As a Life Coach it’s imperative I stay on top of what’s hot in the self-help book arena and as an avid reader, I thoroughly enjoy the process of reading (or listening) to everything/anything I can get my hands on.
When I’m coaching, I’m not keen on a Client going off and reading self-development books (it can confuse my Client alongside the coaching process). However, there are some absolute classic self-help books that I have no hesitation in recommending alongside my Coaching, simply because they are so good.
And I’m going to share them with you now.
These are the books that I’ve personally read and have had a huge impact on me and my life.
So, in no particular order:
- You Can Heal Your Life – Louise Hay
This is the book that started my self-development journey written by late great Louise Hay.
First published in 1984, it’s one of the original self-help books and has sold over 35 million copies.
Abused as a child and having endured a tough life, Louise only started to change her life in 50’s (a lesson here to anyone who thinks they are too old to change their life) and believed that your thoughts can directly affect your life. She also famously believed that physical ailments in the body are caused by mental anguish and if you work on your thoughts, almost anything can be healed.
She wrote the book in the same way she would take a Client through a private coaching session and ultimately her philosophy was based on the premise that the root of our problems is (generally) based on the fact that we don’t think we’re good enough.
She believed that by using positive affirmations and changing the way we think you can change your life.
Sounds fantastical I know, but it’s a truly brilliant and comforting read. If you’re feeling fragile and looking for a hug this is for you.
Other books have been published since which have built on her ideas, but she was one of the originals.
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – Richard Carlson PH. D.
Originally published in 1997 and selling over 25 million copies, Richard Carlson was famously quoted as saying:
“Stress is nothing more than a socially acceptable form of mental illness” – Richard Carlson.
If you’re finding life stressful and need quick, no nonsense, advice on how to reduce it, then this is the best book in the world to read. With 100 tips on how to reduce stress, I will open this book on most days and pick out one of his tips (yes most days), to remind myself to stay grounded.
Put on your coffee table and read in between doing jobs do give you an instant boost.
A truly brilliant book.
- The Science of Getting Rich – Wallace D. Wattles
The inspiration behind Rhonda Bryne writing her best-selling book – The Secret. She says:
“This book is the key to prosperity you have longed for. It will change your life.” – Rhonda Byrne
The Science of Getting Rich was first published in 1910 and it’s an absolute corker!
In the preface, Wallace says: “this book is intended for the men and women whose most pressing need is for money, who wish to get rich first and philosophise afterwards.”
He goes onto state that the science stated in the book is an exact science and if the reader follows his instructions “failure is impossible.”
It was written in in 1910 so its language is old fashioned and he makes several references to God BUT don’t be put off by this. It’s an extremely powerful and uplifting book that although based on metaphysics, I can personally testify his principles work.
If you’re looking to increase your wealth or to simply feel better about life, you must read this book!
- The Seven Spiritual Laws – Deepak Chopra
This book teaches that getting success doesn’t have to be struggle and that there are natural laws at work, and that if studied and adopted will bring you ultimate success with ease and joy.
Don’t be put off by the word spiritual, this book, although spiritual, is a no nonsense, guide on how to get what you really need.
Originally published in 1994, The Seven Spiritual laws are the following: (1) be silent for 30 minutes a day, (2) give to everyone even if you get nothing in return, (3) karma exists so don’t mess with it (basically play nicely), (4) taking responsibility for your life and not blaming others, (5) set goals and when you don’t get what you want there is a reason why (6) letting go and relaxing with life (7) finding your dharma, everyone has a true purpose in life; find it!
This is probably my go-to book when my life feels out of balance.
- The Road Less Travelled – M. Scott Peck
Written by an American Psychiatrist and published in 1978, the book opens with the line “life is difficult” and warning; the gloominess continues through the book. However, it’s a super effective, yet realistic guide where Peck doesn’t try to glamourize the process of spiritual enlightenment and personal-development.
The book is written on the premise that life is tough and that discipline alone can solve all your problems. The more disciplined you are, the more problems you will solve. He preaches that problems need to be suffered and faced head-on and that by employing certain skills (all based on discipline) we can solve all our problems whilst learning and growing in the process.
