Self-help books give you the opportunity to learn from those who were in a challenging situation and made it out stronger and wiser.
This list is dedicated to all women as recommended by 18 experts.
The most recommended book is The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz.
Table of Contents
- The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom – Don Miguel Ruiz
- Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine – Mike Michalowicz
- Becoming – Michelle Obama
- The Confident Woman Devotional: 365 Daily Inspirations – Joyce Meyer
- Healthy Made Easy: The Ultimate Wellness Guide for Busy Moms – Dr. Lisa Folden
- The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom – Don Miguel Ruiz
- The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
- The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life – Rosamund Stone Zander, Benjamin Zander
- The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You – Elaine N. Aron
- StrengthsFinder 2.0 – Tom Rath
- Keep Your Spirits Up: A Simple Guide to Lift Your Vibes Sky-High Without Struggle or Pain – Michelle Paisley Reed
- “Yoga for Beginners: A Simple Guide to the Best Yoga Styles and Exercises for Relaxation, Stretching, and Good Health – Ntathu Allen
- Manifesting Miracles and Money: How to Achieve Peace, Purpose and Plenty Without Getting in Your Own Way – Michelle Paisley Reed
- 50 After 50–Reframing the Next Chapter of Your Life – Maria Leonard Olsen
- The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom – Don Miguel Ruiz
- Light Is the New Black: A Guide to Answering Your Soul’s Callings and Working Your Light – Rebecca Campbell
- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead – Sheryl Sandberg
- The Gift of Fear – Gavin de Becker
- The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment – Eckhart Tolle
- The Fool No Longer – Eileen M. Kerr
- Girl Seeks Life: A Guide to Understanding Yourself – Laura Bannerman
- Beauty Redefined – Seline Shenoy
- Family Is Not Everything: How To Minimize Their Mess, Maximize Your Happiness and Enjoy Emotional Baggage Breakthroughs – Anita Washington
- The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success – Megan McArdle
- The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
- Difficult Mothers, Adult Daughters: A Guide For Separation, Liberation & Inspiration – Karen C.L. Anderson
- Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It – Kamal Ravikant
- Women & Money – Suze Orman
- Mastering Fear: A Navy SEAL’s Guide – Brandon Webb
- Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers – Lois Frankel
- Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth – Laurie Buchanan PhD
- The Business of Being: Soul Purpose In and Out of the Workplace – Laurie Buchanan PhD
- Heart Healing: The Power of Forgiveness to Heal a Broken Heart – Susyn Reeve
- The Inspired Life: Unleashing Your Mind’s Capacity for Joy – Susyn Reeve
- The Wholehearted Life: Big Changes and Greater Happiness Week by Week – Susyn Reeve
- The C.A.S.H. Formula: A Successful Path to Achieving Wealth – WenFang Bruchett
- Difficult Conversations Just for Women: Kill the Anxiety. Get What You Want – Sofia Santiago
- Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship – Mira Kirshenbaum
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) – Marie Kondō
- Succeed Because of What You’ve Been Through – Rhonda Sciortino
- Successful Survivors: The 8 Character Traits of Survivors and How You Can Attain Them – Rhonda Sciortino
- How to Get to Awesome: 101 Ways to Find Your Best Self (Little Book. Big Idea.) – Rhonda Sciortino
Dr. Lisa Nichole Folden, DPT
Licensed Physical Therapist | Owner, Healthy Phit Physical Therapy & Wellness Consultants
This book totally changed my outlook on life, literally.
I won’t spoil it but just know that the four concepts the author presents will have you restructuring how you interact with others and how you treat yourself.
An awesome, quick read and a FAVORITE in our book club!
Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine – Mike Michalowicz
This book is not SPECIFICALLY for women but it is a powerful resource for business owners!
One of the best books I read in 2018 with so many fundamental tips for running a successful business!
Full disclosure…I haven’t finished this book yet but so far, it is amazing.
Talk about learning about the process of womanhood from the point of view of the former FLOTUS. Inspiring and motivational are understatements.
This a GREAT devotional for women to reignite or kick start their TRUE confidence.
Scriptures, positive meditations, and affirmations make this book a winner. If you’re seeking inspiration in the areas of self-love, self-care, and self-esteem, this book is a must!
This book is all about giving busy moms the tools they need for successfully managing fitness and wellness with the never-ending demands of motherhood.
From meal prepping tips to workouts on-the-go at the playground, this book has it all! I’ve read it multiple times…oh and I wrote it too.
Freelance Writer, By Amanda Zack
This book changed my life. Arguably, all of the books I’ve listed below have done so — but this book actually changed the way I see life.
Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, it taught me how to live more authentically and how to take responsibility for my thoughts, actions, and words.
This book actually found me when I needed it the most, tucked away in a little juice bar where I flipped a few pages. I bought it on Amazon that day and I truly believe that this book is one of the most powerful books to think and meditate on.
That’s why I always go back to my four agreements with myself: Am I being impeccable with my word? Am I taking this personally? Am I making assumptions? Am I doing my best?
What I loved about The Alchemist that is different from other self-help books is that it’s a narrative — it tells the story of a boy who travels great distances to find a treasure.
Along the way, he meets different people who contribute to his journey and he learns the value in slowing down, waiting, and acting only when the time is right.
He explores himself — his dreams, his hopes, his ability to love — and learns more than he ever would have if he didn’t pursue his dream (despite the fact that his dream shifts throughout the journey).
Coelho is a fantastic storyteller and I loved being able to dive into a fiction world, while still getting the self-help messages of typically non-fiction books.
Related: Best Paulo Coelho Books
The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life – Rosamund Stone Zander, Benjamin Zander
This book opens your eyes to the possibility of the world, stripping the false constructs that we create for ourselves.
It teaches how to look past other people’s judgment and strive only for yourself, where everything is possible.
It’s beautifully written by a husband and wife, with an ongoing theme of music and how it flows (Ben is a conductor for the Boston Philharmonic). I recommend this book.
This is a MUST READ for anyone who considers themselves highly sensitive, easily overwhelmed, or even introverted.
Read related article: Best Books for Introverts
It provides an explanation of what it means to be highly sensitive (based on scientific facts), which showed me that it’s not an inherently “bad” trait — it’s just a biological difference in nervous systems.
Not only did it help me to better understand myself and how to thrive in such a stimulating world, but it also helped me to explain my thoughts and feelings to my not-so-sensitive friends and family members.
A long time ago, one of my bosses told me to get this book and complete the test that comes with it.
Each book comes with a key code to use with their online personality test component. Start by taking the test and getting the results — they will give you your top 5 strengths.
In the book, they outline each strength along with actionable ways to take advantage of what makes you unique.
When reading my traits, I couldn’t believe how accurate they were — not only did it make me feel recognized and understood, but it also taught me how to focus on my strengths in life and how they propel me forward, as opposed to always looking to my weaknesses and how they hold me back.
Blog Manager, TCK Publishing
Keep Your Spirits Up: A Simple Guide to Lift Your Vibes Sky-High Without Struggle or Pain – Michelle Paisley Reed
Your body, your Universe are always in a mode of expansion, why wouldn’t your soul be the same way?
From bestselling author Michelle Paisley Reed, “Keep Your Spirits Up” gives readers a profound inspiration and a vibrational “boost” to magnetize dramatic transformation.
You will start to notice the changes in your life the moment you start reading this book, as it isn’t the type of book you need to finish completely to see the results coming in.
“Yoga for Beginners: A Simple Guide to the Best Yoga Styles and Exercises for Relaxation, Stretching, and Good Health – Ntathu Allen
As life goes on, we often find ourselves trying to meet the needs of other people. Making sure they are happy and fulfilled, especially as wives, mothers, and bosses.
Need some time for yourself and a way to unwind? Then Nthathu Allen’s “Yoga for Beginners” book is for you. The perfect way to instantly relax, clear your mind and energize your body.
Manifesting Miracles and Money: How to Achieve Peace, Purpose and Plenty Without Getting in Your Own Way – Michelle Paisley Reed
If you think you are stuck in life, this is the perfect book for you.
Michelle Paisley Reed not only tells you what has been holding you back, but she gives you a plan to take control of your life also. It’s all about having a giving attitude when it comes to Reed’s take on things, which you will come to love.
Civil Litigation Attorney
This book helps women reignite their lives.
It is about self-care, overcoming setbacks, learning to love one’s self and stretching one’s comfort zone.
Specific ways of becoming the best version of yourself are included. Because time is the one thing we cannot buy, learn how to use it with intention.
Toltec shaman provides simple, yet effective, advice on how to live a life of less pain.
Readers learn how and why we should not take things personally. We all have differing realities. This wise book helps us live in the now.
President, Empowered Public Relations
Light Is the New Black: A Guide to Answering Your Soul’s Callings and Working Your Light – Rebecca Campbell
I love the book, “Light is the New Black” by Rebecca Campbell. Rebecca has formatted the book with has quotes and easy to read text that inspires on every page.
