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- Best for sparking creativity: Big Magic
- Best for motivation to try something new: Year of Yes
- Best workbook: Self-Love Workbook for Women
- Best for female empowerment: Untamed
- Best for healing: After the Rain
- Best for gaining courage: Daring Greatly
- Best for transformation from a therapist’s perspective: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
- Best for manifesting your own reality: You Are a Badass
- Best for inspiring passion: Girl, Wash Your Face
- Best for feeling less alone: Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies
- Best for overcoming challenges: Good Morning Monster
- Best for breaking free from destructive behaviors: How to Do the Work
- Best for boosting self-esteem: The Self Confidence Workbook
- Best for setting boundaries in relationships: Set Boundaries, Find Peace
- Best for the soul: Feeding the Soul (Because It’s My Business)
While not as riveting as the science fiction or mystery sections of the bookstore, self-help books are uniquely empowering and inspiring. Some people even think of them as a form of self-care.
Self-help books for women specifically acknowledge and address the challenges that women face in their work and personal lives. These self-help books are filled with self-improvement advice and strategies to change your mindset.
Keep in mind that reading self-help books is just the beginning. You’ll have to implement the teachings within the pages to notice an improvement in your life.
To select the best self-help books for women, we considered the following criteria:
- Topics. Self-help is wide and vague. Under that umbrella exists a range of topics like self-esteem, faith, creativity, mental health, and more. We chose a variety of books that cover a multitude of topics.
- Ratings and customer reviews. Book reviews can be powerful. They can help you narrow down your choices to find the book or books that will make the biggest impression on you. If you’re torn between multiple options, one review can help make the decision more clear.
- Author credibility. We vetted each author to ensure they’re qualified to speak on the topic at hand. Some authors are therapists, psychologists, and more. Some are women who have experienced a lot in life and want to share the lessons they learned with other women.
- Applicable to women. Not all self-help books are written with women at the forefront. Finding the right self-help book for you is already challenging enough. These self-help books for women were specifically chosen because they account for experiences unique to women.
- $ = under $10
- $$ = over $10
Best for sparking creativity
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Creativity is necessary when working on projects, dreaming of your goals, and fulfilling your greatest potential. In everyday life, creativity comes in handy to make life more interesting and enjoyable. It can even contribute to your professional success.
Still, creativity may not come easy, and it certainly may not feel endless.
In “Big Magic,” author Elizabeth Gilbert shares her recipe for creativity, curiosity, and empowerment.
Thousands of positive reviewers describe the book as “encouraging,” “powerful,” and “liberating.” Reviews say the book will especially resonate with women with creative careers, such as writers and artists, whose very living depends on being creative. Some reviewers even note that this book makes them want to write.
Gilbert shares insights into her own inspiration for her work as an award-nominated journalist and bestselling author. “Big Magic” is a self-help book for people of all ages.
Best for motivation to try something new
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In this New York Times bestseller, author Shonda Rhimes, the creator of “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and an executive producer of “Bridgerton,” shares how saying yes for an entire year changed her life.
If that sounds familiar, this self-help book is akin to a real-life version of the movie “Yes Man.”
Rhimes shares stories about her introverted personality, history of panic attacks, and pattern of saying no in this raw memoir. She challenged herself to say yes to everything that scared her for 1 year.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Rhimes’ memoir “can help motivate even the most determined homebody to get out and try something new.” If you want to challenge yourself, open yourself up to opportunities, and get out of your comfort zone, this might be the push you need.
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This workbook was written by therapist Megan Logan, MSW, LCSW, specifically for women who would like to practice self-love.
The book is packed with interactive exercises that build women’s confidence and create lasting self-care habits. It acts as a guide to improving one’s emotional health and developing a positive mindset.
While some reviewers feel that the execution of this book falls flat, most reviewers find the quizzes and exercises to be practical.
Some prompts include writing a letter to your younger self, cleaning up your social media, and recalling your proudest moments. While exercises are a big part of the book, there’s ample reading material that inspires self-reflection.
