5 of the Best Self Help Books Reviewed – MUST READ Before Buying!

You’re probably overwhelmed by the many self help books that are being marketed so you just don’t know which ones to invest your time and money in. That’s perfectly understandable. I’ve been there too.

However, throughout many years of reading and re-reading (Yes, sometimes you have to read a book again and again in order for the material to truly sink in), I have made my own list of self help books which I highly recommend to anybody who is serious about making a positive change in their life. These books will provide the necessary insight and inspiration for you to transform your life and be all that you can be!

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Without further ado, 5 of my favorite and highly recommended self help books are:

  1. Think & Grow Rich – by Napoleon Hill
  2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – by Stephen R. Covey
  3. How to Win Friends & Influence People – by Dale Carnegie
  4. The Power of Positive Thinking – by Vincent Norman Peale
  5. The Magic of Thinking Big – by David J. Schwartz

Don’t get me wrong, there are many other great self help books out there, and believe me…I’ve read many. However, in my opinion, these 5 are among the best for providing the correct principles that you need to learn in order to forge ahead on your life’s purpose with greater conviction. You don’t have to remain where you are in life. If you take the right action and adopt the right mindset, you can achieve success in whatever you pursue and become the very best version of yourself.

Think & Grow Rich – by Napoleon Hill

This book is one of the most famous self help books of all time. It was written by Napoleon Hill, first published in 1937 and has sold millions of copies worldwide. Napoleon Hill is renowned for saying that “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” The book is a distillation of that philosophy as well as other philosophies that were derived by Napoleon Hill when he interviewed some of the greatest minds of the 20th century (Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, and Thomas Edison to name a few) and learned exactly what made them successful so that others could learn too and apply the same principles.

The book hints at a magical formula for success that is spread throughout its pages, and that if you truly open your eyes while reading it, you will discover the simple and basic techniques for true and lasting success.

One major drawback to this book is that it is rather lengthy and was written many, many years ago which causes the writing style to appear rather archaic. It is also repetitive at times and draws on examples which may not be familiar to people who are not accustomed to teachings from American history or Christianity. Notwithstanding, the book has been revised and updated several times with more present-day content which has served to make it a much better read, while the principles being taught remain the same, and are just as effective today as when they were first written.

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

This book, written by Stephen Covey, was first published in 1989 and is the result of his long-term study into the principles of success. The book presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning your values to principles that are based on a character ethic that is regarded as being universal and timeless.

The 7 principles as laid out in the book are:

  1. Be proactive
  2. Begin with the end in mind
  3. Put first things first
  4. Think win-win
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
  6. Synergize
  7. Sharpen the saw

These 7 principles are geared towards teaching people how to live life effectively and get closer to the ideal of being a ‘success’ in life. In doing so, they help to give direction to your life in a constructive and effective way.

I believe these principles are enough to make you effective in whatever endeavor you pursue, but that’s about it. If you want to go beyond being effective, then I think it’s worthwhile complementing this book with another book on success. In fact, Stephen Covey himself recognized this when, in 2004, he created a follow-up book entitled “The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness. This is a great complement to Covey’s first book on the 7 habits.  If you read the two books, understand the ideals being taught and implement them in your life, you will be well on your way to creating an unstoppable you.

How to Win Friends & Influence People – by Dale Carnegie

The core idea in this book, written by Dale Carnegie and published in 1936, is that you can change other people’s behavior simply by changing your own. It provides teachings in 4 main areas:

  • Fundamental techniques that can be used when dealing with people
  • Ways to make people like you
  • How to win people to your way of thinking
  • How to be a good leader and change people without giving offence or arousing resentment.

Although this book was written a very long time ago, it remains one of the most famous self help classics of all time and is a must-read. I believe that, after reading this book and acting on what you have learnt, you can take any situation that you’re in and make it work for you. For example, you can go after any job you want and get it, or even take the job you have and improve it. However, you must apply the teachings of all the 4 main areas of the book consistently as they are taught in the book. Don’t, for instance, try to be agreeable to everybody else when implementing ways to make people like you. If you do this, you may rarely get things going your way. Remember that you can win people to your way of thinking. Also, maintaining friendships with people who are self-centered may end up draining you of your energy. So, choose your friends wisely and remember to practice the fundamental techniques that can be used when dealing with anybody.

The Power of Positive Thinking – by Norman Vincent Peale

This book was originally published in 1952 and is used by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale to demonstrate the power of faith in action. The book’s teachings are geared towards energizing your life with both faith and inspiration in order to give yourself the initiative needed to carry out your deepest desires.

Among other things, the book teaches how to expect the best and get it, how to have belief in oneself, and how to develop the power to reach any goal. It also provides guidance on how to assume control over circumstances and improve personal and professional relationships.

This is a great book but the fact that it was written many years ago, makes it hard to comprehend the message at times. If you can truly grasp the message that is being taught, your ability to think positively can lead to astounding results. A word of caution however…this book is heavily embedded in Christian fundamental beliefs and teachings. If this is something that you are uncomfortable with or offended by, then you may wish to pass on this book and try another one from the list provided here.

The Magic of Thinking Big – by David J. Schwartz

The Magic of Thinking Big was first published in 1959, with an abridged version published in 1987. Among other things, the book gives practical advice on how you can sell more, manage better, lead fearlessly, earn more, and enjoy a happier, more fulfilling life. Throughout the book, the author encourages you to believe big because the size of your success is directly related to the size of your belief. If you believe big and therefore have big goals, you will achieve big success, but if you think small and have smaller goals, you will have small achievements.

One major drawback to this book is that it was written a very long time ago. As a result, many of the examples that are provided in the book are outdated and hard to put into perspective. Nonetheless, just like the other recommended books, the principles are priceless and are just as effective today as when the book was written. If you look beyond the outdated figures and examples, and implement the lessons taught, you can have amazing accomplishments!


The above 5 books are all extremely good self help books which you should definitely read if you haven’t done so already. Remember though, that reading these books alone is not enough for you to achieve success. You have to put the strategies and teachings that you’ve read into action. This is a must!

Amazon is a great place to buy these books at a decent price. I have therefore included the links to Amazon in the post to take the guess work out of where to find them.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think after reading any of these books. I would love to get your views.

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