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I believe that reading too many self-help books in a short time doesn’t help. What’s the benefit of just learning philosophies but not applying them in life! Hence I keep my pace of reading self-help really slow (this is not an excuse for my slow reading speed).
I mostly read 5-10 pages every day and finish one or two books a month. And this year, I read around 45 books, only 17 out of them are self-help, and the rest are fiction novels, biographies, memoirs, etc.
In this post, I will talk about the best self-help books I read in 2021. This list will certainly help you find some good books to add to your reading list. So, here we go…
10 Best Self-Help Books I Read in 2021
1. Wherever You Go There You Are
Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn is a book on mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness means being in the present moment and forgetting everything about the past and the future.
If you have tried it, you know mindfulness is not that easy (like taking a bath on a winter morning). Most of us have a habit of being somewhere else; instead of being in the present, we regret the past or worry about the future.
But, life unfolds in moments, and if we don’t be fully present in these moments, then our whole life will feel worthless and hollow. Being in the moment makes you satisfied and helps you know yourself better.
The book will teach you how you can be in the moment. It will tell you about various ways of mindfulness meditation like mountain meditation, walking meditation, fire meditation, etc. It will also teach you how to be patient, generate trust, learn the art of letting go, and be satisfied with what you have. Quite philosophical, but powerful.
2. Death, An Inside Story
Death, An Inside Story by Sadhguru is a book on the science of life and death. Death is a topic which science has failed to explain, and we also don’t talk about it. How many times have you discussed death with your friends? Rarely or never, even though death is the most certain thing in our life.
We have become so good at living our lives. With the advancement of technology, everything is at the tip of our hands, and our lives have been comfortable than ever. But when it comes to dying, we are no better than our ancestors.
This book will help you understand life and death. It will answer questions like what is death, what is its importance, is it good or bad, what happens after death, do ghosts exist, how we can prepare for a better death, is their life after death, what is the significance of Indian death rituals, and so on.
However, there are many things in the book which you will find too fantastic to believe; I too couldn’t believe everything. But Death, An Inside Story is worth reading because it will remind you that you are going to die one day and help you accept death. It’s important because, as Sadhguru says, Once there is a deep acceptance of death, then life will happen to you in enormous proportions.
Related: Death An Inside Story: Book Review
3. Everybody Writes
Everybody Writes by Ann Handley is a book that will help you write better. Writing has become another essential skill nowadays. From WhatsApp messages, Instagram captions, LinkedIn posts, emails to blogs, writing is an important skill to maintain relationships, share your views, and influence people.
And most of us think that it is easy, it’s not. Like speaking, writing is a communication skill that needs guidance and practice to master.
That’s where Everybody Writes will be helpful; it will be your guide to writing ridiculously good content. It will teach you the basics of writing and ways to make it simple, engaging, funny, and influencing. In addition, the book will tell you some rules of grammar, share the views of many experienced writers, and teach you how to write on various platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. In short, this book will make you an influential writer.
4. Deep Work
Deep Work by Cal Newport is a book on productivity and focus. Newport says that with the development of technology, the world is becoming more advanced each day. If you can’t work with focus in this competitive world, you will soon be useless to the economy and replaced by technology. And, to make things difficult, the social media platforms and mobile notifications add to your distractions and make it difficult to concentrate.
So, this book will tell you the importance of deep work and provide actionable advice to integrate deep work into your routine so that you can work with focus and get the most out of the limited time you have. This book is for those who often feel distracted and wants to be more productive.
Related: Deep Work by Cal Newport: Summary
5. Big Magic
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is about creative living. This book will help you if you want to be an artist or simply creative in life. Gilbert is a successful author, and she has mentioned examples from her own life to explain what habits, attitudes, and approaches helped her be a best-selling author.
She will teach you how to be creative, have patience, get incredible ideas for your projects, work persistently and create something amazing. In addition, you will get to know what problems an artist faces and how you can overcome them. Pick this book if you want to know how to live a most creative life.
Related: Big Magic: 3 Key Lessons
6. Unfu*k Yourself
Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop is a motivational book. If you feel hopeless, tired, bored, or aimless, you should go for it. The book will wake you from sleep and stop you from being your own enemy.
Unfu*k Yourself will tell you that just reading self-help books is not going to have any impact unless you take action. It will make you wise and help you see things differently. There are some powerful lessons, which will propel you to take action. In short, the book will make you mentally tough.
The book is a light read with simple language. These types of books are the best to read when you feel low in life because they make you enthusiastic and energetic. I read some of the chapters repeatedly whenever things don’t go according to me. And now, you know which book you should go for when you feel demotivated.
7. Daring Greatly
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown is about vulnerability and shame. This book debunks some strong myths about vulnerability. It will help you accept your imperfections, be brave and more alive, be comfortable with shame and criticism. That’s the thing I loved about Daring Greatly; it will help you fight shame.
The book is based on the data collected by Brené Brown while interviewing many people and coding thousands of case studies. She researched for 12 years, and it helped collect useful data and draw valuable conclusions. The book talks on somewhat rare topics; you won’t find many books on shame and vulnerability. So, you can go for this book because it will be enlightening.
Related: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown: Summary
8. How To Develop Self-Confidence And Influence People By Public Speaking
As the title says, this book is for those who want to learn public speaking. I understand you can’t learn public speaking by just reading books; you have to go to the stage for that. But this book is an excellent place to start. You will find many tips for making your speech interesting and influential.
The book will teach you how to prepare a talk, open and close a speech, be confident while speaking, deliver a talk, capture the attention of the audience, and so on.
It’s a classic book, published in 1956. It contains many examples of great speakers of the past like Benjamin Franklin, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Abraham Lincoln, etc. Carnegie also shares examples from his life and his students to make things easy to understand.
9. 4 Hour Work Week
4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris is a popular book and is somewhat controversial. I, too, found some slightly exaggerated things, but mostly it was helpful, and I learned many things about living an effective life, things nobody taught me. The book is about lifestyle design or designing your life so that you live to the fullest by doing what you love.
4 Hour Work Week will teach you to put yourself in uncomfortable situations, focus on your work without getting distracted, save time for yourself, and follow unreasonable but effective paths. In other words, this book will show you a different way of living life. So, whenever you get bored with the one you are living now, get this book. 4 Hour Work Week will really make you confident. This book has changed the lives of many, so you can expect it to be powerful.
10. Ego Is The Enemy
Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday is the last best self-help book I read this year. This message of the book is its title; Ego Is The Enemy. It will tell you what ego is, how dangerous it could be for you, why you should control it, how you can control it, why you should be humble, and so on.
Ego Is The Enemy is a life-changing book (although just reading won’t change your life). Each chapter has some real-life examples of people who got destroyed because of their ego or people who lived a heroic life because of their humility.
And, if you think you don’t have an ego problem, and this book is not for you, I must warn you that you may be wrong. We all have an ego, and it controls our life without our realization. That’s what makes it a powerful enemy, and the book is all about how you can defeat it.
These are the 10 best non-fiction books I have read in 2021. Each book will help you learn a particular thing, so you can go for those which interest you the most. I hope it was helpful. Let me know in the comments which of these self-help books you have already read and what you think about them. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel, where I mostly talk about books. And, thanks for reading.