50 Self-Help Classics

This is an index of 50 self-help books that we consider classics — the ones that you should probably consider reading in your lifetime. These are some of the most influential self-help books around that have been read by millions of people — and helped many of them.

Self-help books are popular for a reason — they are an inexpensive way to try out something different in your life, or look at something from a different perspective. Change only happens when not only do we want to change, but we also have the right tools in order to implement effective change. Self-help books can provide those tools (but you’ll still have to provide the motivation yourself).

These self-help classics stand the test of time when it comes to good self-help books. While not every self-help book will help everyone who reads it, they do help the majority of the people. Not only do you have to read the book, though… you need to put the ideas in the book into action in your every day life. This takes time and patience, as change doesn’t happen in people overnight.

These self-help books were collected from recommendations from psychologists, therapists, and other mental health professionals, and cover the gamut of topics from general personality, to relationships, depression, and more.

The 50 Best Self-Help Books

The list below is not in any particular order. Remember, a book can provide you the outline for change, but ultimately it is up to you to put that change into practice in your own life.

1. “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

2. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey

3. “The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have” by Mark Nepo

4. “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman

5. “Psycho Cybernetics” by Maxwell Maltz

6. “Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” by Brian Tracy

7. “How Good Do We Have to Be?” by Harold Kushner

8. “Getting Things Done” by David Allen

9. ”How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie

10. “Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation” by Dan Siegel

11. “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine Aron

12. “The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment” by Eckhart Tolle

13. “Mind Over Mood, Second Edition: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think” by Dennis Greenberger and Christine Padesky

14. “10% Happier” by Dan Harris

15. “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck

16. “Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts” by Marshall Goldsmith

17. “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl

18. “Courage to Change” by Al-Anon Family Groups

19. “The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself” by Michael Singer

20. “The Four Agreements” by Janet Mills

21. “The Feeling Good Handbook” by David Burns

22. “Happy at Last” by Richard O’Connor

23. “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… And It’s All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson

24. “Beyond Blue” by Therese Borchard

25. “Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande

26. “The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse” by Dan Allender

27. “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy

28. “Wherever You Go, There You Are” by Jon Kabat-Zinn

29. “A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook” by Bob Stahl and Elisha Goldstein

30. “Unlocking the Secrets of Self-Esteem: A Guide to Building Confidence and Connection One Step at a Time” by Marie Hartwell-Walker

31. “Grieving Mindfully: A Compassionate and Spiritual Guide to Coping with Loss” by Sameet M. Kumar

32. “Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma” by Peter Levine and Ann Frederick

33. “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

34. “Waking Up” by Sam Harris

35. “The ONE Thing” by Gary Keller, Jay Papasan

36. “Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success” by John Maxwell

37. ”Give and Take” by Adam Grant

38. ”Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi

39. “Willpower” by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney

40. “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers

41. “The Seat of the Soul: 25th Anniversary Edition with a Study Guide” by Gary Zukav

42. “Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius

43. “How to Survive the Loss of a Love” by Peter McWilliams and Harold Bloomfield

44. “The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings of Authenticity, Connection, and Courage” by Bene Brown

45. “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem” by Nathaniel Branden

46. “Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life” by Henry Cloud

47. “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John Gottman

48. “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Sandberg

49. “The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want” by Sonja Lyubomirsky

50. “Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself” by Melody Beattie