The 10 Best self-help books

How to win friends, think more about sex, and get things done

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The Independent Culture

1. How To Think More About Sex By Alain de Botton


De Botton says we need to balance love and desire, adventure and commitment, to find happiness.

2. On the Shortness of Life by Seneca


Head stoic Seneca provides a lucid, eloquent guide to living life with a stiff upper lip and a logical mind.


3. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffer


Jeffer says we should stop trying to perfect our mental state, accept limited control and learn to live with it, then happiness follows.


4. Getting Things Done by David Allen


The likeable geek says we need to apply a two-minute rule to decisions and operate a "do it, delegate it, defer it, drop it" principle.


5. How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age by Dale Carnegie


The Old English Sheepdog of the self-help cannon – amiable, companionable and dependable.


6. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle


This two-million seller is actually not too silly, directing us to live in the moment, thus freeing ourselves from lots of anxiety.


7. Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn


The idea here is to reduce stress and become better all round by using mindful meditation to focus the mind on what is important.


8. Feeling Good by David Burns


This guide to basic cognitive behavioural therapy was shown to be as effective as prescription drugs at improving mood.


9. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius


"If you are distressed by anything, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it." Counsel from a Roman Emperor.


10. The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker


Pinker takes the notion of the connectedness of thought and speech, then explores the science and reasoning behind it.