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The 50 Greatest Self-Help Books

Best Self Help Books
























Top 10 Self-Help Books

This updated list shows the most-requested titles at The Guide to Self-Help Books from October 2008 - October 2010.

Compare the archived Top 10 from September 2006 and the archived Top 10 from September 2007. Interestingly, many of those Self-Help books have remained popular choices. Due to ties in the rankings, a number of new books have joined the list, resulting in a fascinating overview of what captures our readers’ interest.

A cursory look at this list shows that our readers are interested in mastering self esteem issues, learning to control anger, overcoming anxiety, making peace with a childhood with narcissistic parents, forming successful blended families, healing from childhood trauma and abuse, making marriages work, finding sexual satisfactionz, achieving better health and well-being, raising healthy and happy children, surmounting depression, embracing the meaning of growing up as a man, and finding inner peace and relaxation.

This is an enormously hopeful Self-Help book list, and reveals something of the determination of the reading public to address challenging personal and relationship issues.

These Self-Help books represent much of the best of modern Self-Help literature. Americans have always valued self-reliance and self-improvement. Here is what we are reading about!

Top Self-Help Book

Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques by McKay and FanningSelf-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem
Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning

Since its first publication in 1987, this Self-Help book has been the first choice of therapists and savvy readers looking for a comprehensive self-care approach to improving self-image, increasing personal power, and defining core values. This book has helped millions of readers feel better about themselves, achieve greater success, and enjoy their lives to the fullest. 2000, New Harbinger, 3rd edition

Number 2 Self-Help Book

Thoughts & Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life: A Workbook of Cognitive Behavioral Techniques by Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning, Martha DavisThoughts & Feelings: Taking Control of Your Moods and Your Life: A Workbook of Cognitive Behavioral Techniques
Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning, Martha Davis

This Self-Help book offers a simple and easy to understand discussion of how to use the principles and techniques of cognitive behavioral therapies to help control anxiety, depression, moods and build self-esteem in your life. 2007, New Harbinger

Number 3 Self-Help Book

The Anger Control Workbook by Matthew McKay and Peter RogersThe Anger Control Workbook
Matthew McKay and Peter Rogers

The ever-escalating costs of anger are well documented: sabotaging careers, alienating friends and family, triggering illness, causing bodily harm. Written bytwo well-regarded experts in the field, The Anger Control Workbook introduces a new and radically simplified approach to anger control. Step- by-step exercises will aid the reader in identifying, understanding, responding A 50 Greatest Self-Help Bookto and ultimately coping with their hostile feelings. 2000, New Harbinger

Number 4 Self-Help Book

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund BourneThe Anxiety and Phobia Workbook
Edmund Bourne

Bourne teaches specific Self-Help skills for overcoming problems with panic, anxiety and phobias. There is information on the appropriateuse of medications and herbal supplements. This is a practical and highly regarded Self-Help resource on the treatment of anxiety. 2011, NewHarbinger

A 50 Greatest Self-Help Book

Pick of the Month Self-Help BookThis book was a Pick of the Month Self-Help Book! Read David's full Book Review.

 

Number 5 Self-Help Book

The Anger Trap: Free Yourself from the Frustrations that Sabotage Your Life by Les CarterThe Anger Trap: Free Yourself from the Frustrations that Sabotage Your Life
Les Carter

Dr. Carter, "America's anger expert," addresses the root causes of anger, such as fear, loneliness, rejection, insecurity, and pain. "Angry people are hurting, fragile people," Carter observes. "At the heart of anger is a cry for respect." The Anger Trap offers its readers understanding and practical Self-Help guidance to help them find deliverance from the destructive and painful cycle of anger. 2004, Jossey-Bass

Number 6 Self-Help Book (Tie!)

Getting Through the Day: Strategies for Adults Hurt as Children by Nancy NapierGetting Through the Day: Strategies For Adults Hurt as Children
Nancy Napier

Napier presents practical approaches to dealing with the long-lasting consequences of childhood abuse, particularly dissociation, or “checking out”. This survival technique helped many children survive overwhelming childhood experiences, but often poses problems in adult life. This Self-Help book teaches many effective strategies for meeting the demands of adult living while working through the wounds of childhood. 1994, NortonA 50 Greatest Self-Help Book



Ten Days to Self-Esteem by David BurnsTen Days to Self-Esteem
David Burns

Dr. Burns presents innovative, clear and compassionate methods to help the reader identify the causes of mood slumps and develop a more positive outlook on life. This Self-Help book emphasizes that negative feelings do not result from the bad things that happen to you but from the way you think about these events. Burns provides a ten-step program to self-esteem; the book is filled with logs, charts and step-by-step guides. 1999, HarperCollins

Number 7 Self-Help Book

Beyond Anger: A Guide for Men: How to Free Yourself from the Grip of Anger and Get More Our of Life by Thomas J. HarbinBeyond Anger: A Guide for Men: How to Free Yourself from the Grip of Anger and Get More Out of Life
Thomas J. Harbin

