Being a young adult is hard. Really hard. The shift from living at home, being taken care of, and attending school with all your friends to the adult world with all of its stresses and responsibility, on top of trying to search for and create a solid sense of identity is incredibly challenging undertaking.
But, you don’t have to go at it alone. Along with friends and family, these self-help books will help guide you in navigating this difficult period in life and arm you with tools and frameworks to help you solve your life’s problems and achieve your dreams.
Here are our Top 10 Self Help Books for Young Men:
Atomic Habits by James Clear
James Clear is a New York Times best-selling author who shares his wealth of knowledge on self-improvement and the establishment of healthy habits. According to him, your bad habits are not a result of your own ineptitude and personal failures as a human. Instead, it’s your system.
Clear takes the abstract concept of self-improvement transforms it into specific, easily mastered practices that can be applied to your life. His focus on identity-based habits will be sure to strike a chord with emerging adults in the thick of their self-discovery journey because, as James Clear says, “It’s one thing to say I’m the type of person who wants to do this.
It’s something very different to say I’m the type of person who is this.” Atomic Habits has rave reviews and placed at the #1 spot on the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and US Weekly bestseller’s lists. Gayle King, co-anchor of CBS This Morning says it best, “Atomic Habits was a great read. I learned a lot and think it’ll be helpful to a lot of people.”
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Paul Coelho’s classic novel tells the tale of a shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from Spain to Egypt motivated by his recurring dream of buried treasure. At first glance it’s an esoteric novel, according to the New York Times it “is more self-help than literature.”
On his quest to uncover the treasure, Santiago is met with setbacks and trials. He has to sell his sheep, delay marrying the love of his life, walk long distances, work hard, and endure being robbed not once, but twice. However, Santiago’s journey and hardships are all aimed at achieving his ‘Personal Legend’, and following his dream despite the circumstances led him to achieve it, though in unexpected ways. Just like Santiago, it’s important to let one’s dreams lead them through their journey.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck by Mark Manson
Mark Manson, the renowned blogger, tells it like it is in this counterintuitive self-help book. His thesis is simple: shit is messy. Our society is unfairly structured, with winners and losers, and what category you fall into is often beyond one’s control.
However, by cutting through notions of toxic positivity, we can learn to “stomach our lemons better.” Accepting the less glamorous aspects of our lives will lead us to more easily confront the difficult truths and bring us closer to acceptance and happiness. This funny, raw, and thought-provoking read will help young adults with the reality that life is not all sunshine and roses but it doesn’t have to be to still lead a beautiful and fulfilling one.
How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Dale Carnegie, a pioneer in the self-help genre, wrote this book in 1936, yet his enduring advice remains applicable to this day.
His tips are practical and simple ways to act as an effective leader and is a noted favourite book of billionaire Warren Buffet. His techniques include: Give honest and sincere appreciation, becoming genuinely interested in other people, asking questions instead of giving direct orders, letting the other person save face, making the fault seem easy to correct, and other easy to apply tips and tricks for your everyday interactions with others.
Though some may even seem almost too obvious to young readers, Carnegie’s long-enduring advice has helped millions of people in their efforts to achieve their goals and navigate the adult social world, making it a worthy read for any young person at the beginning of their career.
The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter by Meg Jay, PhD
Clinical psychologist Dr. Meg Jay, PhD poses an interesting argument: rather than your twenties being extended adolescence or an inconsequential period of life, it is in fact the defining decade of one’s adulthood.
In her bestselling novel, Dr. Jay draws from her twenty years of experience in counselling hundreds of clients and students going through this pivotal period of life. Through constructive advice and hard-nosed stances, she takes a diagnostic and specific approach to answering the common complaints of life as a twentysomething, and how to go about navigating these challenges.
Rather than write a “feel-good book” that may not be productive for young people, she encourages twentysomethings to examine the harsh realities of their lives to ultimately put them on the track towards success. Slate.com says it’s a must-read for young adults and “any recent college grad mired in a quarter-life crisis.”
Discipline Equals Freedom by Jocko Willink
Jocko Willink is a highly decorated retired US Navy Seal. Enlisting when he graduated high school, he rose through the ranks and drew on his experience with the military to form his philosophy. He describes how he implements this mantra of “Discipline Equals Freedom” in his everyday life, sharing his advice from his many years as a Navy Seal to motivate him to work and thrive every day.
His book is divided into two sections: Thought and Action. The first section focuses on how his mantra is applicable through various perspectives (stress, regret, negativity, etc) mainly drawing from his own experiences. The second focuses on how to apply his mantra in real life every day. Not everyone is a Navy Seal, but Willink’s book teaches an important lesson: discipline and consistency is the key to achieving your goals and improving your life.
Not A Life Coach by James Smith
Strange title for a self-help book, but stay with us. James Smith is an online personal trainer dedicated to improving the lives of others. His first book Not A Diet Book took the fitness world by storm in its indictment of fad dieting and workouts. In his new book, he shifts his focus from the health of the body to the health of the mind.
He tells how in our lives, we may make destructive choices that unknowingly lead us to a more limiting life and how to combat these choices. He speaks to the importance of a positive mindset and how truly being appreciative of our life and how it is can lead us to a successful life and make self-improvement less of a chore based on shame, but a choice we make every day based on love for ourselves.
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff
It’s always nice to get back to friendly faces, and Pooh Bear is certainly one of them. In his unique novel, Hobb parallels the character and motivations of the lovable Winnie the Pooh and how they mirror concepts found in the Chinese philosophy of Taoism.
Hoff’s perspective shows how Winnie the Pooh’s way of living and attitudes towards life and simply “being,” enjoying the moment and finding pleasure in the simple things makes Taoism very accessible to a public not as familiar with the doctrine.
This book keeps things simple and easy to understand without being condescending. It’s a great philosophical “back to basics” that can help young adults find the simple pleasures in this chaotic life.
Getting There by Gillian Zoe Segal
Especially in this isolated time in which we find ourselves, finding guidance and help from others is hard, much less good quality guidance. In her book, Segal compiles advice from over thirty renowned professionals in their fields, such as Anderson Cooper and Warren Buffet, and offers an intimate perspective of how they got their start.
Each story includes their struggles and successes along the way, and are chalked full of advice for the reader. The road to success is never easy and these individuals are no exception. Young adults will find this a refreshing and insightful book and remind them not to worry, everyone has ups and downs, even the greats.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers is a classic story of what makes a successful person so, well, successful. His thesis lies in the fact that we seem to focus too much on what a successful person is like and not enough on their environment, their culture, their family, and the little things that build up a person’s life experience.
In his thorough sociological research, Gladwell demonstrates that we all have environmental factors that contribute to our individual success and setbacks, the key is to be aware and to tap into these unseen advantages to help you thrive.
Top 10 Self Help Books for Young Men
That’s our round-up of the top 10 self-help books for young men. Read and study these books to improve your personal growth and start building your dream life.
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