The Best Self Help Books of 2021, recommended by Emma Gannon

Lockdowns have forced many of us to pause and consider the way we are living our lives, says the podcaster and bestselling author Emma Gannon. Here she highlights five of the best self help books published in 2021, with a special focus on creativity and setting better boundaries to safeguard our time and energy.

The best books on Time Management, recommended by Oliver Burkeman

Feeling stressed and overwhelmed? You are not alone. Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks, selects some of the best books on time management—including two classic how-to guides, plus several texts focused on helping you decide how you really want to spend your finite time on this planet.

The best books on Anxiety, recommended by Lucy Foulkes

Feeling anxiety is a natural part of being a human being, but for some people it can cause terrible mental and physical anguish and prevents them from leading happy and fulfilling lives. Lucy Foulkes, a psychologist at University College London, talks us through books that can help with anxiety.

The Best Self Help Books of 2020, recommended by Oliver Burkeman

We asked Oliver Burkeman, the Guardian writer and author of The Antidote, to select the best self help books published in 2020. His recommended titles include spiritual guidance for the age of doomscrolling, a philosophy of failure, and practical advice for those working from home for the first time.

The best books on Productivity, recommended by David Allen

If you feel like you lose whole days to procrastination or indecision—or simply have too much to do!—you probably want advice on how improve your productivity. We spoke to David Allen, creator of the perennial bestseller Getting Things Done, about the best books on the subject: why we waste time, and what we can change to be more productive.

Meditation Books, recommended by Andy Puddicombe

Two decades ago Andy Puddicombe was ordained as a Buddhist monk. Now back in lay life, he tries to teach the benefits of meditation to the rest of us—most notably through the Headspace app, but also by writing books. Here he chooses some of the books that inspired him, from Japanese poetry to Tibetan philosophy. Not all are meditation books but they are his “old favorites.”

The best books on Character Development, recommended by Angela Duckworth

Can we cultivate qualities like grit, tenacity and kindness? How about habits of the successful—hard work, perseverance and productivity? Angela Duckworth, bestselling author of Grit and founder of the Character Lab at the University of Pennsylvania, recommends five books, including a title that graces every CEO’s shelf.

The Best Self-Help Books of 2019, recommended by Oliver Burkeman

The self-help genre is sometimes dismissed as simplistic or over-earnest. But, at their best, self-help books offer powerful insights into how to live. Oliver Burkeman, the Guardian columnist and author of The Antidote, recommends five of the best self-help books published in 2019.

The best books on High Performance Psychology, recommended by Michael Gervais

To reach your full potential you must put as much effort into building mental resilience as you do into work or training, advises high-performance psychologist Dr Michael Gervais. Here, he selects five titles to help you find the right mindset—whether you dream of sporting stardom, artistic achievement or business success.

The best books on Mindfulness, recommended by Tessa Watt

In a world where many people feel frazzled by the pace of life, can mindfulness help? What’s the best way of practising it? Or is it just a fad? Philosopher Nigel Warburton talks to mindfulness expert, Tessa Watt, about the best books on mindfulness.

The best books on Mindset and Success, recommended by Carol Dweck

If you’ve stepped inside a school recently, you’ve probably heard teachers talking about the importance of  a ‘growth mindset.’ Here psychologist Carol Dweck, who pioneered research into this key concept, explains what it’s all about and recommends books—other than her own—that shed light on it.

The best books on Minimalism, recommended by Kyle Chayka

In times of political or personal turmoil, there’s a tendency to seek solace in stripping back life to its bare essentials. Minimalist thought is threaded through Stoicism and Zen Buddhism; absence and space became major preoccupations of 1960s US art. Kyle Chayka, the art critic and author of The Longing for Less, recommends five books on the philosophy that underpins the present fad for minimalist self-help.

The Best Self-Help Novels, recommended by Beth Blum

Since the publication of Samuel Smiles’ Self-Help (1859) in Victorian Britain, self-help has become a billion dollar industry—and its influence is even felt in the contemporary novel, says Harvard literary scholar Beth Blum, author of The Self-Help Compulsion, a new history of the rise of self-help narratives in modern literature.