My Favorite Self-help Books Are Not Written For Self-help

An ongoing list for those who believe self-help should not become a business

7 min readMar 5


The books on this list leave their marks on you. But they are not written for self-help. In fact, they sometimes rage against it. They are laser-focused on what they have researched for years and are therefore self-development by proxy, which is occasionally even more useful than the ones in the first group.

The real learning slowly starts to unfold the day you read the last page and close the book. You begin to realize that the author has not told you what to do, but a fork in the road appears in front of your eyes. You cannot resist thinking about the idea and how you might have dismissed it. I felt a blend of different aspects of self-help was necessary because I did not see such variety in other lists online.

Why Not Just the Best Sellers?

You may also notice by reading my descriptions that the books are completely different than each other and each looks at its main topic by means of a unique philosophy and set of standards. I avoided mentioning books that cover redundant approaches only with different languages.

Moreover, none of the authors in this list are self-help gurus who earn their livings solely on cruise-ship seminars in which they promote their own business model. As far as we know, most of them have a carrier in a different field such as neuroscience or mathematical statistics, and only tend to write for awareness and enlightenment. They usually have skin in their own game and their teachings are not manufactured for publicity.

The Right Mindset For Reading These Books

Here’s how I approached the books on this list and adopted their teachings into my life and positively benefited from them. If you have a different practical mindset, do let me know. There’s always space for micro-betterments.

  1. Be objective towards the authors. Try not to associate their personality and appearance with the authenticity of their content.
  2. Do not always expect results the moment you finish reading. Some lessons we can start to…




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