Podcasts & Books

We Read These Self Help Books So You Don’t Have To

By Phoebe Grealy - 26 Mar 2016

best self help books 2016

Do you want to be an amazing cook, but also be thin? And have the tech genius of Zuckerberg but the emotional depth of Oprah? And own a beautiful house, but also be happy without material things? Us too. And while there are numerous experts out there ready to share their life hacks, actually reading all the self help books is kinda time consuming.

So, we’ve put together this summary of 12 trending self help books so you can ace your goals on the double.

#1 The Happiness Project | Gretchen Rubin

Gretchen Rubin, a New Yorker and former lawyer wrote The Happiness Project as a way to identify the things that actually make her happy, with the goal of adding them into her everyday. Each month she experiments with different options including learning to drive, joining a book club and kissing her children more. The outcome? She says don’t bother copying her; happiness is very very personal. While she likes nice smelling things and children’s book clubs—you'll need to find your own.

#2 Lean In: Women, Work And The Will To Lead | Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg, a high-ranking Facebook CEO with shiny hair and a big ole brain, created a movement when she invited a generation of women to sit at the table, put their hand up, and lean in so damn hard they damn near fell over. A handy, empowering guide to climbing the corporate jungle gym, Lean In expounds the potential perils of the mentor/mentee relationship (shit can get clingy), the importance of the right husband (knows how to stack a dishwasher), and the salary-enhancing power of not leaving before you leave.

#3 The Life-Changing Magic of Cleaning Up | Marie Kondo

Japanese lover of cleanliness, Marie Kondo, has become so influential she is now a verb: ‘I Kondo’d my house on the weekend’ = ‘I spring cleaned the crap out of my house and threw out 90% of my belongings’. Kondo has worked with thousands of clients from fully-fledged hoarders to the slightly untidy to help them organise their houses into peaceful oases of organisation. The trick according to The Life-Changing Magic of Cleaning Up? Don’t ask yourself if you ‘need’ a particular belonging, ask yourself if it ‘brings you joy’. If it doesn’t, throw it out on the double... but don’t forget to give it a quick hug first.

#4 French Women Don’t Get Fat | Mireille Guiliano

French woman Mireille Guilano moved from Paris to America as a teenager to attend college. Lo and behold, she immediately packed on the kilograms. This confused her because her French life was filled with rich cheeses and wine and dessert. Why the difference? In a nutshell, French Women Don't Get Fat argues that the French are taught to sit, savour and love high quality food and to never, ever go back for seconds #qualityoverquantity. And, when in doubt/feeling fat, you can always do a quick leek soup cleanse. Et voila!

#5 The 4-Hour Body | Tim Ferriss

Get thinner, build muscle, have better orgasms—all in record time. Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Body takes us through hacks to achieve all of these in a mind-boggling four hours. He's also written The 4-Hour Work Week and The 4-Hour Chef. #lifegoals

#6 Daring Greatly | Brene Brown

TED Talk darling, and vulnerability cheerleader, Brene Brown has a unique take what it means to be courageous, and suggests ditching the tough guy act in favour of embracing failure and your own inner scaredy cat, with life affirming results. Daring Greatly touched a nerve when it suggested—gasp—we might be eating our feels, kids aren’t perfect, and companies could stand to gain from letting staff admit when they have no clue what’s going on. This is a world we can get on board with.  

#7 How To Win Friends And Influence People | Dale Carnegie

The original self help guru, Dale Carnegie wrote his gem How To Win Friends And Influence People way back in 1936. But, his ideas have never been more relevant.  His advice to smile, listen properly, not criticise or complain and admit when you’re wrong may seem like common sense, but in the age of intrusive iPhones and internet trolling, maybe it’s time to revisit the classic?

#8 The Power of Habit | Charles Duhigg

Ever wonder why you drink a coffee at the same every day or continue to smoke even though it’s deathly and expensive and you actually want to quit? New York Times writer Charles Duhigg's The Power Of Habit explains why we can become beholden to our habits. But breaking habits and making good new ones is possible. He shows us the secrets to turning even the most tightly held habit on its head.

#10 The Life-Changing Magic Of Not Giving A Fuck | Sarah Knight

Would you rather do anything other than go to that heinous family lunch or catch up with your high school frenemies? Sarah Knight literally says fuck it. The Life Changing Magic Of Not Giving A Fuck is the manual for mental decluttering and giving your fucks only to the people and activities that actually make you happy. Amen sista.

#11 The Miracle Of Mindfulness | Thich Nhat Hanh

Revered Vietnamese monk, Thich Nhat Hanh’s book The Miracle Of Mindfulness was actually written as a letter/pep talk to a fellow monk during World War II. Luckily for generations of peace-loving folk, it was eventually published because the lessons are an education in simplicity and peace. Thich Nhat Hanh’s main message? We are all connected to each other, so if you are nice to others you are also really being nice to yourself. If you’re a jerk to others, you’re also hurting yourself. Something to think about that next time you’re in peak hour traffic. 

#12 Living Thin | Antonia Magee

Do you find yourself stuck in a financial paycheck-to-paycheck rut? Living Thin is all about putting your finances on a diet. This book follows ‘Maggie Rose’ a Melbourne-based journalist who, despite earning a good wage, found herself in dire financial trouble: more than $5000 in credit card debt and out on her arse after missing the rent one too many times. We watch Maggie's evolution as she grapples with saying goodbye to weekly blow drys, cocktails and breakfasts out as she claws her way out of her mess. Read this if you need a financial kick up the butt.

Looking for more good stuff to read? Check out our article Page Turners | The Best Holiday Reads!

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