Best for female empowerment
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“Untamed” is Glennon Doyle’s third memoir. While the book is often referred to as a coming-out story, Doyle’s coming out is just the catalyst for something even bigger.
The book spans themes like parenting, faith, forgiveness, jealousy, sex, divorce, and much more. It also offers readers insights into how to navigate life’s difficulties.
Readers praise “Untamed” for its honest, intimate, and liberating telling of a family going through a divorce and the journey of finding yourself that follows such a hardship. Doyle doesn’t shy away from her flaws as she shares her most vulnerable truths with millions of readers.
However, some readers criticize the book for being shallow. Since Doyle has two previous memoirs, some reviewers sum up the book as a follow-up or continuation to her story without adding substantial value to her audience.
Doyle compares her struggles to being caged. For people who feel similarly, the book aims to help you be unapologetically yourself.
Best for healing
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If you enjoy meditating, journaling, and other forms of self-care, you might enjoy “After the Rain.” Self-care facilitator Alexandra Elle penned this self-help book for women and people who want to overcome obstacles and build their confidence.
This book takes the form of both a memoir and a guide, with Elle sharing her personal journey from childhood to adulthood while offering 15 lessons on embracing life.
Readers can learn from Elle’s difficult life while practicing empowering affirmations and meditations to spark their own healing.
While some self-help books have a blunt, no-BS attitude, Elle’s delivery is gentle. This is a book for those who want to cleanse, heal, and grow. The book emphasizes the importance of self-soothing and serves as a constant reminder that you are worthy of healing, opportunity, and self-love.
Best for gaining courage
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“Daring Greatly” is based on 12 years of research. In its pages, Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, challenges the belief that vulnerability is weakness. Instead, Brown argues that vulnerability itself is a measure of courage.
Brown draws upon research and her own personal experiences to explore the paradox of how one becomes strong by embracing vulnerability and acknowledging fear.
If you’ve ever felt isolated from others due to a fear of failure or a sense of not being enough, “Daring Greatly” might be the validation you’ve been waiting for. The book helps draw away fear and imposter syndrome, replacing them with confidence, courage, and passion.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Brown’s wisdom “offers good insights into how people don personal armor to shield themselves from vulnerability.”
This book is for people ready to learn and implement the teachings. However, the writing style can be dull and not as entertaining as other self-help books.
Best for transformation from a therapist’s perspective
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If you’ve wanted to know what goes on inside the mind of a therapist, “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” may pique your interest. In it, a trained therapist copes with a crisis and seeks a therapist of her own.
Written by licensed therapist Lori Gottlieb, this book teeters the tightrope between the perspectives of clinician and client. Gottlieb finds herself grappling with the same questions her clients come to her to answer, reminding readers that therapists may be searching for answers too.
Though the book confronts serious topics, Gottlieb entertains with voyeuristic accounts of her own therapy sessions. As the author helps clients, she has a transformation of her own.
The book invites self-reflection, insight, and self-awareness through the lens of Gottlieb, her clients, and her therapist, leaving readers inspired to spark their own transformations and see their therapists as humans themselves.
Best for manifesting your own reality
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Authored by success coach Jen Sincero, “You Are a Badass” is one of the most successful self-help books for women, with more than 3 million copies sold. The book is filled with 27 bite-sized chapters of advice and exercises to help you manifest a life you love.
Inspired by her own transformation — from a 40-year-old living in a converted garage with an empty bank account to a successful professional — Sincero believes that if she can do it, so can you. To make your dreams a reality, however, you will have to overcome self-doubt and negative thought patterns.
As Publishers Weekly describes Sincero, she “brings a fun, feminine verve to now well-tread self-help tropes.” Sincero knows her way around helping people transform their lives.
Best for inspiring passion
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If you’ve ever told yourself “I should be further along by now” or “I will never get past this,” Hollis’ straight talk is the dose of reality you need.
She has a no-BS approach to motivating her readers and breaking down misconceptions that can hold you back from joy and productivity. According to Hollis, these are lies we tell ourselves, and these lies are self-sabotaging.
