Top 20 Best Self Help Books of All Time

Best Self Help BooksBest Self Help Books of All Time


After more than a decade as a public speaker, I’ve been asked hundreds of times for the best self help books that have made the biggest impact in my life. I’m excited to finally have this list available here for you on my blog.

After having read hundreds of books in my 18 years as an entrepreneur, I have to admit, it was tough narrowing the list of the best self help books of all time down to only 20. I feel self help encompasses spirituality, financial, physical, relationships and many, many more areas of our lives.  Needless to say, this best self help books list is by no means the end all, be all. There are no-doubt many others that will add tremendous value to your life.

For each of the best self help books on this list, I give my highest recommendation. With the new year upon us, I encourage you to jump out of your comfort zone and pick several of these to add to your library and read this year. I’ve linked each book title to Amazon so you can go straight to the page and buy it!

So here goes…. (drum roll, please)

Top 20 Best Self Help Books of All Time

1. alchemist The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who wants to travel in search of an extravagant treasure. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist. The story of the treasures he finds on his journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the signs along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams.


7 Habits2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Covey presents a holistic, integrated, principle-centered approach for solving personal and professional problems. With powerful insights and spot on anecdotes, Covey reveals a pathway for living with fairness, integrity, service, and human dignity–principles that give us the security to adapt to change and the wisdom and power to take advantage of the opportunities that change creates.


the_power_of_now13. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Tolle takes readers on an inspiring spiritual journey to find their true and deepest self and reach the ultimate in personal growth and spirituality: the discovery of truth and light. In writing about enlightenment, he introduces you to it’s natural enemy, your mind.  He goes further by showing readers how to live in the present moment.


rich dad poor dad4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Kiyosaki tackles the ‘financial literacy” that’s never addressed in schools.  He had two father figures growing up.  One who struggled paycheck to paycheck for a lifetime whom he called “poor dad” and the other who was a multimillionaire eighth grade dropout he lovingly calls “rich dad”.  The concept behind the book is that rich people have money work for them while the poor work for money.  This is a must read to change anyone’s negative belief system on money or to further your understanding on how money can work for you.


How to Win Friends5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

This is one of the most timeless self help books ever written.  Carnegie believed that most successes come from an ability to communicate effectively versus brilliant insights. This book teaches these skills by showing you how to value people and help them feel appreciated rather than manipulated.


the-road-less-travelled6. The Road Less Traveled by M Scott Peck

When a book opens with “Life is difficult”, you know it’s going to wake you up and provide you with some candid lessons. His timeless voice in The Road Less Traveled continues to help us explore the nature of loving relationships and leads us toward a new peace and fulfillment. You will learn how to distinguish dependency from love; how to become a more sensitive parent; and ultimately how to become one’s own true self.


Think-and-Grow-Rich-210x3007. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Hill was one of the first ever self help authors, and his books are incredibly relevant today. Think and Grow Rich condenses his laws of success and provides you with 13 principles of personal achievement. It is noted  that an individual with desire, faith, and persistence can reach great success by eliminating all negative energy and thoughts and focusing at the greater goals in hand.


agreements_200-57d23deca127d01f8664e17db1359c832149d2ec-s6-c108. The Four Agreements by don Miguel Ruiz

This self help book is rooted in traditional Toltec wisdom, four agreements in life are essential steps on the path to personal freedom. As beliefs are transformed through keeping these agreements, shamanic teacher don Miguel Ruiz asserts lives will “become filled with grace, peace, and unconditional love.”


As_A_Man_Thinketh_by_James_Allen9. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

This is considered a classic self-help book that inspired future books on the law of attraction. Its underlying premise is that noble thoughts make a noble person, while lowly thoughts make a miserable person. James Allen reveals how our thoughts determine reality.  He shows you how you can master your thoughts to create the life you want instead of simply drifting through life unaware of the inner forces that keep us held in failure and frustration.


mans_search_for_meaning10. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

This self help book has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival.  Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. He holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure but the discovery and pursuit of what we find meaningful.


see you at the top self help11. See You at the Top by Zig Ziglar

As one of America’s most gifted speakers/authors in motivation, the late Zig Ziglar shares the secrets of climbing the stairway to personal success. He presents a proven program of self-development based upon the foundation of a winning self-image.


celestine_prophecy12. The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

In the rain forests of Peru, an ancient manuscript was discovered. It includes 9 key insights on life.  Drawing on ancient wisdom, it shows you how to make connections among the current events in your life and let’s you see what is going to happen to you in the future. This book can help you understand why you are where you are in life and align you with a new optimism for your future.


powerpositive213. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

Dr. Peale shows you 10 simple rules to obtain confidence, 3 proven secrets for vigor, 5 techniques to overcome defeat and much, much more. This book proves that an attitude can change lives, win success in all things, and overcome obstacles.


scienceofgettingrich14. The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles

Originally published in 1910, this book takes the mystery out of wealth accumulation and breaks it down into a scientific formula. The text is divided into 17 quick, no nonsense chapters that show you how to oconquer mental barriers, and how creation, not competition, is the true key to attracting wealth.


