Self-improvement is a trend that’s here to stay—so reading the best self-help books has never been more important. With all the unexpected twists and turns that life can bring, taking care of ourselves is more vital than ever. There’s never been a better time to dive into non-fiction that helps you feel grounded and supported.
Whether it’s exploring meditation, building self-compassion, or understanding your personal style of attachment, the best self-help books—which are quickly becoming some of the best books 2021—will help put you on the path of self-discovery and lead you into a brighter, more self-aware year ahead. Getting into self-help books can feel like a switch of gear for readers more attuned to fiction. You may generally prefer to lose yourself in one of the best thrillers, a brilliant romance book, or one of the best historical fiction books. But taking the time to read something that can really benefit your mental health is a self-care act your future self will thank you for.
Most of us have something that we wish we could change. For some of us, it might be a small change—like having more time in the day—and for others, the goals are larger and can feel unobtainable—like how to feel more confident or content. Filled with the latest research and compelling first-person accounts, these gripping reads can help you achieve your goals and be a better version of yourself.
The best self-help books to read in 2021
If you’re looking for a positivity boost this spring, load up your Kindle, and look no further than our pick of the best self-help books. Whether it’s making more time for self-care, exploring the relationship between mind and body, or learning the art of self-compassion, here are the best self-help books that everyone should read.
1. The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
If you’re feeling at sea, this is the book for you. Gabrielle Bernstein is a New York Times best-selling author and spiritual guru, who speaks internationally about transforming fear into faith and overcoming addiction problems. The Universe Has Your Back is a comforting read for anyone finding life a little tough right now—the book focuses on how to create safety in the face of uncertainty and trust in the power of the universe, with special techniques, guided visualizations, and meditation exercises to try at home.
2. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
This is about as iconic as self-help books get. Louise Hay was an American motivational author and speaker, who founded Hay House publishing house. Her impact has been so large that she is considered by many to be the founder of the self-help movement in the States. You Can Heal Your Life, first published in 1984, is a multi- million-copy bestselling book on self-healing, which guides readers on how to change their negative thought processes to bring about positive change in their lives. The book—one of the best self-help books around—includes daily affirmations to incorporate into your life, and goes into depth on the relationship between the mind and body, showing the impact of thoughts on our health and wellbeing.
3. Good Vibes, Good Life by Vex King
A popular book club book, this number #1 Sunday Times bestseller by influencer and self-help guru Vex King has sold over 500k copies. And it’s a must-read for anyone who needs a boost of positivity and self-love in their lives. King believes that self-love is the key to unlocking your greatness—the book highlights how to practice self-care, overcome toxic energy and make your wellbeing a priority. King describes the incredible challenges he has overcome in the book and gives personal insights into how you can overcome fear and ‘flow’ with the Universe. Not one if you’re not a fan of Instagram-worthy quotes and sound bites though.
4. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero
If you’re looking for no-nonsense advice on how to change your life, then look no further than Jen Sincero’s iconic self-help book. Full of bitesize advice and anecdotes, the book is designed to inspire and motivate you to live your best life, without feeling overwhelmed. It’s a refreshing reading for anyone that’s bored of the conventional self-help book, as Jen Sincero is not your traditional success coach— expect hilarious stories, surprising wisdom and the occasional swear word. You’ll come away from this book with a greater sense of purpose, clarity of what you want from your life, and better boundaries in place.
5. Think Like a Monk by Jay Shetty
Entrepreneur and internet personality Jay Shetty draws on his time as a monk in the Vedic tradition in this uplifting book about success and potential. Taking inspiration from ancient wisdom and his learnings in the ashram, Shetty shows how ancient traditions can be used today to overcome negative thoughts and lead a more fulfilled life. Packed full of advice and practical exercises you can try, the book is designed to reduce stress, improve your relationships, and increase self-discipline. Shetty believes there’s a real place for living (a bit) like a monk in all our lives—and this book will show you how.
