• Andrea Z

What to read if you only like self-help books

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

Almost everything you find in self-help books is stuff you already know.

It doesn’t take much to write down that the secret of life is knowing what you want. It also isn’t necessary to be a spiritual guru in order to tell you that positive thinking is the key to success as Rhonda Byrne mentions in her best – selling book The Secret.

Wanting to be a better person is something natural and often necessary for our overall development. However, in a world in which the self – help market is one of 9.9 billion dollars, we must look for books whose lessons are really useful and are not just a result of a million-dollar marketing campaign.

There is so much to read and so little time. Here are some recommendations about books along the lines of self-help that I believe are worthy of your time and are infinitely better than Who stole my cheese?

You are not so smart – David McRaney

David McRaney is a writer and researcher that explains to us why our mind doesn’t work the way we think it does and how easily we fall in self-delusion. McRaney also has a podcast (you can find it on Spotify with the same name) which is based on the book. In each episode, he invites an expert to discuss the ways in which our brain fools us.

Moral letters to Lucilius – Seneca

¿What better advice than that from a stoic? Seneca was a famous stoic philosopher that was born in the year 4 B.C. In this book, he writes letters to his friend Lucilius about many different topics. He gives him advice regarding happiness, time management, fear of death, loneliness and many more. The OG self-help.

Meditations – Marcus Aurelius

In this book, Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor from the year 161 until his death in 180, writes a series of thoughts and reflections on life, death, morality, human condition and so on. This is a short and easy-to-read book, with lessons that continue to be relevant today.

(Besides, it is the #1 most sold Philosophy book on Amazon, in case you need some external reassurance based on capitalism)

Amador: A Father Talks to His Son about Happiness, Freedom, and Love – Fernando Savater

A very simple and straightforward book that focuses on the lessons that, philosopher and professor Fernando Savater, gives to his son Amador. Short and easy to ready with lessons that are explained through examples of great thinkers and philosophers.

On Confidence – School of Life

School of Life is an organization that focuses on education for emotional intelligence. On Confidence teacher readers how confidence isn’t something innate, but instead something that needs to be worked on. School of Life also has other similar books such as On Being Nice, Calm, Small Pleasures and many more.

The Consolations of Philosophy – Alain de Botton

I think this is the book that is closest to the structure of other famous self-help books. Alain de Botton, the founder of the organization School of Life, explains how certain everyday problems can be solved through the teaching of old philosophers.

This is just a short list of self-help books that I consider are worth reading. There are a million self-help books but it is important to realize that most of them are not going to change your life. If by reading this type of book you want to “work on yourself” be aware that the lessons that you are receiving are actually worth it.

Also, it is important to explore fiction. Fiction can help us more than we think on our journey to becoming better people. There are many fiction books that contain lessons that we can apply to our everyday lives while we learn to be more empathetic at the same time.

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