People have always been searching for meaningful ways to self-improve. They attend support groups, turn to religion, explore the internet for advice, and read self-help books. When it comes to topics like positive-thinking, building better habits, letting go of procrastination, building stronger relationships, and getting in touch with spirituality, there is endless information available. Fortunately, the following books distill that information into a highly digestible format to help readers absorb, retain, and implement.
Best Self Improvement Books for Positive Thinking
The following books are best for individuals who are struggling to maintain a positive headspace. Each one includes actionable methods and strategies to pull your mind up and out of a dark space, embrace positivity and calm, and live a more fulfilling life.
1. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
Author Dale Carnegie has helped more than six million readers fight off their fears and embrace positive thinking. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living describes several different formulas and strategies that you can put to work immediately—straight off the page and into your life. Carnegie says his lessons and insight can reduce financial stress, lessen symptoms of fatigue, and eliminate 50% of career-related worries.
2. The Science of Positivity: Stop Negative Thought Patterns by Changing Your Brain Chemistry
Sometimes it seems like it’s part of the human condition—to see the worst in people and circumstances. However, if you want, you can change your natural proclivity for negative thinking. The Science of Positivity shows its readers how cynical thoughts are formed and affect your brain on a chemical level. Author and neurochemical expert Loretta Graziano Breuning, PhD, empowers you to build new neural pathways, see the world through a different lens, and start rewarding optimistic tendencies.
3. Positive Thinking: Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life! Optimism, Mindset, Self Improvement & Brain Training
Positive Thinking inspires, educates, and explains, covering its bases on a mission to help you embrace positivity and end negative cycles. It’s a no-nonsense look into the ABCs of brain training that allows author Theo Gold to make his case for living in the present. Regardless of the reader’s age, this book is helpful for anyone who feels like they’re being bogged down by a dark cloud of negativity.
4. Rewire Your Brain
Author John B. Arden says that your brain is “soft wired” by your experiences, which means that nothing is set in stone. That means hard work and intentional action can rewire your mind to be more positive, calm, and available in personal relationships. Arden is a leader in the field of brain-based therapy, making him the perfect teacher to help you improve your memory, boost your mood, get a good night’s sleep, and resolve conflict. Rewire Your Brain guides readers through the process of personal transformation, smashing self-imposed limitations along the way.
Best Self Improvement Books for Building Better Habits
If you need motivation and guidance to build better habits, the list of books below is essential. Some of the best minds in neuroscience and psychology have been able to record their ideas on how to permanently break bad habits.
5. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
Award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg is the master of distilling immense amounts of information into small captivating narratives that transport and teach the reader. From the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble, to NFL sidelines, to the front lines of the civil rights revolution, The Power of Habit delves into the science of building better habits when it matters most. Readers call this award-winning book the key to self-betterment.
6. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones
Author James Clear, a leading expert on building better habits, reveals strategies that teach the reader how to form good habits, break bad ones, and achieve lasting results. Atomic Habits states that you are not the problem—you never were. Your systems are the issue. Drawing on research in biology, psychology, and neuroscience, Clear’s guide to designing your environment will get you back on track to fulfilling your goals and reshape the way you think about success.
7. Badass Habits: Cultivate the Awareness, Boundaries, and Daily Upgrades You Need to Make Them Stick
In this easy-to-digest guide from Jen Sincero, you’ll look at how your habits—both big and small—make you who you are. Among other things, they reveal your unconscious beliefs and anxieties. Badass Habits lends humor to a sometimes daunting topic, offering a new perspective on how to become your best self by implementing a plan of action. Beyond that, Sincero believes that you can turn goal-setting into a joyful process instead of a stressful one.
Best Books for Improving Relationships
Relationships are complicated, but the experts who wrote these next books know how to make connections that last. If you’re struggling to apologize, communicate, or maintain a meaningful connection, explore the following list.
8. When Sorry Isn’t Enough: Making Things Right with Those You Love
Relationships are difficult—even the best of them. People inevitably mess up and hurt each other, but there is beauty in the practice of making things right again. Authors Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas show readers how to end feuds and mend broken promises, describing how much power a meaningful apology can have. Trade in excuses for trust when you read Sorry Isn’t Enough.
9. Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love
Science can tell us so much, including how to improve our relationships. Author, psychiatrist, and neuroscientist Dr. Amir Levine and Rachel Heller explain the field of attachment and why some of us seem to experience more effortless connections than others.Attached shows readers what type of attachment style they exhibit, and offers a roadmap to more fulfilling relationships. If you’ve ever felt insecure or anxious about your relationship, this book is for you.
10. All About Love: New Visions
All About Love by Bell Hooks proposes that we stop defining love as a noun and start seeing it as the verb it should be. Both provocative and deeply personal, this book describes society’s failure to provide a proper model of love, and how to shift the cultural paradigm for individuals and the nation at large. In discussing Hooks’ many revelations, readers have called this a book that will “change your life.”
Best Books for Procrastination
Having trouble with procrastination? You’re not alone. For decades, researchers have been digging into the reasons behind why we put things off, and now, we have some answers. The books below can help readers put a stop to procrastination.
11. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
Are you a procrastinator? Veteran coach and management consultant David Allen’s method of getting things done is simple. He believes that our productivity is linked to our ability to relax. In Getting Things Done, Allen describes how to “do it, delegate it, defer it, drop it” and overcome feelings of anxiety and stress in the face of a long to-do list. This book will transform the way you approach and tackle a busy life.
12. Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
Eat That Frog! has sold worldwide in 42 different languages—that should tell you something about its level of popularity. Author Brian Tracy delves into the idea of prioritization, claiming successful people are successful because they don’t try to do everything all the time. Instead, he says, they are excellent at determining what is the most important item on their list. Its title comes from the old saying that if the first thing you do every morning is eat a frog, then at least you’ll know that was the worst thing you’ll do all day. The metaphor here functions as motivation to tackle the most challenging item on your to-do list first.
13. Stop Procrastination: A Simple Guide to Hacking Laziness, Building Self Discipline, and Overcoming Procrastination
Author Nils Salzgeber is crystal clear—if you’re tired of feeling overwhelmed, it’s time to stop procrastinating. In this no-nonsense book, readers will discover the reason behind their procrastination habits and how to break them for good. Salzgeber has compiled 20 research-based strategies to help you deal with laziness, guilt, and self-criticism, and shares a 30-second trick to building “instant habits.” Don’t wait to realize your potential!
Best Self Improvement Books for Spirituality
Spirituality is a powerful thing, but it can be helpful to have some guidance on the subject. The following self-improvement books are the best at covering intricate topics like purpose, meaning, and happiness.
14. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose
A New Earth is a spiritual guide by Eckhart Tolle that sets itself apart in the self-help category and has inspired millions of readers to live in the present moment. Oprah Winfrey calls it a “wake-up call for the entire planet.” Within its pages, Tolle shares his powerful ideas on how to transcend ego, attain personal happiness, and assist in ending conflict worldwide. Readers call it “illuminating, enlightening, and uplifting.”
15. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
This book combines philosophical wisdom and scientific research to intrigue and educate its readers. Author Jonathan Haidt explains why humanity has struggled for so long with self-control, and why no achievement ever seems to bring us the happiness we crave. The Happiness Hypothesis is a nuanced look at the path to finding happiness that combines “left brain” and “right brain” wisdom, resonating with every kind of personality.