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20 Brilliant Self-Help Books You Need To Read

20 Brilliant Self-Help Books You Need To Read

Self-help books can be the key that opens your whole world up to new possibilities. These books can teach us a new skill or open our mind.

Feel like you don’t have time for these types of books? Set a goal to read one a month, or join a book club that focuses on reading and discussing self-help books. Or better yet, start your own book club and choose from this list to get started.

Listening to audiobooks is a great way to quickly and easily get through books you don’t think you have time to read. Listen during your daily commute or while out for a walk.

1. Mindset by Carol Dweck

Mindset by Carol Dweck

    Carol Dweck, the author of mindset, will open your eyes to new possibilities. Do you believe you were born with a certain talent or level of intelligence? Carol’s research shows that a shift in mindset from fixed to growth can open us up to a whole new world of opportunities. Do you recall when it was believed a human couldn’t run faster than a 4-minute mile? This was a fixed mindset. A lot of people held this belief. But at least one person did not, and they were able to break through that 4-minute barrier. Once it was done, many runners were able to beat the 4-minute mile. Why? Because they now believed it was possible. They had changed to a growth mindset. In this book, Carol shows leads us through the differences of a growth vs. fixed mindset. Her research is backed by many fascinating studies, which show how sports figures, kids, and more are impacted by their mindset. Open up the door when you read this book, and start changing your fixed mindsets to growth.

    2. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

    The 5 Love Languages

      Understanding The 5 Love Languages that Gary Chapman outlines will significantly aid you in your relationships. Do you sometimes feel that no matter what gift you get for your Mom or husband it is never the right one? Once you understand what their love language, is you can easily choose gifts that make them happy. Most likely, your spouse perceives love in a different way than you do. Yet we tend to show our love in the way we want to receive it. This means we rarely make our spouses feel as loved as they would like. This is because we don’t know their love language. Once you know the love language or your spouse or any other person, it is easier to appreciate them in a way that they can perceive and accept. The 5 Love Languages will explain to you what they are, and how to better appreciate others. You can also go to his website to take a quick quiz to learn your own love language. I highly recommend doing this!

      3. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

      Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

        Lean In is a great book for women in the workforce. It’s a good book for men to read as well, especially those who work for, with and under women so…everyone basically. While you may not agree with everything the author says (I certainly don’t), there is a lot to learn here.

        I think Sheryl Sandberg does a good job getting women to rethink how they approach their career, especially in the years leading up to starting a family.

        She also illustrates the importance of leading with how you can help colleagues before asking them to do something for you. This is great advice, and results in better working relationships for everyone.

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         4. Wisdom Of The Ages by Wayne Dyer

         

        Wisdom Of The Ages

          Wayne Dyer explores writings, poems and sayings of some of our greatest thinkers in Wisdom of The Ages. He helps us see how we can apply these enlightened thoughts to our own lives.

          Often, ancient wisdom is as relevant today as it was back when it was first conceived. Dyer helps us find practical applications for these wise thoughts.

          5. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

          The Happiness Project

            In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin sets out to determine if you can become happier through deliberate intent. She creates a plan and tackles different aspects of her life each month.

            What I think is great about this book is the way she approaches her theory. She lays out her journey as it happens, and you get to discover, along with her, that making a deliberate effort can bring more happiness and positive changes about in your life.

            6. Start With Why by Simon Sinek

            Start With Why

              Start With Why is geared toward leaders and companies, and shows the value of passion of purpose in your day-to-day life. This book and Sinek’s TED talk are worthwhile for all people wanting a full, passion-filled life.

              7. The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris

              The 4 Hour Work Week
                The 4-Hour Work Week

                is a brilliant self-help book because it will make you think differently about your work. The concepts Timothy Ferriss outlines will be new to many who work a regular 9-5 job.

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                8. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

                Rich Dad Poor Dad

                  Most educational programs lack a solid financial foundation. In Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad, he outlines how he received his financial education from his best friend’s father. This is an easy to read book that just might make you think a bit differently about what it takes to build wealth.

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

                  How To Win Friends & Influence People

                    How To Win Friends & Influence People is the classic self-help book that everyone should read. This book will help you in learning to relate to and deal with others. The book focuses primarily on influence for business purposes. However, there are lessons to be learned and used in your personal life as well.

                    10. Awaken The Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

                    Awaken The Giant Within

                      Awaken The Giant Within has been a popular read (and re-read) of many since it’s publication 22 years ago. So many self-help books don’t stand the test of time, but this one does. Read to learn how to take better control over your life and reach your dreams.

                      11. You Can Heal Your Life by Louse Hay

                      You Can Heal Your Life

                        So often we think we are the victim of illness, disease and whatever health conditions we face. Louise Hay teaches us that we can heal our lives by changing our thoughts and doing the mental work we need.

