By Katherine Sharma
I’m sure you’ve noticed that self-help books are frequently best sellers. Just a glance at The New York Times’ current nonfiction best sellers finds 10% Happier by Dan Harris (how the co-anchor of Nightline used meditation to improve his life) and Thrive by Arianna Huffington (personal well-being as a measure of success, along with money and power).
I’ve read my share of self-help books, but I’ve thrown out (and forgotten) more career, health, relationship, and spiritual guides than I’ve kept. So I began to wonder which entries in the self-help genre have stood the test of time and may merit a permanent place on my bookshelf — and maybe yours. There are lots of recommendations out there, but when I combine them all together, I come up with two winners per pundits, popular acclaim and my own experience: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Harvard MBA Stephen Covey, and How to Win Friends and Influence People by super-salesman Dale Carnegie, published in the 1930s and still going strong.
Other consistently championed books are The Power of Now by philosopher Eckhart Tolle, Man’s Search for Meaning by concentration-camp survivor Viktor Frankl, Awaken the Giant Within by motivational guru Anthony Robbins, The Road Less Traveled by psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, and The Secret by Rhonda Byrne, bringing the “law of attraction” of earlier writers to new audiences. So if you find yourself troubled by basic questions — who am I, what do I really want, and how do I get from where I am now to where I want to be — check out these books. For more top-rated self-help guides, consider other picks by sources as varied as Amazon, Reader’s Digest, and Elle magazine.