We all want to know how to make our lives more satisfying, and what is a better place to start on the road to self-improvement than with a self-help book? One of the most popular forms of non-fiction books – next to historical books – self-help books have been around in one form or another since the beginning of the written word.
Even the ancient Egyptians and Romans had written codes for conduct and behavior, for example. Self-help books, books that help readers address and solve personal problems, take their name from the 1859 book Self-Help with Illustrations of Character and Conduct by Samuel Smiles. An 1866 edition added Perseverance to the subtitle.
For Americans, self-help books really came into their own as powerhouse of the publishing world in the second half of the 20th century. Some of the most popular self-help books of modern times include The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and I’m OK, You’re OK by Thomas Anthony Harris.
Themes for the next decade: Cannabis, 5G, and EVs
Recently released self-help books
The need for self-improvement still runs deep, and there are many new books published with the goal of making readers’ lives better. Here are some recent releases to consider adding to your bookshelf.
What Color Is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers by Richard N. Bolles (Ten Speed Press, Revised edition August 11, 2015)
First published in 1970, What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles has been revised every year since 1975. It reigns supreme as a popular career choice/job-hunting guide. The 2016 edition, released on August 11, includes updated information on using social media and other aspects of the Internet in your job search. The book is helpful whether you are looking for your first job or are considering a mid-life career change.
Favorite Quote: “He or she who gets hired is not necessarily the one who can do that job best but the one who knows the most about how to get hired.”
SuperBetter: A Revolutionary Approach to Getting Stronger, Happier, Braver and More Resilient — by Jane McGonigal (Penguin Press Release date Sept. 15, 2015)
As a senior researcher at the Institute for the Future and the author of the bestseller Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better, Jane McGonigal is no stranger to the self-help genre. To help herself recover from the pain and depression of a severe concussion in 2009, McGonigal designed a resilience-building type of video game.
The game turned out to be a way for the author to not only help herself but also thousands of others. Here she reveals some of the science behind SuperBetter and on how we can adopt a mindset that will help us overcome challenges and leave mentally healthier lives.
Favorite Quote: “SuperBetter is fundamentally about a mind shift. It’s about claiming your power to be in charge of how you spend your time and energy, and focusing it on the things that matter the most to you.”
Rising Strong by Brené Brown (Spiegel & Grau, Aug. 25, 2015)
If you are someone who doesn’t respond to the peppy, motivational words found in most self-help books, you may enjoy Rising Strong. A researcher and a journalist, Brown uses real research and the stories of real people to back up her theories on how we can rise above our problems and setbacks. “When we deny our stories, they define us,” Brown writes. “When we own our stories, we get to write the ending.”
A research professor at the University of Houston, Brown also is known for her popular Ted Talk,
“The Power of Vulnerability.”
Favorite Quote: “Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.”
Color Me Stress-Free: 100 Coloring Templates to Unplug and Unwind by Lacy Mucklow (author) and Angela Porter (illustrator) (Release date Sept. 15, 2015)
Here is a different sort of self-help book. According to art therapist and best-selling coloring book author Lacy Mucklow, these intricate sketches will harness your fine motor skills and soothe you with specific imagery. This book, one of the Color Me series, features nearly 100 coloring templates. Pull out your markers, colored pencils or crayons and get ready to de-stress.
Favorite Quote: “It gives people a chance to unwind and decompress and get away from all the technology and electronics and get back to being with themselves.”