11 books directly related to self-control 📚

All 11 self-control books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.

Book cover of Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

Why this book?

Can’t Hurt Me is a book about becoming mentally tough. As a real estate investor bad things happen all the time and it helps to understand that and almost build a mental callus so it doesn’t impact you. Without the ability to move on from evictions, breaking water heaters, plumbing issues, etc. you can go nuts and not accomplish your goals.  

Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

By David Goggins,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Can't Hurt Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Best Seller

Over 4 million copies sold

For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare -- poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. But through self-discipline, mental toughness, and hard work, Goggins transformed himself from a depressed, overweight young man with no future into a U.S. Armed Forces icon and one of the world's top endurance athletes. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name…

Book cover of Me and My Feelings: A Kids' Guide to Understanding and Expressing Themselves

Why this book?

This book lays a great foundation to help children understand their feelings (and the feelings of others). The author draws on her experience as a school counselor to expertly walk the reader through some essential social-emotional learning. The bright colors and clever illustrations keep kids engaged, and the activities throughout make this a fabulous title to use at home, school, or in the counseling office.⁠

Me and My Feelings: A Kids' Guide to Understanding and Expressing Themselves

By Vanessa Green Allen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Me and My Feelings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When a big feeling comes along…you can handle it! Teach kids ages 7 to 10 how to manage their feelings.

Sometimes, emotions like anger or jealousy or excitement can seem too big to keep inside. Me and My Feelings is here to teach kids that it’s okay to have big feelings! They will learn how to calm down those strong emotions so they don’t feel overwhelmed and can continue to take on the world.

This book gives kids the skills to stay in control―by breathing deeply, saying positive things to themselves, talking about their feelings instead of keeping them inside,…


Book cover of White Bears and Other Unwanted Thoughts: Suppression, Obsession, and the Psychology of Mental Control

Why this book?

This is an easily accessible book based on Wegner's brilliant work on consciousness and mental control. I have always found Wegner’s work utterly fascinating as it provides such a convincing picture of a mind constantly in a struggle to think coherently – something that I easily recognise in my own conscious awareness. The findings on intrusive implicit thoughts were particularly influential in my own writing about the conflict between dormant thoughts and conscious appraisal that may be factors in why magical thinking surfaces in the rational mind.

White Bears and Other Unwanted Thoughts: Suppression, Obsession, and the Psychology of Mental Control

By Daniel M. Wegner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked White Bears and Other Unwanted Thoughts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a series of groundbreaking experiments, Daniel M. Wegner told subjects not to think about white bears. Of course, they found it impossible to avoid thinking of the bears--just as it often seems impossible to stop thinking about forbidden foods, a painful memory, or everyday fears and worries. Synthesizing a wealth of scientific knowledge in an accessible, engaging style, this book reveals that the more we attempt to push away or avoid unwanted thoughts, the deeper they take hold. Wegner offers compelling insights into how unpleasant or obsessive thoughts get out of control--and what we can do to break free…


Book cover of Governing the Soul: The Shaping of the Private Self

Why this book?

Nikolas Rose’s exceptional book Governing the Soul expanded Foucault’s arguments, focusing on how government networks were created in collaboration with psychological specialists in the 20th century to create unique webs of expertise that helped individuals to manage and govern themselves. The result is an excellent exposition of the theory of governmentality. Rose begins with a discussion of how the Second World War encouraged new forms of ‘psychological warfare,’ where strength of mind could be assessed and selected to create the most successful fighting subjects. This created a group of professionals who also advised on the organisation of labour forces and who could teach the population to be productive and contented workers.

This expertise was extended to training children as young citizens who had to adapt to government needs via schools and social services. Rose’s point is that this created a system of power and government that was not top-down but worked in the interests of individuals themselves, whose psychological efforts paid back as they became productive subjects. It also set the ground for multiple psychological and self-help therapies that could help people manage their own selves in their obligation to be free autonomous individuals.  

