The best self-help books I wish I’d read sooner

Who am I?

I’ve been on a quest of healing my childhood trauma for decades. Now I’m living with gratitude and a zest for life. Let my research help you on your own unique journey. Since you’re reading this, it may be the exact time for you to move forward on your self-actualization trip! Here’s a tip: You don’t need “improvement.” You’re already good – you just need help to find it inside and believe it. Here are 5 books that helped me accept myself, made me think differently about others, and opened new possibilities for happiness and peace. 


I wrote...

Parenting Well After Childhood Abuse: Be a Great Parent Even if Yours Were Crap

By Geanne Meta,

Book cover of Parenting Well After Childhood Abuse: Be a Great Parent Even if Yours Were Crap

What is my book about?

When I had kids, I needed to learn everything about how to be a better parent. This is a parenting book based on that knowledge and a lot of thought into what children need. Most of the challenges are universal to any parents who want to do a good job for their kids: understanding your child’s perspective, building self-esteem, teaching values, keeping them safe, dealing with teenagers, and much more.

There’s also practical information on how to recognize and heal your childhood wounds once and for all. I want to help other survivors to thrive. It begins by believing that it was never your fault.

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

The Voices We Carry: Finding Your One True Voice in a World of Clamor and Noise

By J. S. Park,

Book cover of The Voices We Carry: Finding Your One True Voice in a World of Clamor and Noise

Why this book?

I love the way the author uses honest stories to impart valuable life lessons. He humbly shares what a jerk he had been and how he learned to be more tolerant and loving in relationships.

As a hospital chaplain he hears intimate life stories and often, dying wishes. This is where such profound wisdom comes from, I believe. God is mentioned a few times but there is no judgment or preaching from this guy.

I highlighted so much in this book I almost ran out of ink! I will be going back whenever I need inspiration.


The Good Human: 9 Radical Practices to Smash Your Ego, Unleash Your Authentic Self, and Foster Connection in a Divided World

By Dawn K. Hammer,

Book cover of The Good Human: 9 Radical Practices to Smash Your Ego, Unleash Your Authentic Self, and Foster Connection in a Divided World

Why this book?

In a no-nonsense way, the author points out humans’ flawed thinking and ego-driven way of life proving that changes need to happen to find true happiness. She offers simple steps to recognize and deal with these flaws—acknowledging that it won't be easy. 

Because of this book, I’m interacting differently with other people! I’m trying to be grateful for everyday things, listen actively, be curious instead of reacting, and look inward when I feel triggered. This book will help you work toward empathy with people different from you, which is so important in this divisive world.


The Cafe on the Edge of the World: A Story About the Meaning of Life

By John Strelecky,

Book cover of The Cafe on the Edge of the World: A Story About the Meaning of Life

Why this book?

This is easy to read adventure about a regular guy who takes a wrong turn and ends up at the Café of Questions. John meets characters who alternately confuse and help him find his way. The questions will make you think – and maybe rethink your choices about what’s really important to you.


The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

By Don Miguel Ruiz,

Book cover of The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Why this book?

You may have heard of this one or even read it before. I recommend a refresh! These seemingly simple agreements with yourself are not always easy to put into practice. If we all pursue the work of these lessons, our worlds will be more peaceful, stress-free, compassionate to self and others, and lived with childlike wonder.


Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

By Byron Katie, Stephen Mitchell,

Book cover of Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life

Why this book?

This book, and a couple of seminars with Byron Katie, really did change my life! I was stuck in negative thinking and couldn’t seem to get out of it. She offers a straightforward method to challenge your thoughts and turn them around to other possibilities. It‘s almost magical how your hurtful beliefs can be changed into accepting “the way it is” without the hurt.

Get this book and get some relief from whatever is bothering you. Truly.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in self help, Manhattan, and success in life?

5,309 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about self help, Manhattan, and success in life.

Self Help Explore 65 books about self help
Manhattan Explore 56 books about Manhattan
Success In Life Explore 126 books about success in life

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity, and Happiness, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, and On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard if you like this list.