6. Attached by Dr Amir Levine and Rachel Heller
One of 2021’s best self-help books, Attached is described as ‘a groundbreaking book that redefines what it means to be in a relationship’ by John Gray PhD—and we tend to agree. Attached is an insightful look into the science behind love, and explores how attachment theory, the most advanced relationship science that exists, can show up differently in people’s lives. Through the book, you’ll come to understand your own personal attachment style (anxious, avoidant, or secure), which can, in turn, help you to become a better, more self-aware individual in relationships. This one will really help you to understand what you personally need from a romantic partner—or what your partner needs from you.
7. The Chimp Paradox by Professor Steve Peters
If you’re someone that finds you’re often sabotaging your own happiness, then this book is for you. The Chimp Paradox is a mind management model, which claims to help you become a more happy, confident, and successful person. Its author, Professor Steve Peters, will walk you through how your mind works, how to manage your thought patterns and emotional state, and, ultimately, become the best version of yourself. It’s a big claim—but with easy-to-follow exercises and powerful insights, this book is a multi-million copy bestseller for a reason.
8. Self Love and Spiritual Alchemy by Dani Watson
Dani Watson is a self-love and law of attraction coach, who helps individuals get clear on what they really want, ditch limiting beliefs, and stop self-sabotage to live a life that is full of purpose and fulfilment. In her book, Self Love and Spiritual Alchemy, she explains how to raise your ‘vibration’ to bring in more joy, abundance, and prosperity into your life, and how to overcome negative thought patterns or limiting beliefs. Drawing on her own personal experience of overcoming debt, heartbreak, and anxiety, Dani shares how she changed her life for the better—and how you can too.
9. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
A spiritual teacher and author admired by Oprah Winfrey, Tolle suggests that we shouldn’t even believe in problems. He says, “Problems are mind-made. Ultimately, it’s about realizing there are no problems. Only situations – to be dealt with now, or left alone and accepted as part of the present moment until they change or can be dealt with. Ask yourself what “problem” you have right now, not next year, tomorrow, or five minutes from now. You might be carrying in your mind the insane burden of 100 things you will or may have to do in the future, instead of focusing your attention on the one thing you can do now. Make the decision to create no more problems.
10. Self Care for the Real World by Nadia Narain
A top #10 bestseller, Self Care for the Real World is a self-help book for people who don’t really ‘do’ self-help. It’s a highly practical, easy-to-read, and accessible book on how to incorporate self-care into our everyday lives with small, achievable daily actions. The book focuses on how to understand what self-care looks like to you (as it’s different for everyone!) and how you can incorporate it into your routine, even when you don’t feel like you have the time. The perfect self-care book for busy people! One of the best health books out there right now.
11. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
The Secret is perhaps one of the first—and most famous—self-help books and for good reason. With wisdom and insight from modern-day teachers, The Secret essentially examines the power of manifestation—the benefits, how to do it, and how it has changed some people’s lives. You’ll hear from people from all walks of life about how the practice has brought them health, wealth, and happiness. So why not give it a go? There’s a reason it’s one of the best self-help books of all time.
12. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
Released in 2015, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic has become a cult success story within the self-help books arena, helping readers across the world to embrace their creativity. In it, the author shares stories from her own life as well as wisdom from friends and people who have inspired her, to challenge the reader to embrace the unknown during the creative process. But never fear—it’s not just a book for artists. It’s there for you if you’re struggling at work or simply desperate for a creative outlet too. Use this book to help you unleash your true self without fear of judgment or fear of anything else.
13. The Power Of Habit by Charles Duhigg
Also one of our best psychology book picks, Duhigg argues that good intentions only take us so far when it comes to breaking bad habits. So rather than providing guidelines for how to overcome our bad habits, Duhigg investigates suggestions for how we can reprogramme our minds towards better habits. Looking at the environmental cues that encourage our worst tendencies, Duhigg gives a compelling insight into the world of subconscious behavior. This is no homespun remedy, Duhigg’s observations have real, scientific gravitas, and could really help you finally achieve that goal.