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20 Self-Help Books To Better Your Life In All Aspects

20 Self-Help Books To Better Your Life In All Aspects

Books hold the key to knowledge figured out by those that have already gotten something – they solved a problem, fixed a relationship, or figured “it” out. They then dispelled it into an easily digestible, obtainable format for anyone who is interested.

Books can be life changing, and in the field of self-improvement and self-help, there is no shortage of amazing books that can help you become a better, stronger, and happier person.

Here is a list of 20 self-help books organized in categories, that have affected my life and the lives of thousand of people in an extremely positive manner:

Dating, Relationships, and Dealing with People

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

how to win friends cover

    A book that delivers on its promise. The classic was originally published in 1936 and has been re-printed and re-formatted again and again throughout the years. It contains simple steps to improve your social skills and relationships, illustrated by Carnegie’s examples in his own life and the lifes of those he knew. Just with the single shred of advice that a person’s favourite word is their own name, you can begin to make waves.

    2. When I Say No I Feel Guilty by Manuel J. Smith

    when i say no i feel guilty cover

      Many people have issues with boundaries: standing up for themselves, saying “No”, and defending their beliefs. Or, they become codependent on others – they make others’ issues and emotions their responsibility. Smith teaches how to properly establish boundaries using applicable techniques, so that you can open your boundaries to those that are safe and deserve your energy, and keep them tightly closed for those who try to mess with your life.

      3. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

      daring greatly cover

        A game changer. In society today, we discuss our deeper issues less, and the weather more. Nobody wants to connect. Nobody wants to admit that they have flaws that are actually strengths. Daring Greatly presses the message that those who dig deeper, are open about their issues, stick their neck out at business meetings with their own opinions… These people take the most risks, yet gain the most respect from others and rewards. To succeed in life, we must be vulnerable and take chances – in work, dating, and otherwise.

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        4. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

        5 love cover

          Most think love between two people is a simple exchange of words and keeps on going with no work. Wrong. It takes a lot of hard, strategic work that is not the same for each person. After the “honeymoon” or novelty period of a relationship wears off, this book gives you the framework to keep your partnership strong. Your partner may feel love by receiving gifts, while you like hearing nice things that your partner likes about you (words of praise). But understanding that everyone feels love and affection differently will help you build stronger relationships all around you.

          Spirituality

          5. The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle

          power of now cover

            The book that started a phenomenon long withstanding – Be Present. The book is a bit repetitive with the same general message, but gives examples in the context of how one acts during the day and in relationships with others. If nothing else, this book should convince you of the fact that you are not your mind, and that you do not have to believe all of your thoughts (by acting as an observer): Regret lies in the past, anxiety lies in the future, peace is in the now.

            6. A Guide To To The Good Life by William B. Irvine

            a guide to the good life cover

              Irvine presents the classic philosophy of Stoicism born anew in modern times with wonderfully explained practical habits and tools to improve one’s quality of life. For example, periodically imagining we don’t have something we love to remind us of how fortunate we are to actually have it. The information is presented well, and from personal experience, I can definitely say it has helped me become happier and more tranquil.

              Business

              7. The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss

              4hrwwcover

                The phenomenon that made everyone want to quit their 9-5 jobs and work online. You will either love and devour this book, or hate it and all Ferriss stands for. Ferriss tries to get you to realize that your time is limited, and sitting in an office may not be the best way to get the life you want. He provides tools for anything you could ever ask for – from hiring virtual assistants, to e-mail templates for auto-responses. HOWEVER whatever you do, if you are only working four hours a week, you will not make it. This book is about maximizing the time you have.

                8. The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco

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                mill fast cover

                  While the book has a lot of repetition (you are mortgaging your life by working a 9-5, investing in index funds, etc.etc…. by being a “slowlaner”), DeMarco’s book is quite motivating to get moving on a business idea, and provides a great deal of useful information. For example: what type of legal entity to format your business into (LLC, S-corp, C-corp), potential problems entrepreneurs run into (such as taking on too many projects at once), and more.

                  9. Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath

                  decisive cover

                    We are terrible at making decisions. We think we are doing well making comparison lists, but really, we’re being tricked by our own emotions into making a poor decision. The Heath brothers break down decision making in to a four step process (WRAP), providing instructions and real life examples of their techniques being put into practice. Expand your options, test your assumptions, distance yourself from the decision before making it, and prepare to be wrong in the worst case.

                    10. Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk

                    crush it

                      Gary is an online empire mogul. You will find some filler in this book, but he offers step-by-step methods of creating online businesses. Just like the 4 Hour Work Week though, the take away is that you will have to sit down and work your butt off. Read this if you are looking to start an online presence, want to know about Twitter, or want to start making videos for YouTube.

                      For Men

                      11. No More Mr. Nice Guy by Dr. Robert A. Glover

                      no more mr nice guy cover

                        This book is extremely short, but it packs a punch. After the first 5 pages, I was furious but couldn’t stop reading it. Dr. Glover discusses Nice Guy Syndrome – an anxiety based malady that affects men and makes them lie, manipulate, cheat, and deceive instead of facing reality or their emotions. This pervades everything they do in their sex lives, work, friendships, and more. Dr. Glover breaks down how to overcome the syndrome with step-by-step “breaking free” activities. If you feel anxious about expressing yourself as a man, read this book.