SSLOS_book15. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra

Chopra’s teachings are summed up in 7 simple principles which can be applied to all areas of your personal life to create success. Chopra’s basic premise is that personal understanding and harmony promote fulfilling relationships and material abundance without extra effort.  Each of the chapters provide specifics on how to achieve it.


The-Magic-Of-Thinking-Big16. The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

Millions of people all over the world have improved their lives using this book. Schwartz will help you sell better, lead more effectively, earn more money, and  (this is a big one) find more happiness and peace of mind.He proves that you don’t need innate talent to achieve massive success but you do need to understand the habit of thinking and behaving in ways that get you there.


1feel the fear7. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

We’ve all got fears which is why I love this book! Whatever your fear, here is your chance to push through it once and for all. You’ll discover how to move from victim to creator, the 10-step process to turn off the negative talk in your head and how to create more meaning in your life by overcoming those fears.


Awaken-The-Giant-Within18. Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robbins

Tony Robbins is famous for his motivational speaking but this is, by far, one of the best self help books of all time. Robbins shows you his most effective strategies and techniques for mastering your emotions, your body, your relationships, your finances, and your life through a step-by-step program teaching self-mastery that enables you to discover your true purpose, take control of your life and harness the forces that shape your destiny.


power of intention19. The Power of Intention by Wayne W. Dyer

This isn’t your typical book on intention. Dyerhas researched intention as a force in the universe that allows the act of creation to take place. This book explores intention—not as something you do—but as an energy you’re a part of. We’re all intended here through the invisible power of intention. He’s the first in our industry to look at intention as a field of energy that you can access to begin co-creating your life with the power of intention.


what to say20. What to Say When You Talk to Your Self by Dr. Shad Helmstetter

Don’t overlook this book because it’s #20 on my Top 20 Best Self Help Books of all time list.  I’ve recommended this book to many friends and family members who’s lives have been changed dramatically as a result of reading this book.  Self doubt? Read this book. In secure about anything? Read this book.  I’m sure you get the idea.

Some real surprises in the top 20 best self help books, right?  Which on these best self help books jumps out at you? Let me know by leaving a comment.  Of course, I considered adding my bestselling book, The Unemployed Millionaire, to this list since it is one of my personal favorites (wink, wink) but since it’s newer and hasn’t sold millions of copies yet I thought I better leave it off… for now anyway. 😉

As an added resource for you, here’s a quick link to a list of the best self help books on Amazon.

Was there a book you felt should have made the list of the Top 20 Best Self Help Books of All Time?  If so, please share it in the comments section and why you feel it should be included.  After all, this is a group discussion meant for personal growth and self development.  Discussion is encouraged.  I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Make life an adventure!

Matt Morris Signature

P.S. – If you feel this list of the top 20 best self help books of all time can add value to others, please share it on Facebook or Twitter!

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Matt Morris is an eight-time bestselling author, including his #1 bestseller, The Unemployed Millionaire: Escape the Rat Race, Fire Your Boss and Live Life on YOUR Terms!

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  • ed

    Hi Matt. Thanks for the list. I’ve read half of those books, and I have to say that one of my favorites, not on the list is, The Slight Edge. I will be reading some of the ones that you mentioned that I have not read, so I really appreciate it. All the best, Ed

    • matthewdmorris

      Love that book. Thanks Ed!



    • matthewdmorris

      Thanks for the recommendation, Geoff!

  • Dr. G

    I strongly suggest “The Art and Science of Success” (All Volumes!!)

    • Matt Morris

      Thanks :)

  • Amy J Nevins

    This is just what I needed!!!!!

    • matthewdmorris

      Good! :)

  • Bert

    Matt… Outwitting the devil by Napoleon Hill is also an excellent book to read…

    • matthewdmorris

      Hey Bert, I just heard about this book but haven’t read it. Buying it today!

      • Christina Alvarado

        have you read this yet?

