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Be The Best You: The Best Self Help Books for Men

When it comes to self-help books the modern man shies away from his unavoidable responsibility to deal with either his issues or accept that there are any in the first place. This mentality of denial and stubbornness is fuelled and accentuated by the stereotypes that surround self-help books. We as men, see them as admittance to weakness or a sign of desperation.

Or perhaps we fall foul to the hyperbolic portrayal of self-help books in TV and films: the sad crazy cat-lady type or the friendless bloke, unfashionable and alone. These stereotypes are intended to evoke humour and laughter, but instead do you, the modern man, a disservice by encouraging you not to pursue some form of social or potentially psychological self-medication.

If you are reading this article questioning the validity of purchasing these kinds of books, either worrying about the opinions of others which can sometimes accompany personal improvement under the wrongly stigmatised title of ‘self-help’, then let's change the name to the former idea: personal improvement.

best self help books

"Whether your issues concern friends, family, financial freedom or your own inner-self, there will be a book on this list for you. To know which book to read you must be honest with yourself about what it is that is weighing on you..."

The self-help book market has a mixed bag of topics, yet despite the unbalanced scale of production there are some genuinely brilliant pieces of literature you should read.

It may be the classic male pride issue of not feeling successful enough, or not having enough money, or it could be more emotionally charged issues such as doubting your own abilities. Whatever it is, rest assured you can not only get over it, but you can also be further along than you would ever have thought.

Before we get to the books you should ensure that you keep your ego in check. Don’t let your pride get in the way of making a real and significant change in your life. In the long run, making the decision to improve yourself will be the first step you remember in becoming awesome.

One last thing, remember to take some of titles of the books with a pinch of salt. What I mean by this is that while they are excellent pieces of work, the authors have a habit of making their work have more emotionally provocative and occasionally silly sounding titles.

Now let’s get you from where you are to being bloody awesome.

The Best Self Help Books for Men​


The Four Hour Work Week-Tim Ferris ($13)

                                  The Four Hour Work Week-Tim Ferris

When Tim Ferriss produced this book in 2007, he revolutionised the way we see work. While the title is one of the more provocative titles, it isn’t far from the truth.

​The book goes through Tim’s journey as a young entrepreneur fighting the old age battle of wanting more money in less time. The book describes exactly how he won this battle. If you, like most men these days, are sick of trading your hours for an increasingly more frustrating and diminishing amount of money, then give this book a read.

Tim shows you how he went from earning $40,000 a year and working 80 hours a week, to earning the same amount whilst working a tenth of that time.

If all of that doesn’t interest you, then read just for the blueprint of getting a lot of what you want through realistic and methodical planning, which he named Dreamlining.​

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The 48 Laws of Power- Robert Greene ($13)

                                        The 48 Laws of Power- Robert Greene

If you feel powerless in your job, home life or simply feel you aren’t living up to what you could be, then this book is for you.

Greene’s beguiling work condenses three thousand years of history into 48 laws which rival the work of Machiavelli and his notoriously exquisite The Prince.

A lot of men dream of being the best, or for the less ego-centric, better. Greene dissects and inspects true power in the form of leaders; from Elizabeth I to Henry Kissinger.

The question is; Do you yearn for a life where you are on top? If so, read, re-read and then re-read this book until the 48 laws are ingrained on your brain.

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Eat The Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time- Brian Tracy ($9)

                               Eat The Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time- Brian Tracy

If you are more about helping yourself with success rather than self-esteem, this is the book for you. Brian Tracy takes us through 21 extremely actionable methods for beating one of man’s biggest dilemmas; procrastination.

We all know the feeling of a big task looming over us, weighing on us until we just have to do the job.

Yet instead of taking the job head on, most men, even with ample time, allow themselves to do every little job and fancy until it really is crunch time. This self-inflicted problem can be solved by following Tracy’s rules.

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Think and Grow Rich-Napoleon Hill ($15)

                                 Think and Grow Rich-Napoleon Hill

Napoleon Hill is a genius, he masterfully crafts a piece of literature which not only evolves your way of thinking about money, but transverses all attributes of the well-rounded modern man. He explores the roles of decision making, persistence and even develops a conversation around the deeply enthralling concept of fear.

If it is just the idea of becoming financially free which you wish to tackle, Hill’s descent into the how and what of money will allow you to escape the cold grip of scarcity and give you the fundamentals to develop a plan with which to do so.

Even if you have all your finances in order, give Hill a chance to amaze you with his 1937 classic.