Dr. Harbin shows the angry - and miserable - man how to change his life and relationships for the better. This Self-Help book helps men understand their anger by explaining what the specific symptoms of chronic anger are and by showing angry men how their actions negatively affect family, friends, and coworkers. It helps men control violent feelings by using simple exercises - developed especially for men - to identify when and why anger occurs and by helping them form new habits to prevent anger before it starts. 2000, Marlowe & Company

Number 8 Self-Help Book

The Self-Esteem Workbook by Schiraldi, McKayThe Self-Esteem Workbook
Glenn R. Schiraldi, Matthew McKay

The Self-Esteem Workbook presents a course in self-esteem based on new research and sound principles. Checklists, fill-ins, and exercises show readers how thoughts, emotions, physical health, and behavior impact their self-esteem. Periodic check-ups help them gauge their progress, and final sections offer strategies for preventing relapse. 2001, New Harbinger

Number 9 Self-Help Book

Couple Skills: Making Your Relationship Work by Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning and Kim PalegCouple Skills: Making Your Relationship Work
Matthew McKay, Patrick Fanning and Kim Paleg

Love takes work, but, when it comes to relationships, it pays to work smarter. This Self-Help book, a revised and updated edition of a therapist-recommended classic, shows you how to work smarter in your relationship. Couple Skills helps you improve communication, cope better with problems, and resolve conflicts in healthy and creative ways. Each chapter teaches an essential skill, based on cognitive behavioral therapy, which A 50 Greatest Self-Help Bookcan lead to greater happiness and deeper intimacy. 2006, New Harbinger


Number 10 Self-Help Book

Why Is It Always About You?: The 7 Deadly Sins of Narcissism by Sandy HotchkissWhy Is It Always About You?: The 7 Deadly Sins of Narcissism
Sandy Hotchkiss

Hotchkiss explains how to cope with controlling and egotistical people who are incapable of the fundamental give and take that sustains healthy relationships. She shows how to recognize the hallmarks of unhealthy narcissism: shamelessness, magical thinking, arrogance, envy, entitlement, exploitation and bad boundaries. 2003, The Free Press

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Bonus: Next Top 10 Self-Help Books!

As an added bonus, we are including the next top 10 books requested on The Guide to Self-Help Books.

Number 11 Self-Help Book

The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook by Martha Davis, et.al.The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook
Martha Davis, et.al.

This sixth edition self-help classic offers many self-assessment tools and calming techniques to help overcome anxiety and promote physical and emotional wellbeing. It presents a comprehensive look at stress, its physical manifestations and the multiple ways it can be managed. Chapters on breathing, relaxation, meditation, thought stopping, stress management, time management, assertiveness training, and body awareness offer the reader focused approaches to dealing with the many varieties of stress. 2008, New Harbinger

Number 12 Self-Help Book

The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You're Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrted, Insulted, Betrayed or Desperate by Harriet LernerThe Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You’re Mad, Hurt, Scared, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed or Desperate
Harriet Lerner

Best-selling author and therapist Lerner offers clear and practical advice on how to speak out in a wide variety of difficult situations. Recognizing the difficulty of communication while in an emotional state, she supplies guidance on sharing vulnerability, voicing concerns, apologizing and setting limits. Filled with compelling stories and case examples. 2002, QuillA 50 Greatest Self-Help Book


Number 13 Self-Help Book

Stepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today's Blended Family by Susan Wisdom and Jennifer GreenStepcoupling: Creating and Sustaining a Strong Marriage in Today's Blended Family
Susan Wisdom and Jennifer Green

Blending two existing families into one cohesive whole is the challenge facing millions of remarried Americans today. Different parenting styles, finances, relationships with ex-spouses, legal matters -- all can chisel away at your union if you don't always make your marriage a priority. This invaluable remarriage Self-Help manual can help you make your stepcouple the foundation of a strong, happy, and successful stepfamily. 2002, Three Rivers Press

Number 14 Self-Help Book

Children of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents by Nina BrownChildren of the Self-Absorbed: A Grown-Up's Guide to Getting over Narcissistic Parents
Nina W. Brown

Millions of adults grew up with immature, self-absorbed parents who made their children responsible for their physical and emotional well-being, expected admiration and constant attention, and reacted with criticism and blame when their slightest need went unmet. In this accessible Self-Help book, Brown helps grown children come to terms A 50 Greatest Self-Help Bookwith the results of such an upbringing, including tendencies to overcomply to others needs,withdraw when someone needs nurturing and lack self esteem. 2008, New Harbinger

Number 15 Self-Help Book (Tie!)

