Lacey Bourassa

While not as riveting as the science fiction or mystery sections of the bookstore, self-help books are uniquely empowering and inspiring. Some people even think of them as a form of self-care.

Self-help books for women specifically acknowledge and address the challenges that women face in their work and personal lives. These self-help books are filled with self-improvement advice and strategies to change your mindset.

Keep in mind that reading self-help books is just the beginning. You’ll have to implement the teachings within the pages to notice an improvement in your life.

Not all self-help books are written with women at the forefront, but these self-help books were specifically chosen because they account for experiences that a lot of women face.

We chose these self-help books based on their topics, ratings, and customer reviews. We also accounted for the authors and their experience and credibility.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = over $10

Best for sparking creativity

Big Magic
  • Price: $

Creativity is necessary when working on projects, dreaming of your goals, and fulfilling your greatest potential. In everyday life, creativity comes in handy to make life more interesting and enjoyable. It can even contribute to your professional success.

Still, creativity may not come easy, and it certainly may not feel endless.

In “Big Magic,” author Elizabeth Gilbert shares her recipe for creativity, curiosity, and empowerment.

Thousands of positive reviewers describe the book as “encouraging,” “powerful,” and “liberating.” Reviews say the book will especially resonate with women with creative careers, such as writers and artists, whose very living depends on being creative. Some reviewers even note that this book makes them want to write.

Gilbert shares insights into her own inspiration for her work as an award-nominated journalist and bestselling author. “Big Magic” is a self-help book for people of all ages.


  • light and easy read
  • inspires creativity to abolish creative blocks
  • organized into six parts


  • wider audiences may not relate to examples about writing
  • lacks actionable advice

Best for motivation to try something new

Year of Yes
  • Price: $

In this New York Times bestseller, author Shonda Rhimes, the creator of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” shares how saying yes for an entire year changed her life.

If that sounds familiar, this self-help book is akin to a real-life version of the movie “Yes Man.”

Rhimes shares stories about her introverted personality, history of panic attacks, and pattern of saying no in this raw memoir. She challenged herself to say yes to everything that scared her for 1 year.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Rhimes’ memoir “can help motivate even the most determined homebody to get out and try something new.” If you want to challenge yourself, open yourself up to opportunities, and get out of your comfort zone, this might be the push you need.


  • Rhimes’ stories are relatable
  • conversational tone


  • writing style can be redundant, according to some reviews
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Best workbook

Self-Love Workbook for Women
  • Price: $

This workbook was written by therapist Megan Logan, MSW, LCSW, specifically for women who would like to practice self-love.

The book is packed with interactive exercises that build women’s confidence and create lasting self-care habits. It acts as a guide to improving one’s emotional health and developing a positive mindset.

While some reviewers feel that the execution of this book falls flat, most reviewers find the quizzes and exercises to be practical.

Some prompts include writing a letter to your younger self, cleaning up your social media, and recalling your proudest moments. While exercises are a big part of the book, there’s ample reading material that inspires self-reflection.


  • written by a therapist
  • offers tools and exercises
  • full of encouraging affirmations


  • some reviewers compare this to an activity book

Best for female empowerment

  • Price: $$

“Untamed” is Glennon Doyle’s third memoir. While the book is often referred to as a coming-out story, Doyle’s coming out is just the catalyst for something even bigger.

The book spans themes like parenting, faith, forgiveness, jealousy, sex, divorce, and much more. It also offers readers insights into how to navigate life’s difficulties.

Readers praise “Untamed” for its honest, intimate, and liberating telling of a family going through divorce and the journey of finding yourself that follows such a hardship. Doyle doesn’t shy away from her flaws as she shares her most vulnerable truths with millions of readers.

However, some readers criticize the book for being shallow. Since Doyle has two previous memoirs, some reviewers sum up the book as a follow-up or continuation to her story without adding substantial value to her audience.

Doyle compares her struggles to being caged. For people who feel similarly, the book aims to help you be unapologetically yourself.


  • bold storytelling
  • memoir is soulful and deep
  • confronts difficult topics like divorce


  • some readers consider the book shallow

Best for overcoming heartbreak

Eat, Pray, #FML
  • Price: $$

If you enjoyed “Eat, Pray, Love,” you might like “Eat, Pray, #FML.” Author Gabrielle Stone bares all in her debut book, which spans from her divorce to her solo travels in Europe.

The books retells her journey of finding out her husband had been having an affair for 6 months. Two weeks later, Stone fell for a new man and planned to travel to Italy with him. When he backed out of the joint trip, Stone was faced with the decision to go alone or stay home. She chose to have the time of her life abroad after two back-to-back failed relationships.