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Social Growth:

You are a badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life – Jen Sinerco ($9)

                                    You are a badass How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life Jen Sinerco

This book from the bestselling author Sinerco may be the best book for those of you who are virgins to personal improvement books.

While Jen is obviously a woman, her tone and constant to-the-point humour allows both men and women to learn and benefit from the book’s concise advice.

Jen’s work is easily digestible and comes in the form of bites of information allowing you to retain the tidbits of valuable knowledge without the emotional and physical strain of scrawling through hundreds and hundreds of densely populated pages.Give it a read; it’s worth it for the laughs.

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Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck?-Seth Godin ($17)

                                   Whatcha Gonna Do with That Duck Seth Godin

Seth Godin is the quintessential modern philosopher. Although Seth does commonly tout this accolade, the man is brilliant. A deep thinker and astute observer of modern life, if you just read one chapter of this book your life would improve.

The book entails a series of intriguing and necessary questions, more often than not, ones we avoid to ask out of fear of the answer.

The book’s contents may be deep in subject matter, but the ease of reading is astounding given the complexity. If you want to read a book which will improve your view of the world, others and of yourself, then have flick through it and take in the brilliance that is Seth Godin’s mind.

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The Alchemist-Paulo Coelho ($7)

                                     The Alchemist-Paulo Coelho

Although the Alchemist is not an outright self-help book, the connection the reader establishes to the narrative encourages a vicarious journey into self-realisation.

As you follow Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy, through the journey of discovering his true purpose, you too question whether you are living out your own potential.

For those of you out there who love reading fiction, but also want to get a bit of personal improvement along the way, this is the book for you.

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The Game- Neil Strauss ($24)

                       The Game Neil Strauss

Neil Strauss’ the game is a wonderful insight into an odd but fascinating underground society. The book takes us through Straus’ personal issues with being poor with women and his decision to immerse himself in the world of subtle manipulation and occasionally underhand tactics to effectively bed the fairer sex.

While you find yourself sympathising and inevitably liking Strauss, you feel somewhat sorry for his partners in crime. While the men he surrounds himself with, known as PUAs (pickup artists), are a little irregular, their results are extraordinary.

As we follow the Rolling Stone and New York Time bestselling author into this world of close up magic and psychological wizardry, you do in fact pick up a plethora of techniques and general tips to help you with women.

If it is women who cause you anxiety and are messing with your self-esteem, this book is certainly worth a read.

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The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of Focused Mind ($12)

                                 The Attention Revolution Unlocking the Power of Focused Mind

I have saved the book best for solving one of the modern man’s most difficult problems, distraction.

Alan Wallace works to eliminate a path to reaching the Buddhist meditative practice of Shamatha, which is a level of mental agility and strength which enables you to effectively resist the dancing lights and beeps of the 21st century’s distractions. Wallace’s research into attention-enhancing meditation has allowed him and others to reach new levels of concentration.

Wallace endeavors to train your mind, culling the ineffective qualities which enable distractions to take hold of your mental faculties.

This book is not for the faint hearted, it will be difficult and extended, but so worth it. If you work hard, keep positive and follow the doctor’s advice religiously you will no doubt find yourself being able to concentrate on cue.

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How to Win Friends and Influence People- Dale Carnegie ($1.97)

                                    How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie’s 1930's stalwart of personal improvement has stood the test of time and established itself as the go to book for getting what you want out of life, especially within your career.

The book explores the obtusely obvious, yet rarely practiced law of influence; make it about the other person. It seems silly to say this, but it’s so often overlooked. People like to feel good about themselves, and if you are the active party in this good feeling the other person becomes a lot more receptive to your requests.

If it is friends you yearn for; this book will help you develop the social skills to attract people. If you wish to grow your status among your colleagues and get that promotion you deserve, Carnegie’s methods and advice will guide you through the minefield that is corporate social politics.

This is one not to be missed, and certainly a book you might want to annotate as you read along. 

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Thinking Fast and Slow- Daniel Khaneman ($9)

                                  Thinking Fast and Slow- Daniel Khaneman

Ground-breaking even today, Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winning economist, has written a book which should be mandatory reading at every school in the world.

In his New York Times bestseller, Daniel works through the psychology of our decisions, breaking them down into two systems; fast and slow.

The former system controls our instant and reactionary decisions, the decisions we make in the far corners of our mind, unbeknownst to the inner monologue which constantly mumbles.

The latter, the slow system, is exactly that. Slow. This secondary cognitive pathway allows us to be consciously decisive and permits the self-control which labours the mind so often.

