Five of the Best Self-Help Books to Change Your Life

Self-help books can be extremely useful. Here are five of the best.
Five of the Best Self-Help Books to Change Your Life
Sergio De Dios González

Reviewed and approved by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Written by Yamila Papa

Last update: 22 December, 2022

It’s always good to read, regardless of the subject you choose. That’s because you can let your imagination run wild as well as learn. Self-help books are one good example. They can teach you to be a better person. Also, they can help you overcome an emotional breakup, be more successful in a business, learn how to say what you feel, or teach you how to forgive. 

While some titles on our list here are ‘classics’ in the self-help area and contain step-by-step instructions, ask you questions, or tell you how to act, others are stories with morals that you can use as a source of inspiration. They’re not at all complicated to read nor are they extensive, but they contain extremely powerful and profound messages. Messages that don’t need to be embellished because they’re direct and simple. In fact, the teachings of these books will change your vision of life and the world, as well as the way you face each situation, and how you escape from difficulties.

If any of them are books you’ve already read, you can always enjoy them again. In fact, experts claim that the same title read at different times in life gives you new experiences and perspectives. That’s because you’re not the same today as you were two years ago or will be five years from now.

motivation self improvement woman

Five of the best self-help books

Who moved my cheese?

This book is subtitled An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life. It was written by Spencer Johnson. It’s written in the style of a parable and tells the story of two mice and their search for cheese. It describes the four typical reactions of a person when faced with a problem or situation. These are 1) resisting for fear of something worse 2) detecting change early 3) learning to adapt 4) rushing into action. The book was launched in 1998 and is a simple but, at the same time, devastating analysis of changes and problems. Above all, of learning how to deal with them.

The Knight in Rusty Armor

This is a self-help novel written by Robert Fisher. It contains some humorous elements, as well as motivational. It’s a book that can be read at any time, from youth to old age, and reflects the process of change in a person who’s unable to express their feelings. The protagonist is an egocentric knight who doesn’t understand or value what he has and neglects the people and things around him. He becomes more and more encased in his armor until it rusts and he can’t remove it. He then has to take a journey down the path of truth to three castles. The book explains the importance of opening up to the world and saying what you feel.

Man’s Search for Meaning

This is a psychology book written by the Austrian psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl. It was published in 1946. The book recounts the personal experiences of a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II. It’s divided into two parts, which try to answer the question: how does everyday life in a concentration camp affect the mind and the psychology of the average prisoner? The book tries to understand the psychological changes of the prisoners but, at the same time, it’s an ode to hope and to valuing life.

An illustration from The Little Prince.

The Little Prince

This is the best-known novel by the writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, published in 1943. It’s a story with watercolor illustrations about a pilot who’s lost in the Sahara after a plane accident. He meets a little prince from another planet. The book contains philosophical themes and social critiques on how adults see things. Although it’s considered to be a children’s book, it contains really profound observations on the life and nature of man. For example, there’s an encounter between the little prince and a fox, where the best-known phrase of the book is found: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”. The book invites reflection on love, human relationships, and the loss of things that are really important in life.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

This is a story, written by Jean Dominique Bauby, that was made into a movie. It’s not a self-help book as such, but an unsentimental autobiography that tells the story of the writer in an objective and rather shocking manner. When Bauby suffers, at the age of 43, a massive stroke, he spends three weeks in a coma. When he regains consciousness, he discovers that his body is totally paralyzed and he can’t move, speak, eat, or breathe without assistance. His mind is working properly but he can’t communicate this to anyone. In fact, he can only barely move his left eyelid. In his new world, he can control only two things: his memory and his imagination. This book tells you that you should value your life more and enjoy the little things in the day-to-day.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.