Best Self-Help Books for Men to Add to Your Library

Are you looking for books that can positively impact your life as a man? What are the best self-help books for men? 

If you feel as though you lack control over your life, perhaps feeling underwhelmed with your job or romantic relationship, reading self-help books can be an untapped solution to these struggles. Whatever issues you’re facing, there are plenty of self-help books that offer advice on the matter. 

Here are Shortform picks of the best self-help books that offer valuable advice for men’s concerns. We’ve categorized them into four groups: inspirational books, self-improvement books, business books, and relationship books.

Inspirational Books For Men

There’s nothing more inspiring than true stories of men overcoming hardships. For men looking for books that can push them in the right direction, here’s a selection of inspirational books to the rescue. 

Can’t Hurt Me

In Can’t Hurt Me, former Navy SEAL David Goggins describes his transformation from someone who let his circumstances control him to someone who proactively seeks greatness by tackling new challenges. He thinks everyone can work to cultivate a drive for self-improvement in order to overcome obstacles and reach their goals. 

Most of us only give 40 percent of our effort, leaving 60 percent on the table and falling short of our potential. Goggins offers 10 actionables to help people push themselves to address obstacles and work efficiently toward their goals. In Can’t Hurt Me, you’ll learn to:

  • Face the difficult circumstances that have shaped you.
  • Hold yourself accountable to your goals.
  • Get used to discomfort.
  • Visualize success.
  • Draw motivation from your opponents and past victories.
  • Compartmentalize your time.

Read our in-depth book guide to Can’t Hurt Me.

Man’s Search For Meaning

What is the meaning of life? This question has both plagued and motivated humans for centuries, and it’s probably crossed your mind once or twice. But how do we answer this question, and how can we ensure our lives have meaning? 

Man’s Search for Meaning recounts Viktor Frankl’s experiences in the concentration camps of WWII and the school of therapy he invented to help us confront this very question. In this men’s self-help book you’ll find out:

  • How Viktor Frankl survived four concentration camps.
  • The terrible things he witnessed and the three psychological stages prisoners went through as they came to terms with their fate. 
  • What key traits made prisoners more likely to survive.

Read our in-depth book guide to Man’s Search for Meaning.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is a parable centered on Julian, a hotshot-lawyer-turned-monk, and his former colleague John. Julian shares what he’s learned from studying with the Sages of Sivana, a near-mythological group of monks in India who know the secrets to enlightenment.

Julian’s lessons range from gaining control of your thoughts, to finding a purpose in life, to properly managing your time so that you can achieve that purpose. All of this works toward the ultimate goal of living a simple, fulfilling, and happy life. 

While the characters and events are all fictional, the lessons Julian teaches are based on real philosophical and religious traditions. In this inspirational story, you’ll discover:

  • The key virtues that will help you get through difficult times and find meaning in your life.
  • Why your mind is like a garden—and how you can tend to it.
  • How you can find purpose, practise discipline, and make the most of your time.
  • Why serving others is one of the best things you can do to improve your life.

Read our in-depth book guide to The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari.

The Power of Now

Many of us spend our lives searching for peace, joy, and fulfillment. We look for it in different ways: through accomplishments, relationships, experiences, and material possessions. 

The Power of Now proposes that the only way to find true peace and fulfillment is through being solely and intensely present in each moment. The more we live in the Now, the more we are able to connect with our true selves and experience life fully, without extraneous thoughts and speculations clouding our minds and altering our lens of the world. In this book you’ll learn:

  • Why many of us spend most of our time consumed in thoughts.
  • Why it’s important to be present in every moment.
  • Tips and methods for quieting your thoughts and fears to find fulfillment through presence.

Read our in-depth book guide to The Power of Now.

Business Books for Men

There’s no real guidebook on how to become rich or create your own successful company. Luckily, there are successful men out there who have written business books describing their own experiences in climbing the corporate ladder. These self-help books advise men on how to turn your goals into reality and your dreams into riches. 

The Way of the Wolf

Director Martin Scorsese made Jordan Belfort famous for excess of all kinds in his film The Wolf of Wall Street. But behind the parties, the drugs, and the women, was a sales system that allowed Belfort to rise to the top of his industry. 

Now, in his own words, Belfort explains the Straight Line System that made him rich. It involves moving prospective customers directly down a line from uncertainty to certainty—that the product you’re selling is high quality, that you’re trustworthy, and that they will improve their life by working with you. The system has been used to transform the lives of salespeople, and here Belfort lays out its secrets. In the acclaimed men’s self-help book, The Way of the Wolf, you’ll learn:

  • How to master the art of persuasion and selling.
  • How using the Straight Line System made Belfort rich.
  • Why the first four seconds of any sale are so important.

Read our in-depth book guide to The Way of the Wolf.