Governing the Soul: The Shaping of the Private Self

By Nikolas Rose,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Governing the Soul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This work is now widely recognised as one of the founding texts in a new approach to analyzing the links between political power, expertise and the self. This "governmentality" perspective has had important implications for a range of academic disciplines including criminology, political theory, sociology and psychology and has generated much theoretical innovation and empirical investigation. This second edition adds a new introduction setting out the methodological and conceptual bases of this approach and a new final chapter that considers some of the implications of recent developments in the government of subjectivity.

Book cover of Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence

Why this book?

The subtitle of Focus is The Hidden Driver of Excellence, yet this driver is arguably hidden no more upon the book’s release. As a journalist, psychologist, and top-notch researcher, Goleman is uniquely qualified to delve into the ‘science of attention.’ Plus, he has accumulated plenty of street cred from the various iterations of his Emotional Intelligence canon. 

Goleman compares attention to a muscle; requiring regular use to build it up. I couldn’t agree more. This premise is supported by myriad examples, accompanied by useful techniques for application in all aspects of life.

Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence

By Daniel Goleman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

For more than two decades, psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman has been scouting the leading edge of the human sciences for what's new, surprising, and important. In Focus, he delves into the science of attention in all its varieties, presenting a long overdue discussion of this little-noticed and under-rated mental asset that matters enormously for how we navigate life. Goleman boils down attention research into a three parts: inner, other, and outer focus. Goleman shows why high-achievers need all three kinds of focus, as demonstrated by rich case studies from fields as diverse as competitive sports, education, the arts, and…

I Really Want the Cake

By Simon Philip, Lucia Gaggiotti (illustrator),

Book cover of I Really Want the Cake

Why this book?

When our heroine and her little dog spy a spectacular cake just sitting alone on the kitchen table, it's on! The note attached from Mom says "You must not eat the cake." But what's a kid to do? She tries lots of activities to help her forget about cake but will temptation win out? This book is fun, funny, and well written. I love the drama of the situation and the art (by Lucia Gaggioti) is spot on. Fun to read dramatically aloud to both kids and adults. (Pair it with a reading of Green Eggs and Ham!)

I Really Want the Cake

By Simon Philip, Lucia Gaggiotti (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Really Want the Cake as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There's a smell I can't ignore.
It's wafting through the kitchen door.
It's time for me to find out more.
I think it might be cake.

How do you resist the most amazing cake ever? Especially when your mum has left a note saying that you MUST NOT eat the cake?

This wonderful rhyming text from Simon Philip, author of You Must Bring a Hat, is illustrated with huge energy and humour by Lucia Gaggiotti.

Book cover of Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life

Why this book?

Dr. Stuart Shanker is the rock star of Self-Regulation; what he doesn’t know about children is not worth knowing. This book lifts the lid on the many hidden and surprising sources of stress for children, and the impact stress has on their mind, behaviour, and nervous system. Packed with stories of the children he has treated and families he has helped and peppered with facts about the brain and nervous system, this book helps parents discover what could be causing their children’s behavioural, emotional, and learning problems. Best of all, it offers concrete steps parents can take to help children develop their self-regulation skills and successfully engage with life.

Self-Reg: How to Help Your Child (and You) Break the Stress Cycle and Successfully Engage with Life

By Stuart Shanker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Self-Reg as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There's no such thing as a bad kid. That's what a lifetime of experience has taught Dr. Stuart Shanker. No matter how difficult, out of control, distracted, or exhausted a child might seem, there's a way forward: self-regulation. Overturning decades of conventional wisdom, this radical new technique allows children and the adults who care for them to regain their composure and peace of mind.

Self-Reg is a groundbreaking book that presents an entirely new understanding of your child's emotions and behavior and a practical guide for parents to help their kids engage calmly and successfully in learning and life. Grounded…

Book cover of The Marshmallow Test: Why Self-Control Is the Engine of Success

Why this book?