Stone’s real-life experiences make for great storytelling, but there’s more substance to the book than just a good story. Readers come along while Stone confronts uncomfortable realities about love, divorce, heartbreak, and self-love.


  • consumer reviews say it’s difficult to put down
  • powerful storytelling
  • lessons on love and heartbreak


  • contains some mature language and content
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Best for healing

After the Rain
  • Price: $$

If you enjoy meditating, journaling, and other forms of self-care, you might enjoy “After the Rain.” Self-care facilitator Alexandra Elle penned this self-help book for women and people who want to overcome obstacles and build their confidence.

This book takes the form of both a memoir and a guide, with Elle sharing her personal journey from childhood to adulthood while offering 15 lessons on embracing life.

Readers can learn from Elle’s difficult life while practicing empowering affirmations and meditations to spark their own healing.

While some self-help books have a blunt, no-BS attitude, Elle’s delivery is gentle. This is a book for those who want to cleanse, heal, and grow. The book emphasizes the importance of self-soothing and serves as a constant reminder that you are worthy of healing, opportunity, and self-love.


  • broken into 15 lessons
  • gentle delivery of teachings
  • contains positive affirmations and meditations


  • slow pace

Best for gaining courage

Daring Greatly
  • Price: $$

“Daring Greatly” is based on 12 years of research. In its pages, Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW, challenges the belief that vulnerability is weakness. Instead, Brown argues that vulnerability itself is a measure of courage.

Brown draws upon research and her own personal experiences to explore the paradox of how one becomes strong by embracing vulnerability and acknowledging fear.

If you’ve ever felt isolated from others due to a fear of failure or a sense of not being enough, “Daring Greatly” might be the validation you’ve been waiting for. The book helps draw away fear and imposter syndrome, replacing them with confidence, courage, and passion.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Brown’s wisdom “offers good insights into how people don personal armor to shield themselves from vulnerability.”

This book is for people ready to learn and implement the teachings. However, the writing style can be dull and not as entertaining as other self-help books.


  • based on extensive research
  • offers tools needed to overcome fear


  • writing style lacks entertainment

Best for transformation from a therapist’s perspective

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
  • Price: $$

If you’ve wanted to know what goes on inside the mind of a therapist, “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” may pique your interest. In it, a trained therapist copes with a crisis and seeks a therapist of her own.

Written by licensed therapist Lori Gottlieb, this book teeters the tightrope between the perspectives of clinician and client. Gottlieb finds herself grappling with the same questions her clients come to her to answer, reminding readers that therapists may be searching for answers too.

Though the book confronts serious topics, Gottlieb entertains with voyeuristic accounts of her own therapy sessions. As the author helps clients, she has a transformation of her own.

The book invites self-reflection, insight, and self-awareness through the lens of Gottlieb, her clients, and her therapist, leaving readers inspired to spark their own transformations and see their therapists as humans themselves.


  • unique storytelling
  • advocates for mental health
  • genuine and insightful writing from both perspectives as a clinician and client
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  • not a quick read

Best for manifesting your own reality

You Are a Badass
  • Price: $

Authored by success coach Jen Sincero, “You Are a Badass” is one of the most successful self-help books for women, with more than 3 million copies sold. The book is filled with 27 bite-sized chapters of advice and exercises to help you manifest a life you love.

Inspired by her own transformation — from a 40-year-old living in a converted garage with an empty bank account to a successful professional — Sincero believes that if she can do it, so can you. To make your dreams a reality, however, you will have to overcome self-doubt and negative thought patterns.

As Publishers Weekly describes Sincero, she “brings a fun, feminine verve to now well-tread self-help tropes.” Sincero knows her way around helping people transform their lives.


  • entertaining writing style
  • short chapters
  • filled with humor


  • contains some mature language

Best for inspiring passion

Girl, Wash Your Face
  • Price: $

If you’ve ever told yourself “I should be further along by now” or “I will never get past this,” Hollis’ straight talk is the dose of reality you need.

She has a no-BS approach to motivating her readers and breaking down misconceptions that can hold you back from joy and productivity. According to Hollis, these are lies we tell ourselves, and these lies are self-sabotaging.

While this self-help book for women has sold more than 3 million copies, some readers have a hard time connecting with Hollis. Some reviewers are not motivated by the author’s seemingly perfect and privileged life.


  • conversational writing style
  • offers practical strategies
  • entertaining and encouraging


  • may not resonate with wider audiences

Reading self-help books can help you confront your own struggles, whether they’re related to relationships, mental health, or self-esteem. Confronting uncomfortable truths can mark the beginning of your own healing and self-improvement journey.

Keep in mind that reading self-help books is just the beginning. You’ll have to implement the teachings within the pages to notice an improvement in your life.


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