To read at any age.
There's no doubt that what makes the best self-help book is very much subjective – depending entirely on your goals, past experiences and the way your brain works. But through all of the most life-changing self-help titles runs one common thread: they act as a catalyst for change.
We all have something we want to improve in our lives – never more so than in January when a flurry of (largely problematic) “new year new me” resolutions are made – from our relationships to self-esteem and self-confidence, time management skills or our ability to bat away negative thoughts. Whatever your sticking point may be, it's best to stick to tried-and-tested tactics, tips and practical advice to avoid getting stuck in a cycle of trying to make the same change over and over again. Enter: the best self-help books which – authored by psychologists, professors, doctors, writers and podcasters – will actually refresh the way you think.
We've teamed up with Chaya Burns and Sophie Ezra, readers-for-a-living and GLAMOUR's resident Book Editors, to curate an edit of 27 self-improvement books that are proven to be efficient in cementing good habits, aiding in self development and leaving readers feeling good. Including TikTok-trending titles, of course. Whichever aspect of your world requires a little refresh right now, we're confident that one of these step-by-step personal development books (which can all be ordered on Amazon, FYI) will change your life.
Ahead, the 27 best self-help books of all time.
Me vs Brain: An Overthinker’s Guide to Life
Everyone with TikTok downloaded on their phones will recognise Hayley Morris. She is responsible for making millions of us laugh throughout lockdown with her hysterical comedic takes on overthinking making her an internet sensation. We love her. She makes us feel normal. And that is what this book aims to continue in 2023, normalising those of us who overthink everything and don’t feel comfortable daily. Morris has gained an enormous following with her humorous honesty, and in her debut, she covers so many topics from puberty, dating, adult acne, therapy, and grief.
Best self-help book for finding peace within turbulence
The Light We Carry: Overcoming In Uncertain Times
If you are looking for a book that feels like a moving, easy, empowering conversation with a dear friend look no further. Michelle Obama is a deeply revered public figure that has enjoyed huge success with her first book and memoir Becoming. The Light We Carry is a continuation of her insight and wisdom, giving the reader hope and guidance on how to find peace in an increasingly turbulent world. Presented as nothing less than her toolkit to live, Obama brings her extensive experience at the forefront of global politics and her ability to deal with unending scrutiny and pressure.
Best self-help book for relationships
Conversations on Love: with Philippa Perry, Dolly Alderton, Roxane Gay, Stephen Grosz, Esther Perel, and many more
When we recommended this book across our @thebibliofilles channels, readers came back unanimously that Conversations on Love had changed their entire approach to love in all its forms, from self-love to relationships with partners, friends, family, and dating. The beauty of this title is that it is at points deeply profound, hilarious, emotive, and insightful. Lunn is a journalist who intersperses her own experiences with interviews that keeps the reader glued to the page. From philosophers like Alain de Botton to brilliant writers Roxane Gay, Candice Carty-Williams and Lisa Taddeo, Lunn explores the science of sex, unrealistic societal expectations, accepting change and redefining romance. You will want to highlight every other sentence.
Best self-help book for building connection
Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience.
Dr Brené Brown. Need we say more? For anyone that hasn’t heard of this multi award winning, multi million book selling writer, professor, and podcaster, a quick google will bring up the Netflix special and the TED talk (her lecture on vulnerability is one of the top five most viewed with over 50 million and counting). Dr Brown literally wrote the book on self-care literature and Atlas of the Heart is her latest gift to the world, released in 2021. Brown considers 87 emotions that define the human experience, exploring the skills required for connection and relationships. With her inimitable style, she takes the reader through complex points with dexterity and ease. Perfect for dipping into or inhaling in one go.
