Best Self-Help Books of All Times

Every year, you’re telling yourself the same thing – dang, the year went by fast. And every year, you’re wishing you would have pushed yourself a little harder, done something a little differently, made a few different choices — because after all, it would mean you would finally be where you want to be. But why go through that every year? The following books will help you land your journey of self-improvement in 2022.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a self-help classic that reads as a life manual. The core idea is that you can change other people’s behavior simply by changing your own. It teaches you the principles to better understand people, become a more likable person, improve relationships, win others over, and influence behavior through leadership. Do you know someone you would like to change in some way? When you find yourself getting caught up in other people’s annoying habits or behaviors, think of a few reasons they might be acting the way they are. Say to yourself, “I should forgive them for this because …” and conclude this sentence with an open mind. You’ll be in a much better position to hold back from criticizing. Day in and day out, we spend most of our time thinking about ourselves. But if we stop thinking about ourselves for a bit and start thinking about other people’s strengths, we wouldn’t have to resort to cheap flattery and we could offer honest, sincere appreciation. With words of true appreciation, we have the power to completely change another person’s perception of themselves, improve their motivation, and be a driving force behind their success. When you think about it like that – when we have nothing to lose and only positive outcomes to gain – why wouldn’t we offer genuine appreciation more often?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

During his 25 years of working with successful individuals in business, universities, and relationship settings, Stephen Covey discovered that high achievers were often plagued with a sense of emptiness. In an attempt to understand why, he read several self-improvement, self-help, and popular psychology books written over the past 200 years. It was here that he noticed a stark historical contrast between two types of success. Before the First World War, success was attributed to ethics of character. This included characteristics such as humility, fidelity, integrity, courage, and justice. However, after the war, there was a shift to what Covey refers to as the “Personality Ethic.” Here, success was attributed as a function of personality, public image, behaviors, and skills. Yet, these were just shallow, quick successes, overlooking the deeper principles of life. Covey argues it’s your character that needs to be cultivated to achieve sustainable success, not your personality. What we are says far more than what we say or do. The “Character Ethic” is based upon a series of principles. Covey claims that these principles are self-evident and endure in most religious, social, and ethical systems. They have universal application. When you value the correct principles, you see reality as it truly is. 

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

“our world requires that decisions be sourced and footnoted, and if we say how we feel, we must also be prepared to elaborate on why we feel that way…We need to respect the fact that it is possible to know without knowing why we know and accept that – sometimes – we’re better off that way.”

The book is written in popular science format and focuses on investigating how first impressions help us make right decisions in some situations and betray us in other situations. Blink generally conveys the idea that it is important to understand the impact of quick decisions, their strengths, and pitfalls. Every chapter of the book contains numerous and detailed examples to illustrate author’s points. Gladwell tells the story about J. Paul Getty Museum’s purchase of a forged statue that could have been avoided if experts would have listened to their first impression. When this statue, a Greek kouros, was first presented to the museum officials in 1983, they immediately doubted its authenticity, even though didn’t have any evidence to prove that the statue was forged. After 14-month examinations and analysis of core samples, the statue was finally put on display 1986. A number of art experts started expressing their doubts about statue authenticity and eventually, the statue was proven to be a forgery. Gladwell refers to this example throughout the book to prove his point that the first impression is often the one we can trust.

Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer Johnson

“The quicker you let go of old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese.”

Who Moved My Cheese? is a short, light-hearted parable about change, by best-selling author, Dr. Spencer Johnson. It follows the physical and emotional journeys of two mice (Sniff and Scurry) and two little people (Hem and Haw) as they search, find, lose and must rediscover their supply of cheese, in a large, twisting maze. Johnson’s bits of cheese are a metaphor for what you want in life – a good job, a loving relationship, money, possessions, health or spiritual peace of mind. The maze is where you look for it – the organisation you work for, the family or community you live in. And the problem is that no stash of cheese lasts forever. Life changes, cheese supplies run out and we can all find ourselves suddenly cheeseless, whether we like it or not. Sniff, Scurry, Hem and Haw’s stories illustrate the importance of and an amazing way to deal with change. And though it’s disarmingly simple (the quicker you let go of old cheese the better; put on your running shoes and keep hunting for new cheese), Who Moved My Cheese? captures and explores powerful and resonant life lessons that could have been written just for you. Change is inevitable. Effective people monitor change, anticipate it, adapt to it, learn to embrace and enjoy it. If you do not change you can become extinct. If you do change you won’t just suffer less stress and unhappiness, you’ll enjoy more success and fulfilment in every part of your life and your work.