Self Help Books I’ve Enjoyed

February 3, 2022

Self Help Books I've Enjoyed

I know the self help genre of books can I get a lot of flack. Understandably so. We as consumers often want to buy into fast fixes and bandaid solutions to our problems. And a lot these so called self help books promise this thanks to catchy headlines or marketing gimmicks that attempt to help book sales.

But I also think – amidst the sea of self help books – there are some really good reads that can help reframe our mindsets and assist in achieving certain goals or milestones. Over the years I’ve read a few every year and below are the ones from which I gained the most.

Self Help Books I’ve Enjoyed

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

I too often allow fear to get in the way of my decision making. But when I take a step back I also am extremely guided my intuition. All of my best (and albeit most challenging) decisions in my life have been guided by intuition. I read this book in 2016 just before I was preparing to quit my corporate job and it had so many wonderful nuggets in it that truly empowered me. 

In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert examines inspiration, curiosity and the various attitudes that lead us to fear and suffering. I loved how she spoke to living more creative lives and how doing so can lead us to achieve the dreams we hold in our hearts.

The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion by Elle Luna

I read this book when I needed it most. Also as I was preparing to leave my corporate job and needed all the strength and encouragement I could get. It’s a simple book really but one that’s also full of important reminders I think we could all hear more often. 

I was raised in a family that was very geared towards the “shoulds” in life. So leaving a stable job to become self employed was going to be met with resistance and I needed external reinforcement to remind me that life is too short for doing what we “should” all the time. And instead see what happens when we embrace what we feel in our hearts is what we must do with our lives.

I have given this book to people time and time again. It’s a short read and one that’s really empowering for new graduates, someone looking to start a new career, someone who may be in an unhappy marriage, etc.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I’ve always been a tidy person but not so much a neat person. When I moved to New York and was faced with all sorts of struggles when it came to organizing and making things fit in small apartments, I turned to this book. I learned a lot and even chronicled it in What I Learned From The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

Nowadays I am even more affected by my surroundings and continue to live by the feeling that a cluttered or chaotic home leads to a cluttered or chaotic mind.

A Short Guide to a Happy Life Hardcover by Anna Quindlen

I think a w&w reader actually recommended this to me but this short little book examines living life to the fullest – vs. the idea of just muddling through. It looks at life as the gift it is and reminds us to get out in the world and choose living every day – vs. getting by or wasting our days.

The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein

This book had a truly profound effect on my life. I took copious notes from it and decided to write all about The Book that Changed My Mindset. I come back to the notes I took at least once a month – particularly when I am having a hard time, feeling extra anxious or trying to understand what life may have in store for me.

In this book Gabby shares stories and universal lessons to help you get a framework for releasing the blocks to what you most long for: happiness, security and clear direction. The lessons are designed to help us relinquish the need to control in order to relax into a sense of certainty and freedom–to stop chasing life and truly live.

Super Attractor by Gabby Bernstein

After how much I enjoyed The Universe Has Your Back, I immediately got Gabby’s next book, Super Attractor, when it came out. I didn’t love it *as* much but still gained some valuable lessons. (Ever seen me talk on social media about how I think seeing bees are a sign of good things to come? That came from this book! Still use that lessons regularly years later…)

Super Attractor aims to be a manifesto for confidently claiming your desires. It covers how to:

   • Do less and attract more
   • Relax and trust that what you desire is on the way
   • Know that spiritual guidance is available to you at all times
   • Feel a sense of awe each day as you witness miracles unfold

The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday

This book is a part of my morning routine and has been for about a year. It offers 366 days of Stoic insights and exercises that are intended to be read once per day as it aligns with the calendar. The teachings are designed to bring you some perspective, some serenity, some self-knowledge and some resilience.

Maybe You Should Talk To Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottleib

More memoir than self help, as someone who has gone to therapy I found myself feeling nurtured by this book written by a therapist going to therapy herself for the first time. It examines the truths and fictions we often tell ourselves and looks at love, desire, meaning, mortality, guilt, redemption, courage and hope; among other themes.

Vibrate Higher Daily by Lalha Delia

An easy read that will give you a nice reset. Too often we feel pulled down by circumstances or the negativity of others. We think we have no control over the things that are hurting us and holding us back from realizing our truest selves. But according to Lalah Delia, we have more power within us than we know: listen to your unique inner voice and trust your instincts. I enjoyed the mantras and poems throughout this book.

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  1. Deanna says:

    Hi Meghan! This list looks awesome 🙂 I’m about to jump in headfirst and join a travel company a friend just started, and I’m terrified after being a stay at home mom for 20+ years. Which of these books would you recommend I read first?

  2. Judy Holmes says:

    I highly recommend Anne Wilson Schaef’s “Meditations for Women Who Do too Much.” The content changed my mindset when I needed it the most!

    From Amazon:
    “Step back from the overload—that overwhelming combination of work, chores, caring for children, and meeting everyone’s needs but your own—and let the sage advice, warmhearted humor, encouraging reminders, and inspiring thoughts from women around the world help you discover a much-deserved calm amidst the whirlwind of your life.

    This revised and updated edition of the classic bestseller, with a new introduction by the author, is the perfect gift for yourself or all the workaholics, rushaholics, and careaholics in your life. Millions of women have found daily comfort and sustenance in Schaef’s insightful meditations. Meditations for Women Who Do Too Much will make it possible for you to relax, refuel, and, most important, honor yourself and all that you do everyday of the year.”

  3. Rachel says:

    I think this book is about ten years old now, but I loved The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. She presents a lot of small, measurable steps you can take to be more happy, and talks about how they worked or didn’t work in her own life. I appreciated her very data-driven approach. Some of it is geared towards couples and people with children, but I found it useful even as a single person.

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