The Emotionally Abused Woman: Overcoming Destructive Patterns and Reclaiming Yourself by Beverly EngelThe Emotionally Abused Woman: Overcoming Destructive Patterns and Reclaiming Yourself
Beverly Engel

If you feel unfairly criticized, controlled by others, or are afraid of being lonely, you could be suffering from emotional abuse. This compassionate Self-Help source book guides you through a step-by-step recovery process to help you heal the damage done in the past. 1992, Ballantine Books; Reissue edition


Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to helping You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship by Mira KirsenbaumToo Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship
Mira Kirsenbaum

This Self-Help book offers a focused way to deal with the agonizing decision about staying in, or getting out of a troubled relationship -- one critical issue at a time. The book is sympathetic and filled with anecdotes that show how other people have responded to similar problems. 1997, Plume Books

Number 16 Self-Help Book

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by Steven C. HayesGet Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Steven C. Hayes

This Self-Help book offers a five-step plan for coping with painful emotions such as anxiety and depression. You can learn to engage with painful thoughts and feelings through step-by-step acceptance and mindfulness-based techniques, discovering how to let go of control, and develop compassion and flexibility. 2005, New Harbinger

Number 17 Self-Help Book (Tie!)

Blending Families: A Guide for Parents, Stepparents, and Everyone Building a Successful New Family by Elaine ShimbergBlending Families: A Guide for Parents, Stepparents, and Everyone Building a Successful New Family
Elaine Shimberg

Today more Americans are part of a second marriage family than a first. These newly blended families are confronted with special challenges – emotional, financial, disciplinary, and interpersonal. This problem-solving Self-Help guide offers solid solutions and includes real-life stories from families who have been through the adjustment process. 
1999, Berkley Publishing Group


Brain Lock: Free Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder by Schwartz and BeyetteBrain Lock: Free Yourself From Obsessive-Compulsive Behavior
Jeffrey Schwartz and Beverly Beyette

This Self-Help book presents a simple and effective four-step method for overcoming OCD. This method does not rely on medication but has been proven by brain imaging tests to actually alter the brain’s chemistry. Cognitive self-therapy and behavior modification are used to develop new patterns of response to obsessions. 1997, Regan Books

A 50 Greatest Self-Help Book



The Self-Esteem Companion by Matthew McKay, et.alThe Self-Esteem Companion
Matthew McKay, et.al

The authors teach readers how to deal with overly high self-expectations and mistakes, handle criticism, and feel more self-confident in their personal relationships. Step-by-step instructions are included for over sixty exercises, including strategies for talking back to the inner critic, making a realistic inventory of personal strengths and weaknesses, and practicing self-compassion. 2005, New Harbinger

Number 18 Self-Help Book (Tie!)

Angry All the Time: An Emergency Guide to Anger Control by Ronald T. Potter-EfronAngry All The Time: An Emergency Guide To Anger Control
Ronald T. Potter-Efron

This major update of the best-selling Self-Help classic on anger management teaches readers to understand and manage episodes of uncontrolled anger. The book gives clear and concrete direction for things a person can do to begin to bring anger under control. 2005, New Harbinger Publications; 2nd edition


The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists by Eleanor PaysonThe Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family
Eleanor Payson

Using simple metaphors from The Wizard of Oz, Payson illustrates how Dorothy's journey captures all the seductive illusions and challenges that occur when we encounter the narcissist. She empowers the reader with the ABCs of unhealthy narcissism and provides step-by-step practical tools to identify, protect, and heal from these destructive relationships. 2002, Julian Day Publications

Number 19 Self-Help Book (Tie!)

Anxious 9 to 5: How to Beat Worry, Stop Second Guessing Yourself, and Work with Confidence by Larina Kase, Joe Vitale, Martin AntonyAnxious 9 to 5: How to Beat Worry, Stop Second Guessing Yourself, And Work With Confidence
Larina Kase, Joe Vitale, Martin M. Antony

Anxiety, worry, perfectionism, self-defeating thoughts and fears of failure in the workplace can hold you back from achieving the success you deserve, despite how hard you work. This Self-Help book offers simple and effective techniques to get your workplace anxiety under control once and for all so you can enjoy work and be more productive. 2006, New Harbinger


Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David BurnsFeeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
David Burns

This updated Self-Help classic teaches a cognitive therapy approach in combating depression. It includes techniques to identify and combat faulty thinking, self-assessment techniques, self-help forms and charts as well as a section on anti-depressant medications. An outstanding self-help book. 1999, Avon Books, revised ed.


A 50 Greatest Self-Help Book

 


The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John Gottman and Nan silverThe Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert
John Gottman and Nan Silver

This highly ranked self-help book offers positive approaches for helping couples make sense of their difficulties and work to make their relationship successful. Gottman’s principles for successful marriage include turning toward each other instead of away, letting your partner influence you, moving through conflict and creating shared meaning. 2000, Three Rivers Press

Number 20 Self-Help Book

Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Martin SeligmanLearned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life
Martin Seligman

Seligman says that pessimists believe that bad events are their fault, will last a long time and undermine everything. Optimists, on the other hand, believe that defeat is a temporary setback or a challenge. In this Self-Help book, he teaches the skills of changing from pessimism to optimism which will enable you to take charge, resist depression, feel better and accomplish more. 2006, Vintage


The 50 Greatest Self-Help Books