self improvement

5 Books that Changed My Life (Self-Help)

May 15, 2019

To accompany my blog post ‘Escape to the Grampians’, I have included a list of five self-help books that have helped me out recently when I was having a bit of a rough time in Australia.

1. Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

Okay, no, Sapiens isn’t a self-help book. It’s a book about history and science in relation to human kind. It has a lot about meditation, self-care and mentions some Buddhist teachings in relation to happiness.

2. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I wasn’t a big fan of Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and for that reason, I’d 100% recommend ‘Big Magic’. It’s a magnificent, self-aware book about producing content for the sake of it and not letting fear hold you back. Gilbert talks about how critics bashed ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and even she agrees that it certainly isn’t in the realms of literary genius, but at least she wrote something. Having fear of not being good enough and not being a perfect has deterred so many great people from trying. ‘Big Magic’ teaches you to not be afraid and to simply do what it is that you’re afraid of.

3. The Chimp Paradox by Prof Steve Peters

The Chimp Paradox is a less of a self-help book and more of a psychological study. It teaches you about how to control your inner, emotional chimp. There was a lot of the book that I didn’t identify with, but so much of it felt like Prof Peters was talking directly to me and telling me exactly how to deal with my problems.

4. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

I read the Power of Now a long time ago but it has still stuck with me after all this time as one of the most useful self-help books in the genre. Although I do have some problems with it, there is a lot of value in this book as well. Particularly the main message about living in the moment as opposed to worrying about the past or the future.

5. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Love it or hate it, the Secret is one of the most controversial books in the self-help genre for good reason. Unfortunately, I fall on the side of the fence with the people who generally dislike this book. I find a lot of the teachings problematic and don’t like the way the idea is presented a lot of the time. For example, ‘don’t want to be fat? Stop hanging out with fat people’. Having said that, I do think there is value in the Law of Attraction. Specifically with the premise that good things come to those who expect good things and have a positive outlook.

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