A favorite quote, “A lighthouse doesn’t go around chasing ships, it just stands there, shining”. The book provides reminders that when we light ourselves up through self-care and by doing work we love, we light up the world. It’s an incredibly positive book without being too “self-help heavy” or “pie in the sky”.
It’s an incredibly easy read that reminds us to “work your light” on every page.
Founder and CEO, Kapwing
I really enjoyed and was inspired by LeanIn. I read LeadIn as a college senior, and it changed the way that I started my career and saw myself professionally.
It talks about the common roadblocks women face in the workplace, how to think about work-life balance in the early stages of your career, and best practices for approaching societal gender expectations at work.
I found the book very actionable, optimistic and inspiring, and it’s made me a happier employee and now CEO.
Divorce and Family Law Attorney, Konstun Law
For years, I have kept a stack of The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker to give to my divorce and family law clients and to women I encounter who I believe will benefit from this book.
At its core, this book empowers women to trust their instincts in making threat assessments and acting to keep themselves safe – but in my experience and observation, the concepts and tools taught in this book boost women’s confidence and power across the board.
One of my favorite lines? No. is a complete sentence.
Coach | Mentor, Tranquility Soul Spa
I first read this book back in the 90’s when it was first published, and I wasn’t ready for it, so I ignored most of the advice.
Fast forward to 2 years ago, and I found it at a thrift shop. I had heard a few other women raving about it, so I picked it up. I was blown away. So much so, that it’s practically required reading for my clients!
I really resonated with the entire philosophy he was laying out for the reader. He totally speaks to me now, and I can’t praise this book enough.
The idea of slowing down, and living in the now, instead of the past or the future, is sound advice that cannot be overlooked.
In our busy world, being able to stop and relax into things is a huge advantage, and he gives us the key to that ability.
Marketing Manager, Austin Macauley Publishers
Developed through the authors personal misfortunes on the dating scene, Fool No Longer is a general guide book for woman who want to avoid certain pit falls that she experienced in previous, ill-fated relationships.
Told through the use of humor, Eileen create a stereotype that most woman will recognize: Mr. Mummy’s Boy, Mr. Scrooge, Mr. Womaniser and hopes to help them avoid staying in these toxic relationships so that they can finally find Mr. Right!
This is a guide book for woman who are transitioning from their awkward teenage years into a confident, fulfilled woman.
The book outlines common mistakes, fears, desires and dream of many during this confusing and conflicting time of life. This is particularly poignant in a sociality who view superficial and often unattainable beauty standards as being more valuable to young woman than being intelligent and authentic.
A great confidence booster to any young woman struggling with their self-worth.
Beauty Redefined explores this critical issue by looking at beauty from a cultural, biological and historical perspective and provides solutions on what we can do on a collective and individual level to redefine what it means to be a beautiful woman.
By reading this book, you’ll be convinced that your voice matters and you’ll feel empowered to make your own unique mark in the world, no matter what your size, shape, colour or ethnic background is.
You’ll learn how to love yourself (warts and all!) and embrace every unique aspect of your being and use it to make the world a better place.
Family Is Not Everything: How To Minimize Their Mess, Maximize Your Happiness and Enjoy Emotional Baggage Breakthroughs – Anita Washington
It includes not only the trauma stories you can relate to but also the seven steps to help you heal emotionally.
This book maps out a pathway to emotional healing with lessons to learn, affirmations, techniques and activities designed to help women boldly go beyond their comfort zone and create a life true to their own personality, spirit, and character.
Reading this book is sure to empower you to find your voice and speak your truth.
Health and Wellness Expert, Maple Holistics
In this book, Meghan McArdle addresses the reality of failing and just how normal it actually is.
McArdle discusses advice from all sorts of professionals about how to deal with failures and grow from them. For any woman who’s feeling down on her luck or discouraged, this book is just the thing to reignite a spark to motivate you to succeed.
Oftentimes when we’re in a rut, it’s because we are experiencing a lack of happiness.
Gretchen Rubin’s own search for happiness led to this book, which will entertain readers and encourage them to find their own happiness.
Women should read this book in order to discover how happiness is achieved differently for everyone, from the possession of material goods to organization to challenges.
Life Coach | Author
Difficult Mothers, Adult Daughters: A Guide For Separation, Liberation & Inspiration – Karen C.L. Anderson
What makes it a great book for women is that all of them have mothers and even if their relationship isn’t difficult, all mother-daughter relationships can benefit from healthy boundaries and more self-awareness.
In it I invite readers to come with me on a journey to explore, understand, heal, and make themselves and their maternal lineages whole and to explore how and why difficult mother-daughter relationships are a feminist issue.
