The 5 Best Self-Help Books to buy as gifts this holiday season

Times are tough and money is tight but most of us do have at least a few gifts to buy this year. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a meaningful gift for under $50… or even $30? This can be accomplished by choosing some brand-new, old favorites!

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Below are my choices for the 5 Best Self-Help Books to buy as gifts. Only one of the books is more suitable for women and I share it because it is such a beautiful, gift-y book. The other books are gender-neutral and simply fantastic books that would make great gifts.

Note: All links shown here go back to my original review of the book. Links to purchase the books will be found in the review.

So, without further adieu…

The Book of Awakening: Having the Life you Want by Being Present to the Life You Have by Mark Nepo – If I could only recommend one book from now until the end of time, it would be THIS ONE. This is ***the perfect book***. The cover is beautiful – glossy and inviting like a high-end magazine. The book itself is written in devotional day-by-day (dated) style that is easy to pick up and read at any point, on any day. It’s depth is tied to its simplicity… which I know sounds like an oxymoron. Just trust me on this one. One of my two favorite quotes comes from this book:

If I had experienced different things, I would have different things to say.Mark Nepo (page 63)

How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day by Michael J. Gelb – This is a book of problem solving, creative thinking and self-expression, as learned through the master, who in this case is the great Da Vinci. There are loads of self-evaluations and illustrations, along with short, easy readings with lots of bullet points and space on the sides for notes.

When you take time for solitude – walking in nature, driving in your car, or just lying in bed – remember to listen to your bones and check in with your heart of hearts. – Michael J. Gelb (page 162)

StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath- From Gallup, yes that Gallup (as in: the Gallup Polls) and it told me more about myself than anything else EVER. Well, almost! This little book is an easy read – as in: It’s not over anyone’s head – but it’s not easy. It will take time, patience and a desire to know your true self and a willingness to take a few hours to do it. I strongly suggest making sure the access code pocket is undisturbed at the back of the book. It will be needed to go online and take the original test.

In 1998, I began working with a team of Gallup scientists led by the late Father of Strengths Psychology, Donald O. Clifton. Our goal was to start a global conversation about what’s right with people. – Tim Roth

Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach – A book I almost feel the need to apologize for adding because it wasn’t actually a fave of mine but it IS a favorite for millions (seriously, millions!) of others. Like The Book of Awakening (above) it’s a beautiful-looking book written in devotional day-by-day (dated) style that is easy to pick up and read at any point, on any day.

When we are authentic, when we keep our spaces simple, simply beautiful living takes place. – Alexandra Stoddard

Personality Self-Portrait: Why You Think, Work, Love and Act the Way You Do by John M. Oldham, MD and Lois B. Morris – This book is a POWERHOUSE in the world of self-help! Not only was it a best seller, it is one of the few books that dives into the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) in a way that’s easy for us non-PhD’ers to understand. Seriously, this is a book you could sit down with and when you stand back up it’s been six hours. Not kidding. Super interesting and full of exercises, it’s a fantastic resource that belongs on a lifelong bookshelf. You’ll go back to it again and again.

Psychiatry concerns itself with disorder. Our primary concern in this book is to delineate the normal, adaptive personality styles that the disorders take to an extreme. – John M. Oldham, MD and Lois B. Morris

** I receive no compensation for suggesting these books. All of them are older and will therefore cost less than a newly published book – a bonus! However, ALL of them stand the test of time! You have my word on that! 🙂


  1. This is a very good list. With the coming of the Kindle and the like, books are kind of being phased out which is a great loss to society. A book is literature. Kindle just reminds me of mindless musing even though it contains the same words.

    Liked by 1 person

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