                        12. Way Of The Superior Man by David Deida

                        wotsm cover

                          Deida’s book is a spiritual guide for a man looking on how to be a man in the traditional sense. How does one deal with women? What are masculine and feminine energies (hint: that doesn’t necessarily mean men and women)? How can you, as a man, feel the most happy and fulfilled? Way Of The Superior Man tackles these questions in several short, descriptive chapters. “A man’s purpose in life is his mission, and his mission must always come before his woman.

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                          13. Models by Mark Manson

                          models cover

                            The “manosphere” is filled with books about picking up and sleeping with women – but many come from a place of using lines, are overfilled with complex theory, or only get to the point of sex. Manson pioneered a view on dating that a man’s attractiveness is in inverse proportion to his level of neediness, and in direct proportion to his investment in himself and his own comfort with his own emotions. In short (though the process may take a while): don’t change yourself to make a woman like you, become comfortable with who you are, improve your life for yourself first, and get a handle on expressing your emotions in healthy ways… then you’ll get amazing girls.

                            Mindset

                            14. Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

                            mans search cover

                              Viktor Frankl’s book is absolutely inspirational. The first part is Frankl’s telling of his capture as a Jew during World War II, deportation to concentration camps, and return home. Many of his friends died, but with the hope of seeing his wife again, he postulated that he survived. He introduces logotherapy, and his view that as long as a man/woman has something to live for, something they can believe in, they will survive in extreme circumstances. But if they have nothing, they are already dead inside and will give up. Find your why.

                              15. Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz

                              psycho cybernetics cover

                                Written in 1960 by a plastic surgeon, Maltz discusses how so many people wanted to change their appearance to be “beautiful”, but all they needed was a change in how they saw themselves to be happy. Maltz introduces methods of relaxation and mental preparation and practice used by everyone from public speakers to professional basketball players. Yes, it can help you too.

                                16. As A Man Thinketh by James Allen

                                as a man thinketh cover

                                  The classic essay is short with a clear message: your thoughts determine your reality. Your mind is like a garden and your thoughts are seeds sprouting into flowers (good) or weeds (bad). But without your focus and energy, the bad thoughts will die. So work on tending your garden, and only let flowers grow. You can’t stop negative thoughts entirely, but you do not have to believe them. You do not have to let them grow and fester.

                                  Psychology

                                  17. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

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                                  predic irrat cover

                                    Ariely looks into why we do the things we do, even when we think we’re being smart. We think we’re being logical, but it’s only our emotions tricking us. This book will help you uncover your hidden motivations and make you second guess yourself… in a good way. Backed up with stories, tests on University students and more, it’s psychological theory but not drab and boring by any stretch.

                                    18. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

                                    influence

                                      While being a bit long and dense, Influence will help you understand how people work… just don’t take too much advantage of them. This is not only directly useful in relationships and with people, but also for sales positions, job interviews, and even writing (I promise I haven’t used any tricks on you).

                                      19. The Red Queen by Matt Ridley

                                      red queen

                                        Why are men more prone to wanting multiple mates? Why should women be more selective? What is encoded into our genes? Ridley’s book on evolutionary biology is academic, but a must read to understand the more nerdy side of sex and how people choose their mates. Just make sure you don’t just read the book but actually go out to meet people as well.

                                        Travel

                                        20. Vagabonding by Rolf Plotts

                                        vagabonding

                                          This was the first book that got me EXTREMELY excited about traveling. Plotts advocates slower travel (longer stays in places) and gives you packing lists and helpful hints. But, it is his approach to the concept of traveling that is the best part of the book: For him traveling is almost a form of meditation, a journey of self-discovery. If you want to get excited about traveling, you need to read this book.

                                          This is my list. How many have you read? Do you want to check any of these out? What would you recommend?

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                                          Last Updated on February 25, 2020

                                          5 Rules for Overcoming Adversity and Emotional Pain

                                          5 Rules for Overcoming Adversity and Emotional Pain

                                          “Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world, the disarray. I choose to see the beauty. To believe there is an order to our days. A purpose.” – from the popular show, “Westworld”

                                          It’s different for us all. My personal quest for purpose began with five stages of grief and one startling realization that everything’s endlessly fragile. Adversity, as it happens by rule, found me terribly unprepared, so I decided to take my time. Today, I can honestly say that I’ve grown.

                                          Ugliness and beauty, good and evil, pain and laughter – everything in the universe consists of two forces that are opposing but complementary. In the face of difficulty, that is the only mantra you need.

                                          Here’s how I learned it and why you should too, with five simple rules.

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                                          1. Embrace the Complexity

                                          Quite insidiously, adversities come in all shapes and sizes. Paralyzing physical disabilities, mind-wracking mental problems, ruthless emotional havocs, all leading to the same painful acknowledgement: all the beauty in the world cannot possibly make up for the ugliness that surrounds us. Shattered to pieces, helpless and bare naked, we sit in our therapy chairs, apologizing for being so negative.

