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Personal Development

I Read 42 Self-Help Books. Here’s What I Learned

July 3, 2024

I’m Kim.
I’m an M.D.-turned-entrepreneur and I’m dedicated to helping you build your dream career + lifestyle. Welcome to my blog, where I write (and podcast) about wellness, business + success!
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Self-help books are prevalent nowadays. Walk into any bookstore, and you’ll see an entire aisle (or more) dedicated to them.

But are self-help books worth the hype?

As a doctor and a wellness coach, I’ve spent years sifting through countless self-help books (42 to be exact).

And what I can tell you is that not all self-help books are equal. Some are genuinely life-changing, while others are simply a waste of time.

So, to save you from reading as many books as I have, I’m sharing the most valuable insights I’ve gained from self-help books.

We’ll cut through the noise to highlight the real game-changers, so stay tuned to discover the books that will propel you towards success and happiness.

To keep things simple, I’ve divided all the books I’ve read into four categories.

While I won’t mention every book in each category, I’ll share the top two or three books and their key insights.

So, let’s start with the first category…


Category 1: Mindset/Personal Development

The first mindset book that comes to mind is ‘Everything Is Figureoutable‘ by Marie Forleo

This book builds on the simple yet powerful belief that we can solve any problem or challenge if we embrace the mindset that “everything is “figureoutable.”

Marie Forleo emphasizes that once we believe there IS a solution, our approach to life’s challenges transforms.

It’s about shifting from a passive to an active stance—instead of questioning if a problem can be solved, we start focusing on how to solve it.

Another life-changing mindset book is ‘Big Magic‘ by Elizabeth Gilbert.

In this book, Elizabeth Gilbert explores how to face our fears and pursue our passions, all in the service of living a more creative life.

I’ll admit, when I first picked up this book, I didn’t know if it would be for me, as I don’t see myself as a traditionally creative person.

But here’s the thing…

Big Magic is not just for writers or painters. It’s for anyone who finds their fears hold them back from going all in on their passions and dreams.

One of the key teachings of this book is how embracing curiosity can help us overcome the limiting beliefs that usually stifle creativity and joy.

If you struggle with self-doubt, I highly recommend ‘You Are A Badass‘ by Jen Sincero.

In this eye-opening book, Jen will teach you how to build a powerhouse of confidence in a uniquely hilarious and light-hearted way.

In fact, this is the book that really helped me uncover my self-sabotaging beliefs and behaviors and encouraged me to stop undervaluing myself.

Category 2: Productivity/Habits

If you’re seeking effective strategies to optimize your day and make the most of every hour, there are some excellent books on this subject. 

One that stands out the most is ‘Getting Things Done‘ by David Allen

This book massively helped me revamp my routine and find a new way of doing things after having my second child.

Before I picked up this book, I was overwhelmed by my chaotic life.

What helped me so much was David Allen’s introduction to the concept of capturing everything that has your attention. In other words, writing down everything that’s on your mind.

You know all those ideas that pop into your head? And the many small tasks you realize you need to do throughout the day?

The idea is to get all this stuff out of your head and into an external system, such as an inbox. Doing this significantly reduces stress and overwhelm as it frees your mind, allowing you to focus on the current task.

Another must-read in this category is ‘Essentialism‘ by Greg McKeown, which centers around the idea of working smarter, not harder.

According to Greg McKeown, to work smarter, you must let go of anything that isn’t directly related to your core values and most important goals.

This is because the more unimportant things you cut from your life, the more time, energy, and focus you have for your most important goal.

Category 3: Money

Money is a crucial aspect of self-help. 

Many people don’t realize that they have ‘money stories’ holding them back from reaching their potential. 

This is what Jen Sincero discusses in “You Are a Badass at Making Money.” Aside from being a hilarious and honest read, Jen teaches that the most significant barrier to making money is our beliefs about our ability to acquire it. 

She shares that transforming our mindset about money is the first step to attracting more of it.

Here’s an example of what this looks like:

Many of us say, “I can’t afford that,” when discussing the car we want or our dream holiday.

However, this is a very disempowering phrase, which eliminates any possibility of acquiring the thing. 

But if instead we ask ourselves, “How could I afford that?” Our minds start seeking solutions, and we believe that even if we cannot afford it right now, we will be able to one day.

Another book that can help you understand and release your money blocks is  “Get Rich, Lucky Bitch” by Denise Duffield-Thomas.

This book is about cultivating an abundance mindset to attract wealth into your life. This mindset is linked to the concept of manifestation, which we’ll discuss next…

Category 4: Manifestation

If manifestation is something that intrigues you, start your manifestation journey by reading ‘The Secret‘ by Rhonda Byrne.

This is the book that introduced the law of attraction to a mainstream audience. It does an excellent job of explaining the idea that your energy creates your reality.

‘The Secret’ is essentially this- what you focus your attention on is what you manifest in your life. So, focusing on positive thoughts creates positive experiences, and focusing on negative thoughts brings negative experiences.

Another must-read book on manifestation is ‘The Universe Has Your Back‘ by Gabrielle Bernstein.

If you struggle to have faith in the universe or don’t believe there are higher forces at play, this book will totally change your views.

It’s all about transforming your fear into faith to live a divinely guided life. 

So, for example, the fear that arises when we’re doing something new or scary can paralyze us and stop us from taking action if we let it.

But when we learn to shift from fear to love, we free ourselves from limitations and align ourselves more with the universe. This, in turn, allows us to tap into our true power and potential.

Final Thoughts On Self-Help Books

If you like the self-help books recommended in this article, you’ll surely want to watch the full YouTube video where I share more of my favorite books in these four categories.

Here’s where you can watch:

Finally, if you’ve already read any of these books, comment below and let me know what you thought of them!



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