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When I was little, I used to read all the time. I remember coming home from school sometimes and reading an entire book in one day. But at some point, life got busier, school got harder, and it’s been probably over five years since I have read a book from start to finish. When I do have time to relax, sometimes the last thing I want to do is pick up a book, especially when I have been reading for class all day. However, the only books I have read here and there were self-help books.

If I am going to read, it needs to be something that will benefit me and not leave me with thoughts like, “I should have been doing the laundry,” “what should I make for dinner later?”, or “when was the last time I vacuumed under the couch?” Instead, these easy to read self-help books leave me feeling refreshed and fulfilled. They feel like a productive way to get my mind off school while doing something other than watching Netflix. Without further ado, here are five self-help books that are on my reading list.

1.) The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

This is actually the only book on this list that I have read and highly recommend. This is the ideal self-help book for a realist. It offers a broad range of life advice through humor and storytelling. Manson does an excellent job of making you question your life and interrupting your routine thought process. He discusses all the ways in which you should stop spending time being mindlessly positive and how you should start recognizing that sometimes things need to fall apart for better things to come together.

2.) The Mountain is You by Brianna Wiest

I first saw this book on TikTok and was instantly intrigued by the title. The idea that the biggest obstacle in your life is you is a moving metaphor (and a great marketing technique). This book discusses self-sabotage and how getting in your own way is often the biggest challenge to overcome in life. This read won’t give you the answers to all your life’s problems, but it can be the voice in your ear leading you in the right direction.

3.) 101 Essays that Will Change the Way You Think BY Brianna Wiest 

This book, also written by Brianna Wiest, would make an excellent read for someone who is either looking to finish an entire book in one sitting or read just a few pages every day. Within each essay, Wiest explores many different aspects of life with the goal that at least one changes the way you think. She encourages you to confront your inner biases and preach affirmations that will help you become a better version of yourself. You are never too old to adopt a new way of thinking.

4.) Atomic Habits by James Clear

Most aspects of your life are likely habitual: the way you make your bed, the way you study for an exam, or the very routine you have followed every Monday morning for the past five years. If our lives are filled with habits and routines, we should probably make them good ones. In this book, Clear offers new strategies to help develop your habits and reach your goals.

5.) Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Written by the talented and beloved Shonda Rhimes, this memoir stresses the importance of saying yes to things outside of your comfort zone. Sometimes we all need to take a leap out of our safe and familiar lifestyle routines and try something new, and she does just that. This book is a peek into her life and can leave you feeling inspired and ready to try something new. 

Self-help books are not going to solve all of your problems, instantly make you rich, or turn you into the best person on the planet. All of those things are up to you; these books just have a little advice to follow along the way. With an open mindset and attitude that’s ready to change, these books could make a huge impact on your life. 

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Abbey LeClair

U Mass Amherst '22

Abbey LeClair is a senior at the University of Massachusetts - Amherst, majoring in Psychology on the Neuroscience track. She loves to spend her time hanging out with friends, listening to music, and dancing for the UMass Dance Club. Feel free to follow her on Instagram: @abbeyleclair
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