7 Self-Help Books That Actually Changed My Life


Deciding you’re going to dive into the world of self-help books can make you want to find a book on self-help books. There are just so many options and categories that it can be a little intimidating if you’re just starting out.

The hardest part, though, is sifting through the BS ones and finding the gems that can actually have a profound effect on your life. Because, let’s be honest, some of the books out there literally aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. If you picked up one of those before getting to one that changed your perspective or helped you grow, don’t give up hope; I promise many are actually worth the cash — and your time.

To help you wade through the overflowing pool that is the world of self-help books, here are seven options that changed my life. So much so that I think about what I learned or the practices almost daily. Maybe you would too?


Let It Out by Katie Dalebout

This book is all about the power of journaling and using it as a tool to help you achieve your goals. Before picking up this book, I had never really paid much attention to the idea of journaling and how doing it could help me. Plus, I thought it seemed kinda cheesy, if I’m honest. I hadn’t had a journal since 6th grade, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to start doing it as an adult. But, with such rave reviews by friends, I gave this one a shot.

As it turns out, I freaking loved journaling. I mean, a little writing, coffee, and a lazy Sunday morning? Sign me up!

The book forces you to think about questions you may not have thought of before, and I actually felt like I got to know myself a whole lot better. It only took 30 years and a book! If you’re skeptical, I totally get it, but the only way to find out if it works for you is to give it a try.

Katie Dalebout
Let It Out

a journey through journaling

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

Surprisingly, this book helped me do exactly what the title says, but in the most productive way possible. It doesn’t encourage you to not care about the important things in your life, but rather give up and weed out the things you’ve committed yourself to that you really couldn’t care less about.

Ultimately, it helped me streamline my priorities and not be such a people pleaser. It pushed me to finally bail on a bookclub I’d been dreading weekly for about two years, to realize that people really didn’t worry about me as much as I did, and to, quite blunty, not give a f*ck about things that didn’t give a f*ck about me. Or people!

I like to re-read this book every so often, even just a chapter, if I find myself prioritizing things that aren’t making me happy.

Mark Manson
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

a counterintuitive approach to living a good life

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Zen Habits by Leo Babauta

Zen Habits is actually a blog/online glossary of sorts on how to incorporate… get this… zen habits into your daily life. Leo’s blog is actually the first “self help” I dove into during a stage of feeling super lost in my early 20s. And I won’t be dramatic and say it saved me, but it saved me! Mainly, it opened my eyes to self-improvement and that I could better myself and life.

The book of the same name, which is actually more of a handbook, is a collection of Leo Babauta’s most compelling posts, but it’s worth it to have everything compiled in one place. It’s full of suggestions and examples of how becoming zen is totally doable and realistic in the everyday person’s life. Plus, it’s cheap and short; you can very much just read the chapters that apply to you in that moment.

It’s a foundation that I use in my daily life, whether it’s a practice of minimalism or a healthy habit, and I’ve actually bought it for many friends. So good, especially in this go-go-go culture we call 2018.

Leo Babauta
Zen Habits

a handbook for life

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Source: @she.turns.pages


The 4-hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

If you’ve dabbled in self-help content, chances are you’ve heard of this book, or at least Tim Ferriss (his podcast is also wildly successful). He’s kiiiinda amazing, at least if you’re into time management and being effective in life. Maybe a bit intense, but there are really good nuggets among his sometimes crazy ideas.

If you’re just starting a business, no matter the industry, I highly recommend giving this one a read, as its totally changed my business. It really dives into delegation and efficiency, which can be lifesaving tools with a brand new business.

Or, if you’re stuck in corporate America and that’s not the life you want to be living, this could totally change things for you. Basically, Ferriss and this book make you think outside the box in terms of income, work load, overwhelm, delegating, and even retirement. Just get ready to want to fully change your life after reading, because the ideas are endless.

Timothy Ferriss
The 4-Hour Workweek

escape 9-5, live anywhere, and join the new rich

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The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Okay so some parts of this book are a little cheesy (including the title), but The Morning Miracle is what helped me finally develop a morning routine. And not just a morning routine that Tony Robbins says to do — one that actually works for you.

If you’re interested in developing a morning routine or have tried to 74824 times and always failed, give this technique a shot. The book guarantees to change your life, and I’m here to say that it’s totally possible, which makes this book worth the read.

(Pro tip: You can actually skip over Hal’s whole personal story in the beginning if you’re trying to get to the goods. I didn’t find that part too helpful — though his story is kinda cray!)

Hal Elrod
The Miracle Morning

the not-so-obvious secret guaranteed to transform your life (before 8AM)

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The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

The first time I went to therapy, the therapist told me to finish this book before our next meeting. Funny enough, I never did go back to see that therapist, but I read this book that week.

First off, you can finish it in an hour, and secondly, it’s such a necessary read for mankind. I actually wish it was reading material in our schools!

The Four Agreements is all about the topic of self-limiting beliefs. Whether we’re consciously aware of it or not, there are more than likely several ways we’re all limiting ourselves and robbing ourselves of joy. Plus, it deals with communication and essentially how to be the best version of yourself (in a non cheesy way). It might sound a little intense, but it’s filled with simple lessons that are incredibly positive.

Don Miguel Ruiz
The Four Agreements

a practical guide to personal freedom

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7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

I’ll be honest, this book is way better on audio because it is worse than a history textbook (unless that’s your thing!). I actually tried to get through it a few times and couldn’t before a friend suggested listening on audio. I consumed it like a podcast — during walks with my dog.

It’s very much worth consuming in some capacity though because the Eisenhower Matrix concept is life changing, and Covey talks a lot about it. Even if you don’t want to read this whole book, just read about the Eisenhower Matrix. Trust.

Essentially, I learned about prioritization and how to distinguish what’s actually important in my life (kinda like Manson’s book above, but in a more visual way). There are more nuggets in this book worth reading, but that matrix is the lesson that changed things for me.

Stephen R. Covey
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

powerful lessons in personal change

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Do you have any self-help book suggestions that have made an impact on your life? And have you read any off this list?