                        Louise underwent some terrible circumstances in her life, and shares these and how she was able to turn her thoughts and her illnesses around. If you want to improve your health, this is a great read to open your mind to the possibilities of how our thinking (often as related to our past) is affecting us, and may be contributing or causing the health concerns we face.

                        What do you have to lose? Turning your thoughts around will not only make you happier, it can heal your life.

                        12. Dying To Be Me by Anita Moorjani

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                        Dying To Be Me

                          Dying To Be Me is one woman’s story of an amazing experience she had while doctor’s predicted she had only a day to live. The story is miraculous, but the message she received and relates to us is even more profound.

                          Anita Moorjani fully recovered from cancer. There are testaments by specialists that she should not have lived, but she returned and has a message to share. I’ve seen this woman speak live and listened to this book. Both were profound experiences, and I hope you get as much from her insight as I have.

                          13. Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D.

                          Who Moved My Cheese

                            Change happens to all of us, and it seems to happen faster now than ever before. This short book helps you find the tools to better deal with change. A must-read for today’s busy world.

                            14. QBQ! The Question Behind The Question by John G. Miller

                            QBQ! The Question Behind The Question

                              QBQ helps us get past the complaining and blame game. Asking The Question Behind The Question, we can more quickly resolve a situation. This book is short and simple, but will change the way you approach an issue.

                              15. Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How To Say No To Take Control Of Your Life by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

                              Boundaries

                                Many of us struggle with boundaries in some aspect of our life. It could be we can’t say no to our kids, spouse, friends, boss, or even yourself. This book helps you understand that it is OK – and even good – to have boundaries in your life.

                                This book is Christian-based, but it is still a good read for everyone. So many struggle with being burnt out by the abundance of expectations and commitments that surround their everyday life. Learning to set set boundaries can make you happier and avoid burnout.

                                16. The Secret by Rhonda Dyrne

                                The Secret

                                  The Secret will help give you the mental makeover you need to create the life you desire.

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                                  17. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdani, Ph.D.

                                  Influence
                                    Influence

                                    takes a scientific look at persuasion. This is a brilliant self-help book that allows you to understand how you are being influenced every day by others. You can also learn how to use this information to influence others yourself. You might just finally understand how to get that raise you’ve been wanting.

                                    18. The Definitive Book Of Body Language by Barbara Pease and Allan Pease

                                    The Definitive Book of Body Language

                                       

                                      Much of our language is silent; it happens through our bodies. Often we don’t even realize what we are communicating or know how to interpret the signals we are getting from others. The Definitive Book of Body Language will open your mind to a whole new world of communication that is happening right before your eyes.

                                      19. The War of Art: Break Through The Blocks and Wind Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

                                      The War of Art

                                        The War Of Art teaches us how to beat back the inner critic that is keeping us from unleashing our creativity.

                                        20. Lead With Your Heart: Creating A Life of Love, Compassion and Purpose by Regina Cates

                                        Lead With Your Heart

                                          Success can be meaningless if you’ve lost your purpose. In Lead With Your Heart, Regina Cates helps us reconnect and build and successful and meaningful life.

                                          Did I miss your favorite self-help book in this list? If so, please let me know what your favorite is in the comments below.

                                          Featured photo credit: Julien Sanine via flickr.com

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                                          Last Updated on July 20, 2021

                                          How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

                                          How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

                                          You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

                                          Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

                                          Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

                                          Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

                                          1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

                                          According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

                                          “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

                                          Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

                                          Warming up

                                          If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

                                          If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

                                          Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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                                          1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
                                          2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
                                          3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

                                          Stay hydrated

                                          Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

                                          To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

                                          Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

                                          Meditate

                                          Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

                                          Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

                                          Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

                                          Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

                                          2. Focus on your goal

                                          One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

                                          Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

                                          Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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                                          Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

                                          If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

                                          3. Convert negativity to positivity

                                          There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

                                          ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

                                          It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

                                          Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

                                          Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

                                          Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

                                          4. Understand your content

                                          Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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                                          However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

                                          “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

                                          Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

                                          Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

                                          One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

                                          5. Practice makes perfect

                                          Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

                                          In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

                                          Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

                                          6. Be authentic

                                          There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

                                          Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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                                          Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

                                          To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

                                          With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

                                          Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

                                          7. Post speech evaluation

                                          Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

                                          Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

                                          We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

                                          You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

                                          Improve your next speech

                                          As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

                                          Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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                                          • How did I do?
                                          • Are there any areas for improvement?
                                          • Did I sound or look stressed?
                                          • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
                                          • Was I saying “um” too often?
                                          • How was the flow of the speech?

                                          Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

                                          If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

                                          Reference

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