I have read hundreds of self-help books. Most are unimpressive, but some are truly amazing.
Here is my top seven, as well as a brief summary of what they cover, who should read it, and my takeaways.
1) Running On Empty — Jonice Webb & Christine Musello.
Topic: Identifying and addressing the impacts of childhood emotional neglect.
Key Takeaway: The way my parents raised me can and does colour my future interactions. Once noticed, this impact can be changed in a positive direction.
Who Should Read It?: Those with childhood trauma, addicted/mentally ill parents or siblings, issues with deep emotional connections with themselves or others.
2) Models — Mark Manson.
Topic: Despite being branded as a ‘pick up book’, this really is the best book out there for improving all kinds of relationships
Key Takeaway: Don’t be needy. Work on self-improvement. Focus on your intent with interactions because others will pick up on it anyway.
Who Should Read It?: Anyone struggling with relationships, particularly of the romantic kind.
3) Extreme Ownership — Jocko Willink.
Topic: Battlefield tested leadership lessons applied to business and personal life.
Key Takeaway: My life is my responsibility. I have to be the one to take action to make the changes I want to see.
Who Should Read It?: Business leaders/managers/team captains. Those lacking personal discipline and willpower.
4) The Four Hour Work Week — Tim Ferris.
Topic: Shows how to increase productivity in both work and personal life, eliminate pointless tasks and to prioritise.
Key Takeaway: Just because most people do it a certain way, does not make that way right. By asking better questions, you can create better solutions.
Who Should Read It?: Anyone who finds themselves continuously short on time, or who wants to start working in a field they actually love.
5) The Mind Illuminated — John Yates.
Topic: A systematic approach to mindfulness meditation, written by an expert mediator and neuroscientist.
Key Takeaway: Simple instructions that instilled a permanent meditation practice into my life. I simply can’t understate how beneficial this has been in my life.
Who Should Read It?: Everyone.
6) I Will Teach You To Be Rich — Ramit Sethi.
Topic: A comprehensive look into basic personal finance. Get out of debt, spend on what you value and invest long term.
Key Takeaway: Despite not earning much, I actually do earn enough to purchase what I actually value (by forgoing what I don’t value).
Who Should Read It?: Young adults prior to moving out of home, as well as those struggling to pay the bills.
7) The Obstacle Is The Way — Ryan Holiday.
Topic: Focuses on turning trials into triumphs. Your best learning and achievements will come from overcoming troubles.
Key Takeaway: Bad stuff will happen. When it does, it can be one of the best learning and personal growth opportunities out there — provided you take it of course.
Who Should Read It?: People who struggle with anxiety as well as those who would consider themselves a pessimist.
I couldn’t make a list of the top self-help books without including my own right?
How To Get Your Shit Together is the synthesis of the best advice taken from all of the self-help books, hours of therapy and real world experience of mental illness, trauma and the recovery process.
It provides practical advice, tips and techniques for: overcoming anxiety, defeating depression, moving on from trauma, getting organised, finding meaning and following your dreams.
~ Zachary Phillips
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