There is a lot more to the book than problem solving in life, but I tend to dip back into it when I’m going through a tough time and need to remind myself that life is a journey and it’s the lows that make me grow as an individual.
- When Things Fall Apart – Pema Chodran
Published in 1996, Pema Chodran is a female Buddhist monk whose book found critical acclaim due to its focus on fear.
In a nutshell (and similar to the Road Less Travelled), what I took from this book is that fear, disappointment and being hurt are not things we should run away from, but rather that we need to lean into them and embrace.
She teaches that fear is a big opportunity to learn, it’s a teacher and in that very moment of fear you need to lean into it rather than run. She goes onto explain that every time you try to protect yourself (from fear), you end up building an armour around your heart which eventually makes you a hard person.
There is a lot more to the book than that, but I remember this book helping me when I was despairing over something in my life and it made me feel so much better.
- The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – Robin Sharma
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is based around two characters Julian and his best friend John.
The book follows Julian on his spiritual awakening after suffering a huge heart attack in the court room (Julian is an Attorney) and the book documents his journey to the Himalayas and the spiritual lessons he’s learnt.
It’s fantastic and guides the reader how to live with greater joy, prosperity and balance. I learnt soooooo many lessons from this book, but from memory (I read about 10 years ago): discipline, keeping promises, embracing the bad, feeling good about the money I spend, making my living environment the best, trusting my instincts and acting the way I want to feel.
This is definitely for those career people out there who are feeling burnt out.
- The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
The best book on happiness I’ve read by far (apart from my own of course. Click here for my book ) and a joy to read.
The book outlines how writer Gretchen approaches finding her happiness BUT coming from a place of not being depressed or in crisis rather just feeling BLAH…
She researched the topic of happiness thoroughly and came up with her own 12 Commandments for Happiness, the Secrets of Adulthood and for every month for one year she would focus on a different happiness resolution and integrate it into her life.
The book charts her progress over the 12 months that she trailed her happiness resolutions and she draw’s many conclusions on happiness such as money can help with happiness, not everyone can meditate (she gives up on meditation), the smallest changes can make the biggest differences, your body matters, what’s fun for other people may not be fun for you and so on.
This is a non-spiritual, light hearted, yet realistic happiness finding book. I recommend it to anyone.
- The Motivation Manifesto – Brendon Burchard
A highly underrated book that I hardly read about, yet it’s brilliant.
Written by Brendon Burchard, a High-Performance Coach, who believes motivation is the number one thing to master in your life for success.
He spent 18 years studying motivation and he’s written the book to help his readers find more clarity, courage and freedom to pursue their goals. He claims we all deal with the same demon in life: self-sabotage and this book is the perfect motivator (in his words) to “spark, maintain and amplify your motivation and I would agree.
He outlines 9 Declarations that are going to help you take back the control in your life and become the best version of yourself.
It’s an allrounder and nonsense book.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
Originally published in 1989, this is an absolute classic business and self-help book rolled into one.
Covey studied 200 years’ worth of literature on self-help and came up with the ultimate 7 habits that an individual must adopt to be successful in both business and life.
However, he also stresses that you need to alter your perception of how you see the world – a paradigm shift to be successful.
He believes if you alter your habits, the way you perceive the world and adopt his 7 habits of highly effective people, then you will alter your life for the better. A common-sense approach to self-help which although has been reproduced many times by other authors since, I believe this book is still one of the best.
Other good self-help books are listed below:
I hope this has helped you.
The other books I recommend are:
- The Power of Positive Thinking – Norman Vincent Peale
- Think & Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
- How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
- Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert T. Kyosaki
- Crush It – Gary Vaynerchuk
- The Biology of Belief – Bruce H. Lipton Ph.D.
- The Power of Your Subconscious Mind – Dr Joseph Murphy
- The Richest Man in Babylon – George S. Clason
- The Greatest Salesman in the World – Og Mandino
- Escape the System – Joe Barnes