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I enjoy having so much wisdom at my fingertips – even if I don’t follow the advice all the time – but what’s available for teenagers? As it turns out, it’s a growing area with authors queuing up to offer guidance to our young people. Chicken Soup For The Teenage Soul: Stories of Life, Love and Learning by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. This is a great list and I think the Sean Covey book is a valuable resource for teens and parents. Following recent passing of one of the most loved and influential life coaches in the world Wayne Dyer, we have decided to give you a little bit of a ‘soul food’ in the shape of the best and most interesting self-empowerment books ever written. Let’s start with the uber life coach himself Wayne Dyer and his most successful and most widely read book ever.
The book deals with the feelings that we all have been plagued with at certain stages of our lives – guilt, worry, self-harming patterns, having no control over our feelings and hence actions, not recognizing or abandoning possibilities, chances and opportunities that come our way, disappointment, letting difficult times and difficult people affect us, and most importantly, lack of healthy love for ourselves. There will be quite a few times while reading this book when you are going to have an a-ha moment particularly when you realize that you always have a choice how to react to a situation and that the end result will always be affected by your reaction, that you do have control over how much you worry, that there are no such things as “family traits” (“I come from a line of aggressive people, hence I am aggressive.”) and that you and you alone are the creator of your happiness regardless of circumstances.
The idea for one of her most popular books “You Can Heal Your Life” came about when she wrote a small pamphlet containing a list of different bodily ailments and their “probable” metaphysical causes in 1984. Don Miguel Ruiz comes from the ancient culture of Toltec which dates back to 800 – 1000 CE.
At first glance, the four rules that the book is based on look too simplistic, but, as you will see, their application is not that easy or effortless. All of these rules or “agreements” (with yourself), as Don Miguel calls them, are explained in detail in the book, and if you religiously stick to them, they will change detrimental core beliefs which you have had since childhood and which have been holding you back. Although Mike Dooley started his career as an international tax expert with renowned PriceHousewaterCoopers, thankfully his calling proved to be somewhere else. Initially, “Notes from the Universe” was a collection of daily emailings that Mike sent to his club members which, in turn, became a three-volume book that has been translated into 25 languages. In “Notes from the Universe” you will find that dreams, no matter how wild, big, incomprehensible they might be, do come true, that you do have an immense power which everybody has been trying to diminish all your life and that nothing is impossible. A decade later, she is an accomplished author, life coach, spirituality junkie and willing to share and teach us her, as she calls it, Lovetarian Way which is all about living a positive life that involves zero fear and a lot of gratefulness, love and forgiveness. Now, unlike our other authors, Jack Canfield does not come from a broken home, unprivileged background and life of struggles. Probably 95% or more of the greatest self-help advice I have ever come across has been found in books. If someone with a really great mind walked the earth during recent generations and accumulated a lifetime worth of wisdom, they probably wrote these lessons down in a book. So with that in mind, here are the books that I consider to be the top ten best self-help books of all time. Just because this list is only ten books long does not mean that I believe you should only read ten self-help books in your lifetime.
These 10 best self help books on my list don’t always offer effortless solutions to your personal development problems.
If someone asked me what is the one book that anyone who is interested in changing their life should absolutely own, it would be this one.
Author Carol Dweck, the renowned professor of psychology at Stanford University, brilliantly explains how the way we think about our own talents and abilities shapes just about everything we do in our lives. My only criticism is that I wish that Dweck (and other proponents of her ground-breaking research) had the marketing knack that the authors of modern day snake oil like The Secret have. In what I (and many others) consider his masterpiece, Stumbling On Happiness, Gilbert delivers another eye-opener. Daniel Gilbert shows that we are basically clueless when it comes to predicting what will make us happy. Gilbert also teaches that it would serve us quite well to learn from what others have experienced in their quests for happiness. Randy Pausch was a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon stricken with terminal cancer in his mid 40s. His advice is so insightful and compelling alone, he probably could have had a second career as an incredible self help guru if he had lived longer.
Carl Sagan is best known for making science more popular through his incredible communication skills in bestselling science books and most notably, his award-winning 1980 educational TV series, Cosmos. Great self-help advice cannot lift you up nearly as high if bad self-help advice is simultaneously pulling you down. For centuries, the scientific field of psychology has been focused on treating people with mental illness. For example, where classic psychology might have tried to figure out how to make a sad person no longer sad, positive psychology might try to figure out how to make a happy person even happier.
