After more than a decade as a public speaker, I’ve been asked hundreds of times for the best self help books that have made the biggest impact in my life.
After having read hundreds of books in my 18 years as an entrepreneur, I have to admit, it was tough narrowing the list of the best self help books of all time down to only 20. I feel self help encompasses spirituality, financial, physical, relationships and many, many more areas of our lives. Needless to say, this best self help books list is by no means the end all, be all. There are no-doubt many others that will add tremendous value to your life.
For each of the best self help books on this list, I give my highest recommendation. With the new year upon us, I encourage you to jump out of your comfort zone and pick several of these to add to your library and read this year.
So here goes…. (drum roll, please)
Top 20 Best Self Help Books of All Time
The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who wants to travel in search of an extravagant treasure. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist. The story of the treasures he finds on his journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the signs along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams.
Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With powerful insights and spot on anecdotes, Covey reveals a pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity–principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.
Tolle takes readers on an inspiring spiritual journey to find their true and deepest self and reach the ultimate in personal growth and spirituality: the discovery of truth and light. In writing about enlightenment, he introduces you to it’s natural enemy, your mind. He goes further by showing readers how to live in the present moment.
Kiyosaki tackles the “financial literacy” that’s never addressed in schools. He had two father figures growing up. One who struggled paycheck to paycheck for a lifetime whom he called “poor dad” and the other who was a multimillionaire eighth grade dropout he lovingly calls “rich dad”. The concept behind the book is that rich people have money work for them while the poor work for money. This is a must read to change anyone’s negative belief system on money or to further your understanding on how money can work for you.
This is one of the most timeless self help books ever written. Carnegie believed that most successes come from an ability to communicate effectively versus brilliant insights. This book teaches these skills by showing you how to value people and help them feel appreciated rather than manipulated.
When a book opens with “Life is difficult”, you know it’s going to wake you up and provide you with some candid lessons. His timeless voice in The Road Less Traveled continues to help us explore the nature of loving relationships and leads us toward a new peace and fulfillment. You will learn how to distinguish dependency from love; how to become a more sensitive parent; and ultimately how to become one’s own true self.
Hill was one of the first ever self help authors, and his books are incredibly relevant today. Think and Grow Rich condenses his laws of success and provides you with 13 principles of personal achievement. It is noted that an individual with desire, faith, and persistence can reach great success by eliminating all negative energy and thoughts and focusing at the greater goals in hand.
This self help book is rooted in traditional Toltec wisdom, four agreements in life are essential steps on the path to personal freedom. As beliefs are transformed through keeping these agreements, shamanic teacher don Miguel Ruiz asserts lives will “become filled with grace, peace, and unconditional love.”
This is considered a classic self-help book that inspired future books on the law of attraction. Its underlying premise is that noble thoughts make a noble person, while lowly thoughts make a miserable person. James Allen reveals how our thoughts determine reality. He shows you how you can master your thoughts to create the life you want instead of simply drifting through life unaware of the inner forces that keep us held in failure and frustration.
This self help book has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. He holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure but the discovery and pursuit of what we find meaningful.
As one of America’s most gifted speakers/authors in motivation, the late Zig Ziglar shares the secrets of climbing the stairway to personal success. He presents a proven program of self-development based upon the foundation of a winning self-image.
In the rain forests of Peru, an ancient manuscript was discovered. It includes 9 key insights on life. Drawing on ancient wisdom, it shows you how to make connections among the current events in your life and let’s you see what is going to happen to you in the future. This book can help you understand why you are where you are in life and align you with a new optimism for your future.
Dr. Peale shows you 10 simple rules to obtain confidence, 3 proven secrets for vigor, 5 techniques to overcome defeat and much, much more. This book proves that an attitude can change lives, win success in all things, and overcome obstacles.
Originally published in 1910, this book takes the mystery out of wealth accumulation and breaks it down into a scientific formula. The text is divided into 17 quick, no nonsense chapters that show you how to oconquer mental barriers, and how creation, not competition, is the true key to attracting wealth.
Chopra’s teachings are summed up in 7 simple principles which can be applied to all areas of your personal life to create success. Chopra’s basic premise is that personal understanding and harmony promote fulfilling relationships and material abundance without extra effort. Each of the chapters provide specifics on how to achieve it.
Millions of people all over the world have improved their lives using this book. Schwartz will help you sell better, lead more effectively, earn more money, and (this is a big one) find more happiness and peace of mind.He proves that you don’t need innate talent to achieve massive success but you do need to understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that get you there.
We’ve all got fears which is why I love this book! Whatever your fear, here is your chance to push through it once and for all. You’ll discover how to move from victim to creator, the 10-step process to turn off the negative talk in your head and how to create more meaning in your life by overcoming those fears.
Tony Robbins is famous for his motivational speaking but this is, by far, one of the best self help books of all time. Robbins shows you his most effective strategies and techniques for mastering your emotions, your body, your relationships, your finances, and your life through a step-by-step program teaching self-mastery that enables you to discover your true purpose, take control of your life and harness the forces that shape your destiny.
This isn’t your typical book on intention. Dyer has researched intention as a force in the universe that allows the act of creation to take place. This book explores intention—not as something you do—but as an energy you’re a part of. We’re all intended here through the invisible power of intention. He’s the first in our industry to look at intention as a field of energy that you can access to begin co-creating your life with the power of intention.
Don’t overlook this book because it’s #20 on my Top 20 Best Self Help Books of all time list. I’ve recommended this book to many friends and family members who’s lives have been changed dramatically as a result of reading this book. Self doubt? Read this book. In secure about anything? Read this book. I’m sure you get the idea.
Matt Morris is an eight-time bestselling author, including his #1 bestseller, The Unemployed Millionaire: Escape the Rat Race, Fire Your Boss and Live Life on YOUR Terms!
By Matt Morris, Author of
The Unemployed Millionaire