The best self help books to change your life
The top self development books in 2023 to help with personal growth.
It might be tradition to set resolutions around the new year, but isn’t cold and miserable January a terrible time to consider your shiny goals for the next twelve months? Instead, let’s all agree that Spring should be the season for thinking about the changes you want to implement in your life and the new habits you’d like to introduce. Our guide to the best self-development books of 2023 so far is here to help.
Over the years, countless self-development books have sold a dizzying amount of copies and remain firm favourites for a good reason. We’re thinking Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and James Clear’s Atomic Habits.
But the best self-development books of 2023 deserve their own list, and we’ll be adding to it as the year goes on.
In this fresh collection of self-improvement guides, you’ll find advice about the importance of movement, the magic of language, the necessity of looking at your family’s past to build a better future, and the healing power of nature. But most importantly, all of the books we’ve selected below are packed with practical advice about bringing about meaningful and lasting change, as well as research, insights and stories to get you pumped up.
If you’ve spotted a new book for 2023 that you think we should add to our list, put it in the box below. If you’ve read one of these books already, upvote or downvote it so this guide becomes a valuable resource for anyone looking to shake things up in a major way this Spring and Summer.
The best self development books (2023)
1. Built to Move by Kelly Starrett and Juliet StarrettView now at Amazon
The best way to describe Kelly and Juliet Starrett is a fitness power couple. They are both former world champions in various sports and set up one of the first CrossFit gyms back in 2005. To say they know a thing or two about fitness, movement and physiology is an understatement.
But what we love about their latest book, Built to Move, is that it isn’t another book for people with lots of time on their hands, good genetics and a desire to get super jacked. Instead, it’s written for everyone, a guide to help us all add more movement into our lives and why that’s so important. It isn’t filled with complex workout routines, but instead it’s organised around ten assessments and ten physical practices that anyone can do. Simple, everyday movements that Juliet and Kelly believe will have a positive impact on our wellbeing.
2. Rewild Your Mind by Nick GoldsmithView now at Amazon
Do you daydream about shutting your laptop, throwing your phone away and stepping out into the wilderness? Maybe you need to rewild.
The premise of Rewild Your Mind is that we’d all be much happier, healthier and at peace if we spent more time in nature. A fact we all know deep in our bones but don’t act on nearly enough. Author Nick Goldsmith explains his personal story and how nature helped him to recover from PTSD after serving as a Royal Marine Commando in Afghanistan.
Rewild Your Mind is filled with skills to help you enjoy the wilderness and feel more connected to the natural world. From foraging for hedgerow medicines to fixing a hammock in the woods and integrating more moments out in the wild into your everyday routine.
3. The Origins of You by Vienna PharaonView now at Amazon
There are plenty of books around about new strategies you can adopt right now to improve your life, but The Origins of You suggests that to make your way to a brighter future you first need to understand your past.
Of course, this is standard practice in many forms of therapy. But therapist Vienna Pharaon has such a warm, insightful and knowledgeable approach you'll be having mini revelations without even realising it.
For that reason we highly recommend this book if you've struggled to make headway with therapy in the past (or never got round to going). And with personal anecdotes, relatable stories, strategies and exercises, The Origins of You may not be an easy read but it sure is a transformative one.
4. Me vs Brain: An Overthinker’s Guide to Life by Hayley Morris
Hayley Morris is a social media star. But not for posting highly-edited images of her fancy clothes, but for creating incredibly funny and relatable videos about sex, relationships, work, life and overthinking.
In her book Me Vs Brain, Hayley shares even more of her personal stories covering all aspects of life as a 20-something woman. Her goal is to give us all a break from our own brains and, of course, give us all a good giggle. But Hayley also wants to prove that everyone thinks about bonkers, bizarre and embarrassing things all the time, you are not alone.
5. Magic Words: What to Say to Get Your Way by Jonah BergerView now at Amazon
Jonah Berger is a professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and he specialises in human behavior, change and psychology. In his latest book, Magic Words, Jonah explores his own cutting-edge research that reveals there are six different types of words that can improve your life, impacting creativity, relationships and work.
Jonah explains what these words are and how we can all use them and harness their power with stories about how salespeople are able to use language to convince people, lawyers to persuade juries of their arguments and storytellers to engage audiences. Regardless of what's going on in your life, Magic Words will add impact to the way you speak and write for the better.
6. The Illusion of Choice by Richard Shotton
Richard Shotton works to apply findings from psychology and behavioural science to marketing. In his new book, The Illusion of Choice, he explains how the way products are positioned, promoted and marketed can influence how customers behave. So if you've ever wondered why you pick one thing over another, this book will be illuminating.
It examines the 16½ psychological biases that everyone working in business needs to know, including research, old ad campaigns and original studies to illustrate each point. The result is a guide that's easy to follow and essential if you work in a sales or marketing role. However, we also recommend The Illusion of Choice as a self-development book for everyone because you'll learn a lot about your own behaviour and why you choose the things you do.
7. Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity by Peter Attia and Bill Gifford
There have been many books released in the past year or so about living longer, but Dr Peter Attia is one of the most knowledgable voices in this space and one of the world's top longevity experts.
Outlive doesn't do away with modern healthcare, but suggests it's not equipped to deal with many of the problems and diseases that tend to strike as we get older. Instead, it advocates for a more personalised and proactive strategy for living longer. Expect practical advice and a roadmap you can adapt to your specifics needs that aims to improve your physical, cognitive and emotional health.
8. Enchantment by Katherine MayView now at Amazon
While not strictly a self-development book in the same way some of the other titles on this list are – there are no tools or tips here – we've included Enchantment because it's had a big impact on how we've been living our lives since reading it.
Written by the wonderful Katherine May (we also highly recommend her book Wintering), Enchantment explores the power and magic of awe. May shares personal stories, draws examples from history and peppers in insightful research to examine the benefits of cultivating more presence and appreciating the world and all of the wonderful things it has to offer.
9. You Are Not Alone by Cariad LloydView now at Amazon
Cariad Lloyd is a comedian, actress, writer and the podcaster behind the incredibly popular and moving show Griefcast. You Are Not Alone is Cariad's book on the subject of grief, exploring the lessons and topics covered on the podcast over the years, as well as much more.
The overriding message of this book is that grief is incredibly challenging and so many of us go through it – you are not alone. There are insights from podcast guests, including Philippa Perry, Reverend Richard Coles, Isabel Allende, Nish Kumar and Marian Keyes, as well as advice from Cariad for anyone in the thick of the grieving process or helping someone who's struggling.
10. 8 Rules of Love by Jay ShettyView now at Amazon
Jay Shetty is already well-known for his bestselling book Think Like a Monk, but his latest book, 8 Rules of Love, is all about the different stages of romance, filled with his own personal experiences, ancient wisdoms and the latest science.
By examining the different stages of love and relationships, Jay shows us how to define love, why a break-up doesn't mean we're broken and how to avoid falling for people who aren't good for us. By the end of the book you've learned Jay's 8 rules and, hopefully, learned to love yourself and others a little deeper and more authentically.
- Keen to add a bit more calm into your day? Check our our guide to the best mindfulness books.
- Or listen to great minds discuss all things peace and calm with our best mindfulness podcasts guide.