Some Of The Best Self Improvement Books You Can Read Have Become Classics
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Some Of the Best Self Improvement Books You Can Read Have Become Classics

Growth and change in life happens through the people you encounter and the books you read.

I admit it. I read books from the self-help genre. The books that are written to help people solve personal problems.

A number of titles have helped me sort myself out.

I have read books recommended by people who have also been helped by reading a particular title and they were willing to share their find with me.

If you have read a few self-help titles perhaps, you would like to become acquainted with some classics of the genre.

Simon Butler-Bowdon’s book ’50 Self Help Classics: Books to Change Your Life’ is an illuminating resource for you to delve into and choose the titles that you would like to read.

The past fifty years, has seen the number of books published to help people make sense of life and their situation explode. Butler-Bowdon estimates we are talking about more than half a billion copies of thousands of titles.

Self-help books help us to acknowledge that life can be challenging and challenges are often overwhelming. A self-help book can act as a friend who gives you ideas to use to solve a problem or feel better.

The titles that have helped me are:

• Man’s Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl. 1959

• Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ – Daniel Goleman .1995

• The Bible - Often regarded as the best self-improvement book

• You Can Heal Your Life Now – Louise Hay. 1984

• The Road Less Travelled – M. Scott Peck. 1978

• See You at the Top – Zig Ziglar. 1975

• Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill. 1937

• Learned Optimism – Martin Seligman. 1991

Tom Butler–Bowdon has been researching, reading and summarising some of the classic self-help titles for his book. He advises that people would gain more insights from reading Anthony Robbins and Stephen Covey than psychology text books.

The book is not a definitive list of self help books.

There are many titles that can be regarded as top self-improvement books. Another person would choose different titles.

His focus is on twentieth-century classics, but he also includes older works that initially have not been given the title self-help.

The niche of each title is outlined and the author’s background is included. A quote from the book is used to introduce each book. The book includes a ‘Further Reading’ section in the back.

Tom Butler-Bowdon spent a decade reading and researching books in the self-help genre.

He was engrossed in the task. However, half way through the task he began to have a sense that something was missing. He discovered that the mention of the time needed to achieve anything significant was rarely mentioned.

Building success is not instant. It can take years and even decades.

In a youth-oriented society, when the belief is you are over the hill by thirty, no-one wants to hear this.

This attitude affects the young, the middle aged and the old.

The experience of the whole of life is crushed before we begin.

The following people were not constrained by the need to be young:

  1. Mother Teresa: Her life’s work opened up after she spent nineteen years as a teacher. She found her Missionaries of Charity order when she was 40.
  2. Ray Kroc purchased the original McDonald’s restaurant that was the first of the world wide chain when he was 52.
  3. Daniel Libeskind was in his 50’s before he saw his first building erected and he became the lead architect of the new World Trade Centre.
  4. E Annie Proulx, the author of Brokeback Mountain and The Shipping News, was in her 50’s before she became a successful writer.
  5. Momofuku Ando was 49 before he perfected his recipe for the instant noodle.
  6. Emily Kngwarreye, an artist, did not pick up a brush until she was 79. She was the first Aboriginal to sell a painting for over $1 million.

Yes, some people do achieve great success when they are young. But most entrepreneurs are not in their early twenties when they succeed.

Instant success is a pipe dream. Thank goodness!

What I have learned through life’s experience is the value of life and to live each day as it comes. You will never know which day may be your last.

Each of us has an allotted lifespan and we don’t know what it is.

Reading classic self-help books, which have been written with the specific aim to help change people’s lives, will help us grow and face any challenge life gives us.


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