Personal improvement has long been a popular goal. Whether it's New Year's resolutions or a mid-year desire for change, there are so many ways that we can help ourselves be better. However, making significant changes to our lives can be daunting and confusing without the advice of an expert. Luckily, self-care books are here to help!
We've researched the best self-care books on the market to bring you a list of the most effective books available. Spoiler: our favorite was Lilly Singh's How to Be a Bawse because of its helpful advice and relatable content. Read on for more of our choices, and scroll down to our buying guide reviewed by a licensed professional counselor for more details on how to find a book on your own.
Omolola Taiwo is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Katy, Texas who provides psychotherapy services to young adults, adults, and couples. She specializes in wellness-oriented and trauma-informed care, with an integrative approach of cognitive-behavioral interventions, dialectical behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and wellness consulting.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
Table of Contents
A self-care book's purpose is to guide you through your issues or give you advice on how to improve yourself, but if you choose one you don't enjoy reading, it will be hard to absorb its advice.
There are thousands of self-care books available and they cover a wide variety of topics. One of the most popular sub-genres is books that focus on personal development. These can help you identify problems in your life and learn more about yourself, or support you as you work through trauma by offering coping mechanisms.
Another popular topic for self-care books is personal success. These books can teach you how to be more efficient and use your time more effectively. They can also help you focus on your future goals and how to achieve them.
As well as books that focus on specific areas, there are also books that focus on more general ideas or several areas at once. If you do have a specific goal or part of your life that you want to target, then it’s best to choose a self-care book that focuses on that goal specifically.
If you're searching for ways to assess or enhance your self-care, these books are helpful for self-development and growth. Self-care can be as effective as the individual believing in their motivation or self-esteem. For ways to decide on what you're looking to improve, one has to recognize what area needs more attention or feels absent in their life.
Something else to consider is the author's background. Authors of self-care books usually draw on personal experience. This can make a book very powerful if you share similar experiences.
It also means that self-care books are commonly targeted toward a certain audience. If you have nothing in common with the author you may not be the target audience. It can be hard to relate to a self-care book, even it if focuses on your goal, if it isn’t written with you in mind.
Anyone can write a self-care book. This means that a wide variety of voices can be heard, but it also means that authors with no experience or qualifications can publish books on subjects they aren't qualified to deal with.
Before you buy a self-care book, look at the author’s background. Are they educated in the subject or do they have adequate and verifiable experience?
Self-care books should have a well-structured and encouraging but achievable program that you can work through. Has the author taken this into account when writing their book?
A good way to measure the effectiveness of a self-care book is to look at reviews. What do people who have read the book say? Do they think that the author is knowledgeable and has constructed a step-by-step guide that helped them achieve their goals? If a book has helped other people, then it could help you, too.
The self-reflective nature of self-care books can make them challenging to read. Audiobooks can be a good choice as you can hear the text as a motivational speech, often delivered by the author themselves.
Also, you should consider the format of the text. Some are written in long-form chapters, while others are short chapters designed to be read each morning. Books that are structured as longer, heavier chapters will dig into the issues deeper, but require a greater investment than short affirmations.
Self-care books can also come in workbook formats that ask you to complete small written exercises as the book progresses. These are especially effective when dealing with stress and other well-being issues as they force you to reflect on and confront issues that you may not have identified yourself.
It's also helpful to consider which type of format works for you, such as hardcover, eBooks, or audio CDs. In picking the right one, it should adapt to your lifestyle, routine, or habits seamlessly. And it may feel different in the beginning, but with progress, it should adjust better to your needs.
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How to Be a Bawse
Gain Confidence and Motivation With Advice from an Actress and Comedian
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
An Informal and Witty Approach to Life and Happiness
A Guide to Staying Focused and Productive in a World Full of Distractions
The Self-Love Workbook
A Workbook With Advice and Exercises to Improve Your Self-Esteem
Short Affirmations from the Creator of Hamilton
Good Vibes, Good Life
Relatable Self-Help from a Well-Known Influencer
How to Break Bad Habits and Create Good Ones
The Book of Awakening
A Book Full of Inspirational, Short, Daily Readings
Admiral William H. McRaven
Make Your Bed
Life Lessons From a Navy SEAL Admiral
Get Out of Your Head
Empowerment Through Deconstructing Negative Thoughts
This book covers many different areas of life and shares fifty rules to help you get ahead in life. It states that there are no easy answers or shortcuts to success, but that it takes hard work and determination. It has many anecdotes from the author's own path to success.
Lilly Singh is a popular YouTube star who has over a billion views on the platform. She is also an entrepreneur and has worked with many successful companies. She was listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
Some reviewers didn't like the writing style and said this book is difficult to relate to if you're not a young woman. However, others liked Singh's anecdotes as they give examples of how the advice can be applied to real life. They found the book to be easy to read and relatable. Many said it had more depth than they expected.
In this book, Mark Manson injects scientific research with his own brand of humor. His core message is to stop trying to be positive about everything. He attempts to deconstruct the common self-help belief that positive thinking results in a positive life, and instead teaches the reader to accept limitations and flaws.
Some reviewers were not as enamored with the style of writing and thought the book lacked substance. The provocative title is a good representation of how the book is written, and they say that it is better for a younger audience.
For many reviewers, however, this combination of philosophy and humor was exactly what they needed. They say that the book has helped them prioritize what to care about and has improved their outlook on life. They also say that although the book is written in an informal manner, it is surprisingly deep and has well-supported concepts.
