15 Best-Selling Self-Help Books of All Time
....with a short summary
How many self-help books are published each year?
The self-help genre continues to grow in popularity, with an estimated 15,000 self-help books published in the United States each year.
How many self-help books are sold every year?
18.6 million - Unit sales of self-help books have grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11 percent since 2013, reaching 18.6 million in 2019, according to global information company The NPD Group.Jan 13, 2020.
Millions of self-help books are sold each year but are human lives getting any better?
If one wanted to change their life for better wouldn't reading and applying the information in one or all of these 15 books be enough?
It appears that writing more self-help books is not the answer to our most pressing problems.
There's a common thread running through all of these books and that is how you think. It's mind stuff because all of it is mind stuff.
- Be proactive
- Begin with the end in mind
- Put first things first
- Think win-win
- Seek first to understand, then be understood
- Sharpen the saw
- The Power of Positive Thinking
- The Law of Prosperity
- The Way to Love, Peace, and Happiness
1. Think and Grow Rich - Napoleon Hill (over 80 million copies sold)
Think and Grow Rich is a curation of the 13 most common habits of wealthy and successful people, distilled from studying over 500 individuals over the course of 20 years.
There's a reason why this book is the undisputed winner as the most popular self-help book ever written. This audio sums up Hill's philosophy very succinctly but most people will poo poo it.
2. The Alchemist - Paula Coelho (over 65 million copies sold)
The Alchemist is a classic novel in which a boy named Santiago embarks on a journey seeking treasure in the Egyptian pyramids after having a recurring dream about it and on the way meets mentors, falls in love, and most importantly, learns the true importance of who he is and how to improve himself and focus on what really matters in life.
3. You Can Heal Your Life - Louise Hay (over 50 million copies sold)
You Can Heal Your Life is a self-help book by Louise Hay. It is based on the idea that an individual has the power to heal themselves through affirmations, visualizations, and positive thinking.
The book starts with Louise Hay's personal story of how she healed herself from cancer by using her own methods. She then shares her message of healing oneself through these three steps: releasing, forgiving, and loving oneself.
4. Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert T. Kiyosaki (over 26 million copies sold)
Rich Dad Poor Dad is a book written by Robert Kiyosaki with Sharon Lechter in the year 1997. The book is about the author's personal experience with his two dads and the different financial advice they gave him.
The book starts by introducing the author. He explains that he had a poor dad who was a highly educated man, but he was not financially successful. This led him to believe that education and intelligence were not enough to make you rich, which is why he wanted to find out how his rich dad became so wealthy. His rich dad was self-educated and believed that it takes money to make money.
5. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey (over 25 million copies sold)
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a self-help book written by Stephen Covey. The book is about how to start changing one's life from the inside out. Covey argues that true success comes from "living with integrity, balance and peace".
The 7 habits are:
6. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… And It’s All Small Stuff - Richard Carlson, PH.D. (over 25 million copies sold)
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… And It’s All Small Stuff is a self-help book written by Richard Carlson. The book is about how to live more peacefully and to stop worrying about things that are not worth it.
The author believes that our minds are filled with thoughts and worries, which can cause us to feel stressed. We should instead focus on the present moment and take care of what we need to do in the now.
7. Who Moved My Cheese - Spencer Johnson, M.D.(over 23 million copies sold)
The book, Who Moved My Cheese, is a parable about two mice and two "littlepeople" who live in a maze. The maze has lots of cheese which they enjoy eating. One day, the cheese starts to run out and the little people start looking for new cheese. The first little person learns from an old mouse that there is more cheese on the other side of the maze and leaves to explore it. The second mouse is too afraid to leave because he's never been anywhere before, so he stays where he is.
The first little person finds more cheese but then gets trapped by a cat who lives there. He realizes that if he had stayed at home like his friend, he would have been safe but also hungry with no hope of finding new food.
He comes back and tells his friend what happened to him and they both go off together to find more food - this time with their tails held high!
8. The Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield (over 23 million copies sold)
The Celestine Prophecy is a novel about a man named James Redfield who has a vision of the future. He sees a world where the population is in balance, where people are happy, and where there is no hunger or poverty.
The novel tells the story of nine people from very different backgrounds and cultures who come together to discuss what they see as the common thread in their lives. They are all convinced that they have been given some sort of message that will allow mankind to change for the better.
This book offers insight into how we can make our world a better place.
9. The Secret - Rhonda Byrne (over 20 million copies sold)
The Secret is a 2006 self-help book written by Rhonda Byrne. The book is about the idea that people can improve their lives by thinking about what they want, and then attracting it into their lives. The book was originally published in 2006 as a hardcover, and in 2007 as a paperback.
The Secret claims that the law of attraction can be used to achieve anything if one’s thoughts are strong enough.
10. The Power of Positive Thinking - Norman Vincent Peale (over 20 million copies sold)
Norman Vincent Peale was a minister and psychotherapist who believed in the power of positive thinking. He wrote The Power of Positive Thinking as a guide for people to improve their lives by harnessing the power of their mind.
The book is divided into three sections:
11. Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus John D. Gray, Ph.D. (over 15 million copies sold)
Men and women are different. They have different needs, desires, mindsets, and goals. That is why they have to be treated differently in order to make them feel valued.
The book "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus" by John Gray is a best-selling book which describes the differences between men and women. It presents a comprehensive guide on how to improve relationships between couples of the opposite sex.
This book teaches people how to avoid conflicts in their relationships with other people of the opposite sex. It is a must-read for all couples who want to understand each other better and live happily together.
12. How to Win Friends and Influence People - Dale Carnegie (over 15 million copies sold)
How to Win Friends and Influence People is a self-help book written by Dale Carnegie. It was published in 1936, and it has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide.
The book is based on the idea that people don't need to be taught how to get along with others. They just need to be shown how to go about it in the right way. It talks about various ways of dealing with people and how one can win them over by being nice and kind.
13. Chicken Soup for the Soul - Jack Canfield (over 11 million copies sold)
Chicken Soup for the Soul is a book series that was first published in 1993. It contains inspirational stories about love, hope, and healing.
The book series was written by Jack Canfield with support from Mark Victor Hansen. The books are sold in over 40 countries and have been translated into over 30 languages.
14. The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz (over 7 million copies sold)
The Four Agreements are a set of agreements between oneself and oneself that one must abide by in order to live a fulfilling life.
The first agreement is “Be Impeccable With Your Word”, which means that you need to be truthful, honest, and sincere with yourself and others at all times.
The second agreement is “Don’t Take Anything Personally”, which means that you shouldn't let the actions or opinions of others affect your self-esteem or self-image because it's not about you; it's about them.
The third agreement is “Don't Make Assumptions”, which means that you need to stop making assumptions about what other people think or feel - they might.
The fourth agreement is "Always Do Your Best", which means that you Ruiz believes that if one does their best in any given moment, they will be able to avoid self-judgment and regret.
15. The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth - M. Scott Peck, M.D. (over 5 million copies sold)
The Road Less Traveled is a book written by M. Scott Peck. The book talks about the process of becoming a mature, whole person. There are two roads that you can take in life: the easy road and the difficult road. M. Scott Peck argues that it is always more rewarding to take the difficult road because it will make you more mature and whole as a person.
It is not always easy to follow the difficult path in life, but it will be worth it in the end if you want to become a mature and whole person.