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9 best motivational self-help books to help you to make a positive change in 2024

Whatever you want to change, there’s a book to help you do it

best self help books
Katherine Robinson
Katherine RobinsonSenior Lifestyle Editor
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How many self-help books do you have on your bookshelf? Whether you want to calm your anxiety, get a grip on your finances, increase your self-confidence or just change your way of thinking, there’s a book out there to help you do it. 

Do they really help? We spoke to motivational speaker Simon Mundie, who told us: “Sometimes it only takes a few words to change how you view yourself and the world. That’s why well-written self-help books can be the catalyst that transform how you experience life. From advice on improving relationships to managing stress and working in a more efficient and impactful way – they really can help people to make positive changes.”

The best self-help books at a glance

Simon - who has written his own self-help book Champion Thinking: How To Find Success Without Losing Yourself - continues: “No one has all the answers to life’s many challenges, but if you are open to fresh ideas, you can learn valuable insights that can allow you to flourish and also save you time in so many important areas.”

If you swap an hour a day of mindless scrolling of social media for an hour with your nose stuck in one of these great books and we promise you’ll soon see a difference in your mindset. To make it extra easy, we’ve gathered them here in a handy list.

How we chose the top motivational books:

  • Personal recommendations: These are the books that the HELLO! team have read and loved, and used to make positive changes in their own lives.
  • Expert advice: Motivational speaker Simon gave us his top picks to add to our list. Scroll down to find out more about Simon and why you should trust him
  • Reviews: In the rare case that we haven’t read the book ourselves, we only included books that received a high number of positive reviews from verified shoppers.
  • Variety: We tried to cover as many topics as possible, so whether you want a book to help banish imposter syndrome, master life’s difficult lessons or improve your focus, you’ll be catered for.
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear

    Atomic Habits by James Clear

    The big book of small changes

    Why we love it

    “A very easy read, this self-help book is a fantastic choice for anyone seeking to enhance productivity without a clear starting point. It is filled with scientific insights and outlines steps to make incremental 1% improvements in various aspects of your life. Ideal for those passionate about self-help and a great guide to initiate progress in personal development.”

    Andrea Alvarada, HELLO! Digital Marketing Executive

    Atomic Habits has sold over three million copies since its release in 2018 and at the time of writing was the number one best-selling self-help book on Amazon, where it has over 152k positive reviews. It’s a safe bet for anyone wanting a self-help book to help them improve their lives by starting with small, doable changes.

  • The Confidence Gap by Dr Russ Harris

    The Confidence Gap by Dr Russ Harris

    The best book to banish imposter syndrome

    Why we love it

    "Have you ever experienced ‘imposter syndrome’? Having given numerous talks on the subject, I am yet to meet someone who hasn’t. That’s because uncomfortable feelings and doubting thoughts are part of the human experience. They are completely normal, it is our resistance to them that makes them problematic. 

    "Dr Harris introduces a proven counter-intuitive method to embrace our inner experience, and thrive regardless of what the voice in our head happens to be saying."

    Simon Mundie, motivational speaker and author

    If you’re looking for a book to help you build self confidence, The confidence Gap, written by therapist, coach and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) trainer Dr Russ Harris, can help. He shares the practical tools and strategies he’s used to help so many people to gain long-lasting confidence, identify their passions and create a more fulfilling life.

  • I May Be Wrong by Björn Natthiko Lindeblad

    I May Be Wrong by Björn Natthiko Lindeblad

    Wise teachings and learnings from a forest monk

    Why we love it

    "I May Be Wrong by Björn Natthiko Lindeblad was probably the best book I read last year. Everybody walking on this planet might have certain ideas about how their life is going to turn out, but regardless of your belief system – or lack thereof – it rarely turns out the way we plan. Björn's words taught me to question everything I thought I already knew, and how to accept things we simply cannot control. 

    "While I'm not planning on escaping to the jungles of Thailand and becoming a forest monk anytime soon, reading about Björn's experiences was captivating beyond measure. The wisdom he imparts from his learnings and journey through Buddhist education is profound and would serve anybody in any walk of life enormously. Everybody should read this book."

    Francesca Shillcock, HELLO! Senior Features Writer

    This book, penned by Swedish former forest monk Björn Natthiko Lindeblad is a favourite of Fearne Cotton, who says it brought her much “joy and comfort”. Björn shares his advice on how to face the uncertainty and doubt that is a natural part of life, with the premise that we don't choose our thoughts or what pops into our minds but we can choose whether or not to believe them.

  • Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

    Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

    The life-saving book about what it means to be truly alive

    Why we love it

    “I was going through a depressive episode in my life when the blunt title caught me in a book store and I'm so glad I decided to pick it up. The easily digestible book made me feel a lot more secure as I battled through my own depression, Often platitudes of support from friends are nice, but don't really get to the nub of anything, whereas with this I was able to associate with the stories being told and was able to feel less like a failure when it came to things like wasting a day in a stupor, realising this was normal for people like me.

    “While I have only read the book the one time, whenever I move around, I always make sure that I have it close to me, just in case I'm in the position again that I need to be reminded why to stay alive.”

    Matthew Moore, HELLO! Online News Writer

    A Sunday Times Bestseller loved by both Joanna Lumley and Stephen Fry, Matt Haig’s memoir is an manual of how to live better, love better and generally just make the most of your time on earth.

