Podcasts & Books

10 Self-Help Books Worth Reading So You Can Level Up This Year

By Jessica Best
10th May 2021

collage of self help books

Here’s the thing, self-help books have a bad rap. While previous rut-ending books have been packed out with hundreds upon hundreds of pages of incomprehensible life advice (like waking up at 5am every morning—no thank you) and vague quotes like “life is like a river”, the good news is that there’s a new and improved generation of humans making self-help books well, cool again.

In this economy, self-help can look like a lot of things and the epic books we’ve found span everything from helping you evaluate what your own personal success looks like to just helping you “un-cook” yourself from the fireballs that life can peg your way.

Read on for the most useful self-help books around.

The Success Experiment

By Lillian Ahenkan

We’re not the type of people to take advice from just anyone but hey, if it’s Lillian Ahenkan (also known as Flex Mami), we’ll take out our Airpods and tune in to what she has to say. The Success Experiment been described as a “no-bullshit guide to life” and it may or may not be the only book you seriously need to pay attention to throughout your 20s. As one of the best self help books of 2021, this read is basically a blueprint, a basic formula, in which you can use to actually create your own personal success and it tackles the idea that your life can really change should you shift your goals to align with what would actually make you light up inside rather than feel just easy or achievable. This one doesn’t actually drop until 1 June 2021 (you’re welcome for the heads up) but you can pre-order a signed copy right here.

Un-Cook Yourself

By Nats What I Reckon

We’re calling it the tastiest self-help book of this generation. If you haven’t heard of Nats What I Reckon, get off your high horse and into his hilarious videos which are simultaneously reducing us from using packet sauces and taking life too seriously. The whole read is basically packed with nine no-nonsense rules of life which can be applied to every facet of your very own life, be it work, family, relationships or your own self-development. Regardless of what you take away from Un-Cook Yourself, you’ll definitely be laughing.

Burnout: Solve Your Stress Cycle

By Emily and Amelia Nagoski

Those of you who are out on the edge of burnout or potentially deep within it—this book is the gold-standard for life. Mixed with science, wit and actual coping strategies you can apply on the daily. While obviously anyone can experience burnout, this particular read delves into why women experience burnout differently from men and shares ways in which females can minimise stress and manage emotions. There’s some super solid insight into biological stress cycles, how to monitor the parts in your brain that regulate emotion and frustration and why rest and befriending your inner critic is the key to preventing burnout.

A Drag Queen’s Guide To Life

By Bimini Bon Boulash

Tell us you’ve watched Ru Paul’s Drag Race without telling us you’ve watched Ru Paul’s Drag Race—because if this self-help book isn’t already under your crown, you’re missing out. Bimini is a complete sweetheart wearing her heart on her sleeve and always working on the “positive attitude”. Telling the story of how drag took her from the brink of self-destruction to the mainstage, as well as life lessons drawing on convention-breaking icons from Kate Moss to Katie Price, in this book Bimini uses all her wit, charm and kindness to show us how to lead the lives we wish we could, through the life-changing magic of dragging up. This one is dropping 2 November 2021 but you can preorder A Drag Queen’s Guide To Life right here.

Leap To Wholeness

By Sky Nelson-Isaccs

Brace yourself for the question on which Leap To Wholeness is bound by—how do you get something out of nothing? While it may seem out of place for a physics educator like Sky Nelson-Isaacs to be whipping out one of the best self-help books of all time, it’s actually just the read that could help you find your bigger purpose in life (big call, we know). This book has been dubbed a “survival manual for humans” and checks you, yep little ol’ you, on how you might be filtering out many other parts of life. The basic idea is that this self-help book will help you create something out of nothing with your life, by the very things you’re not doing and not seeing.

Working Hard, Hardly Working

By Grace Beverley

Enter the bible to achieving more, stressing less and feeling more fulfilled. We all know the pressure of feeling like we should be grinding 24/7 while simultaneously being told that we should “just relax” and take care of ourselves like we somehow have to decide between success and sanity. In Working Hard, Hardly Working, the self-proclaimed “lazy workaholic” Grace Beverley challenges this unrealistic and unnecessary split, and offers a fresh take on how to create your own balance and be more productive. We love this one because it actually gives you ways to identify how you can work smarter and do more of what you love, create your own productivity method, make your routine actually work for you and engage in your own self-care.

Good Vibes, Good Life: How Self-Love Is The Key To Unlocking Your Greatness

By Vex King

Think of this beauty as your daily handbook to get out of low motivation slumps and overwhelming times. Full of inspiring quotes, Good Vibes, Good Life is easily another one that's up there with the best self-help books of all time, aimed at transforming negative emotions into positive ones, developing self-love, mind mastery, goal setting, and finding a deeper purpose in your own life, so you can do way more of what you actually want to be doing. While this book edges on the fringes of a spirituality self-help book, it’s super easy to read and provides practical solutions you can kick off right away.

You Are A Badass

By Jen Sincero

In this refreshingly entertaining how-to guide, bestselling author and world-travelling success coach, Jen Sincero, serves up 27 bite-sized chapters (ready to fill your morning commute with a dose of inspiration) full of hilariously inspiring stories, sage advice, easy exercises, and the occasional swear word. In turn, it’s all laid out to help you identify and change the self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviours that stop you from getting what you want.

You’re Not Broke, You’re Pre-Rich

By Emilie Bellet

If you ask us, this read still stands as one of the best self-help books of 2021 (even though it dropped a while back). Sink your mitts into this modern-day money manifesto stat. You’re Not Broke, You’re Pre-Rich is the handy little life hack that will absolutely annihilate your brain cells (in a good way) on all things to do with renting, buying a home, getting a better salary, managing a credit card, understanding your net worth, saving more money, living within your budget, building a pension, investing and paying off any accumulated debt (we’re looking at you HECS). This gem is easy to read, even while you’re working your sweet time through Netflix.

7 Habits Of Highly Effective People

By Stephen R. Covey

We get it. You’ve heard about this one too many times in casual conversation or on an awkward Bumble date but rest assured, she isn’t underrated and there's a reason she goes down as one of the absolute best self-help books of all time. Just like how Frank Ocean’s Blonde is a stone’s throw from any passionate artist, 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People is more or less a designated rulebook to living out your best career worth having within arm’s reach. Or at least somewhere on your bookshelf. Written back in 1989 (your favourite Handmaid’s Tale first saw the light back in 1985 before you pass any judgement), this worldwide best-seller has made its mark across cultures. It’s made up of a juicy 432 pages which have influenced presidents, CEOs, educators and individuals to not only up their career game but live out their lives with integrity, dignity and success in all areas.

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