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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 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.

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                                          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]

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                                          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.

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                                          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]

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                                          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

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