17 Of The Best Self-Help Books For Women

Women have to take care of themselves and step up to their evolving roles as leaders, caretakers, and visionaries.

Self-awareness, self-care, and self-respect are necessary qualities we must develop in order to be fully actualized and confident in who we are and what we want to achieve.

One of the best ways to develop and reinforce these qualities is by reading self-help books which can provide invaluable insights for your growth and character development as a woman.

So, where do you start?

You know there are a lot of self-help books for women out there, but which ones are worth your time to read?

I've compiled a list of some of my favorite books for women who want to become more confident, successful, and powerful.

What's In This Article:
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Here are 17 of the best self-help books for women:

1. Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty… And Start Speaking Up, Saying No, Asking Boldly, And Unapologetically Being Yourself By Dr. Aziz Gazipura

This is one of the best self-improvement books for women who have a hard time being assertive and directly asking for what they want.

Women often feel guilty for saying “no,” and this book will eliminate those anxieties and motivate women to stand up for their own needs.

Author Dr. Gazipura looks at what it means to be “too nice” and teaches women in how to speak up for themselves and create personal boundaries.

The author uses stories, humor, and vulnerability to help liberate the bold personality that every woman is able to have.


2. I Hear You: The Surprisingly Simple Skill Behind Extraordinary Relationships By Michael S. Sorensen

Any woman trying to improve her communication skills and talk more effectively to other people, whether in a romantic relationship or a professional one, will love this book.

It teaches the skill of validation which is important for all relationships.

It is especially helpful for women because it addresses the uncertainties you might have about what others are thinking and teaches how to inspire others to be more open to your point of view.

This is one of the best self-empowering books for women who feel like they haven't been heard in the past.


3. Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be By Rachel Hollis

Rachel Hollis, the founder of TheChicSite.com, uses wit and wisdom to help readers break free from lies they have been told that hold them back in life.

Hollis is known for her tips for living a better life while talking openly about the chaos of her own. In her first book, she uses honesty, humor, and direct, straightforward advice.

If you're a woman with limiting beliefs that make you feel overwhelmed, undeserving, or ready to quit — this book is for you.

As a working mother, a woman who has experienced insecurities, and a former foster parent, Hollis can relate to many of her readers and their day-to-day struggles.

She writes with the insight and kindness of a best friend helping women get past the mindsets that limit their self-confidence and strength.


4. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know By Katty Kay

This is an excellent read for women of all ages who could use a boost in confidence.

It's a practical guide for women who are just starting their careers, as well as those who are near retirement, helping them to understand the importance of confidence and how to achieve it.

The authors argue that the reason men are ahead in the corporate world is that women lack the confidence they need to dominate.

The authors present cutting-edge research as well as personal stories and anecdotes from successful women in politics, media, and business.

Readers will turn the last page of this book with the inspiration and practical advice that they need to close the gap between men and women in the professional world to achieve the careers they deserve.


5. Finely Tuned: How To Thrive As A Highly Sensitive Person or Empath By Barrie Davenport

This guidebook is for people with highly sensitive, empathic natures who want to stop feeling misunderstood and want to reclaim their lives on their own terms.

It's a great book for women who have been accused of being “too sensitive” or “too emotional,” helping them recognize that their traits are perfectly normal and highly valuable in society.

Highly sensitive people and empaths are gifted with unique skills making them more creative, intuitive, conscientious, and empathic.

You'll learn skills for understanding yourself so you can feel confident in your personal and professional life and better communicate your needs with other people.

It can be daunting to live in an overwhelming world, especially when those around you don't understand or appreciate you.

With an increased sense of self-awareness, mindful communication, and the ability to take control of your environment, you will learn how to thrive as a sensitive person.

Life will become enriching and your sensitive traits can be used to create a better relationships and a fulfilling future as you learn to appreciate your unique personality.


6. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person By Shonda Rhimes

This book was written by the creator of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal and the executive producer of How to Get Away With Murder.

Rhimes teaches readers the power of saying “YES!” using personal experience as her guide. She was challenged to say “yes” to all unexpected invitations that came her way for a year, and the result was transformative.

She uses funny and relatable stories to chronicle the powerful impact that this challenge had on her life.