Kahneman effectively creates the genre of behavioural-economics in this book, establishing a piece of work which will change the way you think about thinking.

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Spiritual Growth:

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment- Eckhart Tolle ($9)

                                     The Power of Now A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment Eckhart Tolle

Tolle’s The Power of Now is almost too self-help book sounding. Yet this New York Times bestseller has sold over 2 million copies worldwide, and has been translated into over 30 languages.

Some condemn Tolle’s work as hippie nonsense, they feel that his argument for living a better life is wishy-washy and a little limp. This could not be further from the truth.

What Tolle does in his standout piece of work is develop a number of well-crafted concepts which all lead to a greater understanding and capability in the realms of emotional intelligence, compassion and generally the enjoyment of life.

The books spiritual side scares a few people off, but if you can push past this, just open yourself up to change and learn to be better.

It is in your best interest to get past the unusual title and the sometimes overly zealous spirituality of the book and push back your boundaries of ignorance.

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The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem- Nathaniel Branden ($10)

                                  The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem- Nathaniel Branden

Branden delves into the world of motivation and personal acceptance. Branden presents six actionable stages for people to create a solid foundation for strong self-esteem, choosing to venture into the separate worlds which exist in our life where self-esteem is most important; work, parenthood, education, psychotherapy, and our values at large.

Branden’s work is useful for those who would benefit from understanding what improves the self-esteem of those around him and with himself. This should be for every man really, but it is intended for managers, teachers and the like.

The book provides systematic exercise to help you along the process and enables you to follow a more regimented approach to self-help.

The real and most noticeable benefit of this book and its methodical systems is the evolution of your own habits. The progression of the book works in tandem with the change in your bad habits.

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Man’s Search for Meaning- Viktor Frankl ($7)

                                   Man’s Search for Meaning- Viktor Frankl

With more than 3 million copies sold, just in the English versions, the classic self-help book holds some serious weight.

This 1959 work builds a captivating argument transcending psychology, self-help and personal anecdotes, all to aid in the pursuit for the big question.

In Frankl's pursuit for man’s meaning within life he touches on complex yet fully comprehensible philosophies. Frankl posits that man’s greatest motivation and yearn is one of finding our purpose in life.

This scarily difficult question is broken down into more digestible nuggets of information, which he uses to encourage the reader to find their own purpose and fulfill it.

The book establishes the man’s great contribution to the world, his theory of logotherapy. Frankl’s theory, which was nurtured in the depths of his mind during his experience of loss at the hand of the Nazis in concentration camps, purports we find meaning in three distinct ways. Firstly, in the work we create and deeds we do, secondly, experiencing someone or something with significance. Finally, the attitude we choose when faced with suffering.

If your mind frequently wanders to the big questions, the ones which keep you awake at night, probing the deeper recesses of your mind, give Frankl’s book a go.

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Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It-Kamal Ravikant ($5)

                   Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It-Kamal Ravikant

This book pivots on the tried and tested truism that self-help finds its foundation in self-love. Being able to accept, appreciate and love who you are, is the first and most important step in becoming better.

Kamal walks us through his own journey of developing self-love and banishing the neurotic inner voice with tugs at your self-esteem. As we take the journey with him we begin to appreciate our own narcissism and neurotic issues which are blocking us from the person we could be.

Reading this book will make you sad, happy, confident and myriad other emotions associated with personal development.

Kamal delivers simple truths in simple ways, make sure to take note and read it with a smile on your face.

While other books in this list are more actionable in terms of financial freedom, confidence and personal freedom, this book will lay the groundwork which will make all the other areas so much easier. Get the book it is as simple as that.

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These 15 books will allow you to tackle the increasingly difficult task to beat all the distractions we experience every day, build your self-esteem and self-appreciation to give you the momentum to tackle progressively more trying tasks, and finally to gain your financial freedom through the greater understanding of your own mind and the world’s economics.

You don’t have to read every book on this list, but it would be a great idea to pick a few to read and find out what you like and don’t like. Don’t be put off by the stigma, just get a book and read it.

What do you think?

Written by Terrence Kennedy

Terrence Kennedy is the man’s man on a journey to self-discovery. A traveler, extreme sports aficionado, an observant wanderer, a DIY-Know-How, an ultimate outsider and a documentarist of culture, sex, dating, relationship, fashion, style and gentleman's etiquette. He has learned a lot through his escapades, and is happy to pass that knowledge on to you.