9 self-improvement books for making you a bit better at life
Life is a journey of making one’s self better — not in a financial or professional sense, but improving our ways of dealing with things; whether it’s other people, challenging situations or just life in general.
Again, like confidence and self-love, books aren’t always your #1 option — but spending the time to learn and reflect can be truly effective.
That’s why we’ve rounded up our pick of the best self-improvement books to read at any age and stage…
The Power Of Positive Thinking by Dr Norman Vincent Peale
Best for: A back to basics reminder that positivity is key
An oldie but a greatie, a key influencer of the who self-improvement lit groove, Peale’s 1950s book is still one of the best. Instead of focusing on particular areas, it reminds you of the importance of thinking positively through experiences and instruction.
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Best for: Reminding yourself you don’t have to be a tw*t to succeed
An essential compilation of successful people’s habits; that refreshingly don’t feature ball-busting and bullying, but being fair and honest.
The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fu*k by Mark Manson
Best for: Learning not to sweat the small stuff
Manson’s seminal work popped up in our edit of self-love books too, because his lessons are just so darned useful. We all give too much of a fu*k so being tutored on a different approach is refreshing and insightful (and funny).
The Magic Of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
Best for: People who tend to settle for second best
It’s easy to do; we just accept we’re not the best so we don’t push ourselves to be the best. Schwartz helps to shift that mindset and seek the results we deserve.
How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Best for: Social skills
Carnegie has written a fair few contenders for this list but this is his best. Though it’s got a weird rep, but it’s not about manipulating people and being a sociopath. Carnegie is a social skills guy so what he passes on is valuable for everyone; but especially those who are struggling with communication and want to see improvement in their relationships, be it personal or professional.
The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Best for: Making you think
A feature on our self-confidence book list too, Toll’s 1997 book is multifaceted in its benefits. Through his citations of eastern and western ways of thinking, he’ll lead you to reflect on the way you are and you’ll come out the other side, 236 pages down, all the wiser for it.
Getting There: A Book Of Mentors by Gillian Zoe Segal
Best for: Pushing you in the right direction (…towards success)
Segal compiles essays from lots of successful people making Getting There a must-read if you’re setting out on a professional or goal-led journey. Instead of tiresome tips and tricks, it’s honest experiences and reflections, though patterns emerge throughout the individual inputs.
Year Of Yes by Shona Rhimes
Best for: A reminder that even incredibly successful people aren’t blessed with buckets of confidence
If, like Rhimes 1.0, you find yourself declining invitations to social events or work ops, then this book is wholeheartedly for you. Covering her experience of starting to say ‘yes’ and how it changed — and saved — her life, Rhimes is funny and poignant; inspiring you to put yourself out there and face the fear.
The Seven Spiritual Laws Of Success by Deepak Chopra
Best for: A rebalancer, taking the pressure off the usual things people focus on in self-improvement books
Chopra offers a refreshingly different take on success. Rather than focusing on bonkersly hard work and cut-throat ambition, he pushes us to live in a state of wellbeing and balance. Prioritising that, he says, is what will create success.
Read more: 12 books to read for a little shot of self-love