Six of the Best Self Help Books on My Shelf

Self help is one of my go-to topics when I’m choosing a new book. I often flit between a dark, thriller type book and a real life, real-impact book that often comes in the form of a ‘self help’.

Self help books can be a great tool for enabling you take stock of where you currently are in life, the direction you’re taking and what you need to do to get to the next step. Or, they can help you to reassess your goals, clear the clutter in your head and give you the motivational boost you need to get something done or make an important change.

Self help books can be incredibly powerful – especially if you find one that speaks to you.

I have accumulated a fair number of these books on my shelf. It can be really useful and interesting to hear from different voices, explore new ideas, gather advice and find a different perspective on an idea.

I thought I’d share six of my very favourite self help books – there’s a variety of styles, topics and tones so I hope you’ll find these interesting.

I know there’s a couple missing from the picture above but these are my hard copy versions!

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

“I enjoy the fun of failure. It’s fun to fail, I kept repeating. It’s part of being ambitious; it’s part of being creative. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.”

One of my favourite books of all time. THP completely changed how I view self help books as it encouraged (and continues to encourage) me to make real changes to my attitude and actions.

I re-read this book every year as I find it motivates me to make positive changes to my thought patterns and behaviours, which then have a lasting impact on other areas of my life.

You start to build a relationship with Gretchen as you follow her on a year of tackling different areas of her life that she wants to improve and cultivate more happiness within.

It’s a great look at how small changes can play a really big role in your day-to-day feelings of happiness. It’s an engaging, comfortable read that is really easy to follow and feels like a warm, but honest conversation with a friend.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

“You’re not required to save the world with your creativity. Your art not only doesn’t have to be original, in other words, it also doesn’t have to be important.

This is a fantastic read if you’re someone who is, wants to be or thinks that they are creative, or has creativity hidden somewhere inside themselves. It’s an important look at how we view or understand our own creativity and what we can do to either support it, or hinder it.

The book will encourage you to take control of your creativity, challenges and all, and show it love and excitement rather than meet it with fear and resentment.

It’s definitely one to add to the list if you’re feeling a creative block or just want to feel a spark for whatever it is you do (or want to start doing).

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.

Of course Brené Brown was going to be on this list. You could easily swap out any one of her books here and you’d have a pretty solid contender but I’ve chosen this one as it’s the first book by Brown that I read.

It’s a thought-provoking look at the role that shame, vulnerbility, courage and worthiness play in our lives. It asks you to look at yourself and consider what you could do to start living life ‘wholeheartedly’ and as the most authentic version of yourself.

Rather than being who you think you should be, this book asks you to let go of that notion, face your fears and start engaging with the world from a place where you value yourself.

If you don’t have the time to read a Brené Brown book now then I 100% recommend her TEDx talk or the live recording on Netflix.

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

A lot of times, we are angry at other people, for not doing what we should have done for ourselves”

I thought I’d throw in a bit of a wild card here as this is not strictly a self-help book, but rather a set of beautiful poetry.

However, I’m recommending it here because the themes are universal and ask you to consider your own thoughts and emotions around often painful topics.

This poetry so incredibly powerful, honest and raw that it encourages you to think about your own connection to the subject – and I believe this can be a really powerful step to understanding who you are and the impact that certain relationships or times in your life may have had on you.

It also encourages you to acknowledge and understand challenges that other people may face in their lives and build compassion in response.

Although it may not specifically offer advice or an answer to challenges, being honest with yourself and embracing emotion is an important starting point in finding a way through difficulties you may face and growing as an individual so it’s a must-read for me.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it.

Another one from EG, and one that I’m sure you’ll have seen recommended far and wide across the internet but I had to include it on this list.

It’s a raw and vulnerable piece of writing that really explores the idea of finding yourself and the highs and lows that come with that experience.

Not only is it a great read, but it personally played a huge role in encouraging me to take steps to learn more about myself and start exploring solo travel. Plus the descriptions of Italy just make me swoon.

If you’re feeling a bit lost or need some direction then this book is like a warm hug and a wake up call all mixed into one small (but mighty) package.

Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

“Sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day – Mother Nature’s best effort yet at contra-death.

I recently finished this book and I cannot stop telling people about all the incredible facts and information shared in it.

As someone who’s very interested in health and wellbeing, I had never really considered the role of sleep in the rest of our lives. But this book changed that.

The book is a great exploration of sleep and all the things you may have never considered before. It’s written in a very accessible manner and provides a simple way to learn about why and how we sleep, the important role it plays and how sleep interacts with the rest of our lives.

I really recommend this book if you struggle with sleep or are looking for positive changes to make with your own health and lifestyle. Or, if like me, you’re a bit of a nerd about understanding how human beings function.

What are your favourite self help books?

Let me know if you’ve ready any of these books and what you thought. Or comment if they’ve made their way onto your TBR list!

Please share your recommendations as I’d love to hear them.


  1. I love Brené Brown & Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic-they are definitely game-changers for me! My all-time favourite self-improvement/development books out there (thus far) are:

    – I AM – Howard Falco
    – The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
    – The 4 Agreements – Don Miguel Ruiz
    – You Can Heal Your Life – Louise Hay

    Great post! I love all of the self-love/care topics you post! ♡

    1. Amazing! Thank you for the recommendations. I’ve been think about picking up The Power of Now for a little while and I’ll definitely check out the others too!

      Aw thank you, I really appreciate that! X

  2. I love this recommendations! The Elizabeth Gilbert book especially was a game changer for me (Big Magic). I am bookmarking this page.

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