Best self-help book for self-help overall
Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?: The No 1 Sunday Times Bestseller 2022
This is a book that will always be a @thebibliofilles recommendation and with good reason. A global, year- long bestseller from Tiktok sensation, Dr Julie is changing lives with every single page. Packed with insight, immensely readable and easy to pick up regularly, this book together with Dr Julie’s online content has fundamentally changed the conversation on mental health. A clinical psychologist with years of experience helping people, she gives wide ranging practical tools and tips to build resilience and deal with challenges all of us will face. There is a real warmth and accessibility to this book, it has resonated with readers of all ages and backgrounds and its success is testament to its impact.
Best self-help book for addressing procrastination
Stolen Focus: The Surprising Reason You Can't Pay Attention
Who among us doesn’t procrastinate? In the world we live in today, distracting ourselves has literally never been easier with endless streams of content, news updates and messages. Stolen Focus: The Surprising Reason You Can’t Pay Attention is the book of the moment, winning over readers internationally. Carefully researched, anecdotal, personable, and massively impactful, Hari aims to free us from the tight grip of technology. Looking at the human mind and the impact of the modern world in the context. Applicable to everyone from young kids to adults that struggle to get through the day without checking their screens. This is the book we all need. Oprah says so.
Best self-help book for increasing creativity
Big Magic: How to Live a Creative Life, and Let Go of Your Fear
Gilbert is a renowned writer in the self-care world and Big Magic is arguably her most important book. Asking how we live a creative life and let go of innate fear, she looks at the approaches, societal habits, and rhetoric about inspiration, and offers insight into creativity and motivation in an honest and authentic way. There is almost a spiritual, supernatural element to her words, as Gilbert goes back through history to study how classical cultures have viewed creativity. Promoting a rational and understanding approach to art and love from the writer of the beloved fictional title Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything.
Best self-help book for learning the art of manifestation
Manifest: Dive Deeper
Nafousi has been lauded as the queen of manifesting, a self-development coach who is incredibly open about her own struggles with addiction, anxiety and mental ill health. Dive Deeper is the hotly anticipated follow up to the bestselling Manifest, a book that has increased Nafousi’s effusive fanbase. Giving readers the keys to discovering their potential, seven steps are identified and accompanied by applicable techniques and exercises. For anyone looking for empowerment, in a relatable and conversational style, that can be used every day, both for its content and minimalist aesthetic – this one will be all over social media we have no doubt.
Best self-help book for changing habits
Atomic Habits: The Life-Changing Million-Copy #1 Bestseller
Atomic Habits could be called the archetype of self-help books. A multi-million selling phenomenon, Clear wants you to transform your life incrementally, through making tiny changes. Presenting a serious of simple life hacks that bring together psychology and neuroscience, this is a practical guide that acts as a handbook for readers who say it has had a monumental impact on relationships, work, and life in general. Peppered with anecdotes from scientists, athletes and CEOs, Clear demonstrates that success is the product of daily habits, not one-off transformations. If you are looking for a complete refresh or just want some ways to improve efficiency, this is a great title to order.
Best self-help book for black women
Take Care: The Black Women's Guide to Wellness
A brand-new book for 2023 that is so needed this year. Self-care has to be for everyone, and this powerful title encompasses the authentic experiences and challenges faced by so many Black Women. Take Care is packed to the brim with knowledge and tips to inspire and make a change. Looking at grief, black beauty, creating a community, black motherhood and staying true to your authentic self. Author Chloe Pierre is a wellness advocate that is bringing inclusivity to the forefront of self-care, creating a safe and open space for women to be empowered. You will feel enveloped by warmth by this one, out in January.
Best self-help book for motivation
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Sometimes its hard to just get out of bed in the morning. Drive is the answer when you cannot muster enough motivation to get up and get moving. Daniel Pink reveals the secret to high performance and finding true satisfaction, bringing together scientists and entrepreneurs to show you that regret is not the negative emotion it has been portrayed as. If you have been looking for a sense of purpose, if you have been feeling utterly demotivated or if you are living with regret that at times can be debilitating, this is a book you should run to immediately purchase.
