7 Self-Help Books That Aren’t Total BS
Some self-help books don’t seem to take real life into account. You pick one up, begin reading, and quickly realize that the person who wrote it is so out of touch with reality that they may as well not even live on Earth. Thankfully, not every self-help book you come across is like that—there’s more out there than just pop psychology and vision boards.
I’m not claiming that the books on this list are going to change your life completely, but these authors offer some genuinely good, no BS advice.
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Even though How to Win Friends and Influence People was published decades ago, it still remains popular today. Making friends can be incredibly hard for some reason, especially as an adult, but this book can help you break out of your shell and deal with people a lot easier.
Sometimes the book delves into things that should be considered common sense, but many of the lessons are genuinely useful and easy to implement. While the book focuses on many subjects, some specific things you can learn about include how to de-escalate negativity, take criticism, and socialize.
Stop Smoking the Easy Way by Allen Carr
By now it’s been drilled into our heads that smoking is bad, but that doesn’t make it any easier to quit. If you’ve tried patches, gum, and other smoking cessation techniques and found no relief, Allen Carr’s book may help. Stop Smoking the Easy Way isn’t magic, but the methods are easy to follow and clear. This book is so popular even Sir Anthony Hopkins (among other celebrities) gave it a shot, and now he boasts that it was what ultimately helped him quit. Of course, no one method works for everyone, but it could be the stop smoking technique you’re looking for.
Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown
For Kelly Williams Brown, adulting is a verb, and it takes hard work to do. Her bestselling book Adulting is the perfect read for someone that’s on the threshold of adulthood—especially the recent college graduate. Brown talks about subjects that a real adult should have a firm grasp on, such as moving, finances, cooking, employment, and more.
The book is split into chapters, but also divided into “steps.” Each step discusses a topic in the overall theme of a given chapter. Thankfully, this also makes it easy to skip around if you find that some of her advice doesn’t apply to your life.
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Even though Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor, his world-famous musings, known collectively as Meditations, remain relevant centuries after his death. This book covers thoughts on pain, loss, death, life, and so much more. It’s a short read, but each page is filled with self-help nuggets that will stick with you for long after you’ve put the book down. If anyone should have gotten into the inspirational poster business, it’s Marcus Aurelius.
Still the Mind by Alan Watts
If you’re looking for meditation in the contemporary sense, Still the Mind by Alan Watts is the perfect book for you. Everyone deals with worry, stress, and guilt in their lifetime, but they don’t have to hover over you like a dark cloud. Still the Mind is a compilation of lectures, stories, poems, and speeches Alan Watts recorded during his lifetime with the goal to assist others to achieve Zen. It’s unlikely that reading this book will teach you the sound of one hand clapping, but you may have the ability to cope with negative feelings much easier than before.
Leadership and Self-Deception by the Arbinger Institute
Leadership and Self-Deception isn’t what you’d expect from a self-help book because it reads like a parable about one man and his personal experiences. Facing challenges with his job and family, the authors use storytelling to expose the ways that we blind ourselves to the world around us and our true motives—and, at times, how we sabotage ourselves against success. It’s a simple read but teaches life lessons you can carry through life.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Being called an introvert can often be seen as a negative thing. If you’ve been labelled one, you probably have been encouraged (on more than one occasion) to break out of your shell and socialize until your eyes bleed. Yeah, alright.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking discusses how introverts are undervalued in our society and encourages them to embrace being themselves. Susan Cain introduces the reader to successful introverts and explains how they were passionate people that achieved great things. The goal of this book is to change the way the world sees introverts and to teach introverts there’s nothing wrong with being silent.