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Updated on Feb 28, 2019. Posted on Dec 27, 2018

Just 15 Great Books That'll Genuinely Change Your Life For The Better

The self-help-ish books we've read and recommended time and time again.

We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

Maybe it's because we're a bunch of nerdy lifestyle writers, but everyone on our team is a big fan of books that teach you how to live your best life. Here are some of our all-time favorites:

1. Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts, which will help you learn how stop ruminating on everything so damn much (along with other good skills).

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This book is really practical and straightforward and really readable, even though it deals with topics that can bring up a lot of shame and ~feelings~. Our team has a copy that we've been passing around to each other, and I have many photos of my favorite passages from it saved to my phone.

Get it from Amazon for $12.99+, Barnes & Noble for $16.81, or your favorite local bookstore through IndieBound.

2. How to Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don't, a book that will make you feel, well, a hell of a lot less alone.

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No matter what brand of loneliness you're dealing with — because everyone deals with *some* — How to Be Alone will make you feel a little less alone, and a lot less broken. Though it's not exactly a ~self-help~ book, it's invaluable for all the ways that it tells you it's okay: it's okay to be lonely, it's okay to yearn for better relationships, it's okay to hate the holidays, it's okay to cut ties with people who are unsafe for you, it's okay to feel anxious, it's okay not to be okay. Hopeful without being cloying, deeply personal while still relatable, and hilarious despite its at-times dark subject matter, Moore's memoir is a little like reading your own therapy notes and getting a big hug at the same time. Every other page you'll be like, "Damn, I thought I was the only one who felt this way" — which is one of the best ways to slowly start to accept the bits of yourself that bring you shame or make you feel other.

Get it from Amazon for $12.72, Barnes & Noble for $14.40, or your favorite local bookstore through IndieBound.

3. The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters, which will inspire you to have better meetings, parties, conferences, and family gatherings.

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If you are a thoughtful person who cares about things — which I feel confident you are, because you are reading this post — you will love this book. The basic idea is that our gatherings are uninspiring as hell, but instead of doing the work to make them better, we stick with our routines and habits, often because we're too shy to change things up, or because we don't think it matters. But they DO matter and we CAN make them better!

This book is the perfect mix of practical tips (don't start or end a gathering with logistical announcements); smart ways to think about gathering (hosts must get comfortable with the idea of having power/being in charge, and should rule their kingdom with generous authority); and cool anecdotes about great (and terrible!) gatherings. It's also just a really breezy read (like a long great magazine article). I highlighted so many things while reading it, and have been raving about it to everyone I know this year. And, true story: I recently attended a friend's absolutely marvelous Christmas party and she told me the next day that everything about it was inspired by TAoG.

Get it from Amazon for $16.99+, Barnes & Noble for $16.99+, or your favorite local bookseller through IndieBound.

4. Feeling Good Together: The Secret to Making Troubled Relationships Work, which just might help you stop fighting with/snapping at the people you care about most.

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This is one of those books I wish I'd read so much earlier in my adult life. And FYI, it's helpful for all kinds of relationships, including family relationships and work relationships.

Get it from Amazon for $12.75, Barnes & Noble for $13.50, or your favorite local bookstore through IndieBound.

5. The Lost Art of Reading Nature's Signs: Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way, Predict the Weather, Locate Water, Track Animals—and Other Forgotten Skills, a book for the budding naturalists and secret (or not-so-secret) preppers among us.

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Written by New York Times bestselling author Tristan Gooley — who also wrote How to Read Water — this book will arm you with all kinds of fascinating clues and tidbits for your next hike, stroll, camping trip, or trip to a local park.

Get it from Amazon for $8.61+, Barnes & Noble for $13.56, or your favorite local bookstore through Indiebound.

6. The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence, which will teach you to trust your gut.

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I think about this book a lot — every time I'm in a situation that makes me vaguely uncomfortable, as a matter of fact. The core premise is that humans know when something is dangerous, even when we don't know why or how we know, and we should spend less time debating whether or not it's OK for us to, say, switch subway cars because a dude's ranting is making us feel on edge, and just go ahead and GTFO that subway car ASAP. I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the book gets a liiiitle victim blamey in parts (De Becker grew up in an abusive household and clearly still has some Feelings about his mother's decisions). That said, the book's real-world examples are fascinating, and it has truly changed the way I move through the world.

