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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, 2019

                                          How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

                                          How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

                                          Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

                                          In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

                                          Step right up, don’t be shy!

                                          Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

                                          The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

                                          Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

                                          Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
                                          So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

                                          A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

                                          Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

                                          Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

                                          When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

                                          Culturally Conditioned

                                          We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

                                          I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

                                          The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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                                          Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

                                          Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

                                          Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

                                          1. Broadens Your Network

                                          After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

                                          2. Improves Your Communication Skills

                                          I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

                                          Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

                                          3. Continually Learning

                                          So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

                                          Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

                                          4. Increases Self Confidence

                                          Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

                                          Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

                                          So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

                                          How to Talk to Strangers

                                          Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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                                          1. Say Hello

                                          Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

                                          Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

                                          Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

                                          2. Ask About Them

                                          Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

                                          You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

                                          As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

                                          3. Just Do It

                                          One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

                                          When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

                                          Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

                                          4. Don’t Take It Personal

                                          One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

                                          When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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                                          5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

                                          I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

                                          One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

                                          6. Detach

                                          A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

                                          Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

                                          7. Share Your Stories

                                          Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

                                          To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

                                          So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

                                          8. Give a Compliment

                                          Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

                                          When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

                                          9. Relax Your Body Language

                                          If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

                                          When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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                                          If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

                                          10. Practice, Practice, Practice

                                          Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

                                          Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

                                          After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

                                          The Bottom Line

                                          As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

                                          There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

                                          Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

                                          Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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                                          Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

                                          Reference

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