Why Self-Help Is for Everyone: 11 Books to Help Upgrade You


We often talk about the importance of education, and we can see historically how education has been used to both empower and disempower groups throughout time. Despite the power of information, people have often looked down their nose at certain information, specifically the self-help space. We act as if reflecting on ourselves shows weakness, but personal growth and development is beneficial for everyone. It is so important to love yourself, but that does not mean to stay stagnant. Love yourself enough to explore who you are and grow and evolve as much (and as often) as possible. Change often happens with a catalyst, and for me that catalyst is information from other smart and wise people who have come before me. Here are some of my favorite books to help spark growth both personally and professionally.

Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman
The Daily Stoic

The Daily Stoic was a book that came to me last year at SXSW. I was staying with some friends, and one of them had been given this book. I don’t remember why he offered it to me, but being the book nerd I am, I will never turn down reading material. Filled with 366 meditations on wisdom, perseverance, and the art of living, this book was exactly what I did not know I needed. What stands out most for me from this text is that while the language is dated, the advice is still current and constantly useful.

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Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney
Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength

Willpower is about self-control, which we don’t often talk about being a skill, or as Baumeister found, that it operates like a muscle. It was found that willpower can be strengthened with practice and worn out by overuse. This book helped my to better understand willpower and how to harness it with the right habits and techniques. In this climate of instant gratification, the power to avoid temptation can help to lead a better life.

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Jen Sincero
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

You Are a Badass is a kick-you-in-the-butt reminder you that you are great! I truly believe that we are all special in our own ways and that we deserve to live amazing lives if we can get out of our way. Jen Sincero is helping people step into their greatness with this entertaining, refreshing, and relatable book. It will help guide you to creating a life you love right now!

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Michell C. Clark
Keep It 100: Daily Affirmations For Millennials Who Are Tired Of Being Called Millennials

Keep It 100 is a book of affirmations with a title that speaks for itself. Written by millennial coach Michell C. Clark, this book showcases his ability to act as a cultural translator and will give you some love, a good laugh, and help you persevere through life’s challenges. This is a great book for people of all ages, especially those that are skeptical about if affirmations are right for them.

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Jeff Olson
The Slight Edge

The Slight Edge is about turning simple disciplines into massive success and happiness. This book will help you create powerful results and change in your life by unlocking the tools that you already have inside you — and probably don't even realize are there. This book helps walk you through how to create a personal philosophy that will create change that ripples throughout your life.

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Lisa Sugar
Power Your Happy

Power Your Happy is about how to work hard, play nice, and build your dreams. Lisa Sugar is the founder of Popsugar, and in this book she takes her personal and professional life experiences to motivate others to live colorful, interesting lives. This book will help you find or rediscover your passion, and remind you that you can still be nice while you do it.

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Grant Cardone
The 10X Rule

The 10x Rule is an excellent book on increasing your action to increase your results. This book is about massive action and going big. We often keep things small for a variety of reasons — it might be fear or nerves, but this book encourages you to push past that. If you are already doing the work, why not go all the way and go for maximum action?

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Dale Carnegie
How To Win Friends and Influence People

This is an oldie but goodie. This book is like the grandfather of self-help. I’ve always thought differently, and this book gives you a lot of great information on personality development. It really helped strengthen my empathy and understanding of other people, which is a necessary skill for navigating the world and relationships. We all need friends in this thing called life.

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Shonda Rhimes
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

Year of Yes is a powerful reminder of the magic that exist in the world if we are open to it. One simple word led Shonda to a year-long, life-changing journey. This book shows that we have to shake it up sometimes and do something different to get a new result.

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Tiffany Dufu
Drop The Ball

Drop The Ball is a great book on how to achieve more by doing less. This book is for those who need to learn how to say no! Sometimes we feel like we need to do it all, say yes to everything, try to be everywhere, and in the meantime we end up overextended and worn out. The reality is that there are many ways to succeed and many ways that we can build the life we want. Sometimes we need help and guidance to figure out how to make it all work. Let Tiffany help you embrace your imperfections, give yourself a break from the pressure we often put on ourselves, and create a life you love.

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These are just a few of the MANY resources that exist to help guide you to living your best life. You may have noticed that some of these books exist in opposition to each other. One says to say yes more, another tells you to say no; some say to do more, and some say to do less. While it may seem confusing, the reality is we are all different with various needs and speeds for how we do things. Some people LOVE doing the most and working all the time at maximum effort; some people like a different balance, and need a push to say yes more or say no more. The point is: you have to find what you need and what resonates with you. These books are great to start with, and in the words of Beyonce, “Let Me Upgrade You!”