the market. I remember devouring its content in just a single day and repeatedly coming back to reference it.
If you have any inclination to learn about the one thing that controls most aspects of your life, The Power of Habit is for you.
Awaken The Giant Within – Tony Robbins
I don’t think that there is a single person on our planet that hasn’t heard of Tony Robbins. Out of all the self-help books, videos, audio clips, Podcasts, and interviews that he has, none of them has had a bigger impact in the self-help field than Awaken The Giant Within.
The book takes you on a magical ride explaining the driving force behind each decision you make and the best way to get what you want out of life. Literally, this book leaves no stone untouched. I plowed through and applied so much of the knowledge and wisdom contained in its pages that some portions of my life have become a reflection of his beliefs.
Because he believes things worth believing in.
Purple Cow – Seth Godin
Think about driving by a field of black and white cows doing what cows do…eating grass, grazing, and, well, mooing. Would you bother taking a second glance at the field once you realized they were just a bunch of cows?
Now think about that exact same field but this time picture a purple cow right in the middle. Second glance worthy, am I right?
That’s what Purple Cow is all about…be the one who stands out from the rest.
The Compound Effect – Darren Hardy
As the former publisher of Success Magazine, Darren Hardy knows exactly what he is talking about when it comes to life.
If compound interest is the second most powerful force in the world, why do so few of us understand how great it is? Simply put, small things done in the right way, over and over again for a long period of time result in great big things happening in the end. Period.
His book, The Compound Effect explains exactly what I just explained, although much better.
48 Laws of Power – Robert Greene
What do Hip-Hop, Hollywood movie stars, and Prison Inmates have in common?
The 48 Laws of Power has become a worldwide phenomenon for its bold, yet timeless advice on achieving power. Robert Greene assembles a set of laws that you must abide by if you want to rise up the corporate ranks or take your business to unseen levels.
While the advice can certainly seem ruthless, and cutthroat, it doesn’t detract from the message that Greene is trying to get across…learn to play the game so that you are prepared to make your move count when your turn comes.
Changing For Good – James Prochaska, John Norcross, and Carlo DiClemente
If I told you that changing your unwanted behavior was as “simple” as going through a series of six or less steps, would you do it?
Of course you would.
That’s what this collaborative self-help classic by James Prochaska, John Norcross, and Carlo DiClemente is all about. After years of study, research, and testing they have concluded that any unwanted behavior is easy to correct if the right procedure (six steps) was followed. And, depending on where you are in the series of steps, you may not even need to follow all six.
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – Robin Sharma
Timeless. Perfect. Tranquil. Life-changing. These are all words that have been used to describe this Robin Sharma self-help must have. This book follows a different narrative than the others on this list. While they use facts, theories and stories to sell what they are proclaiming, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari simply uses a story.
Albeit a damn good story, but a story nonetheless.
A relatively easy to read and understand book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferarri may not have given rise to the self-help books genre but it certainly helped give it notoriety.
Making Habits, Breaking Habits – Jeremy Dean
One of the very first books I read on habits, Making Habits, Breaking Habits has become a cornerstone book about habits in my library. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve referenced its material, thoughts, and ideas.
This book delves into the ideas that make habits instantly stick (as instant as habits form) and stay around long after their formation.
The 4 Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
Think about how much different the world would be if we all followed the advice in this self-help staple?
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
Need I say more?
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind – T. Harv Eker
Ever notice that some people achieve wealth without breaking a sweat while others furiously work at it but like the one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest, get nowhere?
So I read Secrets of a Millionaire Mind and all my questions were answered (except for why a one-legged man would enter an ass-kicking contest).
T. Harv Eker creates a compelling argument that acquiring wealth isn’t done on the battlefield of life nearly as much as it’s done in the battlefield of your thoughts. To create wealth, you must first cultivate a spot in your mind for wealth to grow and that’s what this book teaches.
I can’t promise that it will make you a millionaire but I can promise that it will dramatically challenge your current views on a thing or two.
How To Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
This book is filled with all the ways that you can create the life you desire by treating those around you they way that the ought to be treated. If this seems simple, it’s because it is.
Like The Four Agreements, imagine how much different your life would be if you lived by any on of these:
- If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
- Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
- Appeal to nobler motives
- Let the other person save face
If you’re thinking that this self-help book is a game-changer, your right, it is.
The Slight Edge – Jeff Olsen
Similar to The Compound Effect, this staple of any library further emphasizes the finer points of doing small things correctly, over and over again, for a long period of time, and the ensuing results.
If a penny doubled every day will grow to $10 million by the end of 30 days, what will doing something just 1% better each day do over the course of your lifetime?
That’s The Slight Edge.
The Now Habit – Neil Fiore
Procrastination is the downfall of great people. So many want to achieve so much in life, yet they continually put it off for another day. Why?
- Being overwhelmed
- Increased demands
- It feels good
Tell me what you would rather do, watch a good movie, or sludge through your painful work?
The Now Habit will take you through all the steps necessary to overcome your procrastination and get to the work that you should be doing.
Compelling People – John Neffinger and Matthew Kohut
Would you cater to every person that you met differently if you knew how they would think, respond, and react to each word that you said to them?
Of course, you would.
The authors explain that this is possible and use two distinct personalities to illustrate its possibility.
- Strength – “a person’s capacity to make things happen with abilities and force of will.”
- Warmth – “is the sense that a person shares our feelings, interests, and view of the world.”
Compelling People closely examines both the strength and warmth personalities and then explains the various ways that gender, ethnicity, body type, and age affect them.
Tribal Leadership – David Logan and John King
Why do some people and some companies excel at all aspects of life while some don’t? Why do some gain notoriety and a following while others…well, struggle to follow themselves?
According to the authors, there are 5 stages of leadership and all people and companies fall into at least one of them. The first level, or “this life sucks” is the level that we all start at, while the fifth and most desirable level, or “life is great” is a level that very few get to.
To get from level to level, each person and or company must satisfy the requirements of the preceding level. The question is “How do I do that?” and the answer is for you to find out.
Mindset – Carol Dweck
If Mindset must be summarized in two sentences, I would be like this.
Fixed Mindset – “I can’t do it”
Growth Mindset – “I can’t do it…yet.”
What separates the two and how you can make sure you fall into the second point is the focus of this self-help beauty. Do yourself a favor, of all the self-help books on this list, this one must be a top priority. It has changed the lives of many (mine included) and yours will be next.
I’ll leave you with this thought. If you decided to take control of your life and picked up just one of these self-help books, do you think your life would be different? What about if you then picked up another? And another? I’m willing to bet that if you read enough of these self-help books, your life and the life of those around you would drastically begin to change.
If you agree, go to the self-help books section of your nearest bookstore and begin your education.
Cheers to your success,