The Greatest "Self Help" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 268 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Self Help

Self Help is a category of books that focuses on personal growth, self-improvement, and self-awareness. These books provide guidance, advice, and practical tools to help readers overcome challenges, achieve their goals, and improve their overall well-being. The topics covered in self-help books can range from relationships, career, and finance to mental health, spirituality, and mindfulness. The ultimate goal of self-help books is to empower readers to take control of their lives and become the best version of themselves.

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  1. 1. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

    This book is a collection of 10 letters written by a renowned poet to a young aspiring poet, offering advice and guidance on matters of life, love, and the pursuit of poetry. The author encourages the young poet to look inward for inspiration and to embrace solitude as a means of self-discovery. He also emphasizes the importance of patience, personal growth, and the necessity of experiencing life's hardships to truly understand and depict the human condition in poetry.

  2. 2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

    This iconic self-help book provides practical advice and techniques for mastering interpersonal skills and improving communication. It emphasizes the importance of understanding others' perspectives, showing genuine interest in people, and making others feel important. The book offers strategies for handling people without arousing resentment, encouraging others to share their ideas, and changing people's behavior without causing offense or arousing resentment. It also provides tips on how to make a good first impression, become a good conversationalist, and inspire enthusiasm among associates.

  3. 3. The Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck

    This self-help book explores the concept that life is difficult and filled with problems, but we can overcome these issues through discipline, love, and spiritual growth. It encourages readers to confront their personal problems head-on, rather than avoiding them, and to accept responsibility for their actions. The book also delves into the nature of love, suggesting it is less about feelings and more about the act of will. Finally, it discusses the importance of spiritual growth and understanding in achieving a fulfilled life.

  4. 4. The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort

    This book serves as a comprehensive guide to human sexual behavior, offering detailed illustrations and instructions on various sexual techniques and positions. The author emphasizes the importance of mutual consent, respect, and emotional intimacy in sexual relationships, and promotes a positive and open-minded attitude towards sex. The book also provides advice on sexual health and contraception, making it a valuable resource for anyone seeking to enhance their sexual knowledge and experiences.

  5. 5. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

    The book delves into the two systems that drive the way we think—System 1, which is fast and intuitive, and System 2, which is slow and deliberate. The author, a Nobel laureate, explores how these systems shape our judgments and decision-making. He presents several groundbreaking experiments that have shaped our understanding of human thought, revealing where we can trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. The book also discusses how our cognitive biases often lead to errors in judgment and affect our decision-making processes.

  6. 6. The Courage to Be by Paul Tillich

    "The Courage to Be" is a philosophical work that explores the concept of courage in the face of existential threats and anxieties. The author argues that courage is not simply a bold act in the face of physical danger, but also the strength to affirm one's own being in spite of non-being, despair, and death. The book also discusses the role of God as the ultimate source of courage and suggests that embracing our existential anxieties can lead to self-affirmation and spiritual growth.

  7. 7. Motivation and Personality by Abraham Maslow

    This book is a seminal work in the field of psychology, focusing on the theory of human motivation and personality. The author posits that humans have a hierarchy of needs, with basic survival needs at the bottom and self-actualization at the top. This hierarchy influences all human behavior, as individuals strive to meet these needs in order. The book also explores the concept of peak experiences, moments of extraordinary happiness and fulfillment, which are often associated with self-actualization. It is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding human behavior and motivation.

  8. 8. Happiness in Marriage by Margaret Sanger

    "Happiness in Marriage" is a guide that explores the dynamics of a successful and happy marriage. The author discusses the importance of mutual respect, understanding, and communication between partners. It also emphasizes the role of sexual compatibility and the importance of contraception in maintaining a healthy relationship. The book aims to provide practical advice and insights for couples to achieve a fulfilling and harmonious marital life.

  9. 9. AA Big Book by Bill W

    This book is a foundational guide for the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program and its 12-step method to overcome alcohol addiction. It offers detailed explanations of each step, personal stories of recovery, and advice on maintaining sobriety. The book also provides support and guidance for families and friends of alcoholics to understand the nature of addiction and how to assist in the recovery process.

  10. 10. Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung

    This book is a comprehensive introduction to the world of depth psychology, exploring the significance of dreams, art, and symbols in everyday life. The author and his colleagues delve into the unconscious mind, discussing its influence on our thoughts, behaviors, and experiences. The book emphasizes the importance of understanding and interpreting symbols as a means to gain insights into our unconscious motivations, fears, and desires. It also discusses the role of archetypes and collective unconscious in shaping human behavior and culture.

  11. 11. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

    This self-help book provides a twelve-week program designed to help readers unlock their creative potential. It presents a comprehensive guide to artistic inspiration and spiritual enlightenment, using various exercises and activities to help individuals overcome self-doubt, fear, and other obstacles to creativity. The book encourages readers to explore their artistic talents and abilities through activities such as morning pages and artist dates, ultimately aiming to foster self-discovery and personal growth.

  12. 12. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown

    This self-help book explores the concept of vulnerability, arguing that it is not a sign of weakness but rather an act of courage and strength. The author uses research and personal experiences to demonstrate that embracing vulnerability can lead to more fulfilling relationships, effective parenting, and successful leadership. The book provides practical advice on how to live authentically, confront fear, and transform vulnerability into a source of connection and empowerment.