Perhaps a quote by Daniel Gilbert (the author of the #2 book on this list) best explains how her book differs from most self-help garbage disguised as books.
Her subsequent book, The Myths Of Happiness, is also excellent and chock full of even more great self help tips. Tal Ben-Shahar used to teach a class on positive psychology at Harvard that was the university’s most popular class. I could easily find a place for Happier on this list, but since it covers similar subject matter to The How Of Happiness, I figured I’d just mention it here for those interested in further happiness advice. Fiore not only teaches you how to overcome your procrastination habits, he also teaches you where they come from.
For people with simpler lives, many of his time management techniques might be overkill, but probably still worth knowing about so that you can pick and choose what works best for you. Two great tips that everyone can take away from this book are that if you have something on your to-do list that only takes 2 minutes, do it immediately.
Maybe she will inspire you to take more action, to discover more great advice, and to refine your behaviors and habits until they form you into a new, improved person, propelling you toward greater happiness and success.
You will not understand how best to navigate your way through life until you truly understand the role that chance, randomness, and probability have in affecting it.
The author may be a Cal Berkeley trained theoretical physicist who has taught at Caltech, but he writes in a way that anyone can understand. Fans of self-help often make giant mistakes in understanding what actions affect their lives simply because they do not understand the concept of randomness. I catch self-help gurus uttering nonsense all the time simply based on their lack of basic mathematical understanding regarding statistics and probabilities. Like the Carl Sagan book that appeared on this list earlier, this book will help you to think better.
Let’s finish this list on a whimsical note with a book of brilliant self-help advice and inspiration disguised as a book for children.
If self-help books were judged by their power-per-word ratio, this book would definitely be #1 on this list.
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For the month of July, we will look at some of the best selling and top rated self help books, particularly on the topic of success. An accessible guide to the principles of success by one of the most respected and sought-after motivational speakers of our time.
In The ABCs of Success-the first trade book ever published by this master of motivation and prosperity-Proctor goes beyond the simple laws of success and attraction, weighing in on sixty-seven different topics essential to all those who wish to make their dreams a reality, including persistence, winning, effectiveness, and vision. Drawing on lessons she’s learned throughout her amazing and sometimes difficult life journey, the social entrepreneur and founder of Zhena’s Gypsy Tea shares seventeen soulful lessons to help you overcome obstacles, clarify your purpose, and bring awareness to each moment of your life. As a twenty-four-year-old single mom, Zhena had an infant in need of life-saving surgery and only six dollars in her wallet. Zhena’s insights and gentle guidance will inspire you to increase your compassion toward others as well as yourself. Do you want to use your willpower effectively so that you can make major progress in achieving your goals?
All, Books bob proctor, brian adams, self help books, self improvement, success, Zhena Muzyka. Sean’s dad Stephen famously published the groundbreaking The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, now a global bestseller. This is billed as the ultimate survival guide for “smart girls who want to find their way and have fun doing it”.

Now in its third edition, this book was written to allow teenagers to understand their own brains. As the adults’ world seems to be doing a reasonably poor job of clearing up the financial mess it got into, maybe it’s time for young adults to prepare themselves for taking over. Life coach Nina leads teenagers through ten sections adding up to a sensible and accessible guide to a fulfilling future. Most people will roll their eyes at the mention of the words ‘self-help’, ‘self-empowerment’ and ‘self-love’, but also most of them have been in situations when these things could have helped them if they only gave them half a chance.
Every single one of them has his or hers own story of hardship, addiction, personal bankruptcy, chaotic and abusive home life, loneliness, self-loathing, anger and disappointment to tell and every single one of them rose from the ugliness of life to the beauty of life. Nothing in his early life suggested that this was a person that could teach people how to reach that elusive happiness in their personal lives and how to attain their goals.
The journey towards self-discovery, which Dyer wonderfully takes you through, starts with one question: “How long am I going to be dead?” Once you recognize that you are in some form of “death”, be it emotional, mental or spiritual, the journey can begin.
Today, she is an incredibly vital 89-year-old woman whose mental faculties and curiosity have been unaffected by her age. Born to a mother who later remarried Louise’s violent and aggressive stepfather, who physically abused both his wife and his stepdaughter, Louise’s childhood was far from carefree. Toltecs are also known as “men and women of wisdom” and many artists, scientists and shamans originated from them. After leaving the corporate world and unsuccessfully engaging in a T-shirt business, he founded Adventurers Club (which today has over 500,000 members from 182 countries), which also proved to be a radical U-turn towards spirituality and deeper things in life.
