Editors handpick every product that we feature. We may earn commission from the links on this page.

18 Empowering Self-Help Books Every Woman Should Read

Consider them a form of self-care.

Font, Text, Graphic design, Poster, Advertising, Brochure, Brand, Flyer, Display advertising, Illustration,
Design by Morgan McMullen

"Self-help books" isn't the most thrilling section of Barnes & Noble (yes, we still go there, you should too!) until you realize it's stocked with a handful of incredible, non-cheesy books that will simply make you feel good—like you're receiving advice from a trusted girlfriend or an inspiring mentor. No matter what you're going through in life—a breakup, a career change, an identity crisis, or maybe you're just feeling blue—we can all use a little pick-me-up every now and then. Make these empowering books, below, required reading in 2020.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
1 To Live with Passion
'Girl, Wash Your Face' Amazon
$9.99 (60% off)

Rachel Hollis' Girl Wash Your Face was published in 2018 and remained on Amazon's top 10 bestselling books of 2019. The founder of TheChicSite.com breaks down 20 lies and misconceptions that hold us back, empowering us all to live a passionate life.

2 To Learn How to Be Vulnerable

What happens when you're a therapist who needs therapy? Lori Gottlieb shares her deeply personal experience when she makes the switch from clinician to patient, and what we can all learn when we decide to break down the walls we've built around ourselves—consciously or not.

3 To Find Fulfillment
'Why Not Me?' Amazon
$13.58 (20% off)

Multiple friends of mine are obsessed with Mindy Kaling's Why Not Me?, which documents the actress' weird and hilarious journey on how to find excitement in all aspects of her life.

4 To Figure Out the Whole Adulting Thing
'How to Skimm Your Life' Amazon
$16.99 (37% off)

From the founders of The Skimm, How to Skimm Your Life is essentially a shortcut to adulting, from understanding health insurance to going green. Trust. 

5 To Balance Your Dream Career and Relationships
'The Big Life' Amazon
$18.38 (26% off)

Ann Shoket, the former editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine, is here to help millennial women achieve their dreams both in their personal and professional life without having to apologize for their ambition. Read: If he doesn't pay attention while you're telling him about that thing you're really proud of, dump him. 

6 To Organize Your Professional Life
'Joy at Work' Amazon
$21.30 (24% off)

Marie Kondo is back, and this time she's helping you clean up your messy desk. Her upcoming book, Joy at Work (out April 7), will help you find a healthy work-life balance and prevent your co-worker from going off on you about those dirty cups you can't seem to throw away. Thank her later.  

7 To Help You Feel Less Alone
'Little Weirds' Amazon
$20.33 (25% off)

While it's not exactly a self-help book, Jenny Slate's collection of essays will certainly make you feel less alone while she navigates universal themes like love, anxiety, heartbreak, and the little things in life that matter the most.

8 To Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
'Year of Yes' Amazon
$9.69 (43% off)

I still remember exactly how I felt when I read the last page of Shonda Rhimes' Year of Yes: fearless. As she details her own inspiring journey of learning how to say yes (not in the overwork yourself way, more in the get out of your comfort zone way), the Grey's Anatomy and Scandal creator encourages you to let your own guard down and give yourself the opportunity to experience the life moments—big and small—you never imagined you would. 

9 To Stop Doubting Yourself
'You Are a Badass' Amazon
$8.99 (47% off)

Success coach Jen Sincero's You Are a Badass is as hilarious as it is helpful: a refreshing, 27-chapter, no-bullshit guide to creating a life you truly love. It's also a perfect gift for that close friend who struggles to see her own self-worth sometimes. 

10 To Kill It In Your Career
'Leave Your Mark' Amazon
$8.54 (67% off)

Aliza Licht's Leave Your Mark was that book nobody in the fashion and media industries could stop talking about in 2015. It's still relevant as ever, filled with practical and non-generic advice from Licht, including tips on how to work your way up in your career and get that raise you deserve. She incorporates her own experiences as the former @DKNYPRGirl, a Twitter account handled by Licht when she was Donna Karan International’s SVP of global communications, keeping her identity a secret for six years. (No, this is not an episode of Gossip Girl.) 

11 To Remind Yourself of the Importance of Female Empowerment
'The Moment of Lift' Amazon
$9.99 (63% off)

How does it feel to be Forbes' third most powerful women in the world? More importantly, how do you use that power? Melinda Gates shares her life's work in The Moment of Lift, which teaches us why it's so important to invest in other women and lift each other up. A nice reminder as we continue to pave the way for even more women to run for office (and win) in 2020

12 To Declutter Your Life (Literally)
'The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up' Amazon
$11.28 (34% off)

Read Marie Kondo's best-selling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up before queuing up her new Netflix seriesTidying up with Marie Kondo, released last year. Anybody who considers their home a sacred space will learn how freeing and uplifting decluttering can be from Kondo's genius tips using her KonMari method

13 To Feed Your Creativity
'Big Magic' Amazon

Big Magic is a must-read for anybody struggling to fuel the artist inside them while dabbling with society's expectations to work in the Big, Bad Corporate World. In the book, Elizabeth Gilbert—the best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love—shows it's always possible to live a creative life when you decide to put some faith in yourself...and the universe. 

14 To Answer Life’s Tough Questions
'The Best Damn Answers to Life's Hardest Questions' Amazon
$7.98 (38% off)

Tess Koman's The Best Damn Answers to Life's Hardest Questions is the flowchart of every Type-A's dream—and will make adults feel instantly better about themselves. How could it not when the book answers your most pressing inquiries like, "Will I survive this hangover?" and "Is a bra really necessary?" A crucial aspect of self-care: laughter.

15 To Understand the Silver Lining
'The Up Side of Down' Amazon

Repeat after me three times: We would not learn without our mistakes. We would not learn without our mistakes. We would not learn without our mistakes. In The Up Side of Down, Megan McArdle, a popular business blogger, illustrates the success in failures and the importance of holding on to your confidence even in the most challenging times. 

16 To Analyze Your Awkwardness
'Cringeworthy' Amazon
$16.39 (39% off)

Accidentally liking your ex's new girlfriend's picture on Instagram? Been there. Watching a stranger trip in front of a bunch of people? Done that. In Melissa Dahl's Cringeworthy, she explores a "lifetime of cringing" and what the most awkward moments can teach us about ourselves. 

17 To Discuss Love and, Well, Life
'Tiny Beautiful Things' Amazon
$12.59 (26% off)

You probably know Cheryl Strayed as the best-selling author of Wild, but before Reese Witherspoon made her a household name, she was a secret columnist who used the pen name "Sugar" at The Rumpus, an online literary magazine that launched in 2009. After Strayed revealed her identity, she released Tiny Beautiful Things, a compilation of the advice given and received on love and loss and everything in between. In the words of one Marie Claire editor: "This book changed my life." 

18 To Feel Free
'The Four Agreements' Amazon

My very wise college professor handed me a copy of The Four Agreements a few years ago, and I've considered it a personal bible (or, in my case, torah) ever since. In the best-selling book, Don Miguel Ruiz uses ancient Toltec wisdom to teach us how to transform our lives using the four agreements: Be impeccable with your word. Don't take anything personally. Don't make assumptions. Always do your best. 


For more celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.


This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From #ReadWithMC