5 People Share The Self-Help Books That Changed Their Lives

For motivation, happiness and more

Looking for self-help books to read before 2022? We’ve got you covered.

Believe it or not, we’ve only got two months and a few weeks to go before we welcome a new year. And you know what that means: it’s time to start diving into some self-improvement practices. One of the ways to improve facets of our lives — whether it’s our personal well-being, relationships or career — is by reading self-help books. Good for us, there are a lot to choose from. However, the abundance of titles in the self-help genre may overwhelm you. So we asked five people to share the self-help books that changed their lives.

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

Changes are hard to deal with but they are inevitable in life. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson is a short story about characters whose “cheeses” — symbolising career, relationships and other familiar comforts we rely on — have been moved. Through this simple tale, we get cues and advice on how to deal with significant transitions in our lives. Definitely one of the best self-help books to read before starting 2022.

Digital Growth Marketer Emellia Rohman says: “One of the most important lessons I learnt from this book is that change is the only constant in life; we have to keep moving to survive. The book changed the way I see the future and how to react to the unknown. This book breaks down difficult concepts in the most simplest analogies, it will give you several aha moments.I recommend this book to those who don't like to read long self-help books as you can finish this book in one sitting, and also for those who need that extra push in dealing with change. ”

Favourite Quote: “What would you do if you weren't afraid?”

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

When we think of changing our lives, we usually map out big milestones. But what if success lies in showing up for the little things? In the The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, we get introduced to a new way of achieving our goals by making incremental changes instead of big plans.

Digital Content Creator Abby Singson says: “Back in 2017, I was dealing with some depressive and anxiety-related tendencies. I wanted to heal fast, wanted a more efficient way of moving about my life. I saw this in the bestsellers section at my local bookstore and wondered if learning about habits would be that key thing to recovery so I could create an efficient chain of life-improving activities.

By reading this book, I learned about ‘keystone habits’. These are the habits that trigger several other habits. I started meditation as a keystone habit in the morning. This led to a chain of other habits that followed it: journaling, working out, mindfulness, yoga. Because of my newfound consistency, I developed my love for fitness and yoga, lost weight, and became a 200-hour registered yoga teacher in 2019!”

Favourite Quote: “Small wins are a steady application of a small advantage.”

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck

Written by renowned psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., this self-help gem is rooted in decades of research about how mindset makes a huge difference in our lives and the lives of others. It’s a great book not just for unlocking your own potential but it also teaches how to help others do the same.

Senior Content Solutions Manager Denise Cua says: “The book taught me that there are two types of mindsets. The first one is a fixed mindset. I honestly fall into the trap of this mindset a lot of times. It is where we want to feed our ego, assure ourselves we are good (or even excellent), and not ever fail. With this mindset, it's easy to want to stay in one's comfort zone where we always get a good grade or the perfect score. We tend to think about the results more and how to get good ones, instead of grit and actually growing in the process.

The other is the growth mindset. I wish I had adopted this mindset since I was young. I probably wouldn't have let go of my guitar the moment my fingers hurt and I found out playing musical instruments didn't come naturally to me. The growth mindset causes us not to have a big head and enables us to embrace challenges. It gives us that courage to try something new, and be okay to suck at it at first. This is the mindset we should strive to have if we don't want to be stagnant.

Another lesson I learned from this book is applicable to when/if I have a child. Instead of praising them for being great, the book teaches us to praise them for their great effort instead. This teaches them not to be fixated on their natural skills and shy away from whatever looks like a lot of effort, and instead instill in them that effort actually looks amazing on them.”

Favourite Quote: “Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.”

The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer

Are you afraid of asking for help? This one’s for you. Author and musician Amanda Palmer writes about her experiences and insights about the art of asking. In each of her stories, she shares how she was able to let go of anxieties by simply asking for assistance.

Senior Campaign Manager Kristel Ann Cruz says: “It taught me to speak out and voice out my needs more. It's true that if we do not ask, the answer is always no. People are not mind readers and we could beat ourselves up wondering why they cannot see what we want and need to happen, or we could go ahead and tell them.

With such tenacity and will I have held on to a lot of things in my life that I knew were bad for me, simply because I thought it's all going to change and it will get better if only I held on long enough. It didn't. Things didn't magically change for the better just because I felt I deserved to be rewarded in the end. I could've spared myself from a lot of tears and aches if only I knew better than to hold on. The Art of Asking will inspire readers to rethink their own ideas about asking, giving, art, and love. Everyone can benefit from this book, really.”

Favourite Quote: “A farmer is sitting on his porch in a chair, hanging out.

A friend walks up to the porch to say hello, and hears an awful yelping, squealing sound coming from inside the house.

"What's that terrifyin' sound?" asks the friend.

"It's my dog," said the farmer. "He's sittin' on a nail."

"Why doesn't he just sit up and get off it?" asks the friend.

The farmer deliberates on this and replies: "Doesn't hurt enough yet."

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do by Amy Morin

If our muscles could be trained to become stronger, so can our mental strength. Psychotherapist and clinical social worker Amy Morin shares in this book how to train and prime your mindset to be more resilient to life’s curveballs.

National Serviceman Sherwin Tng says: “As someone who’s serving my National Service (a requirement for male Singaporean citizens). I feel that the contents of the book relate a lot to me as a Full-Time National Serviceman. During my time here, I have to go through adversities that challenge my mental strength. I thought that reading this book would help me to strengthen my mind and build my confidence — and it did.

There’s a lot that I’ve learnt from reading this book as it made me view things from different perspectives. Each of the key pointers that Amy Morin has listed in her book is short yet impactful, such as ‘Mentally strong people don’t shy away from change’ and ‘Mentally strong people don’t dwell on the past’. These may seem like repetitive or obvious advice but I believe they’ve consciously and subconsciously reminded me to be present with my thoughts and become more mentally resilient. Too often, I feel that we let our emotions or other people’s opinions cloud our judgement. I’d like to think that the insights in this book have made me overcome sensitive or face difficult situations in a more calm and mature manner."

Favourite Quote: Amy Morin quotes Lao Tzu in her book, saying: “Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner.”

Which of these self-help books will you read to prep for 2022?

(Cover photo from: ALMA via Unsplash)

Next, find out why book clubs are still relevant in 2021.

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