6 Best Self-Help Books of All Time

What are the best self-help books of all time that can literally change your life?

It depends on who you ask, I guess. But in this article, I will give you a list of my favorite books, that have actually helped me transform my life.

Why do we need self-help books?

We live in a time where anything is possible. You can earn your money online, set up your own business at the age of 18, and travel the world as a digital nomad without running out of money. Ten years ago, this was almost impossible.

When I first went backpacking (okay more than 10 years ago), I had to make an actual effort to find an internet café. And then I had to hope that I didn’t get disconnected before sending out my 3-page email to my mom. Every time I came back from a trip, I had to live on rice and beans alone for a couple of weeks. 

Back then I didn’t think that it was even remotely possible to earn an income online. But despite the many technological possibilities of today, I wouldn’t have gotten here if I hadn’t learned to believe in myself and worry less about what others think of me. I have yoga and the best self-help books of all time to thank for this. 

This list contains a couple of those inspiring self-help books. They are intended both for self-development and entrepreneurship. This basically comes down to the same thing. Most entrepreneurs have read a ton of self-help books, which makes sense.

After all, in order to grow a successful business, you have to believe in yourself, which is difficult for most people, to say the least.

Whether you’re looking for a happier personal life or a better career, these 6 best self-help books of all time will help you find your groove.

Best self-help books of all time

1. The 4-Hour Workweek – by Tim Ferriss (2007)

Let’s start with one of the best self-help books of all time for everyone who wants to quit their 9-5 job and become a digital nomad. Or at least, to quit their job. You don’t necessarily need to be all #wanderlusting, you can also simply prefer to be with your dog at home instead of with your boss at the office. I mean, who wouldn’t want that! 

The 4-Hour Workweek tells you exactly how to do this. I have to be honest, I haven’t read the book yet. It’s on my list, but I feel like I’m already living the life Tim writes about. Albeit on a smaller scale: I work about 30 hours a week instead of 4. So maybe I should start reading it soon anyway.

2. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck – by Mark Manson (2016)

Mark Manson is one of my favorite writers. His funny writing style makes heavy topics easy to digest. If you’re not as spiritual and you can’t stand those hippies (who, me?) who advise you to “just let it go, go with the flow”, then this is a good book to start with. 

Mark will still teach you how to “let go” though. And that is actually the best lesson you can learn, both as a human being and as an entrepreneur. We worry too much about money, work, relationships, and what others think of us. Our own insane thoughts make us suffer all.the.time.

We’re suffering. Period. Life is suffering. We’d better accept that, instead of trying to avoid it. Resistance just leads to extra pain. It’s just not realistic to always want to be happy. In fact, negative emotions help us to discover what no longer works for us and they encourage us to change things. Don’t you feel a lot lighter already when you realize that? 

Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different.

We suffer for the simple reason that suffering is biologically useful. It is nature’s preferred agent for inspiring change. […] Negative emotions are a call to action.

3. Fuck It Therapy: The Profane Way to Profound Happiness” – by John C. Parkin (2015)

Ha, another book with the word ‘fuck’ in the title. It’s one of many actually. But apparently, it sells. Profanity probably has a powerful way of reaching us. Fuck It Therapy teaches you the art of letting go as well.

British author, John C. Parkin, has a similar writing style to that of his American colleague Mark Manson. But John gives you a couple of practical exercises that you can literally do in your chair as you are reading the book. These exercises actually helped me get rid of my anxiety. So yeah, I definitely recommend reading this one.

When you say Fuck It, you carry out a spiritual act (the ultimate one, actually) because you give up, let go, stop resisting and relax back into the natural flow of life itself.

4. The Gifts of Imperfection – Brené Brown (2010)

Brené Brown. If you’ve never heard of her, shame on you! No, I’m only kidding. I think Brené would find this hilarious, considering that her fave subject is ‘shame’. She’s actually called the “leading expert on shame”. Having written quite a couple of books on this subject, she recommends reading The Gifts of Imperfection first.

This book helps you see that you are good the way you are right now. It helps you to accept your imperfections, to love yourself, and to feel like you belong. She writes about authenticity, self-compassion, and creativity.

5. Radical Self-Acceptance: A Buddhist Guide to Freeing Yourself from Shame – by Tara Brach (2000)

Radical Self-Acceptance is the most recent book I’ve read. Or, I should say listened to, because I bought it as an audiobook. And I highly recommend doing that, because it contains a couple of meditation exercises that are wonderful to fall asleep to at night. Of course, I shouldn’t say that, because you’re supposed to stay awake. 

But seriously, “Radical Self-Acceptance” hit me right where I needed it to. I think every human being has a deep-rooted fear of not being good enough. This book helps you to understand this fear in a practical way and to let go through mindfulness and self-acceptance.

To be in harmony with the oneness of thing is to be without the anxiety of imperfection.

6. The Power Of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life And Business – by Charles Duhigg (2014)

Okay, last but definitely not least, The Power Of Habit explains how we can change our habits. People are creatures of habit. We have a fixed routine for everything from brushing our teeth to doing groceries. Even if we have unhealthy habits, we often think they are impossible to change.

But are they, really? Charles Duhigg shows you how to adopt healthier habits by understanding how habits work. Research shows that willpower has the biggest correlation with future success, and that willpower is learned through habits. Habits don’t have to determine your life.

As long as you become aware of unconscious habits, you can change any habit. 

Which book are you going to read first? And what other books would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.