This book is especially great for women who are used to saying “no” without even considering saying YES. It is a challenge to help women break out of their shells.

Says the New York Times review, Year of Yes is “A book that is fun, dishy and inspirational all at the same time…a powerful book, a great gift for a friend or yourself, whether you’re a fan of the Shondaland lineup or not”


7. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance By Angela Duckworth

Psychologist Angela Duckworth shows readers that the key to success in any area of your life is a blend of passion and persistence that she calls “grit.”

Duckworth uses her own experiences to describe to what made her realize that success is driven by grit rather than genius.

She reveals how grit can be learned by anyone who is looking to achieve more success in life, especially women who have felt oppressed or discriminated against due to their gender.

The author offers personal and insightful advice about how your reaction to failure is more important than talent or luck.

You may find inspiration in the author's fundamental message that with hard work and persistence, anyone can become the best version of themselves.

Most people are unable to know their own limits, and the act of striving toward them every day can take people to a new level of success.

This is a great book for women who are searching for their worth and want to know how to discover it.


8. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond FearBy Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert digs deep into her own experiences to share her wisdom and perspective regarding creativity. She encourages readers to uncover the uniqueness that is hidden within everyone to open a new world of joy.

This is one of the best books for young women who want to learn the attitudes, approaches, and habits that are needed to live their most creative lives.

She addresses the concept of inspiration through the use of empathy and radiant generosity and leads her readers to embrace their curiosity and release feelings of suffering.

Gilbert invites anyone who feels the need to be creative, whether through writing, painting, music, or dancing, to accept their creative inclinations as gifts from the universe.

She reminds her readers to own and embrace their creativity even when it’s tough and there's no prize in sight.


9. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life By Jen Sincero

This is an enjoyably blunt “how-to” guide with 27 short chapters full of inspiring stories, groundbreaking insights, and simple exercises.

Jen Sincero has an irreverent writing style that is both inspiring and motivational, helping readers understand why they are who they are, how to accept what they can't change, and how to change what they can.

She doesn't take herself too seriously but offers up some actionable advice for women who want to break out of their shells and create more exciting, authentic lives.

If you are ready to take charge and master your own life, pick up this book and read it cover to cover.


10. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to LeadBy Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In addresses the conversation surrounding women in the workplace and how they impede their own success.

As the COO of Facebook, Sandberg has given TED talks in that past in which she described how women unintentionally keep themselves from developing in their careers.

She encourages women to look for challenges, “sit at the table,” take risks and go for their goals with power.

Sandberg uses personal stories, facts, and groundbreaking research to shift the conversation away from what women can't do to what they can.

She includes tips on negotiation techniques, mentoring, and creating a career with purpose. Readers are offered specific steps to become fulfilled both personally and professionally.

Readers will appreciate Sandberg's humor and wisdom, as she lays the foundation for individual growth to help empower women to achieve their full potential.


11. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear SugarBy Cheryl Strayed

From the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling memoir, Wild, this book is a compilation of the most useful advice with never-before-seen pieces from “Dear Sugar,” the advice column by Strayed on the literary website, The Rumpus.

Filled with rich humor and honesty, this book is part memoir and part self-help essays designed to answer questions about love, family, addiction, grief, abuse, afflictions, fears, friends, gossip, and many other topics.

Says one reviewer, “Strayed offers insights as exquisitely phrased as they are powerful, confronting some of the biggest and most painful of life’s questions. . . . . “

Women who are feeling alone in their journey or just need some great company along the way as they encounter life's inevitable ups and downs will enjoy Strayed's unique perspective.


12. Women Who Love Too Much By Robin Norwood

Robin Norwood offers a program for women who have experienced love as pain.

She presents a complete, ten-point recovery plan for women who continue to find themselves in relationships with the wrong people for the wrong reasons.

Some of the lessons include how to change from loving someone until it hurts to learning to love yourself instead.

Readers also learn how to free themselves from catastrophic relationships and become self-aware and understanding of what they need to be happy and loved.

This is one of the most useful self-esteem books for women who have given too much of themselves to make someone else happy. It will help women refocus on themselves and stop spending time and energy in a toxic relationship.


13. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing By Marie Kondo

If you want to declutter your home in a way that improves your life, this book is a must-read.

It offers a step-by-step guide for simplifying, organizing, and storing extra things that you do not use on an everyday basis using a unique Japanese KonMari method.

This book makes a compelling argument that if you simplify and organize your home properly just once, you will never have to do it again.

The KonMari method presents a category-by-category system that involves only keeping items in your home that “spark joy.”

Clutter is just another way to stay stuck, distracted, and agitated. Streamlining your home can help you reestablish your priorities, not only with your stuff but in your life as well.

You'll love how much this guide helps clear clutter, allowing you to enjoy the simplicity of a tidy home and a calm but motivated mindset.


14. The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People HelpBy Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer, a rock star and TED speaker who has enjoyed significant success, details her experiences asking for help to reach her goals and dreams.

However, she found there are some things she hasn't been able to ask for in her personal and professional life leaving her stuck and frustrated.

Women can relate to this book as Palmer explores the barriers that stop us from asking for what we want, including the fear of rejection and vulnerability.

Amanda Palmer shows the emotional and practical aspects of asking for help in an effective way.

Past readers found this book inspiring because it makes you reconsider your own ideas about asking for help.

Some have found this book to be more of an inspiring memoir than a self-help book, but many women appreciate Amanda's artistic lens and can relate her stories to their own lives.


15. Break Your Own Rules: How to Change the Patterns of Thinking that Block Women's Paths to PowerBy Jill Flynn, Kathryn Heath, and Mary Davis Holt

This book focuses on the fact that women make up only 11% of senior-level leadership positions in U.S. Corporations and how in recent decades that number has not increased.

Flynn, Heath, and Holt teach women how they can break through this barrier and break rules that limit women's power.

Using the results of over 1,700 interviews with executives and personal stories from high-profile women, the authors deliver new rules that help clear that path for more women holding leadership positions in corporate America.

Women appreciate this “hands-on” guide because they can see themselves in the scenarios this book covers.


16. Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and LifeBy Susan David

Emotional Agility offers a revolutionary, science-based approach to getting through life’s ups and down with self-acceptance, a clear head, and an open mind.

The unique concepts presented were created by the author after studying emotions, achievement, and happiness for two decades.

She found that regardless of their intelligence or creativity, the way people navigate their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors ultimately determines their success.

This book is great for women who are emotionally sensitive and need more resilience to help them overcome adversity. It is written in a witty style but with authority and empathy, offering readers a new way to meet their potential.

Says Yale University president, Peter Salovey, “Susan David is a leading authority on how our thoughts, emotions, and motives can empower or derail us. Her work combines compelling research, an engaging style, and practical wisdom to show people how to create meaningful change in their lives in order to thrive.”


17. Mindset: The New Psychology of SuccessBy Carol Dweck

World-renowned Stanford University psychologist, Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., illustrates how success in almost every area of life can be influenced by how we perceive our talents and abilities.

Those who have a fixed mindset and believe that one is born with their full set of abilities are less likely to thrive than those with a growth mindset who believe that practice can enhance one's abilities.

Mindset is an essential read for anyone who wants to improve their feelings of success and achievement.

Women will especially appreciate this book if they have developed a fixed mindset about their own abilities to succeed in a culture that still reinforces gender inequality.


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Did you find the best self-books for women that inspire you?

Reading a few of these books can inspire you to take positive action with your own life and make choices that reinforce your confidence and strengths as a woman.

Choose a couple that resonate with you and address any challenges you might be facing in your life or with your outlook. Then go beyond the book to take daily action on the concepts and techniques you've read about. 

Commit to continued personal growth and self-awareness so that you can live to your fullest potential as a woman.

Barrie Davenport
 

Barrie is a certified life coach and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She has been a featured writer for The Huffington Post, Maria Shriver, and Zen Habits. She is the creator of six popular self-improvement courses. She writes books on relationship skills, emotional abuse, mindfulness, and more.

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Keshav Sharma @ Selfhelpiness

Great collection. Although these books have been listed for women, but some of them are relevant for men too 🙂 Big Magic and Mindset are my favorites too. You can also include “The Happiness Project” and “The Power of Habit”. Those are also amazing books.

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