The best self-help books aren’t those that focus on what’s wrong with you but on showing you how you can create yourself, define your own rules. We’ve drawn together a list of the best options available online in order to help you start your journey to a more fulfilling, healthy life that is all your own. Much of our messaging is built on the concept that you are not good enough and need this product or service to be accepted. There are consequences for that. Anxiety and depression are two major issues for many individuals in this culture of never-enough. But there are ways forward, into a life that is rich in achievement and love. It starts here, now, with your willingness to find that better way.
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1. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Sean Covey
What many people lack is a basic tool kit to help them put their dreams into action. They may be hampered by imposter syndrome or have difficulty focusing their efforts. Decades ago, Sean Covey wrote a book that embodies such a skill set to help you consolidate your energy, streamline your plans and the ability to make effective goal-oriented strategies, and build your self-confidence with seven simple habits. Today, it’s shaped the lives of millions of people, from ordinary citizens to presidents, CEOs, and artists.
2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
With a title so iconic that it’s now a standard fixture in Western culture, this book provides simple, effective ways to ease into social situations. For those who feel swept along by the currents of their lives and those who have difficulty interacting with others, this book is worth many times its weight in gold. It offers the means for you to encourage empathy in others, to sweeten social dynamics in your favor, and generally provides ways to increase your positive interactions. In a world where success is often shaped by who you know, it’s vital to enhance your sociability in a healthy and proactive way.
3. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
Renowned for her insightful and rigorous research, Brown explores the essential aspect of personal success—vulnerability. Pushing through the cultural messaging that to be vulnerable, imperfect, to try without the assurance of success is tantamount to weakness, she explores the role of vulnerability and its place at the core of a full, well-rounded life. She notes that by avoiding this willingness to fail and continue to strive, to create for its own sake, to reach out to others is tantamount to shutting ourselves away from the experiences and achievements that bring meaning and purpose to human life.
4. So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore
Moore brings her profound experience as a Bible teacher and Christian woman to her book about accepting our individuality. While there are portions of modern culture that seem built on the premise of proving our insufficiency and worthlessness, she argues that no woman is ever that. Her text puts forth methods and meaningful lessons designed to show each woman her beauty and the unique traits that mark her as a precious creation of God.
5. Make Your Bed by Admiral William R. McRaven
Premised on his now-famous speech to the graduating class at the University of Texas in Austin, this book takes down the scale of how one changes the world. It begins with small actions, not grandiose plans. Make your bed. Start by making small changes within yourself and your own routines. This echoes Gandhi’s famous quote about beginning with yourself in order to change the world. McRaven shares stories and powerful examples of how this concept can build you into a person who impacts the world around them and gives you a solid foundation from which to weather the intense challenges that life brings.
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6. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
How much of what we think is true about ourselves is just what people tell us. How much of our Self is built out of the opinions of other people and broader cultural themes to which we are continuously exposed? And how do these external views craft our insecurities and deeply divisive opinions about what we should be versus what we truly are? Hollis explores letting go of this accumulated baggage in order to pursue a life of purpose and worth that we define. In one of the most effective self-help books for your shelf, she ruthlessly dissects her experience and the insecurities with which she lived and describes with humor and an unyielding tenderness how she cut herself free from them.
7. Rewire by Richard O’Connor
Addiction isn’t necessarily rooted in chemical dependency. More often than not, many of the negative behaviors and thought patterns we enact in our daily lives fall into this category. Addiction itself is almost always a symptom of an unmet need or an attempt to escape an untenable circumstance. But breaking these patterns isn’t simply a matter of “will power.” That sort of flawed rhetoric is abusive at its core and only feeds back into the cycle. By bringing together many different fields of scientific analysis, O’Connor offers a healthy, pattern-based approach to reworking the neural networks engaged by addictive and negative behaviors. He offers a way to retrain your perspective to overcome any challenge of act or thought by providing a positive replacement.
8. This Messy Magnificent Life by Geneen Roth
The inconsistencies and incongruities that underpin every woman’s self-critique are often formed by forces larger than herself, with histories longer than her own. Roth provides an insightful exploration of the cultural messaging and standards that have hamstrung women for generations in her best-selling self-help book. Then she provides a humorous and gentle path forward. Life is messy, and no masterpiece was ever a paint-by-numbers job. But each individual has gifts, inherent worth, and a place in the world. They only have to push through the obscuring draperies of uncertainty, insecurity, and anxiety—a task that, for many, may seem impossible. Not so, Roth asserts in her meditation on self ideation, being at home in our own bodies, and seeing ourselves more clearly.
9. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
What does it mean to think without thinking? Gladwell explores the features of the most successful people in this respect. What he reveals is that those who are most proficient are not they who spend the most time deliberating or process the greatest amount of information, but who have learned another technique. They have become experts at filtering the most critical facts from the inundation of data, much of which is irrelevant to charting any course of action.
10. Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins
For those who feel as if they are constantly at the mercy of cultural events, business decisions made by others, or personal relationship dynamics, Robbins offers a strategy geared for change. The key is self-mastery, a combination of self-knowledge and discipline. His system is relatively simple and provides clear, easy to implement ways in which you can become a self-driven, self-determined individual.
Self-help doesn’t, as the name seems to imply, mean that you must do everything yourself, unmake the cultural and social themes that have been linked to the rise in anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and other difficulties. Instead, the best self-help books show you how to visit with yourself, how to shape your interiority, and to give yourself love and acceptance independent of the messaging prevalent in this and many cultures around the world.
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By BCR Staff