The best self-help books that stretch you and inspire change

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child and even as an adult, I’ve always been curious and stopped at nothing to seek out answers. Fast forward, I’ve been a clinical research professional for over 17 years so it’s no surprise that writing a How-To Book would come naturally. Having a passion for others took me on an altruistic journey of addressing my pain points and helping others address theirs. I hope at least one of these books will help you in becoming the best version of yourself!


I wrote...

Laying the Foundation: Brick by Brick

By Khadijah Butler,

Book cover of Laying the Foundation: Brick by Brick

What is my book about?

Laying the Foundation Brick by Brick is an informative how-to book focused on teaching others the importance of starting a nonprofit scholarship foundation step by step while sharing the memory of my father, who was shot and murdered by a 14-year-old in 1999.

This book is complete with helpful links and resources including the differences between a public charity and a private foundation, choosing your scholarship cause, mistakes to avoid, and templates to start your own scholarship foundation to serve the inner-city youth in your community.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The books I picked & why

Book cover of Impolite Conversations: On Race, Politics, Sex, Money, and Religion

Khadijah Butler Why did I love this book?

I personally loved that this book challenges people to avoid conversation etiquette by speaking up and exploring topics that are often viewed as intolerable. I’ve always been direct and plain-spoken and this book taught me to continue to spark discussions that are uncomfortable but necessary. Bonus visual effect seeing the author’s text message exchanges with each other about what they just wrote. It made each chapter and discussion that much more significant. Overall, this book made me feel seen, that there are others who share my own beliefs that addressing topics of substance is the first step in instilling change. 

By Cora Daniels, John L. Jackson, Jr.,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Impolite Conversations as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When was the last time you said everything on your mind without holding back? In this no-holds-barred discussion of America’s top hot-button issues, a journalist and a cultural anthropologist express opinions that are widely held in private—but rarely heard in public.

Everyone edits what they say. It’s a part of growing up. But what if we applied tell-it-like-it-is honesty to grown-up issues? In Impolite Conversations, two respected thinkers and writers openly discuss five “third-rail” topics—from multi-racial identities to celebrity worship to hyper-masculinity among black boys—and open the stage for honest discussions about important and timely concerns.

Organized around five subjects—Race,…


Book cover of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

Khadijah Butler Why did I love this book?

If you’re a person who appreciates honest, unabashed feedback, then this book is for you! I personally loved Manson’s unorthodox spin on intrinsic motivation, even with the f-bombs he’s challenging you to remain indifferent, because giving a f*&k will only lead to disappointment. His humorous stories and amusing personality make this an easy read.

By Mark Manson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. For decades, we've been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. "F**k positivity," Mark Manson says. "Let's be honest, shit is f**ked and we have to live with it." In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn't sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is-a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today.…


Book cover of The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Khadijah Butler Why did I love this book?

This is a book that I often use as my literary mantra; I can choose any chapter that applies to my current life circumstances and it provides the directive I need to move forward. I love Tolle’s breakdown of how our thoughts can be our worst enemy, especially when he describes the act of complaining and surrendering. He encourages us to abandon what we know and to embrace what is; it’s the simplicity of these messages that will lead you on the path to your desired outcome.

By Eckhart Tolle,

Why should I read it?

23 authors picked The Power of Now as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

**CHOSEN BY OPRAH AS ONE OF HER 'BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH'**

The international bestselling spiritual book, now with a new look for its 20th anniversary. Eckhart Tolle demonstrates how to live a healthier, happier, mindful life by living in the present moment.

************

'I keep Eckhart's book at my bedside. I think it's essential spiritual teaching. It's one of the most valuable books I've ever read.' Oprah Winfrey

To make the journey into The Power of Now we will need to leave our analytical mind and its false created self, the ego, behind. Although the journey is challenging, Eckhart…


Book cover of Who Moved My Cheese? An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life

Khadijah Butler Why did I love this book?

The simplest step when adapting to change in our lives is changing our mindset, and the author’s use as ‘cheese’ as the protagonist is brilliant. The quicker we adopt the principle of what we can gain instead of what we are losing when it comes to our ‘cheese,’ be it work, relationships, etc., the quicker we can enjoy a more fruitful life. This storybook-themed parable will help you get out of familiar territory and awaken you to new beginnings.

By Spencer Johnson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Who Moved My Cheese? An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Who Moved My Cheese? is a simple parable that reveals profound truths. It is the amusing and enlightening story of four characters who live in a maze and look for cheese to nourish them and make them happy. Cheese is a metaphor for what you want to have in life, for example a good job, a loving relationship, money or possessions, health or spiritual peace of mind. The maze is where you look for what you want, perhaps the organisation you work in, or the family or community you live in. The problem is that the cheese keeps moving.

In…


Book cover of The Five Love Languages

Khadijah Butler Why did I love this book?

Becoming a manager at an early age and now a nonprofit founder, I realize how important the statement ‘Relationship before Task’ is. While this book is used to sustain relationships of love, the lessons on how we invest emotionally in other areas of our life, including the workplace and friendships, is just as impactful. This book encourages me to give guidance, not ultimatums when making my needs known. Overall, this book is a reminder that being relationship-focused will bring us the love and/or significance that we’re looking for. 

By Gary Chapman,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Five Love Languages as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Through fun-filled presentations before a live audience, Gary Chapman helps you identify your personal love language. He also helps you understand the love language of your spouse.


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Today Was A Good Day: A Collection of Essays From The Heart Of A Neurosurgeon

By Edward Benzel,

Book cover of Today Was A Good Day: A Collection of Essays From The Heart Of A Neurosurgeon

Edward Benzel Author Of Today Was A Good Day: A Collection of Essays From The Heart Of A Neurosurgeon

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Coming from the perspective of a neurosurgeon, I have witnessed many successes and failures over more than four decades. I recognized decades ago that communication with patients at a level that involves emotions is a necessary part of being a complete physician. This involves being empathetic and, henceforth, digging deep to find the strength to be transparent, vulnerable, compassionate, understanding, and, when needed, forceful (some would call this paternalism). Although the five books I have chosen to highlight vary widely in content, they have one common theme – finding within us the will and wherewithal to succeed.

Edward's book list on awakening of the strengths that are hidden deep inside each of us

What is my book about?

My book is a collection of monthly Editor-in-Chief letters to the readership of World Neurosurgery, a journal that I edit. Each essay is short and sweet. The letters were written for neurosurgeons but have been re-edited so that they apply to all human beings. They cover topics such as leadership, empathy, vulnerability, stress, burnout, and on and on…. These essays are relevant for all who strive to craft a better version of themselves.

Life lessons learned by the author during his 40+ year neurosurgery career are shared and translated into real-life scenarios. Between the covers are many lessons that are derived from the experiences of the author and then applied to all humans. The mastering of these lessons should translate into a sense of pride and satisfaction. In keeping with the theme of the book, this process should culminate in the feeling at the end of the day that ‘Today was, indeed, a good day.’

Today Was A Good Day: A Collection of Essays From The Heart Of A Neurosurgeon

By Edward Benzel,

What is this book about?

About the Book
Today Was A Good Day: A Collection of Essays From The Heart Of A Neurosurgeon features many topics that pertain to how neurosurgeons interact with others and how each of us can use introspection to modify how we are using tools and strategies such as empathy, respect, stress management, and much more.
This book provides some insights into leadership, effective communication, and fulfillment from the perspective of a neurosurgeon, and it causes the reader to think about and consider many, many attributes of a leader.
We all want to have a good day. This book provides strategies…


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