In her own words, she “hit rock bottom at the age of 25” when she found herself addicted to “work, food, love and drugs”. In the book, you will find a six-week-plan how to detoxify your mind, energize your soul and improve yourself beyond measure.
And a very fitting one because as much as good, homemade chicken soup can help you when you are physically ill, this book will do the same for your afflicted soul. Believe it or not, the book, which we have already mentioned has sold in 500 million copies so far, was rejected by major publishers and picked up by a small, relatively unknown publishing company from Florida. This shouldn’t be too surprising when you consider that all these authors had the benefit of being able to access all the great self-help books that have been written before them. There are many other great books that contain important advice that it would be a shame for you to miss out on. It’s a shame, but it seems that in the self-help field, popularity does not always equal quality.
It revolutionized my thinking about fears, procrastination, success, and many other topics that I’m certain will be of great interest to you.
But, admittedly, Dweck does not have the luxury of selling the preposterous (yet shockingly popular) notion that you can simply lay back and wish your dream life into existence. You might think that a couple simple notions we could all agree upon are: 1) that each of us is relatively unique, and 2) that each of us knows what makes us happy. This has tremendous implications for the directions we take in life, or more importantly, the directions we should take in our lives. If you think you know the path to your own happiness and you are busy trying to get there, read this book before you take another step.
Faced with his mortality, he gave a legendary final lecture to his class that became a viral phenomenon. But knowing where his perspective comes from gives his lessons an additional powerful wallop that will motivate you to never take another day for granted. So you might be wondering how a science book makes it onto the list of the best self help books ever written. This book will give you the thinking tools to better avoid falling for that destructive, bad advice.
Serious academic research has tried to figure out how to fix mental problems so that people could be normalized.
It often focuses on how to increase people’s happiness so that people can be the most that they can be, not simply avoid being the least.
Many great books in this field by serious academics, who rely on scientific methods to determine what really makes people thrive, have been published in the past several years.
She gives you specific instructions on particular exercises you can do to increase your own happiness. It is especially great for people who are very busy with complicated lives, such as high-powered business executives.
And if the list of things you need to do are constantly running through your head, then you need a better to-do-list system you can trust and rely on so that you can dump these running thoughts out of your head.
She is simply a smart, determined person who sets out to learn as much as she can about various self-help subjects as she experiments with them on a month-by-month basis. And thinking better is the tool that will enable you to better distinguish between self-help strategies that actually work and those that are nothing more than white noise. It is no wonder that this book is such a favorite gift to high-school and college graduates, or anyone else making a giant life transition. If you want to graduate from your rusty, stagnant old life to a shiny, new, improved life, and you want some fun poetry to assist you on your way, then get this book for yourself. If you are really interested in improving your life, you must develop the habit of being proactive. Those rare birds who still do therapy can devote 40 to 50 minutes.Either way, that’s not a lot of time in comparison to the rest of our patients’ lives, nor in comparison to the size of their problems. Outlined below are three of the latest books that will not only last you a month but also give you valuable life lessons. In the tradition of Og Mandino and Zig Ziglar, this inspirational guide uses a wide variety of subjects, from “Achievement” to “Worry,” to bring clarity, information, and motivation to readers.
A former protege of personal development pioneer Earl Nightingale, Proctor first built a wildly successful business career, and then an internationally successful speaking career, elaborating on the principles of Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich and other classic success and prosperity texts.
Organized in A-to-Z fashion and composed of brief essays that can be read over and over, The ABCs of Success is an essential resource for anyone who wants the combined wisdom of a century of success thinking in a single, accessible volume. An inspiring roadmap for discovering the secrets of happiness and success for yourself at any stage in life, Life By the Cup’s message is that, no matter where you are, you can change your circumstances and live your dreams. She also had two other powerful motivators: hope and a passion to share her unique tea blends with the world.
You’ll also gain wisdom on how to hone your intuition, ask for help, and live out your true purpose without drastically changing the way you live.
While this is about the physical side of growing up, it covers wider issues of body image, mental health and sexuality. Being in charge of their own money is a start and this user-friendly guide will simply explain important things such as living on a budget and how a bank account works.
As tacky and corny as they may sound, ‘self-help’, ‘self-empowerment’ and ‘self-love’ are the tools to get us where we want to be mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
And if you don’t love and appreciate the unique you, you will most likely receive very little love and appreciation in return.