                                          Eventually, what it all comes down to is the nature of negative emotion. Our positives overshadow our negatives, thus wrongly teaching us that the road to well-being is paved with nothing but positive feelings and thoughts. How utterly wrong!

                                          “If you’re not failing every now and then, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything innovative”, Woody Allen said.

                                          It’s a classic “learn from your mistakes” rule, but in this case, it implies growing from negative experiences. Make peace with your negativities and embrace beauty and ugliness alike! Accepting this marvellously complex world just as it is will allow you to find purpose in adversity and meaning in misery.

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                                          2. Find Balance, Regain Control

                                          Still, accepting adversity is only the first step toward eventual victory. One can endure only so much trauma in life; if we’re not prepared to deal with difficulties in a productive way, even the minor setbacks can get us off track. Our strengths come from learning, and the best way to learn is through a series of trials and errors. Just like phases of grief or stages of drug addiction, adversities suggest a disabling loss of control, so find your way to regain it.

                                          Some call it the coping mechanism; for others, it’s a spiritual will. However you choose to name yours, know that not all supporting systems are equally beneficial, though each is effective in its own way. Escapism was mine, but it only helped me retain the illusion of beauty. It wasn’t until I opened up toward the ugliness and accepted the naked truth that I was finally free. Whether you choose to dwell in art, religion and spiritualism, thus feeding your resilience from within or to reach out to others for help, choose wisely.

                                          Whatever the means, the second rule is a golden one: find your inner balance and stick to it. Eventually, it will lead you out of the vicious circle.

                                          3. Fight with Patience

                                          My bargaining turned in depression with a single touch. Fearless and free, my dance instructor timidly put her hands on my shoulders and I realized, for the first time, just how tense, stiff and cloistered I was. And just like that, I started letting go. Adversities have their sneaky ways, but in my experience, becoming aware is what hurts the worst. It took me a year to recover from this little moment of self-discovery, and I know remember it as the edge of the rabbit hole.

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                                          Some sufferings are impossible to console; I know that now. The only way to get through is to, well, get through. Depression and despair are only the beginning of the excruciatingly unnerving process that ravages the mind and shrivels the soul, and once they strike, there is no easy way back. So, fight them with patience. When your head starts spinning and your feet lose ground, go to your happy place. Over there, you’ll be reminded that nothing is forever, not even our little existential psychosis.

                                          Take a deep breath and say “om”. When things cannot be combated, they have to be endured, so practice patience and learn to let go. Finally, keep repeating to yourself that this too shall pass.

                                          4. Keep Swimming

                                          Nothing is impossible, in the end. Your negative thoughts will gently pour into your positive ones, just as two streams come together to become a river. In the event of the inevitable disaster, one can only be as calm as still water. Suffering teaches patience, and the latter gives rise to flexibility. Ultimately, what is life than a series of unfortunate events and a handful of bright moments in between? If adversities are impossible to avoid, than learn to glide through as smoothly and patiently as water does with rocks.

                                          Even if spirituality isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you have to admit that this is one solid metaphor. Staying adaptable in the face of change will soothe your panic attacks and keep you sane and sober-blooded. Even if you fail, you’ll know exactly how to breathe and face what’s in front of you once it eventually strikes again. Stay calm and visualize a better tomorrow; if anything else, it will give you strength to dive deep and weather the storm. And, in case there’s somebody’s hand to reach out to, grab it firmly and don’t let go.

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                                          Being flexible against adversities takes a lot of learning, just as staying brave demands a lot of courage. It’s a long, arduous step-by-step routine, and you can reach the end only by swimming on. Persist, even when you fall.

                                          5. Never Stop Searching for Inspiration

                                          And, if it’s a guidance you need, where else to seek it than in experiences of others? Find it in art, in people around you, in chance encounters. The pure beauty of perseverance can be discovered where you expect it the least, so never stop searching for inspiration. If self-help literature soothes your pains and clears your mind, don’t let cynics discourage you. Your path toward reconciliation is nobody’s but yours to choose.

                                          Ever heard of Nick Vujicic? Or Nando Parado? Inspiring people sound their yawps over the roofs of the world, sometimes voiceless, sometimes limbless, sometimes both. Born without arms, Jessica Cox became the most unusual certified pilot in the world, and you can rarely see her without a smile on her face. If you’ve already ripped all of your bucket lists and said goodbye to your dreams and plans, meet Sean Swarner, who’s officially became the first cancer survivor to climb Mount Everest. The stories just go on.

                                          Make your own guidebook! Pen down your positive thoughts, cover your walls with quotes and devise your personal mantras. Whenever things get hard, they’ll be there to remind you of what you need to do. It’s the simplest of all life hacks, and one of the most effective ones.

                                          Find beauty in the world, but never stay blind for its ugliness. However daunting, adversities and emotional pain challenge our inner strength, thus making us resilient and allowing us to grow. As soon as you recognize them as the wind in your sails instead of the devastating storm, the purpose will become simple and clear.

                                          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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