  • What Does It Matter?: Live with Less Stress and More Joy By Emma Pears

    What Does It Matter?: Live with Less Stress and More Joy By Emma Pears

    The ultimate book for living with less stress and more joy

    Why we love it

    "If you're on the hunt for peace, to shush your inner critic and you want to stop sweating the small stuff, this book is the one you need to pick up. It will change your life forever if you do the work that's required. I'm not quite 'there' yet, but I think with time I might be. It's the ultimate book teaching us what we know deep down, that life is for living and not stressing." 

    Leanne Bayley, HELLO! Lifestyle and Commerce Director

    Think of Emma Pears as like a UK-based Mel Robbins, she's an in-demand public speaker and she wants people to live with less stress and more joy. With this book, she introduces us all to the WDIM framework, which is not too dis-similar to Mel Robbins' Let Them Theory. Emma wants you to ask yourself "What does it matter?" and have the courage to act on your answer.

  • Deep Work by Professor Cal Newport

    Deep Work by Professor Cal Newport

    The self help book that will help you achieve more in less time

    Why we love it

    “In this age of digital distraction, the ability to focus for extended periods and produce work of genuine value and quality can undoubtedly set you apart. This outstanding book from Professor Cal Newport shows that developing your ability to do ‘deep work’ not only allows you to flourish professionally, it can also make you happier and less anxious.”

    Simon Mundie, motivational speaker and author

    Deep Work has sold over 1 million copies and has over 30k positive reviews on Amazon. To put it simply - it aims to help you get better at what you do, achieve more in less time and sharpen your vision. There are some surprising suggestions too - that you should practice being bored and that most serious professionals should quid social media.

  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

    The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

    The ultimate guide to living in the moment

    Why we love it

    "This masterpiece has topped the charts for over a decade now, and for good reason. Tolle shows that the only time we ever actually experience is now, even as much of the stress we experience is created by thoughts about past and future. By recognising that thoughts aren’t facts, and that the voice in our head isn’t who we fundamentally are, we can experience an enlightened way of being."

    Simon Mundie, motivational speaker and author

    Don’t be put off by the fact this book was published two decades ago - it’s couldn't be more relevant today, in fact Oprah keeps a copy by her bed and at the time of writing, it was the number one best seller in Amazon’s spiritualist category. It has over 58k positive ratings and counting.

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

    The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

    The raw and honest self help book that’ll help you get grounded

    Why we love it

    "Everything about this book just clicked with me. I found it so easy to read, and was nodding along all the way - everything just made perfect sense. I’m all about positive thinking, but the message that sometimes you just need to be honest that “sh*t is f*cked and we have to live with it” really resonated with me. 

    "This is a great book for anyone who wants to learn how to embrace their fears and faults as well as confronting painful truths. Once you get to the end you really realise that there are only so many things you can give a f*ck about, so you need to figure out which ones really matter.”

    Katherine Robinson, HELLO! Senior Lifestyle Editor

    This generation-defining New York Times bestseller has a whopping 145k positive reviews on Amazon, where it’s seldom out of the top 20 most bought books across all categories. It’s sold over 6 million copies.

  • The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit by Mel Robbins

    The High 5 Habit: Take Control of Your Life with One Simple Habit by Mel Robbins

    The manual for making believing in yourself a daily habit

    Why we love it

    "I know Mel Robbins is uber famous these days thanks to her podcast and her viral posts on social media, but I've been a part of the fan club for a long long time. I am one of the devoted listeners of The Mel Robbins podcast and have read all of her books. Do I have my sh*t together? Absolutely not. But I think knowing stuff helps, and I do try to put into practice some of the lessons I've learnt along the way."

    "In The High 5 Habit, this is a manual if you've lost some of your spark. Mel teaches you how to start high fiving the most important person in your life, the one who is staring back at you in the mirror: YOURSELF." Leanne Bayley, HELLO!

    Using her science-backed knowledge, personal stories and the real-life results that The High 5 Habit is creating in people's lives around the world (and you'll meet a lot of them throughout this book), Mel Robbins will teach you how to make believing in yourself a daily habit so that you can operate with the confidence that your goals and dreams demand.

    If you're looking to change your attitude, your mindset and your behaviour, you might want to consider this book.

Meet the expert

Champion Thinking by Simon Mundie

Simon Mundie is the author of Champion Thinking: How To Find Success Without Losing Yourself. He also hosts The Life Lessons Podcast, and is a motivational speaker and renowned broadcaster, including for BBC Radio and television. In his new book, he lays out eight important lessons for achieving success that he's learnt from the sports legends he's crossed paths with. "Drawing on interviews I’ve done on The Life Lessons Podcast with many of the world’s sporting champions, psychologists, philosophers and scientists, I explore what sport can teach us about life and how best to live it," he says of what readers can expect to find in the book

"While ‘success’ and winning can be underwhelming, the experience of being in flow is inherently enjoyable. Why is that? Because as thoughts about past and future disappear, so does our sense of ‘self’. And we love it when that happens! The implication of this is that we are looking in the wrong direction for lasting peace and fulfilment; the joy we are looking for is actually so close, we tend to overlook it. I point to where it can be found."

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