This book is short, and effective. Kamal wrote what worked in saving himself from a crisis.
It has helped hundreds of thousands of people through his simple message, “I love myself.” It’s meant to get right to the core.
I used this book often after the 2008 market crash when I had to figure it all out and rebuild. I suspect many people have used this book. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, and you’ve helped me discover there’s a revised copy out there. I may read it again.
Most people wouldn’t list a book by a Navy Seal in their “Women’s Self-Help” list, but I am going to. Brandon Webb is a Navy Seal telling stories from that standpoint.
(I also liked his “Total Focus” that came before this). The reason is this: Fear is fear. I found myself saying “me too!” about many of the messages–how to control and use fear to my advantage.
Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers – Lois Frankel
I read this book and said, “Wow. That’s me.” This book was the first book that made me believe that gender in the workplace was a real thing.
Lois Frankel showed me the places my “teamwork” and “helpfulness” were the things getting me cast aside in favor of those whose work I was doing.
It was a book that helped me dive deeper and take action at the same time.
Health Practitioner | Life Coach | Author
Health Practitioner | Life Coach | Author
It’s like having a transformational life coach in the palm of your hand; one that addresses offloading baggage from a holistic perspective: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
It offers real-life examples that show you practical ways to let go and lighten your load. You can use the “homework” at the end of each chapter to hold yourself accountable and measure progress in tangible ways.
And when you finish the book, there’s a bonus. You’ll find 365 “Internal Inventory” questions at the back of the book designed for a year of journaling.
It’s like having three books in one. A roadmap to building a business, or getting more enjoyment of the job you already have.
The real-life story of La Mandarine Bleue, a French restaurant and how they made a successful go of it—complete with recipes and wine pairings. And a handbook on living an intentional life.
By asking you to think of yourself as a business, you are given the opportunity to view yourself through the lens of twelve elements in a business plan—an eye-opening journey that leads to both business and personal success.
Self-Esteem Expert | InterFaith Minister | Author
Starting with her personal heart healing story ignited by an unexpected breakup via email and adding expert guidance and practices to heal your heart and fill your life with Love, Compassion and Forgiveness toward yourself and others.
Living an inspired life of passion and purpose is an inside job.
Susyn Reeve provides the map to unleash your mind to cultivate joy. The Inspired Life draws on current research on the brain, mindfulness, and the power of our thoughts combined with inspiring quotes, stories, and practices.
Nourishing a wholehearted life grounded in passion and purpose requires consistent regular practice..
In The Wholehearted Life you get 365 days of change-your-life ideas that are easy to put into practice immediately, including: Have a New Thought, Use the Good Dishes, Breathe, Be the World’s Greatest Lover.
Founder | Bankable Strategist, Bliss Finance
The book provides the roadmap on how to achieve financial independence.
Women have substantial purchasing power, yet their spouses control their household finances. The book helps women to understand the truths about finance.
For 2019, women need to know how to establish and maintain 700+ credit score under her name.
Women must learn how to leverage and protect their assets to safeguard her future and achieve her dream.
It is time for women to become own financial boss by payoff all debt including a mortgage. Lastly, women must take better care of her health by learning how to eat, how to think and how to move.
The ultimate success in life is balancing wealth and health so that every woman can live the life it was meant to be – to live, to love, and to be yourself.
Communication and Conflict Management Expert | Award-Winning Author
Every now and then, an expert finds an unmet need and tackles it wonderfully. This is the case with Difficult Conversations Just for Women: Kill the Anxiety. Get What You Want.
Here’s what makes this book a must-read: while there are several great books that teach readers how to navigate conflict, not even one of them addresses (or even acknowledges) the challenges women, but not men, face when they speak up, make requests for themselves, negotiate, or face confrontations at work and at home.
And no other book on difficult conversations prepares readers for the scientifically-proven fact that, when used by women, many of the strategies (implicitly) recommended for men will backfire.
As examples of challenges unique to women, the author lists these:
- Men who confidently speak their minds are called decisive leaders, whereas women who do the same things are called bossy or worse. Research shows highly assertive women are judged more harshly and evaluated as less popular and less psychologically well-adjusted than passive-dependent women.
- Female salary negotiation research shows that women, more often than men, need to legitimize their requests during a negotiation.
- Women tend to make fewer requests for themselves than men do, self-criticize more, ruminate more, and gossip more (and there are scientific explanations for this).
- Stereotypes and unconscious bias cast women as too emotional. There is scientific evidence that if a woman expresses an emotion such as anger, fear, sadness, or disgust, people think it’s because she’s emotional, whereas if a man displays the same level and type of emotion people think it’s because “he’s having a bad day.”