Think and Grow Rich

Think and Grow Rich is Napoleon Hill’s best-selling guide to becoming wealthy and successful. Published in 1937, it introduced the concept of positive thinking to the masses and was a forerunner to much of today’s self-help literature.

The main premise of Think and Grow Rich is that our thoughts create our reality. If we know what we want, desire and pursue it single-mindedly, have faith and create a plan, we can think it into being. 

Hill offers a specific action plan and principles for achieving riches, which he gathered from interviews with 500 wealthy people, including Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Charles M. Schwab. Here’s what you’ll find in the book:

  • Examples of how some of the world’s most successful business leaders, inventors, and creative thinkers achieved great wealth or other forms of success. 
  • How you can turn positive thoughts into riches. 
  • Key qualities successful people tend to have.

Read our in-depth book guide to Think and Grow Rich.

Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Rich Dad, Poor Dad is one of the best-selling financial books in history, selling over 35 million copies. The premise: when growing up, author Robert Kiyosaki had two dads advising him: 1) a Stanford-educated PhD who followed traditional career thinking and was financially illiterate (the Poor Dad, his biological father); 2) a high school dropout who built a business empire employing thousands (the Rich Dad, his best friend’s father).

The two dads are really a parable for two different approaches to wealth: Poor Dad recommends getting a secure job with good benefits and retiring with a pension. Rich Dad recommends amassing assets that make money for you, becoming financially literate, and practicing independent thinking. In this book, you can learn:

  • How to achieve financial independence.
  • Why it’s a terrible idea to see your home as your biggest investment.
  • How to overcome the biggest mental blocks to becoming wealthy.

Read our in-depth book guide to Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

Tools of Titans

In his epic 707-page Tools of Titans, Tim Ferriss shares the habits and beliefs of 101 people at the top of their game, including tech investors like Chris Sacca and Peter Thiel, entrepreneurs like LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman and Evernote’s Phil Libin, superhuman athletes like Amelia Boone and Wim Hof, media figures like Edward Norton and Whitney Cummings, and more.

These are the principles that successful people use to achieve audacious goals, improve themselves, and be happier. The premise: if you can apply the lessons from this book, you can be more effective. You’ll find out the following things about the world’s most successful people:

  • How they prepare themselves for the day ahead with effective morning routines. 
  • How they define life goals.
  • How they think of good ideas.
  • How they try to be happier. 

Read our in-depth book guide to Tools of Titans.

Self-Improvement Books for Men

Self-improvement books may sound similar to inspirational books, but they have one key difference. Men’s self-improvement books give you advice on how to live the best life you possibly can, whereas inspirational books simply tell a story that just so happens to motivate you. These authors have one goal in mind: to help you become a better version of yourself.

Here is a selection of best men’s self-help books that can act as your own personal life-coach.

12 Rules for Life

Most humans crave order and meaning in existence, to deal with the terrifying uncertainty of the world. For much of history religion served this function (e.g. being a servant of God). But as secularism rises, a void remains that is filled by nihilism and empty ideologies.

In 12 Rules for Life, author Jordan Peterson believes that there is real meaning and good in existence. Look at it this way – if real evil exists (human suffering, especially inflicted by other humans), then good is the opposite of this – it is preventing evil from happening. 

You should therefore conduct your life to produce good. This will lead to meaning. This will make your existence matter. Your actions will matter, taking care of your health will matter, having good relationships will matter. In the book, he offers 12 Rules for life and teaches the following lessons:

  • Why fixing your posture will make others respect you more.
  • Why you should judge yourself by your own goals, not the goals of others. 
  • Why meaning is the antidote to an unsatisfying life. 
  • Why you should never lie.

Read our in-depth book guide to 12 Rules of Life.

Awaken the Giant Within

Many people assume their ideal life will never be more than fantasy, but in reality, you have the power to create the life you dream about. In Awaken the Giant Within, life coach and self-help guru Tony Robbins provides empowering insights and strategies to help you take control of every aspect of your life, from your emotions to your focus. In many cases, you can make transformational changes to your life through small adjustments, such as swapping out just one word in your vocabulary. In this self-help book, you’ll learn:

  • How your bad habits are wired in your brain—and what you can do to change them
  • How to decode your negative emotions to find solutions to them
  • How you create your destiny every time you start a sentence with “I am…”

Read our in-depth book guide to Awaken the Giant Within.

Atomic Habits

Are there things you wish you could do but don’t know how to begin? Do you struggle to understand how to break bad habits and start good ones? Do you wonder why you behave in certain ways even when you know you shouldn’t? Are you the person you want to be? 

The knowledge and techniques provided in Atomic Habits are geared toward helping you discover who you currently are by looking at what you currently do. If you want to improve your life and solidify some healthy and positive habits, this self-help book for men is a great place to start. 

