10 Self-help Books that Will Actually Help You

Here you’ll learn about 10 self-help books that will actually help you

I’ve chosen them based on three rules:

  • Are the strategies helpful?
  • What’s the author’s background
  • Is the book simple to read

How to stubbornly refuse to make yourself miserable about anything by Albert Ellis

Ellis significantly impacted modern psychology; he developed rational emotive behavior therapy in the 1950s – a pioneering form of cognitive therapy.

The foundation of REBT was that emotions are primarily caused by how we perceive the situation, not the situation itself.

When we experience intense negative emotions, irrational thoughts and beliefs fuel our perception.

That distorted perception poisons our minds causing us to suffer more than we need to.

The antidote is thinking rationally.

Albert Ellis explains that we can lower the intensity of negative emotions by being rational.

In other words, you won’t go through life with your emotions going up and down based on the situations. You can keep it stable.

This book encourages you to analyze your thoughts and beliefs just like scientists do with new theories.

They consider various points of view, do experiments, and know that science is constantly evolving. New theories challenge the old ones, and they win if they are more effective in solving problems.

So, we don’t want to be rigid – holding the same beliefs we had since we were kids or teenagers. We want to test the old beliefs, create healthier ones and become more adaptable.

If you think this sounds like a lot of work, you would be right… it is a lot of work.

But believe me; it’s worth it.

How to Think like a Roman Emperor by Donald Robertson

Emperor Hadrian adopted Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus to become his successors.

They received the best education and training Rome had to offer.

Marcus Aurelius went on to rule the empire for 19 years and is known as one of the greatest Roman emperors. He is also the only ruler who approximates Plato’s philosopher king.

Lucius is known as one of the emperors.

The contrast is evident between these two extremely powerful men, but what made the difference?

Well, Marcus Aurelius chose Stoic philosophy as a way of life. He focused on his life’s purpose and steered away from trivial distractions.

On the other hand, Lucius would overindulge in alcohol, sex, and playing games.

He was devoted to pursuing pleasure and had little interest in governing.

At least he didn’t engage in power plays against his adoptive brother.

This book teaches us how to apply the principles of stoicism as Marcus Aurelius did.

It’s a practical combination of advice from ancient philosophy and modern psychology.

You can learn a lot when it comes to building discipline and resilience.

For example, an idea presented in the book was that pain becomes more painful when we struggle against it.

We add another layer to our misery when we try to remove unpleasant feelings.

It’s better to accept the situation and remind ourselves that it will pass.

I found this idea very helpful when my grandma, mother, and I were infected with covid.

Just Listen by Mark Goulston

I love the title; it’s short and straight to the point. Because let’s face it… the world would be a better place if some people would stop talking for a moment and just listen.

By listening, I mean paying attention and understanding why that person feels hurt, sad, or angry.

You know, we tend to make snap judgments and reach conclusions.

We might see someone who is angry all the time and think what a jerk.

But what’s causing his behavior?

Maybe he is stressed because of debt. Maybe one of his family members is very sick.

Maybe he is just a jerk, but we can’t know for sure unless we listen with the goal of understanding.

Mark Goulston also explains how he can stay calm in stressful situations and deal with difficult people.

Charisma Myth by Olivia Cabane

Having charisma can open many doors of opportunity for you. Building relationships, leading a team, and selling ideas or products gets easier.

Considering the benefits, it’s also easy to think that charisma is a special ability some lucky people are born with.

There’s some truth in that. Many people are naturally magnetic, but charisma boils down to communicating in a way through words and body language that attracts people.

It’s all about how they perceive you. So it’s something we can learn, and that’s why I’m recommending this book.

Olivia Cabane has considered every element of charisma and gives us a clear guide to becoming more charismatic.

The Code of Trust by Robin Dreeke

Trust is the currency of business and life. It’s far more valuable than any currency out there.

We buy because we charge the company has created a good product.

We keep our money in the bank because we trust they won’t lose it.

We elect the government because we trust that it will improve our lives.

So, cash does not rule everything around us. It’s trust that does

Robin Dreeke is a former FBI agent who spent 20 years catching spies and even recruiting some to work for the US government.

He explains a simple-to-understand system you can follow to earn people’s trust and build strong relationships.

Just because it’s a simple system doesn’t mean it’s easy to apply because we must suspend our egos and judgments.

Think Again: How to Reason and Argue by Walter Armstrong

Walter Armstrong has taught courses on reason and argument for over 40 years at Dartmouth College.

I picked this book to learn how to reason with difficult people.

I’m talking about people who protect their beliefs as if their life depends on them.

Their thoughts are all over the place, and they try to persuade you by citing people who are unreliable or morons.

To put this simply: how do you reason with people who test the limits of your patience?

Well, I learned that my approach was flawed. For starters, I concluded that I don’t need to listen patiently since their sources are unreliable.

That might be true, but I didn’t understand their view. And for sure, I wasn’t laying the groundwork for a more rational and open discussion.

Second, my goal was to change their beliefs. I didn’t need to do that because we can have different beliefs and still get along.

So, I gained massive value from the first chapters alone.

These lessons might seem basic… Of course, we need to listen patiently and without judgment. Of course, we need to lower the stakes of conversation.

But we tend to get emotionally involved, and it’s not so obvious anymore.

Understanding why we get emotionally involved in the first place helps build patience. Then Walter Armstrong explains thoroughly how to recognize and structure an argument.

Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol

While studying at Cornell University, he served on the 2003 mars exploration rover project operations team. Then he went on to become an award-winning law professor.

He explains the critical thinking and decision-making strategies scientists and business leaders use to solve complex problems.

A key lesson for me was reasoning from the first principles, which means we boil down to fundamental truths and then build up from there.

It helps you approach a challenge in a new light.

Because you don’t limit yourself by thinking about how others deal with that challenge, it forces you to devise an original solution.

For example, Elon Musk used this strategy to cut the rocket’s price.

He analyzed the components, and it turned out that the cost of materials in building the rocket himself was way cheaper than buying it.

So, if you want to improve your decision-making and problem-solving abilities, read this book.

The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris

It is a comprehensive, no-bullshit guide to building confidence.

He shows you the root cause of why people lack confidence and gives you the tools to achieve your goal.

Mastering Fear: A Navy SEAL’s Guide by Brandon Webb

Brandon Webb is a Navvy SEAL who got inspired to write this book after he helped his friend
overcome the fear of swimming.

He explains in detail the concept of gradual exposure to overcome your fears.

It’s a simple yet powerful strategy, and here’s why…

If you get way out of your comfort zone and face your fear, you will feel widely uncomfortable.

Therefore, that might discourage you from trying it again. You rationalize the act of quitting.

But, if you gradually increase the comfort zone, you start getting more confident… you are also
more motivated to continue because you are making progress.

Key lesson: Make fear your ally.

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

The Ultimate Managed Hosting Platform

In 1975, Ray Dalio founded an investment firm, Bridgewater Associates, out of his two-bedroom apartment in New York City.

Forty years later, Bridgewater has made more money for its clients than any other hedge fund.

He shares principles that helped him have this incredible career in this book.

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