Bests self-help book for introverts (or understanding them)
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
This is a classic, almost textbook self-help book that is a decade post publication and is still having an impact. Cain considers the introvert and the extrovert and looks at how these categories of humanity define our choices and importantly how the extroverts of the world are valued. Readers say this book is life changing, and report feeling more seen than ever before, whether that’s recognising themselves or their loved ones in these pages. If you have ever felt misunderstood or misaligned for being the quiet, shy member of a group, Quiet will change the way you think about yourself.
Best self-help book for creating new habits
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change
So much of our behaviour is automatic and Charles Duhigg wants to know why. A journalist by trade who writes in a style that is easily accessible and readable, he embarks on a journey exploring the scientific study of habits. Extensively researched but not saturated with data this feels like a conversation with a trusted friend. The Power of Habit uses examples of the world’s most successful people and organisations to provide practical and applicable guidance on how to break the cycle of habit to make real change in your life. Readers say this book was the catalyst that allowed huge transformation.
Best self-help book for trauma healing
The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness & Healing in a Toxic Culture
Gabor is a world-renowned physician and addiction expert with decades of experience and his most recent book is a blend of investigative journalism, clinical anecdote, and life-affirming advice, written together with his son Daniel. Exploring health in the western world, the systems of health care and our reaction to ill heath, this is a powerful call to arms for change. Considering compassion, trauma and the societal pressure of the normal, Maté goes beyond the symptoms to the cause, advocating for connection, authenticity and honesty. It is a fascinating and beautiful read that is thought provoking and will challenge your views and knowledge.
Best self-help book for an insight into therapy
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
This is one of those books that will live rent free in your brains, so you cant complain, we at @thebibliofilles have given you fair warning! Get the tissues ready and be prepared to laugh and cry. Anyone who has had therapy may relate to wondering what your therapist is really thinking. Gottlieb is a therapist who takes us behind the scenes of her practice, whilst she herself is experiencing turmoil and anxiety. When a personal crisis causes everything to crumble around her, she seeks therapy herself. Maybe you should talk to someone takes place over a year and reads like fiction, as we learn about her life and the lives of her patients who are a varied group from all backgrounds. The amount of joy this book has given cannot be underestimated.
Best self-help book for putting less pressure on yourself
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
This book has sold over ten million copies, has received nearly 900,000 rating on goodreads and is still flying off bookshop shelves by readers taken with its very subtle title. Lauded as “generation-defining” this is for anyone that is fed up of the constant barrage of cliché positive thinking pressure constantly on our feeds. Manson is known for his massively popular blog and uses The Subtle Art to give the bluntest and most important of messages – that sometimes we won’t get what we want and that’s ok. Chasing positivity at all costs inhibits our ability to accept the losses and this is the wake-up call that has helped so many readers, with its witty, satirical, and unflinching prose.
Best self-help book for living more positively
The Comfort Book
Oh Matt Haig. Our love for him over at @thebibliofilles is boundless. A globally beloved writer of The Midnight Library fame, Haig is viscerally honest about the challenges he has faced with his mental and physical health. The Comfort Book was an instant 2022 number one bestseller and with good reason. This trusted author has written the perfect book for anyone to pick up on a bad day. His sensitive, personable, authentic prose offers meditations on reframing racing thoughts and negativity, drawing on his own life and the experiences of other inspirational people. Suffused with profound quotes, helpful tools and positive mantras, the comfort book is a literary hug. One to keep next to your bed.
Best self-help book for note-takers
Healing Through Words: Rupi Kaur
The latest book from guru, poet, well-being advocate and superstar Rupi Kaur, author of the bestselling Home Body, Healing Through Words is a collection of exercise that insist on the reader physically engaging and reflecting on life to achieve true honesty and vulnerability. This wellness journal gives you the practical framework to make real progress and start the healing process. Kaur has developed a superstar status, embarking on a global tour to present her poetry and spread her message of strength and resilience.