 By detailing the 4 Stages of Habit Formation, James Clear explains:

  • How actions become habits
  • Why some habits stick and some don’t
  • How to reframe your life to create new habits and maintain them over time. 

Read our in-depth book guide to Atomic Habits.

Make Your Bed

Military life is often exhausting, terrifying, and emotionally challenging. You have to be strong and disciplined to make it through the rigors of training and war. Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired Navy SEAL with 37 years of experience, faced many challenges during his career. He found strategies along the way that helped him through the difficult times. Many of these strategies resulted from his experiences as a SEAL-in-training and a Navy officer.

In 2014, McRaven organized his strategies into 10 life lessons for his commencement address at his alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin. Make Your Bed provides these lessons to you and expands on the experiences that formed them:

  • How you can start each day with an accomplishment.
  • Why teamwork is crucial for success.
  • How to deal with setbacks. 
  • How you can use failure to your advantage.

Read our in-depth book guide to Make Your Bed.

Relationship Books for Men

Let’s face it: relationships are difficult to navigate. Even if you and your partner are committed to improving your relationship, there will always be kinks to iron out.  This is because men and women approach things differently, so they need advice that works for them. 

For a man to become a better partner in his relationship, he may need to overcome habits that enforce toxic masculinity and  understand the value of femininity in the relationship. Here are Shortform picks of the best relationship books for men that can help you create a positive change in your love life.

Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus

Men and women tend to get into conflict over their natural differences. But when you learn to think of men and women as coming from different planets, and therefore recognize the inherent differences between men and women, you will be more successful in relationships with the opposite sex

Imagine that men come from Mars and women come from Venus. By understanding life on both planets, you will begin to understand why men think one way and women think another. Then you will learn to be more tolerant and forgiving of people of the opposite sex. After reading Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, you’ll understand:

  • Creative solutions to miscommunication problems.
  • The best way to show love and support to your partner.
  • How to get more fulfillment out of your relationships. 

Read our in-depth book guide to Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.

Mating in Captivity

According to most people and sources, modern couples are having less sex even though they have more sexual freedom than any generation that’s come before them. Now that it’s socially acceptable to have sex outside of marriage and we can do so without the threat of pregnancy, apparently, we’re not interested. It could be that we’re busy, stressed, tired, or overwhelmed by parenthood.

Or, it could be that modern domesticity and sexuality are an either/or situation—can we actually have both? Modern domesticity is associated with things like security, intimacy, and egalitarianism, while desire is concerned with things like play, aggression, jealousy, and risk. 

Even though domesticity and desire seem to be made up of contradictory ingredients, the author of Mating in Captivity, experienced couples therapist Esther Perel, believes it’s possible to retain desire in a committed relationship. You’ll find out:

  • Why desire tends to fade in long-term relationships.
  • Ester Perel’s secrets for keeping the spark alive in any relationship.
  • Obstacles that tend to cause problems for couples, and how you can overcome them. 

Read our in-depth book guide to Mating in Captivity.

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Do you pride yourself on being the nicest guy in the world? Does your fear of disapproval lead you to people-please, avoid conflict, and repress parts of yourself? If this sounds like you, you might be what Dr. Robert Glover calls a Nice Guy

Released in 2003, No More Mr. Nice Guy (referred to throughout this guide as NMMNG) by marriage and family psychotherapist Dr. Robert Glover helps you understand and conquer the frustrating—and often manipulative—Nice Guy mindset so that you can become what Glover calls a fully realized and self-accepting “Integrated Male” (who we’ll call the “Ideal Man” for simplicity). In this self-help book tailored for men, you’ll learn:

  • Whether or not you’re a Nice Guy, or have some typical traits.
  • How to improve your confidence and self-esteem.
  • How to find empowerment and contentment in every area of your life.

Read our in-depth book guide to No More Mr. Nice Guy.

Emotional Intelligence

Many cultures, particularly Western ones, place a lot of emphasis on intelligence as a barometer of success. We’ve even developed tests to measure our intelligence, resulting in a score known as our intelligence quotient, or IQ. 

But data suggests that IQ only accounts for about 20% of success in life, with the remaining 80% being made up by other factors, emotional intelligence included. And much more research has been done on IQ than on emotions and emotional intelligence, despite the fact that emotions are hard-wired in the human brain and make us the species we are. 

IQ is fixed: what we’re born with is what remains throughout our lives. But emotional intelligence can be taught and learned–we have the ability to improve upon our emotional intelligence throughout our lives. In Daniel Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence, You’ll find out:

  • What emotions are 
  • What emotional intelligence is
  • How you can use this knowledge to improve your relationships, career, and much more. 

Read our in-depth book guide to Emotional Intelligence.

Conclusion

If you’ve read any of these books, tell us how they changed your outlook on life in the comments below. Also, we would love to hear any more suggestions for men’s self-help books to add to our list.

Best Self-Help Books for Men to Add to Your Library

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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