  13. 13. Care of the Soul: Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness by Thomas Moore

    This book is a guide for personal growth that encourages readers to explore their inner selves and develop a deeper, more spiritual understanding of their own lives. The author suggests that by acknowledging the sacredness of everyday experiences and appreciating the beauty in ordinary things, individuals can cultivate a sense of peace and fulfillment. The book offers practical advice on how to nurture one's soul through love, work, and daily life, emphasizing the importance of self-care and spiritual development.

  14. 14. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray

    This self-help book offers insight into the fundamental differences between men and women, suggesting they might as well be from different planets. It explores how these differences can create misunderstandings and conflicts in relationships, and provides practical advice on how to overcome these issues. The book emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and respecting these differences to foster better communication, understanding, and ultimately, stronger relationships.

  15. 15. I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron

    This book is a collection of humorous and candid essays reflecting on the struggles and joys of being a woman in the modern world. The author uses wit and honesty to discuss topics such as aging, beauty, marriage, parenting, and feminism. The book is a celebration of womanhood and a contemplation of the inevitable challenges of getting older, offering both laughter and wisdom.

  16. 16. Atomic Habits by James Clear

    This book explores the power of small habits and incremental changes in order to achieve significant personal and professional growth. The author delves into the science behind habit formation and provides practical strategies to break bad habits and build good ones. Through insightful anecdotes and actionable advice, "Atomic Habits" offers a roadmap for individuals to transform their lives by harnessing the compounding effect of small habits.

  17. 17. The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

    "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" is a practical guide that offers a fresh perspective on decluttering and organizing one's home. The author introduces the KonMari Method, a systematic approach to tidying that encourages individuals to keep only items that truly spark joy in their lives. Through insightful anecdotes and step-by-step instructions, the book provides valuable insights on how tidying can lead to a transformative and joyful lifestyle.

  18. 18. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

    The memoir chronicles a woman's journey of self-discovery and healing after a painful divorce. She spends a year traveling to three different countries, each representing a different aspect of her personal growth. In Italy, she indulges in pleasure and learns to appreciate life's simple joys. In India, she explores her spirituality and finds inner peace through meditation. In Indonesia, she seeks to balance the two extremes and ends up finding love again. Her experiences throughout the year help her regain her sense of self and happiness.

  19. 19. The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*Ck by Mark Manson

    "The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" is a self-help book that challenges conventional wisdom and encourages readers to embrace a more honest and practical approach to life. With a blend of humor and brutal honesty, the author explores the importance of choosing our values wisely, accepting our flaws, and focusing our energy on what truly matters. Through personal anecdotes and thought-provoking insights, the book offers a refreshing perspective on finding happiness and fulfillment in a world that often prioritizes superficial success and constant positivity.

  20. 20. 12 Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson

    "12 Rules for Life" by Jordan B. Peterson is a self-help book that offers practical advice on how to navigate the complexities of life and find meaning and purpose. Drawing from a wide range of disciplines, including psychology, philosophy, and biology, the author presents twelve rules that encourage readers to take responsibility for their actions, confront chaos and suffering, and strive for personal growth and fulfillment. With a blend of personal anecdotes, scientific research, and philosophical insights, this book aims to provide readers with practical tools to improve their lives and find harmony in an increasingly chaotic world.

  21. 21. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

    "Daring Greatly" by Brené Brown is a transformative exploration of vulnerability and its power to cultivate courage, connection, and resilience in our lives. Through extensive research and personal anecdotes, the author delves into the societal pressures that prevent individuals from embracing vulnerability, and offers practical strategies to overcome shame and fear. Brown encourages readers to embrace vulnerability as a strength and a pathway to wholehearted living, ultimately empowering them to lead more authentic and fulfilling lives.

  22. 22. 10% Happier by Dan Harris

    "10% Happier" is a memoir that chronicles the personal journey of a skeptical news anchor who embarks on a quest to find inner peace and happiness. Through his encounters with meditation and mindfulness, the author shares his struggles, insights, and the transformative effects these practices have had on his life. With a blend of humor and vulnerability, the book offers a relatable and practical approach to finding greater happiness and balance amidst the chaos of modern life.

  23. 23. Make Your Bed by William H. McRaven

    "Make Your Bed" is a motivational self-help book that emphasizes the importance of small tasks and habits in achieving success. Drawing from his experiences as a Navy SEAL, the author shares valuable lessons on discipline, resilience, and determination. Through practical advice and inspiring anecdotes, the book encourages readers to start their day by making their bed, symbolizing the completion of a task and setting the tone for a productive day ahead. It serves as a reminder that even the simplest actions can have a profound impact on one's life.

  24. 24. Stumbling On Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

    In this thought-provoking book, the author explores the concept of happiness and why humans often struggle to find it. Drawing on psychological research and personal anecdotes, he challenges our assumptions about what makes us happy and reveals the flaws in our ability to predict our own future emotions. With wit and insight, the author offers a fresh perspective on the pursuit of happiness, urging readers to question their own beliefs and embrace the uncertainty that comes with it.

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.