Best self-help book for learning the art of persuasion
How to Win Friends and Influence People
Probably one of the most famous books ever, beloved in the world of business and entrepreneurs, this is hailed as the most famous confidence-boosting book ever published. Carnegie distils success into a simple formula – that if you have the ability to persuade people and connect to them you will invariably get what you want, whether that be in your career or relationships. A data and learning driven journey of discovery, reviews are still being posted nearly 90 years after it was first published. Many millions of readers consider How to Win Friends and Influence People to be a critical turning point in their lives.
Best self-help book for engineering optimism
Solve For Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy
Gawdat, a google executive with a background in engineering is not the usual self-help writer but that is part of his brilliance. Bringing that forthcoming, clear strategy to this sphere, Solve For Happy will direct you to create a strategy to happiness. With all of his financial success, Gawdat realised he had never been more miserable. This led him to a decade of research to find the equation for happiness. This isn’t written in a formulaic way but is remarkably light and enjoyable whilst being compelling and hopeful. What we found fascinating was the identification of unhappiness traps and the tips to avoid them.
Best self-help book for love
All About Love: New Visions
This book belongs in so many categories but at its heart it gives the reader so much advice and help on life that we had to include it. A classical feminist text from a significantly important activist and writer, Hooks is known for her profound intellect and fearlessness and is considered a visionary. Her Love trilogy explores race, feminism, sexuality, and desire, and asks you to reconsider everything you know. Immensely personal, powerful, and brilliant, All About Love asks the very simple and critical question – what is love, particularly in different cultures and communities. You need this on your shelves, there is so much wisdom in these words that will move your soul and widen your mind.
Best self-help book for grief
I'm Glad My Mom Died: Jennette McCurdy
We really questioned whether to include McCurdy’s memoir in this list. Six months ago, when this book came out, it felt like no one was talking about anything else. However, the impact on readers and inspiration drawn from her frankly shocking account has helped so many. Former Nickelodeon child star details her struggles with her abusive mother, addiction, and disordered eating. Let’s be clear – this is no holds barred and at times hilarious, nothing is off limits, and you will be horrified. Her perseverance and strength in walking away from the fame and success, her unflinching honesty about the detriment to her health and her feelings towards the woman who was supposed to protect her will stay with you for a long time. Sometimes being so vulnerable can help millions of people.
Best self-help book for making better choices
Thinking, Fast and Slow: Daniel Kahneman
There was a time when you would get on a train and see half of the carriage holding this book and our trusted friendly booksellers on the frontlines say it is still a title people come in regularly to buy. This is the book to read to understand how we make choices and the errors that can be made in thinking either too fast or too slow. Packed to the brim with insight and wisdom, together with practical techniques for paced, thought through decision making from a psychologist at the forefront of his field. A classic text in behavioural science that is written in an accessible format, this is a must read.
Best self-help book for trust
Untamed: Stop Pleasing, Start Living
Let’s be honest, no list of self-help books would be complete without Untamed in the mix. Since its publication in 2020, Glennon Doyle has been a household name and readers are still discovering and loving this global bestseller. A hybrid of a book that is a memoir seeking to empower every reader to embrace their truth, Doyle is vulnerable and faces her inner discontent. Though she is in a position of privilege, she is trapped in a marriage and world that was suffocating her, and risks everything to find happiness. This is a story about trusting ourselves, our bodies, our instincts, and our dreams. If you need any more encouragement, Adele is a huge fan.
Best self-help book for transforming negative emotions
Good Vibes, Good Life: How Self-Love Is the Key to Unlocking Your Greatness
This book hasn’t budged off the bestseller list for hundreds of weeks and it is only growing in popularity, selling millions of copies. A highly readable and accessible book that is written in conversational, light prose, from content creator Vex King. He takes us through his personal experiences to demonstrate the power of transforming negative emotions into positive ones and how to overcome fear. Covering humility, failure, self-love and developing confidence, Good Vibes has appealed to many, inviting reviews from fans who rarely read. A new book Closer to Love is out in February 2023 and is sure to be hugely popular.
Article by By Sophie Cockett, Sophie Ezra and Chaya Colman as published on the Glamour UK website