This book concentrates on how to focus on tasks without being distracted. It's a skill that allows you to work more effectively by producing better results in a shorter period of time. The first half of the book focuses on how a deep work ethic will produce great benefits and the second half shows how this can be achieved.
Some reviewers comment that the book has a lot of words for a relatively simple concept. They also didn't like the first half of the book and felt it read more like a university thesis than a self-care book due to all of the references to other people and studies.
Other readers liked that the book has a well-structured action plan that is easy to follow and that its teachings have the science to back it up. They also praise Newport's style of writing and say that the book is clear with well-defined concepts.
Written by a mental health counselor, this book focuses on self-love and self-esteem. It takes the form of a workbook, so it has prompts and interactive activities scattered throughout. You can write your answers directly in the workbook, keeping it as a record of your progress.
For some reviewers, the prompts were not helpful or structured clearly enough for them. If you want a book to read instead of work through, then this would not be the book for you.
Many reviewers, however, liked the format of the book. They enjoyed the prompts and activities and how it forces the reader to confront themselves. They also loved the layout of the book, from the way the subjects are broken down into sections to the design of it.
This book is a compilation of the motivational tweets posted by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the writer and star of the musical Hamilton. As they're tweets, they are concise and to-the-point sayings and poetry that are meant to inspire. The book is also fully illustrated. It's a book of short pep talks, meant to help you when you need a lift.
Some reviewers didn't like the format of the book, found the sayings to be superficial, or were unhappy that the book contains some expletives. This isn't the book for anyone looking for deep and meaningful passages or actionable goals.
Other reviewers praise the positivity of the words in this book and its ability to lift them up when it is needed. They say that the sayings made them laugh, cry, and smile. Reviewers also liked the illustrations and return to the book whenever they need a quick boost.
The core message in this book is that by changing your way of thinking, you can change your world. It concentrates on helping with self-esteem and how to prioritize your well-being. There are tools and exercises throughout the book to help readers apply the information they're reading to their own lives.
Vex King is a social media influencer who has taken his own personal troubles and turned them into self-care advice for others. He owns an empowering lifestyle brand that aims to promote good vibes and positivity.
Some readers felt that the book doesn't dig deep enough into the issues and wished King shared more of his personal story. They also say the book is best for younger readers. However, others liked King's fresh approach to the genre. They consider his approach to be relatable and uplifting and praise how easy to read this book is.
The focus of this book is on how to identify and break bad habits while forming new habits in their place. It states that to break bad habits a reliable system needs to be used, and it teaches you the author's system. The book draws on biology, psychology, and neuroscience to help you improve your motivation and change your life.
Reviewers who have read similar self-help books about habit-forming think that this book is both too wordy and simple. Some also found it difficult to relate to the anecdotes in the book.
Many other reviewers praise the structure of the book and how it takes the reader through the process of breaking bad habits in a step-by-step manner. They say that the material is presented in a clear and easy-to-understand way. Many reviewers say that they have found it easy to apply the teachings to their everyday life.
This book has 365 short but powerful readings that are meant to be read daily. It encourages readers to take one day at a time and discover something new. Each entry has a related exercise for reflection. The author, Mark Nepo, has been named one of the most spiritually influential living people.
Several readers comment that the entries for some days hit harder than others and that the amount of meaning you can take from each one is very individual. Other readers were disappointed that although not explicitly religious, religious themes are present throughout.
Other readers like the daily structure of the readings and that the book can be easily consumed in daily, 10-minute sessions. Readers praise how straightforward and accessible it is, while also having something meaningful to say.
This book is based on the 10 principles the author learned during his Navy SEAL training. It has many anecdotes from his time in the service but frames them in a manner that everyone can relate to. It is a short and easy read that inspires the reader to meet challenges with discipline and a positive attitude.
The author, William H. McRaven, is a former Admiral who also served as the Chancellor of the University of Texas. Before writing this book, he gave a commencement speech on the same principles that accrued over 10 million views.
Several reviewers didn't like the military perspective of the book and found it hard to relate to. Other reviewers praise how easy the book was to read. They say that although adults can learn from it, the book is also suitable for children. And they liked that it provides a different perspective from other self-care books.
This book aims to help readers break out of their own heads and defeat the negative, controlling thoughts that hold us back. The author's goal is to first help readers identify the reasons behind their negativity, and then work on eliminating those thoughts.
Jennie Allen is the founder of IF:Gathering, which is an organization that is targeted toward women. It aims to empower women through the Christian faith and scriptures. The book follows this perspective.
As reviewers state, this book has a very definitive target audience: women and Christians. Reviewers that are in that target audience compliment how well-written and easy to read the book is. They praise the way it brings together philosophy and religion. Reviewers also commend Allen for not sugar-coating the struggles she has faced.
In addition to reviewing and commenting on our buying guide, Omolola also took the time to answer a frequently asked question about self-care books.
"Ultimately, they do work," Omolola explains. "Self-care books are helpful for individuals with dedicated time to read and implement the tools in the book. Some may believe that self-care is an organic process that comes naturally for some. However, others may lack the perception or awareness on the areas that need attention and care, and that's where books can help."
We love reading as much as you do! That's why we're constantly scouring the internet to find the best books, from newly-published non-fiction to classic literature and everything in between. Take a look at some of the great ones we found to add to your library.
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
No. 1: Lilly Singh｜How to Be a Bawse
No. 2: Mark Manson｜The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
No. 3: Cal Newport｜Deep Work
No. 4: Shainna Ali｜The Self-Love Workbook
No. 5: Lin-Manuel Miranda｜Gmorning, Gnight!
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