If you are looking to make positive changes in your life, self help books are a great tool to give you guidance, inspiration, clarity and motivation. However, there are thousands out there, so it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. In this post, we’re going to explore the world of self-help books for women. We’ll discuss how they can help you, how to take effective notes while reading, and where to find recommendations. Whether you’re looking to improve your relationships, boost your career, or master your mindset, there’s a self-help book out there for you.
What are self-help books
These books are designed to give you insights, advice, and strategies for improving yourself and your life. They offer practical advice, strategies, and tools to help you overcome challenges and achieve your goals.
While they are a recognised genre, you can find them in a number of areas of a library or bookshop, such as psychology, science and technology, religion, finance, business. They may also be called different names such as self-development books, self-improvement books or personal development books.
Self help books are great as they are accessible to everyone. They are a cheap (or free if you borrow them) way of learning from other people and empowering you to take action. However, they may build the impression that something is wrong with you. Some authors are also seen as privileged and not understanding that other people have different life experiences. I think by choosing your books wisely, understanding what you want to learn and taking action you can overcome many of the negative associations of these types of books.
Different types of self help books
This is a large and complex genre and there are many different ways of categorising it. You may discover you have a preferred type or you may like to move across the whole genre.
Style – it could be a process / how to, a fiction story, a biography, a workbook or a drop in to different sections as you need it.
Format – physical, ebook or audio. I like ebooks, so I can store my notes, but I know more and more people are choosing to listen to these books, for example as they go for a walk.
Science or non science based – some books are written based on the authors on research or referring to research while others are more experience and opinion based.
Topic – motivation, health, finance, relationships, productivity, the list of topics is wide including many other genres.
Tips on choosing self-help books
With so many available it can be daunting to choose where to start. Here are some tips to narrow down the choice.
Think about the area of your life you want to improve. Maybe you’ve set yourself some personal development goals, or you’ve created a wheel of life. Common themes are relationships, career, self-confidence, health and mindset.
Get recommendations. You can get recommendations from your friends or colleagues, websites such Goodreads (or my reviews), or web search for the best self-help books for women to read.
Find some books that resonate with you. Maybe the title or subtitle jump out at you, some reviews excite you or may be the colours of the cover.
Look at each book in detail. Does the content sound like it will meet your specific need? Is it written in a style you like? Consider the author’s background, so you’re aware of their experience, and you get an idea of whether their values are compatible with yours.
Suggestions of self-help book for women
Many books in this genre are suitable for a wide range of people, but there is an increasing number aimed at women by female authors. If you’re keen to start with that type of book, here are some suggestions.
- Burnout by Emily and Amelia Nagoski (my review)
- Lean in by Sheryl Sandberg*
- Women who run with wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes*
- The myth of the nice girl by Fran Hauser*
- Menopausing by Davina McCall*
Tips for reading self-help books
It is important to remember that to see changes in your life you need to take action. So when you’re reading it is good to take notes, particularly inspiring quotes you want to revisit and suggestions of actionable advice.
- Take notes and highlight exercises – this could be in a notebook, saved in a document or highlights in an ebook. The key thing is to keep your notes in one place, so you find them easily.
- Add your thoughts – this could be notes in the margins, diagrams or mind maps where you connect different ideas with your own thoughts.
- Capture actions you want to try – you can’t always apply actions straight away, so having the things you’d like to try along with any thoughts you had at the time you were inspired to do it, makes it more likely to take the action.
- Reflect – this stage is really important to help to remember what you’ve learnt and to remind yourself of what you want to take. It could look like reading through your notes and thinking about how you can apply the concepts or strategies into your everyday life.
My personal experience of self help books
I love reading self-help books, and they are pretty much all I read now. The first self-help books I remember are You can heal your life* and Feel the fear and do it anyway* which I was given as a teenager (they are now both back on my to be read list). The next book I remember is Organising from the Inside Out* which I bought while at university to help me keep my room tidy.
Again there was another break until I started work. At some point I decided I wanted to become more productive. My second post on this blog from 2007 includes mention of Get everything done and still have time to play*, Do it tomorrow* and Get things done*. Years later I still use some of the things I learnt from these books. I may not remember how I was introduced to them, but I can say they did change my life.
There is so much I want to learn that I tend to buy books when they’re on sale. When I’m deciding what to read, I try to mix up my topics. I often read review books in the morning on my tablet and books I’ve bought on my Kobo before bed.
Self-help books can be an excellent tool to help you achieve positive changes in your daily life. They can be a great source of motivation, guidance, and inspiration to feel empowered to learn new life skills, create new habits and transform your mindset. There are tons of amazing self-help books out there, so get started and see how they can help you live your best life.
*Disclosure – this post includes affiliate links which means if you buy something after using it I will earn some money from the seller for suggesting you visit them. However, it will not cost you anything extra.