Their books are a testament that it can be done and that you can become the best version of yourself. On the contrary, here was a boy who spent most of his childhood in orphanages and foster homes, he drank heavily throughout most of his adult life (he quit alcohol at the age of 51), and he was trice married and divorced. John’s University, New York and his lectures were mostly centered around positive thinking. Also, she still teaches spiritual practices and gives motivational speeches all over the world. At the age of 5 she was raped by a neighbor and, at 15, she dropped out of high school, became pregnant and gave birth to a little girl whom she gave for an adoption. After the release of “The Four Agreements”, Don Miguel has been called one of the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People. And it all starts with asking proper questions just like Mike – “What am I doing with my life?”, “How did I get here?”, “What went wrong?”…. Although she had a thriving career as a PR entrepreneur in New York City, her life was far from happy and fulfilling.
Believe it or not, this book has reached 500 million souls because that is how much copies were sold since its release in 1993. But when certain messages, like the ones in “Chicken Soup for the Soul”, need to reach people, a way always presents itself. But these classics are sometimes also strewn with homespun theories that do not hold up to the rigorous scrutiny of serious scientific examination. You might save yourself decades of wasted effort when you later discover that you’ve been on the wrong path the entire time. She also shows that although 60% of your general happiness levels are determined by your genetics and life circumstances, 40% are completely within your own control.

The other reason, and probably the reason it made my list, is that it is simply a great example of how you should be going about your life by experimenting more.
A key way for patients to continue their self-exploration outside of our offices is by reading self-help books, thousands of which are published each year in the United States. Proctor’s position in the business motivation community equals that of Stephen Covey or Og Mandino. Combining her kitchen hobby of blending tea, her knowledge of herbs and aromatherapy, and her gypsy grandmother’s wisdom, Zhena started selling custom teas from a cart on California street corners.
Discover your calling, bolster your courage, develop your own flavor of success, and you’ll see your own passion make a meaningful difference in the world. Like the original, some will find the chicken soup a bit on the yukky side, but there are some tasty nuggets in there too. Easy to read, despite communicating complex ideas – it’ll help everyone understand each other better. It will help equip youngsters to make responsible financial decisions now and in the future. These are the age old truths that we have either chosen to ignore or haven’t been paying enough attention to because of our busy, ‘don’t-have-time-for-myself’ lives. Still, for more than 30 years, Dyer has inspired and elevated the consciousness of millions all over the world, assisting them in shifting their awareness to a higher level. Soon his work became extremely popular with the students, he was asked to put his thoughts on paper and “Your Erroneous Zones”, one of his most applauded books, was born. It is always hard hearing the brutal truth and looking yourself in the light of that brutal truth, but if you do that, you are at an excellent starting point towards healing your life.
Her desperation reached a peak when in October 2005 she broke and prayed for help to whatever god or power to be might be listening.
These are the sorts of questions that are now being studied by serious researchers at top universities like Harvard and Stanford. This list is designed to give you an awesome start on your lifelong path of never-ending self improvement.
But I suppose if misguided self help gurus can promise people that radical life change is a cinch, and that self improvement never requires any effort whatsoever, it’s no surprise that many uniformed people will bite. Yet millions of people follow their every word and, unfortunately, their lives are much worse because of it. But simply that you think of your life as a vehicle for further exploration and experimentation. But as is not the case with those masters, his books have never been available to the general public-until now! Now, over a decade later, her son is healthy and Zhena’s Gypsy Tea is a multi million-dollar brand. Her book and her website offer valuable resources when planning for college and for the major that is right for your son or daughter. Her personal renaissance started when she learned about the transformative power of thought while attending the meetings at the First Church of Religious Science.
Just like with most of the authors that we are featuring today, Don Miguel Ruiz’s life changing moment also came from adversity, i.e.
In fact, learning that form of self esteem might be the worst thing you can do for your success. Still, I wish that she had a huckster’s gift for gab so that these life-changing lessons would jump off the page more and grab you by the throat as they should, saying, “Hey, pay attention! In this issue, TCR takes a pass at creating a short list of highly recommended self-help books, organized by diagnosis.Before diving in, a word on our methodology. Unfazed by his academic success, Jack was more interested in learning how to increase one’s confidence and self-esteem, tackle daily challenges, live with passion and purpose, and realize all ambitions and goals. And teaching that sort of self-esteem might be the worst thing you can do for your children.