Also, in the multicultural world we live in, where 40% of the U.S. population is part of an ethnic minority, this book is the only one that’s not color-blind.
As an expert in intercultural communication, Sofia Santiago openly prepares minority women for the negative impact that stereotypes and culture clashes might have on them.
For instance, Asian-American women are stereotyped as cold, docile, and non-assertive; Latinas as submissive, uneducated, or intense; and African-Americans, due to the myth of the angry Black woman, tend to be characterized as aggressive, illogical, and overbearing.
This book is written in a light and humorous tone, and uses stories to illustrate step-by-step strategies women can use to confidently speak up and get what they want.
Difficult Conversations Just for Women was awarded finalist in the Reader’s Favorite International Literary Excellence Book Contest, received a Five Stars Seal Award by Reader’s Favorite, and was reviewed by Publishers Weekly:
“From the very first chapter, readers will know that they have stumbled onto something valuable . . . Any woman who picks up this book will feel inspired, upon reaching its end, to courageously speak her mind.”
Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship – Mira Kirshenbaum
This is one of those few books that has the capacity to change someone’s life.
Countless women remain in unhealthy, mediocre, or unfulfilling relationships because of the good things they get from their partner.
But how do you know if you’re settling? How do you know if there’s someone better for you out there, someone who will help you be the best you can be, someone who will truly make your heart sing, or you are just fantasizing and have fallen prey of the believe that the grass is greener, or the unrealistic promises of romantic comedies?
Should you stay with him because sex is great, even when you don’t have much else in common? Should you leave because, even when sex sucks, he’s someone whom you can trust blindly?
Women who are ambivalent about their love relations have questions, and this books has answers.
Mrs. Kirshenbaum is not only a world-renowned therapist with years of counseling experience, but she is also a brilliant and insightful woman. Women who pick this book will feel that Mira is reading their minds, anticipating their objections, addressing questions they might have not even asked themselves yet, and talking to them as a great friend would.
Those who are skeptical about what a counselor can do to help them decide will be pleasantly surprised after reading this book. And they might also be surprised by the decisions they’ll be able to make on their own.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) – Marie Kondō
That a book on decluttering can be considered one of the most influential books of the year, worldwide, is something I would have never believed, had I not read this book and changed my life as a result.
While this is a book that will help you declutter your home (and you know you need to), it will also change your philosophy of life: why are you keeping around “stuff” that doesn’t give you joy? Whatever “stuff” means to you, this is a question everyone should probably have asked herself long ago.
Marie will teach you a step-by-step process to, at last, be able to finish a home-decluttering project, without feeling so overwhelmed by its magnitude that you drop the ball in the middle (I’ve been there), get caught in indecisiveness about keeping, donating, or selling something (there too), or ending depressed because you worked so hard and seemed to have accomplished very little (sigh, I know).
If you’re the kind of woman who keeps the ribbons you cut from under your blouses’s arms, just in case you ever need to tie something with a ribbon of that particular color, or buys clothes that are not really flattering but, hey! They’re 50% off! You need this book. Urgently.
I used to have a hard time getting rid of the empty boxes in which the stuff I bought came. I kept the boxes for the three TVs in our home, my daughter’s guitar, her piano, my fancy camera, and so on. And the only day I was happy I had done that, is when burglars broke into my storage (the one I paid $120 a month to keep), and all they could steal were . . . empty boxes.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up offers techniques that are out of the ordinary, but once you give them a shot, you’ll become a believer.
And if you’re wondering how can a woman from a country so far away that sometimes seems like another world, with a different culture, climate, and organization, can help you improve your life, the answer is this: it’s magic.
Author | Founder, Successful Survivors Foundation
Succeed Because of What You’ve Been Through (book and workbook) is a great book for women because it tells my true story of going from foster care to millionaire.
It also gives readers the steps they can take to use their worst adversities as the source of their greatest advantages.
Successful Survivors: The 8 Character Traits of Survivors and How You Can Attain Them – Rhonda Sciortino
Successful Survivors—the 8 character traits of survivors and how you can attain them is a quick, easy read for women. It’s filled with stories of survivors who thrived after various kinds of trauma because of the character traits, learned abilities, and coping skills they developed while going through challenges.
How To Get To Awesome—101 ways to find your best self is a little book with the big idea that all the things that make us awesome are already inside of us waiting to be discovered.
When we are our perfectly flawed, awesome selves, we no longer have to strive to be like someone else. We can relax into being the awesome people we are meant to be.