If the pending new year has inspired you to invest in some self-help books, we’ve got you covered. We rounded up some of the best reads in personal development of all time to kick start your reading list. It’s also the perfect time of year to set intentions for the months ahead and grab a time-tested self-help book to guide the way.

Whether you’re looking for something serious, hilarious, or right in between, one (or all) of these titles will surely do the trick. 

See a book you love? Click over to our “Best Self Care Books of All Time” list on Bookshop.org and support your local indie bookstore with your purchase. 

The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein

This powerful book is for the person who is ready remove the roadblocks that are standing in the way of happiness, love, and security.  The reader will be able to transition from a place of fear and into a space of faith, resulting in freedom and clarity. These lessons will lead the way through a journey of joy, connection, and direction. It is the author’s hope that by the end of the book, you will be able to stop chasing life and to truly start living with purpose in the present moment, full well knowing that the universe is on your side.



Radically Happy by Phakchok Rinpoche

When a Tibetan Rinpoche and an entrepreneur from Silicon Valley get together to give advice, you can rest assured that you’re getting the best of both worlds. Touching on medication, mindfulness, and scientific studies, this book provides a pathway to finding a more fulfilling life. It includes insightful perspectives and personal stories, allowing this team of two to demonstrate how to achieve that radical happiness, especially during tough times.

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes is the ultimate girl crush and we’re here for it. Not only has she created some of the best TV shows out there, but now she’s outdone herself with a book. This one is a true lesson in not judging a book by its cover; some of the most unsuspecting people are actually introverts – and Shonda is one of them. This story shows a raw and real look at a woman who stepped into her power by saying “yes” to anything that scared her and leaves the reader truly inspired to do the same.

How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh

Lilly Singh is a modern day superhero and she worked hard for that accolade. You won’t find any warm and fuzzies with this one, but you will find real world advice to help you level up and elevate your game. She’ll encourage you to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, skip the feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out), and to make time to be creative. Oh, and be nice to people – so simple, yet often overlooked when climbing the ladder to success. You’ll laugh and you’ll learn, but most importantly, this book will teach you to love yourself a little more.  


The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking

The Danish have a reputation for being the happiest people in the world and we want to know their secrets. They say it’s due to ‘hygge’ (pronounced hoo-ga), which is the true embodiment of their way of life – having a strong sense of well-being, prioritizing togetherness, and allowing yourself to truly be comfortable. This book offers such simple, yet surprisingly profound advice, like turning off the phone, trading in lights for candles, and to go ahead and eat that slice of cake…YOLO. This enjoyable book will take you down a path of peace and joy following the lead of the great Danes.


Feel the Fear… and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

With insight and humor, Dr. Jeffers shows readers how to become powerful in the face of their fears – and to channel energy into living happy, healthy lives. She uses a 10-step process to help readers identify what they are afraid of (and why), how to move from victim to creator, and ultimately how to create more meaning in life.

The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream by Paulo Coelho

This novel is structured very differently than most typical self-help books, but it’s recognized in the self-help community as being among the very best. The story introduces Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy in search of an extravagant treasure. He travels far and wide, and the treasures he finds on his journey teach about listening to our hearts, recognizing the signs along life’s path and following our dreams.

Happy AF

Happy AF: Simple strategies to get unstuck, bounce back, and live your best life by Beth Romero

Don’t we all just want to be happy? Whether in pursuit of career success or familial bliss, most people desire joy in their endeavors. With clinical rigor and applicable steps, Beth Romero walks readers down a path toward happiness. From demolishing negative thoughts to the ways sleep, routines, diet and exercise contribute to happiness, Romero’s work will have you feeling uplifted from page one. 

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman 

This book helps readers to identify their love languages, as well as identify the love languages of our partner – with the intention of having both partners’ needs met. By understanding what we seek and what our partner seeks, our relationships can become stronger and more fulfilling.

What to Say When You Talk to Your Self by Dr. Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D.

Dr. Helmstetter helps to positively transform readers’ lives by teaching the skill of inner self-talk. He identifies how self-talk can possess a large amount of control and influence in our lives, with weight in every decision we make.

The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success by Megan McArdle

Business blogger Megan McArdle uses stories from successful people – from doctors, bankruptcy judges and venture capitalists to kindergarten teachers – to illustrate the lessons we need to learn from failing. Her goal is to teach readers how to reinvent themselves in the face of failure.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

Covey’s self-help book is a classic, and just like the title suggests, it’s a guide sharing the habits of successful and effective people. Throughout the seven focus habits, the book reminds readers to do all things with integrity, honesty – with one’s self and others – and compassion.

The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

An international bestseller with more than five million copies in print, Dr. Peale’s classic self-help book has sharpened the self-improvement space for nearly 70 years. “Written with the sole objective of helping the reader achieve a happy, satisfying and worthwhile life,” says the author, it teaches readers to build new power and determination, develop and reach goals and more.

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

Researcher and bestselling author Brené Brown pinpoints the most important issue of all in this book: our lack of self-worth and struggles with shame. It’s about courage, and harnessing the nerve to be vulnerable in a way that can transform the way we live, parent and lead.

You Are A Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

In this entertaining and funny how-to guide, bestselling author and world-traveling success coach Jen Sincero infuses readers with the confidence to pursue their goals in relationships, careers, financial matters and more. Her high-energy approach is a refreshing change in this space – and one that has positively influenced millions of readers and counting.

How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

For more than 80 years the time-tested advice in this book has led to successes great and small, all over the world. Carnegie teaches readers six ways to make people like you, 12 ways to let people into your way of thinking, and nine ways to change peoples’ minds in a positive manner.

I’m OK, You’re OK: A Practical Guide to Transactional Analysis by Thomas Anthony Harris, M.D.

Harris believes we can find the freedom to change our lives by exploring the structure of our personalities and understanding our decisions of the past. He identifies three ego-states (Parent, Adult and Child) as the basis for the content and quality of interpersonal communication. 

(Feature image courtesy of @itschantalsimone)