We compiled a candidate list of books by quizzing colleagues, visiting bookstores (both the online and brick-and-mortar varieties), and requesting suggestions from clinicians on the excellent psychopharm listserv run by Ivan Goldberg, M.D. I really think this book will soon be a must have for all teens and I definitely think you should give it a read and perhaps add it to a future blog list! Instead, Dweck explains that it is the specific way that we think about the dynamics of talents and abilities that shape our capacity for greatness. We opted not to accept free promotional copies in order to avoid the possibility of bias.Armed with well over 100 books, we proceeded to evaluate them. Content had to be in line with generally accepted scientific understanding of psychiatric illness. This eliminated certain books – for example, those that advocated a strictly nutritional approach for dealing with psychiatric disorders.
All other things being equal, we gave higher marks to books written by prominent figures in the field.3. Since some of our patients are not well-educated or are not big readers (often due to effects of their psychiatric illness on cognition) we gave highest marks to shorter books written close to the high school level, with short sentences and paragraphs, minimal jargon, and an engaging, easy to follow style. This criterion alone excluded many otherwise excellent books from our self-help list.The list is organized by diagnosis. The first edition was published in 1980, but it somehow manages to stay fresh, because of a perfect balance between expert teaching and very user-friendly self-help style.
The experience of reading this book is similar to receiving advice from your favorite uncle. The book is based entirely on the cognitive behavioral approach to depression, so if you find this approach excessively simplistic, you may want to avoid the book. One of the most intriguing chapters is “How Can I Manage My Disorder?” with a series of “Maintaining Wellness” tips such as Keeping a Mood Chart, Maintaining Regular Daily and Nightly Routines, Avoiding Alcohol and Recreational Drugs, and Relying on Social Supports. There’s also a wonderful chapter outlining specific preventive strategies your patients can take to head a manic episode off at the pass, including advice on taking precautions regarding money.
Another chapter, “Dealing with Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings,” provides several excellent strategies for getting out of the suicidal mindset.Honorable Mentions Several books by Kay Redfield Jamison, especially her memoir, An Unquiet Mind.
The reading level is more sophisticated.Anxiety and PanicGrand Prize Winner The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook Edmund J. Self-help suggestions are concrete and easy to implement and are often set aside in boxes in the text, making it easy to find what is most relevant. From the former director of the Mayo Clinic Insomnia Program and a professional medical writer, this book combines immense readability with thoroughness. All of the basics of insomnia treatment are covered here, including help with keeping a sleep log, essentials of environmental manipulation (the right bed, the right temperature, the right place for the clock), cognitive restructuring, relaxation exercises, diet, and sound advice on gradually reducing reliance on sleeping pills. There’s also an unusually interesting chapter that surveys 29 specific sleep disorders, which is just as useful for clinicians as for patients.Alcohol AbuseGrand Prize Winner Sober for Good Anne M. Fletcher, Houghton Mifflin, 2001, 324 pagesWritten by a medical journalist who overcame her own alcoholism after many years of trying, this is a fascinating description of how real people overcame their drinking problems. Fletcher recruited 222 sober alcoholics via flyers, advertisements, and websites, then gave them questionnaires and built the book around the responses. Fletcher shows that, contrary to popular clinical wisdom, many people do not have to hit “rock bottom” before sobering up, but rather become fed up with the constant struggle with drinking. For patients, this is a tremendously inspiring book, and includes many stories and quotes from those who have successfully stopped drinking. And while the book gives AA its due, it refreshingly profiles the many patients who achieve sobriety in other ways.Honorable Mentions Alcoholics Anonymous-The Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous, Hazelden, 4th Edition, 2002, 575 pagesA surprisingly fun and engaging book to read, many patients swear by it.
A thinner companion book, Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (Alcoholics Anonymous, Hazelden, 2002, 192 pages, hardcover only) is also almost required reading for AA participants.Eating DisordersGrand Prize Winner Runaway Eating Cynthia M. Rather than updating that 1994 book, the authors collaborated on a new book, Delivered from Distraction, which many feel is not as good as the original. It devotes a few pages to the science of dementia but knows when to stop before boring most readers, and spends most of the book giving very practical non-pharmacological advice to both patients and their caregivers.
There are a series of 28 “Brain Boosters,” advice on medications (both traditional and complementary), and common sense tips for caregivers.RelationshipsGrand Prize Winner The Seven Principles for Making Marriages Work John M. In this artificial apartment, he monitors the conversations, behavior, and even the pulse rate of couples over a two-day period. His research has yielded findings that allow him to predict the fate of marriages with 91% accuracy.
He converted these findings into “seven principles” of a good marriage, each represented in a different chapter.

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