  • Alfredo Deambrosi

    The Bible. The best help comes from Jesus, Paul, John, Peter, etc. Not trying to sound spiritual or anything, but freedom found in Christ gives amazing power to perform.

    • Nani

      you are Religious person. but in this site there is no only christians, but also other people who believe other faith like Islam.

  • Vicki Medina

    It is funny how timing works. I was just researching the internet for some books and today you send a message. Perfect timing.

  • Ludvig Lagerfors

    I have read the book of: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and it was an aventure and wery good story abaut a boy wery-wery nice story… but onother book is the mormon book its “onother” testament of jesus krist—

  • Kim

    I just asked you last week about which books to read. You replied quickly and I have the ones you suggested. I’ll be sure to add these to my list. Thanks, Matt. Great info!

  • Jaysal Bhardwa

    Hi Matt! Thanks for this awesome list. There are a few I haven’t heard of, so will definitely put them on my reading list! Its kinda interesting you put The Alchemist at number 1! Maybe I should go and re-read it!

    P.S Did you not think The Unemployed Millionaire was worthy of being on that list? (Just kidding)

    • matthewdmorris


  • Anna

    Thanks Matt. Interesting List. I have read some of the books. Got lots of reading to do this year. Some of the titles sound similar to some books I’ve come across such as The Power of the Subconscious Mind, Acres of Diamonds, The Richest Man in Babylon. I guess what makes the difference is the application of what we read. I got lots of that to do as well. How about a book discussion?
    I also have learnt quite a lot from your book. Many thanks

    • matthewdmorris

      Hey Anna,

      I’ll probably create a list of the top books by category. (Wealth – Richest Man in Babylon)

  • Sqandr

    The Bible is not a self-help book; you are not being spiritual by suggesting it, but offensive! The Bible was gathered by The Church to inform the faithful (people who live by the word – participate in The Church ‘s sacraments) about their creator.

    • open mind

      You are entitled to your opinion most certainly about the bible but you like so many are at a great disadvantage to not be open to the volumes of great advice & wisdom found inside.

  • Akos Fintor

    I love you for putting in The Power of Now. It has changed my life!

    • matthewdmorris

      Yes. Powerful book!

  • Eric Clay

    I AM-the Power of Discovering Who you Really Are by Todd Falcone Pretty new book but A MUST READ

  • Mary Pap

    The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon –

    The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership, John C Maxwell

    But it doesnt feel right, me recommending books to you – I’m violating the law of “Pay Attention”! 😛

    • matthewdmorris

      Haha. Love those books actually. The Energy bus isn’t there yet for overall best books. 21 Irrefutable laws of leadership was VERY close to making it.

    • Andrea Feldman Walen

      Yes! The Energy Bus!!! Another fast read that hits home! Awesome!

  • Sqandr

    No favorite, but I like to listen to Tony Robbins. Also James Rohn, The Art of Exceptional Living.

  • Roman

    Psychocybernetics by Maxwell Maltz and What I did´t learn at school but wish I had by Jami McIntyre

    • 3:17 Consulting

      I’ve heard some good things about Psychocybernetics, just haven’t checked it out yet. what’s the big take-away from it?

      • Roman

        There is a lot of take-aways from this book. But for me is most worthy concept that pressure slow learning process so If you want learn something and do it well it is necessary to lear it without pressure. This i aplied in my carrier and I got great results.

      • Jason Cardamone

        Psycho Cybernetics is in my personal “top 20” books…

        I have taught dozens of video lessons from it…

        One awesome one is “failure is feedback…use “negative feedback” as a measure of how well you’re on track (or not) towards hitting your goal…just as a rocket or a jet is off course 99% of the time, and uses negative feedback to reach it’s destination”

    • matthewdmorris

      Psychocybernetics is amazing!

  • Sera

    Conversations with God books by Neale Donald Walsh are well worth a read..! Book 1 was my big turning point in conciousness.. Have just read his book The Only Thing That Matters and loved it too.. :)

  • scott

    Finally found the comment section! Posted on facebook but not sure that was the place to comment! Great list read most look forward to the others! The Greatest book ever written, easy The AA Big Book. Look how many people with different problems used the same system to recover! Think there are over 200 groups and counting! All you do is put whatever is ailing you in the Steps where alcohol is in the first step for drunks! Best book on understanding the human condition ever written. 29 years sober and clean, know what I am talking about. Two others Og Mandino, how could any list not have Og at the top? He sold more books than all these other folks! The Greatest Salesman in the World then The Greatest Miracle in the changing! I am the only person I know of who read The God Memorandum by the directions! 100 nights twenty minutes before sleeping is harder than it sounds but worth it! Thanks for your list Matt hope you read these three if you haven’t!

