best self-help books 2021

19 Self-Help Books to Read While Tackling the New Year

Improve your career, finances, or confidence in 2021 with these books.
Claire Harmeyer
Dec 28, 2020 @ 4:01 pm
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You've heard the phrase: New Year, new you. But when the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, you won't magically transform into a new person. However, you can use the new year as a chance to take concrete steps toward a better version of yourself. Whether it's in the form of resolutions, vision boards, or lists of intentions, New Year's Eve is a time to reflect on the past year and create goals for 2021. And a great tool for kickstarting the hard work of self-improvement? Self-help books.

We all have areas of our lives in which we'd like to improve: our careers, finances, fitness, self-confidence, relationships...The list goes on. Experts in self-help books divulge how to manage our money, gain confidence in everyday life, and be bold in our careers. Reading self-help books is a great first step in the right direction for tackling the New Year. Below, we rounded up the best self-help books to read in 2021.

best self-help books for women 2021
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1. For overcoming difficulties.

It's safe to say that things fell apart in 2020 and that it has been difficult for everyone in one way or another. Luckily, When Things Fall Apart offers advice on how to lean into those difficult times and come out on the other side happier and better from the experience.

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2. For sparking creativity.

From the author of City of Girls and Eat, Pray, Love, Big Magic is Elizabeth Gilbert's guide to creative living. This self-help book details how to stop dreaming of the life you want to live and go out there and get it. Whether it's writing a book, creating art, or finding new ways to tackle challenges, Big Magic will inspire you to channel your creativity.

$11.04
($17)
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3. For improving your finances.

If one of your 2021 goals is to stop living paycheck to paycheck, Broke Millennial by Erin Lowry is your new bible. This modern take on budgeting details debacles like splitting bills with friends, talking about money with your partner, and managing student loans without freaking TF out.

$13.50
($15)
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4. To stop doubting yourself.

It's impossible to never doubt yourself, but are you doubting yourself so much that it's getting in the way of your life? Through funny stories, easy exercises, and tough-love advice, Jen Sincero teaches you to ditch self-sabotaging habits and start leading a kickass life in her book You Are a Badass.

$8.99
($17)
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5. To help live with purpose.

Jay Shetty is a monk turned social-media star and podcaster, giving him a unique blend of ancient and modern wisdom. In Think Like a Monk, Shetty highlights the power of a monk-like mindset for living a less anxious, more meaningful life.

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6. For channeling vulnerability.

Ever wondered what therapists do when they need therapy? This self-help book details Lori Gottlieb's experience switching from professional to patient and how we can unlock our vulnerability. Maybe You Should Talk to Someone is highly acclaimed and was O, The Oprah Magazine's Best Nonfiction Book of 2019.

$17.29
($28)
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7. For chasing your dreams.

Do you want it all? A thriving career, love life, and confidence to take on the world? The Big Life, written by former Seventeen editor-in-chief Ann Shoket, is packed with actionable advice for millennial women who want to create a life full of passion, ambition, love, and respect—from others and for themselves.

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8. For organizing your professional life.

Maybe you've already Marie Kondo-ed your apartment, but what about your office? In Joy at Work, Marie Kondo is back and here to help you spark joy in your professional life while maintaining a work-life balance.

$9.61
($24)
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9. To stop living in fear.

Calling all Grey's Anatomy and Scandal fans: Shonda Rhimes' book is for you. In 2016, the television show creator decided to say "yes" to everything that scared her for one full year. The result is this powerful book that teaches the power of leaving your comfort zone.

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10. For learning how to adult.

Ever feel like you're still a kid pretending to be an adult? Same. Adulting is no easy task, and the creators of theSkimm know this firsthand. That's why they're here to teach you adulting hacks in a humorous, understandable way. From managing finances to reading wine labels to going green, this self-help book will have you slaying your adulthood in no time.

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11. For learning how to not sweat the small stuff.

If you're sick of hearing phrases like "look on the bright side!" or "think positive!" this book is for you. In The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson doesn't sugarcoat things. Sometimes life sucks, but what Manson believes (and will teach you to believe) is that we must accept the shitty things and realize what things we should really spend our time caring about. This self-help book will help you understand that once we embrace our faults, we can live a grounded life. 

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12. For finding silver linings.

When we fail, it can be tough to find the positive spin. But we would never succeed if we didn't first try. The Up Side of Down is all about understanding our failures and maintaining confidence that we'll find success during dark times.

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13. To embrace your truest self.

We all tell ourselves lies: "Everyone has it figured out but me," "I should be further in life than I am." In Girl, Wash Your Face, entrepreneur Rachel Hollis exposes the lies and misconceptions that hold us back from living our truest lives as our truest selves. By the end of this self-help book, you'll learn to give yourself grace without giving up.

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14. For becoming more efficient.

Feeling overwhelmed by the things you need to do, should do, and want to do? It's time to get your shit together. This New York Times bestselling self-help book will tell you how to stop procrastinating and efficiently get shit done when life feels like too much to handle.

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15. To stop thinking negatively.

It's time to Marie Kondo your mind. We all know the feeling of a million thoughts running through our head at one time. This self-help book teaches mindfulness techniques that clear the clutter in your brain to make room for the things that really matter. Declutter Your Mind teaches you to stop sweating the small stuff and create space for joy.

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16. To channel positive thinking.

In a world of increasing stress and negativity, we could all use an extra dose of happiness. In this self-help book, author Shawn Achor teaches how small shifts in our mindsets and habits can have huge impacts in every aspect of our lives.

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17. For getting out of your comfort zone.

Brené Brown is a renowned professor, podcaster, and all-around thought leader. In Daring Greatly, Brown shares how we can find the courage to take risks in our everyday life and live vulnerably—plus, how that will lead us to work, love, and parent better.

$13.58
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18. For learning self-love.

Why is it easy to love others but hard to love yourself? In The Self-Love Experiment, you'll learn to become your own best friend, to love life, and, most of all, to accept yourself. This makes a great gift for someone who always puts others first or maybe struggles to see their own self-worth.

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19. For choosing happiness.

Number one New York Times bestselling author Gretchen Rubin spent one year of her life dedicated to finding happiness. Through scientific research, pop culture lessons, and real-world examples, Rubin found that the smallest changes can make the biggest difference—and you will too when you follow her step-by-step guide for leading a happier life.

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