This Is NOT Your Typical List of Self-Help Books.
If you’re an avid reader of self-help books, the titles in this list of books might be rather unexpected.
However, you should never judge a book by its cover.
A book doesn’t have to be on a shelf labeled self-help, personal development, or self-improvement to deliver the best advice on how to tackle the challenges in your life, right?
As self-help is such a wide subject, when selecting the books in this list we focused on a very narrow subject.
TIME. How we use it, abuse it, and what happens when we feel we don’t have enough of it, and how our reasoning is impacted by this perception (hint: Daniel Kahneman says it’s negatively impacted beyond your wildest imagination. And he proves it. He must be right. He’s not a Nobel Prize for nothing.)
Our personal development is largely impacted by how we perceive time.
The first 5 books in this list will show you WHY you need to slow down, WHAT you need to do, and some practical advice on HOW to do it. Something to reflect upon when you’re lying on the beach (instead of thinking about that work email you weren’t supposed to read because you’ve promised yourself to really really disconnect).
The last book on our list of self-help books has been selected for you to get a taste of how it feels when you slow down, take your time and enjoy the moment.
Even if not labeled as such, these might be some of the best personal development books we have read lately.
A List of Self-Help Books to Help You Grow
by Alain de Botton
Alain de Botton combines two unlikely genres–literary biography and self-help–in the hilarious and unexpectedly practical How Proust Can Change Your Life. Read it on Amazon
Why I read it: Because of what Proust evokes: leisurely feelings of vacationing in a warm, colorful, and incredibly full of fragrances Provence, on one hand. On the other hand, the incredibly (again) painful experience of reading through the original book – Proust managed to put 192 words in one phrase.
Alain de Botton’s book style has nothing to do with Proust writing. It’s funny and upbeat. It’s full of wisdom and a pleasure to read.
Why I put it on the self-help books shelf: Because it inspires us to find beauty in the small things of every day’s life. And, to slow down.
by Yuval Noah Harari
From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human”. Read it on Amazon
Why I read it: Because of the reviews. Not always a good idea, but in this case, it was totally worth it.
Why I put it on the self-help books shelf: Because it puts our own lives in a larger context and it helps us gain perspective.
by Daniel Kahneman
The winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics takes us on a tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think: System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. You wouldn’t expect this to be a personal development book (not in the sense of a self-help book, for sure), but the insights this book gives you on the way you think you think will make you stop and reflect a little more next time when you are faced with an important decision Read it on Amazon
Why I read it: Because of the title. Thinking fast is desired in this fast moving world we’re living in, but why thinking slow could bring anything good? The answer is in the book.
Why I put it on the self-help books shelf: Because it helps to understand the advantages of reasoning with the right tools. The gut feeling may be good, but not always. The proof is in the pudding.
by Daniel J. Levitin
The information age is drowning us with an unprecedented deluge of data. At the same time, we’re expected to make more—and faster—decisions about our lives than ever before. Read it on Amazon
Why I read it: Most of the times, a catchy title is nothing more than a successful marketing ploy. But not in this case.
Why I put it on the self-help books shelf: The author uses brain science to give you practical advice. It may be tiny things like how to organize your homes, workplaces, and time, but, by applying his advice, you’ll realize that all of the sudden you have a lot more energy and time to do the things that matter.
The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal
by Jim Loehr, Tony Schwartz
We live in a digital era. Our pace is rushed, rapid-fire, and relentless. Facing crushing workloads, we try to cram as much as possible into every day. We’re wired up, but we’re melting down. Time management is no longer a viable solution. Read it on Amazon
Why I read it: Because I was looking for a better way to manage my time.
Why I put it on the self-help books shelf: Improving the way we manage our time and energy should be part of our personal development plans. So, maybe, this book really belongs to the self-help books category.
by Jonas Jonasson
A reluctant centenarian much like Forrest Gump (if Gump were an explosives expert with a fondness for vodka) decides it’s not too late to start over . . . Read it on Amazon
Why I read it: A friend said she couldn’t stop laughing while reading it. I know, curiosity killed the cat. Not this time.
Why I put it on the self-help books shelf: It’s never too late to start a new chapter of your life. And, fully enjoy it. Plus, it’s a fun way to learn history (even though the historical events happened and the historical characters are real, the author has a hysterically funny way to retell what happened.)
They might not be the best personal development books ever written, but they will surely make you stop and think. And if you start questioning your assumptions, it means we reached our objective.
What would you add to the list? What was the one book that left a lasting mark on you, on the way you see the world? A book that helped you without being in the most famous self-help books list.