I love self-help, but 2023 was not my year to use that energy at all. In my case, 2023 was solely about recovering from some of life’s tougher blows, and to be clear, that was from life events that blindsided me in 2019 and 2020, my friends. That is how far behind I am in life right now. So if you’re like me and are looking for the best self-help books of 2024 — both anticipated titles of 2024 and new self-help from the end of 2023 that you can pick up now — then look no further. I wrote this list for you (and me too, of course!). There are some really good choices here, and I continue to be happy to see more and more of a diversity of perspectives available. Keep that coming!
Toni Morrison famously said if there is a book you want to read that hasn’t been written yet, then you must be the one to write it. I know there are many humans out there who need to write something for the rest of us. Consider this your personal invitation (unless you’d prefer to rest first, then that is perfectly fine, too). In my case, I can’t wait to see what else is published in 2024 and beyond!
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New Self-Help Books to Read in 2024
Picturing Joy: Stories of Connection by George Lange
In my mind, this is the most obvious place to start. Couldn’t so many of us use more joy in our lives? I hope you will forgive me that this is not a traditional self-help book on its surface but, instead, a way to meditate a little on what you might be seeking in 2024 and beyond.
Your Journey to Financial Freedom: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Wealth and Happiness by Jamila Souffrant
Another obvious place to start is money. Jamila Souffrant is an entrepreneur, mother of three, Jamaican-born, and Brooklyn-raised podcaster who has a monthly audience of 200,000 listeners. And I can see why so many listen to her. Her passion for helping others achieve their own financial independence (and enjoy the journey there) is really infectious.
Made Whole: The Practical Guide to Reaching Your Financial Goals by Tiffany the Budgetnista Aliche
Tiffany Aliche’s first book is called Get Good With Money, and this title is a workbook to support readers working on that journey. She is a former preschool teacher who pivoted to financial education, and I like that this book presents smaller steps to make progress. I know it is not simple to follow them in practice, but it does help to have steps presented in such a clear and easy-to-follow way.
A Heart on Fire: 100 Meditations on Loving Your Neighbors Well by Danielle Coke Balfour
Danielle Coke Balfour is an illustrator, speaker, and entrepreneur. And she has brought into being such a lovely book about creativity, justice, hope, awareness and many other topics she calls the Ten Pillars of a Life of Good Work. We could probably all benefit from reading them. I think this book would also make an excellent gift for younger and older readers alike. This title is Coke Balfour’s first book, but I certainly hope it won’t be her last.
He/She/They: How We Talk About Gender and Why it Matters by Schuyler Bailar
Bailar has chosen to be so open about his life and has broken a lot of glass ceilings that many of us did not even realize existed. I didn’t expect that he would also write a book that many people need to read right now, but he has. It is a very accessible introduction and should help start or sustain conversations that would otherwise not happen. Of course, our language around gender is rapidly changing and evolving, but I think this book is an excellent place to start reading on it. This is especially true for those of us who have had the privilege to stand outside the firestorm. Bailar has also written a middle grade novel, Obie is Man Enough, about a trans swimmer, if you or someone you know needs this story addressed to younger readers.
A Year in Practice by Jacqueline Suskin
I was attracted to this because sometimes I find myself looking in self-help for titles that lend themselves to self-renewal and replenishment. Suskin offers readers seeking something similar, an easily followed guide that aims to help you cultivate a sustained practice of creativity. For me, I preferred to skip the introduction — I don’t call myself an artist, nor do I surround myself with people who do — but others might find that the best place to start. Or, if you’re like me, you can just leap in and begin with winter. Suskin calls it her time to “rest, dream, and get in touch with my sources of inspiration.” I love the idea of winter offering a kind of refuge and of all the life waiting underground for spring.
This absolutely appeals to my inner sense that so much of our potential goes untapped. If you suspect this also, you might really enjoy this book. It is not a self-help manual in the strict sense. However, it offers up real-world examples of successes and failures that others might find very intriguing and valuable as they try to bring forth their own hidden potential and the hidden potential of others around them.
This title is particularly helpful to readers who have recently received a diagnosis or who suspect that they or someone they love has ADHD. Tracy Otsuka is not only an ADHD coach but also someone who understands the condition from a first-person perspective, too. She breaks down stereotypes and helps build up a more positive connection with the ways that ADHD brains work.
Overcoming Imposter Anxiety: Move Beyond Fear of Failure and Self-Doubt to Embrace Your Worthy, Capable Self by Ijeoma Nwaogu, PhD
This is a good, straightforward guide to addressing issues of imposter anxiety. Most people I know feel this way at times, and so many of us could use a clear path to dealing with it. Dr. Nwaogu is a clear and capable teacher as she takes you through some of the most challenging times of her life and the ways in which confronting her imposter anxiety helped her maintain control over her emotional responses to the difficult situations in which she found herself. You may not have confronted the exact same circumstances, but you will most likely relate to the ways in which she felt and gain useful skills from her book.
I liked that Mandi Em offers new ideas of how to “liberate your unique, authentic untamed self,” and I definitely think some readers will love this guide to living your life in a more feral manner. Em says this means “owning your own authenticity” and “embracing the many dimensions of your wild.” So if that speaks to you, start with “saying f*ck no to your shoes” or whatever else appeals most to you and dive in!
The Old Gays Guide to the Good Life by Mick Peterson, Bill Lyons, Robert Reeves, and Jessay Martin
I am younger than the authors and not a gay man — or a man of any type — so I suppose you will have to accept this recommendation with those caveats in mind. However, I did find this lovable and funny (no real surprise there), and also really appreciated reading life advice from people who are all over 65. You can also check out their videos on TikTok!
New Self-Help Books Out in 2024
1000 Words: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Creative, Focused, and Productive All Year Round by Jami Attenberg (January 9, 2024)
I love a good writing productivity book. There is something so appealing about having books that encourage your creativity as part of your self-help and self-care focus, so I offer you this title. Attenberg has written seven well-received, highly celebrated novels, so she knows what she’s talking about here. And if you like this, you should know she also wrote a memoir entitled I Came All This Way to Meet You: Writing Myself Home.
Your First Million: Why You Don’t Have to Be Born into a Legacy of Wealth to Leave One Behind by Arlan Hamilton (January 2, 2024)
I normally might not pick a book with “million” in the title, but this is written by one of the few BIPOC women authors to have broken into Silicon Valley. Putting it on this list also gives me a reason to catch up on Hamilton’s first book, It’s About Damn Time: How to Turn Being Underestimated into Your Greatest Advantage, before tackling this one.
On Thriving: Harnessing Joy Through Life’s Great Labors by Brandi Sellerz-Jackson (January 9, 2024)
While these books are all exciting titles I’m looking forward to, I’m particularly struck by Sellerz-Jackson, who has said in interviews, “I support birthing people during their transition through pregnancy to parenthood. I am also a creator. I create pathways.” This is such a beautiful statement of who she is and wants to be (particularly for others) in the world. I was very much drawn to this idea and to the idea that we can all also embody this for ourselves and others.
I can’t resist sharing a couple more titles I’m looking forward to in 2024: Break the Cycle by Mariel Buruque, and I Survived Capitalism and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt by Madeline Pendleton.
If you still need more, try the best books about finding yourself and these 9 best gentle self-help books. As for me, I love Sellerz-Jackson’s idea of “creating pathways” so much. May you also go forth and create new pathways for yourself and others in 2024 and beyond.