Advertising
Advertising

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.

        Advertising

         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.

                Advertising

                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

                        Advertising

                        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.

                                  Advertising

                                  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

                                          More by this author

                                          25 Tricks To Set Your Mindset For Success 50 Simple Questions to Ask to Get to Know Someone Deeply Best Ways To Spend Your Thanksgiving Weekend This Year How to Create a Secure Password That You’ll Always Remember 20 Brilliant Self-Help Books You Need To Read

                                          Trending in Communication

                                          1 5 Real Relationship Goals You Should Actually Strive Toward 2 When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You 3 15 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Be Truly Happy 4 7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language 5 How to Apologize When You Have Made a Mistake

                                          Read Next

                                          Advertising
                                          Advertising
                                          Advertising

                                          Last Updated on January 15, 2021

                                          7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                                          7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

                                          The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

                                          Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

                                          Posture

                                          First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

                                          • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
                                          • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
                                          • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
                                          • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

                                          All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

                                          Facial Expressions

                                          Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

                                          • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
                                          • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
                                          • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

                                          If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

                                          Advertising

                                          1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

                                          A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

                                          The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

                                          This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

                                          2. Relax Your Face

                                          New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

                                          The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

                                          To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

                                          Advertising

                                          3. Improve Your Eye Contact

                                          Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

                                          The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

                                          To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

                                          3. Smile More

                                          There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

                                          Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

                                          4. Hand Gestures

                                          Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

                                          Advertising

                                          It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

                                          5. Enhance Your Handshake

                                          In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

                                          “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

                                          It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

                                          6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

                                          As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

                                          Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

                                          Advertising

                                          Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

                                          Final Takeaways

                                          Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

                                          If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

                                          More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

                                          Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

                                          Read Next