What to look for when selecting a self-help book

Self-help books can be a great resource for anyone thinking about making a change or in need of a mindset shift.

But with so many on bookshelves, it can be tricky to know where to begin. Carley Mellors-Blair, founder of Altered Health (, has offered up key factors to consider when deciding on your next or first self-help book.

The author

It's always a good idea to do a little research into the author and their background.

"Within such a crowded market, it's important to check if the author has a credible background, has acquired specialised academic qualifications in the relevant areas, or maintains a career in the health and wellbeing industry," she said. "It's beneficial to do a little research into the author's reputation, other business ventures alongside said book, their website, business service or book reviews, and social media."

A compelling story

If a book has a fresh angle or fascinating take on a topic, the more likely a reader is to finish it.

"If a story displays vulnerability and honesty throughout, as well as a heartening turn of events, you can connect much more authentically, thus, implementing more authentic lifestyle changes," the I Am Not My Diagnosis author noted.

Lifestyle tools

Along with helpful content, it's useful to look out for books that encourage a plan of action and allow you to think deeper about certain areas and goals.

"Self-help books which provide a safe space for you to write down thoughts and treat the book as a journal will help you break down personal goals and create a clear game plan, which can then be implemented into your daily life," said Carley.

Ask whether the book aligns with your needs

Before reading a self-help book, the question you should ask yourself is what you want to gain from it.

"Although most people wouldn't go for a book which screams the complete opposite of what they are looking for, it's nonetheless important to feel somewhat invested in the overarching story and direction of the book before spending your time reading it," she added. "Many self-help books are based on real-life journeys, overcoming challenges, and, in some cases, beating a life-changing health diagnosis. Therefore, it's worth picking a story which resonates with you and will provide an all-encompassing read."