  • Ronell Fisher Jr.

    Great list:
    Heres another treasure…
    the law of success in 16 lessons by Napoleon Hill

  • 3:17 Consulting

    Great list! Happy that my 16-year old has read many of these already. Have to add the Bible and The Go-Giver by Bog Burg

  • Dedan

    Hi Matt, thanks for the list honestly i have read but just a few of those but i have to say the Bible (Most definitely), Who moved my Cheese by Spencer Johnson and Maximized Manhood by Edwin Louis Cole. I will have to read all the rest. thanks for the Insight God bless.

  • Pedro Alejandro Jerez

    Looks like my reading list for 2013 has been made for me. Thanks Matt! Looking forward to hearing you speak in Nashville at Momentum! Increase!!

  • Anna

    Oh by the Way. I have found out something very interesting in reading these self-help books. If you read the Bible, you can put a verse to every principle or aspect being shared by the authors. Thanks Matt. Am enjoying learning from your blog.

  • John

    I love The 15 Laws of Personal Growth by John Maxwell…that was a fantastic read!!!

    • matthewdmorris

      One of my favorites! It’s a newer book so it didn’t make the “all time” list but I think it will end up being there in the future

  • Tim Upton

    Hey Matt, thats a great list, was hoping to see one or more of Og Mandinos books in your list, just for interest, which was your favourite, mine is The Choice

  • Jan Merceruio

    Awesome List, Matt. For those of us who are still living under the financial imprinting of our parents, I would have to add “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker. It was a huge help in moving me to recognize my financial blocks in my goals.

    • matthewdmorris

      Yep, that one was super close to making it. Maybe I should expand the list to top 30? :)

  • George omondi

    THINK BIG by Ben Carson. Its an amazing book that help an individual achieve result beyond his/her expectations.

  • Raphael Mavi

    That is an awesome list!!!

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  • Joy Packard

    Nothing to Lose, Everything to Gain by Ryan Blair. Love his entrepreneurial spirit and his ability to rise above all the challenges he had when growing up.

    • matthewdmorris

      Thanks for the recommendation!

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  • Andrea Feldman Walen

    One of my all-time quick-reads that really hit home was “Who Moved My Cheese.” To this day, I always think of it when there are times I want to be stuck in my own way — then I remember the little mouse. I LOVED that book!

  • chris

    great list. Read many of these classics. I suggest a new one called RESOLVED: 13 resolutions for LIFE by Orrin Woodward

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  • Winston Connell

    Excellent list!, I would like suggest ‘The Power Of Your Subconscious Mind’ by Dr. Joseph Murphy.

    Thanks Matt

  • teo

    7 habits of highly effective people ,rich dad poor dad and think and grow rich have a huge impact on me ,totally changed the quality of my life and the way i m thinking!!

  • Teo

    Great list!! I m going to read all of them!! The greatest salesman in the world is a must!!!

  • Yuval Perry

    As a Man Thinketh by James Allen is one of my favourite, almost 100 years ago and very relevant to out life.
    Very practice, but the most important is to take action first in my mind then outside world and not just reading to know more, this did not change anything.

  • unlocksaver

    Guys print this out and use it daily..

  • Yole

    Thanks Matt, you have no idea how much I appreciate your time and help. What about the millionaire mind by T. Harv Eker

  • January Fleming

    Hi matt. I’m looking for a self help book to help in making me think before speaking.

  • Hamilton

    Great list I have a few in my collection already and will be adding a few more from your suggestion … I strongly suggest you add beyond positive thinking by Dr. Robert Anthony and also 177 mental toughness secrets of the world class

  • Rod Whipple

    Two all time favs. Three Magic Words, by U.S. Anderson (hard to find) and The Master Key System by Charles Haanel.

  • Kara

    Recommend adding “Simply Successful” by Evan Dorren; it’s a great one for “tying-it-all-together.” Thanks for the list!

  • Amrutha

    Read: Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die by Dr. Izzo

  • Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino

    I would love for you to read my new Hay House book Percolate – Let Your Best Self Filter Through :) Your book is great! Best, Elizabeth

  • Sri

    Thanks for the list, Matt. I am beginning with the Alchemist.

    • Sri

      Mistake. I am beginning with The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Cheers.

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