15 of the best self-help books to read

·6-min read
Photo credit: Good Housekeeping
Photo credit: Good Housekeeping

Books have the power to transport us to far away lands, different times and alternate universes, and the power of fiction that challenges our imaginations is undeniable.

But that's not the only kind of book that can be life-changing. Great non-fiction is everywhere, and while we love a good autobiography, arguably the most helpful within the genre is self-help.

Self-help books can lift us up, give us direction and allow us to overcome difficulties in our lives. Most of us have a few one of our shelves that we credit with helping us at one time or another.

Here, we talk through some of the best self-help books to buy.

The Comfort Book by Matt Haig

"You are not the storm" says bestselling author Matt Haig. It's comforting reminders such as this that fill his latest self-help book, reminding us that bad times pass, that we are not the storm itself, we are the person temporarily experiencing it. Packed full of everything from philosophy, to real people's stories, to the mindful comfort of making peanut butter on toast, Haig's words are, as always, full of warmth, lyricism and reassurance.

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Photo credit: Amazon

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Grit by Angela Duckworth

In this must-read for anyone seeking to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth takes us on an eye-opening journey to discover the true qualities that lead to outstanding achievement. Winningly personal, insightful and powerful, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that – not talent or luck – makes all the difference.

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Photo credit: Amazon

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo and her KonMarie method have gained millions of fans the world over. Transform your home into a permanently clear and clutter-free space with tips from Japan's expert decluttering expert and professional cleaner Marie Kondo.

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Photo credit: Amazon

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Live Well Every Day: Your Plan For A Happy Body And Mind by Dr Alex George

He was once known best for his chronic sunburn on ITV2's Love Island... Now, A&E doctor, Dr Alex George has branched out to forge a successful and inspiring media presence. In 2020, he was appointed as Youth Mental Health ambassador for the government, and this book continues his quest to encourage us all to live healthier, happier lives. Featuring everything from nutrition advice to how to feel better psychologically, this book is a one-stop shop for all things wellbeing.

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Photo credit: Amazon

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How to Own the Room by Viv Groskop

From the way Michelle Obama projects ‘happy high status’, and the power of J.K.Rowling’s understated speaking style, to Virginia Woolf’s leisurely pacing and Oprah Winfrey’s mastery of inner conviction, what is it that our heroines do to make us sit up and listen - really listen - to their every word? And how can you achieve that impact in your own life?

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Photo credit: Amazon

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Hinch Yourself Happy by Mrs Hinch

Tidy home, tidy mind. That's what they say, right? Social media superstar and Queen of Clean, Mrs Hinch swears by cleaning to relieve anxiety and help her mental health, and in this book she reveals her top cleaning hacks to 'shine your sink and soothe your soul.' Trust us, you'll soon be reaching for the Zoflora...

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Photo credit: Amazon

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The Friendship Cure by Kate Leaver

This book brings to light what modern friendship means, how it can survive, why we need it and what we can do to get the most from it. From behavioural scientists to best mates, Kate finds extraordinary stories and research, drawing on her own experiences to create a fascinating blend of investigative journalism, pop culture and memoir that we can all use to make our friendships more wonderful.

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Photo credit: Amazon

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Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people that have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear.

Whether you long to write a book, create art, cope with challenges at work, embark on a long-held dream, or simply to make your everyday life more vivid and rewarding, Big Magic will take you on a journey of exploration filled with wonder and unexpected joys.

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Photo credit: Amazon

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Speak Your Truth by Fearne Cotton

When it comes to self-help, few people do it better than Fearne Cotton. In her latest book, The Happy Place podcast creator, presenter and author examines why we have the tendency to silence ourselves and diminish our authentic voices to please others - and how we can learn to be braver and more assertive. A beautiful and important read.

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Photo credit: Amazon

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Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown

Social scientist Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives – experiences of courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame and empathy. In Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarisation. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping out a clear path to true belonging.

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The Book You Wish Your Parents Had Read by Philippa Perry

In this absorbing, clever and funny book, renowned psychotherapist Philippa Perry tells us what really matters and what behaviour it is important to avoid - the vital dos and don'ts of parenting. Instead of mapping out the 'perfect' plan, Perry offers a big-picture look at the elements that lead to good parent-child relationships.

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Photo credit: Amazon

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Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Reuben

With 150 concrete clutter-clearing ideas, insights, strategies, and sometimes surprising tips, Gretchen tackles the key challenges of creating outer order by explaining how to 'make choices', 'create order', 'know yourself', 'cultivate useful habits' and, of course, how to 'add beauty'.

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Anxiety: Panicking About Panic by Joshua Fletcher

The book acts as an informative guide and draws from the experiences of author and counsellor, Joshua Fletcher, who lived with anxiety disorder for years before successfully overcoming the condition. The book is tailored for people who are: experiencing panic attacks, feeling abnormally anxious, ruminating about health, anticipating further panic attacks and questioning why anxiety is present in the first place.

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Photo credit: Amazon

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A Little Bit Of Faith by Katie Piper

Since surviving an acid attack in 2008, Katie Piper has gone on to become an international speaker, podcast host, charity campaigner and bestselling author. She has also learnt a thing or two about resilience. Her latest book focuses in on the power of affirmations, providing a daily thought or quote for every day of the year. Katie is a firm believer that whatever life has thrown at you, you can fall countless times and still get back up again - all you need is a little bit of faith. Out 16 September.

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Photo credit: Amazon

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Self-care for the real world by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips

Wellness pioneers Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips have spent decades helping others to feel their best. But it took them a bit longer to learn to care for themselves. Here they share the small, achievable steps they picked up on a lifetime’s journey towards self-care, and how you can apply them to your life, wherever you are.

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Photo credit: Amazon

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Photo credit: Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Hearst Owned

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