While this self-help book for women has sold more than 3 million copies, some readers have a hard time connecting with Hollis. Some reviewers are not motivated by the author’s seemingly perfect and privileged life.
Best for feeling less alone
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A former president at Comedy Central and TV executive, Tara Schuster, pens this self-help book that is equal parts humor, memoir, and guide. If you want a book that encourages you to find laughter where there’s pain and struggle — especially when those hurdles are ones many of us can relate to — this is the book for you.
Schuster has a way of telling her own personal stories in a way that is humbling, grounding, and relatable. It’s hard to feel alone when Schuster bares it all. From self-medicating to journaling, Schuster’s journey to self-care is not a linear one, but it’s one that many can learn from and implement the teachings in their own lives.
Best for overcoming challenges
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What goes on in other people’s therapy sessions and what lessons of self-discovery do those patients make? If you’ve ever wondered this, this emotional masterpiece by psychologist Catherine Gildiner may intrigue you.
In it, Gildiner presents five patients and their challenges, such as sexual dysfunction, abandonment, childhood neglect, and more. The ways in which these patients suffered and healed can inspire us all.
This book is a fit for women looking to overcome challenges in their lives. Seeing how others overcame their own challenges can remind you that not all pain is permanent and recovery is possible.
Best for breaking free from destructive behaviors
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You may have heard therapy referred to as “putting in the work.” But what does that mean? Psychologist Nicole LePera has created a protocol that equips people with the tools to heal themselves from self-sabotaging and destructive behaviors.
It’s not easy to admit that our own behaviors and pasts could be contributing to present-day problems like feeling unhappy and unwell. In this guide, LePera offers a different approach to mental wellness and self-care with tools that are based on research and her own results.
Best for boosting self-esteem
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If reading pages of dense information and complex research brings you more overwhelm than release, a workbook may be a better fit. This one is geared toward those with low levels of self-esteem and self-acceptance.
Authors Dr. Barbara Markway and Celia Ampel offer science-backed strategies to bring out your best self in arenas of life like family, work, and health. This workbook will prompt you to set goals, participate in exercises, and silence your doubts.
You have many strengths, and this workbook will help you to see them. By increasing your confidence, you’ll start to silence your worries and treat yourself with compassion.
Best for setting boundaries in relationships
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Though it sounds simple, setting healthy boundaries is one of the hardest but most rewarding acts of kindness you can show toward yourself. But how can you do this without offending others and feeling the need to apologize?
Author and therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab breaks down the myths and misconceptions surrounding the taboo topic of coping with toxic people, saying “no,” and establishing healthy relationships with others in this self-help book for relationships.
If you experience guilt when setting boundaries, this book is for you. Tawwab helps readers rethink their understanding of setting boundaries. According to Tawwab, setting boundaries is nonnegotiable for finding inner peace and establishing healthy relationships.
Best for the soul
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TikTok’s Tabitha Brown is the author of this bestselling self-help book unlike any other. Brown shares her own life experiences relating to her difficult career, love for food, and health struggles. She shares the wisdom she gained from her own journey and passes it on so others can seek love, kindness, and good in their lives.
A compilation of personal stories, nourishing recipes, and motivational quotes, this book is a source of comfort. Brown’s soothing personality is rooted in the book and her words are like food for the soul, according to customer reviews.
Reading self-help books can help you confront your own struggles, whether they’re related to relationships, mental health, or self-esteem. Confronting uncomfortable truths can mark the beginning of your own healing and self-improvement journey.
Keep in mind that reading self-help books is just the beginning. You’ll have to implement the teachings within the pages to start seeing an improvement in your life.
Lacey Bourassa is a health, wellness, and beauty writer based in Southern California. She holds a BA in English. Her work has appeared in digital publications like Livestrong, Verywell, Business Insider, Eat This Not That, and others. When she’s not writing, Lacey is likely pursuing her other interests: skin care, plant-based cooking, pilates, and traveling. You can keep up with her by visiting her website or her blog.