Researchers placed a marshmallow in front of a child, and if they could wait for several minutes without eating it, they would be rewarded with an additional marshmallow. This is the famous psychology experiment known as the Marshmallow Test, and it teaches us what it takes to acquire the habit of delaying gratification for a greater reward. The children who performed well on this test not only had good grades in school but also tended to be healthier and less likely to abuse drugs later as adults. Taking the test results at face value, one might conclude that much of life is predetermined by genetics. However, this book also shows there were certain techniques which greatly improved the test results—and that’s what gives me hope.

The Marshmallow Test: Why Self-Control Is the Engine of Success

By Walter Mischel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Marshmallow Test as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A child is presented with a marshmallow and given a choice: Eat this one now, or wait and enjoy two later. What will she do? And what are the implications for her behaviour later in life?

Walter Mischel's now iconic 'marshmallow test,' one of the most famous experiments in the history of psychology, proved that the ability to delay gratification is critical to living a successful and fulfilling life: self-control not only predicts higher marks in school, better social and cognitive functioning, and a greater sense of self-worth; it also helps us manage stress, pursue goals more effectively, and cope…


Book cover of Social Skills for Kids: From Making Friends and Problem-Solving to Self-Control and Communication

Why this book?

Even tiny kids get glued to their game screens, without being connected to the internet yet. And older kids are even more addicted. We've all heard how dependent kids are on "likes" and how depressed they get if their life doesn't compare with what they see online. This means we have an entire generation of kids who spend waaay too much time on the computer. They haven't developed as many social skills as they're going to need. And this book addresses it. Children will feel more confident at school and in any social setting. I'd love to see manners and etiquette lessons come back-- here's a start!

Social Skills for Kids: From Making Friends and Problem-Solving to Self-Control and Communication

By Keri K. Powers,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Social Skills for Kids as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Help your children develop essential social skills-including groups, one-on-one interactions, and virtual communication-with these 150 easy, fun activities to teach your kids how to socially succeed.

From taking turns to making eye contact to staying engaged during conversations, developing appropriate social skills is an important factor for kids to be able to succeed in school and life in general. But how can you tell if your child is really making progress while you read the same stories, have the same conversations, and chaperone the same playdates? The answer is to add some variety to your child's daily activities with these…

Book cover of Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine

Why this book?

Michele Borba begins her latest book by getting right to the heart and mind of what matters for optimal child development—and then she moves on to the importance of cultivating will. In total, she focuses on seven integral points—self-confidence, empathy, self-control, integrity, curiosity, perseverance, and optimism—describing why each of these attributes matters, and how to nurture them. If you want your child to be happy, resilient, and able to flourish even through adversity, then Thrivers is an excellent resource for you.

Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine

By Michele Borba,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The bestselling author of UnSelfie offers 7 teachable traits that will safeguard our kids for the future.

We think we have to push our kids to do more, achieve more, BE more. But we’re modeling the wrong traits—like rule-following and caution—and research shows it’s NOT working. This kind of “Striver” mindset isn’t just making kids unhappier, says Dr. Michele Borba…it’s actually the opposite of what it takes to thrive in the uncertain world ahead.

Thrivers are different: they flourish in our fast-paced, digital-driven, often uncertain world. Why? Through her in-depth research, Dr. Borba discovered that the difference comes down not…

Book cover of Find Your Red Thread: Make Your Big Ideas Irresistible

Why this book?

Most business owners have a difficult time translating their ideas into words. Without the right words, it’s impossible to get buy-in for your big ideas. The Red Thread is a simple method to make a compelling argument for why your idea matters and why people should care. If you’re looking to get clarity around an idea and make it irresistible for others, this book is a great place to start.

Find Your Red Thread: Make Your Big Ideas Irresistible

By Tamsen Webster,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Find Your Red Thread as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Make your idea irresistible.

You have a terrific idea. It’s so powerful that it could change a life, a market, or even the world. There’s just one problem: others don’t see its power—yet. If you truly value the possibility of your idea, then you’re ready to find your Red Thread—the throughline that connects your idea to your audience’s hearts and minds.

The best part is, the Red Thread already exists. It’s the connection that makes the invisible link between your audience’s problem and your solution tangible—and actionable. With the Red Thread, you’ll inspire audiences to act and get the outcome…