5 Self-Help Books That Are Actually Helpful

Funny, real and highly effective

When you hear the term "self-help book," you probably imagine an overly idealistic, barely attainable set of commandments for living your best life. And then, if you’re anything like us, the eye rolling just follows suit. But that’s kind of a shame, because truly and honestly, not all books found in the self-help section are like that. Add these five to your bookshelf and we bet you’ll find yourself happier, more productive and not the least bit icked out.

self help complaint free

"a Complaint Free World"

We, like most people, complain--a lot. Usually about unimportant or petty things. In this incredibly useful book, Will Bowen explains why we do it and why it's destructive. (Hint: When we complain, we focus on the negative instead of actually proposing change.) Not gonna say we never get annoyed anymore, but we’re much more aware of our motives and expectations when lamenting the fact that the waiter forgot to put our dressing on the side.

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self help wherever

"wherever You Go, There You Are"

Jon Kabat-Zinn’s enlightening book is basically an intro to mindfulness. (Which, if you’ll remember, is hugely beneficial.) Kabat-Zinn has a way of simplifying complex topics into digestible lessons that are easy to actually incorporate into your life. (No hour-long meditation required.) One thing that really stuck with us was the idea of non-doing, or letting things unfold the way they will.

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self help small stuff

"don't Sweat The Small Stuff...and It's All Small Stuff"

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget that the things weighing on us--deadlines at work, arguments with husbands about recycling duty--really aren’t that important in the long run. That’s where Richard Carlson’s big-picture message comes in. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff is an excellent reminder to put things into perspective and live in the moment, without making you feel like you’re being petty (even if you are).

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self help antidote

"the Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking"

This anti-self-help book avoids the aggressively positive, everything’s-great model in favor of smaller-scale solutions for being happier. For instance, the next time you're stressing about spilling hot fudge on your sweater, the author says you should imagine something way worse happening--say, your house burning down. (Extreme, we know.) The idea, though, is that you'll come to realize that whatever's weighing on you really isn't the end of the world.

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self help weeping

"how To Weep In Public"

OK, so this one isn’t available just yet (you can get it March 1), but it’s worth putting on your radar now. Comedian Jacqueline Novak’s hilarious and very real approach to dealing with her own depression is refreshingly frank and makes light of mental illness without diminishing its severity. Expect funny lists like “Ways to avoid charming your therapist,” and “top four tips for crying in restaurants.”

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sarah stiefvater
Sarah Stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...
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