Get it from Amazon for $12.99, Barnes & Noble for $7.99, or your favorite local bookstore through IndieBound.

7. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, which will leave you feeling both softer and stronger.

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Brené Brown's research and wise words about vulnerability, shame, and human connection are wildly popular (and Oprah-blessed!!!) for a reason. As someone who isn't a *huge* fan of being vulnerable, I can honestly say this book changed me/my life for the better. (You can get a sense of the book in her TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability.)

Get it from Amazon for $9.97, Barnes & Noble for $13.60, or a local bookstore through IndieBound here.

8. Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, which will ensure that you don't live in squalor.

Rachel Miller / BuzzFeed

I recommend this book to every man, woman, and adult baby I know! I personally own the paperback and the Kindle edition, and I've lost count of how many copies I've gifted at this point. (At least nine?) It's just an exhaustive encyclopedia that will help you with everything from dishes to laundry to sheets to foodborne pathogens, and it serves as the Home Ec class you wish you'd taken. You don't have to read it cover to cover (though I definitely recommend reading the intro plus the chapters that are most relevant to your day to day); it's just a great reference book that you'll turn to again and again throughout your life. (Read more about it here: This Modern Home Ec Book Will Stop People From Asking, "You Live Like This???")

Get it from Amazon $15.21, Barnes & Noble for $19.80, or a local bookstore through IndieBound here.

9. The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative, which will help you connect with the natural world a little more.

Rachel Miller

In The Nature Fix, journalist Florence Williams shares the science behind how nature affects our brains and bodies, which I found both fascinating and useful. She includes a lot of cool tidbits (for example: the quietest place in the US is a spot in the Hoh Rainforest at Olympic National Park) and things that'll inspire you and fill you with awe (FRACTALS, y'all). Since reading it, I've been putting the "prescriptions" for how much nature we need into practice, and it's been so helpful. Just making a point to observe nature more on my walk to and from the subway has made me feel considerably calmer and happier, and the chapter on nature sounds inspired me to start listening to nature audio on YouTube. And I really liked how personal and voicey the book is — Williams has some Mary Roach vibes, but with a thoughtful service journalism bent.

If you've been in a kind of meh place (physically or mentally) and/or need a little push to see more magic and wonder in the world around you, it's really worth a read.

Get it from Amazon for $15.08, Barnes & Noble for $15.08, or your favorite local bookseller through IndieBound.

10. Ask a Manager: How to Navigate Clueless Colleagues, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and the Rest of Your Life at Work, which will teach you how to get and keep a job and how to be a good coworker/boss/human being at work.

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I've been a fan of Alison Green's Ask a Manager work advice column for years — see some of my favorite letters of all time here — and her book does not disappoint. After I read it, I passed it around to everyone on my team at BF to read, too. It's got her signature practical advice, grounded in her deep knowledge of how businesses and professional relationships work (or how they should work), plus common sense, empathy, and humor. It's a total must-read, regardless of where you are in your career.

Get it from Amazon for $11, Barnes & Noble for $14.40, or a local bookstore through IndieBound.

11. The Mind of the Leader: How to Lead Yourself, Your People, and Your Organization for Extraordinary Results, which will help you manage with compassion, selflessness, and mindfulness.

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This book, published by Harvard Business Review, is one of my favorite non-fiction reads from this year. It's genuinely inspiring and I recommend it to all of my fellow managers. (You can get a sense of it from this Harvard Business Review podcast episode/transcript: "Leading with Less Ego.")

Get it from Amazon for $15.67+, Barnes & Noble for $16.99+, or your local bookstore through Indiebound.

12. Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet., which offers practical tips for taking care of this big beautiful planet we call home.

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Who knew a book about the fact that climate change is coming for us all could be so FUNNY?! I liked this book so much that I asked the author, Ashlee Piper, to come write for BuzzFeed. You can read all her posts/get a taste of the book here.

Get the book from Amazon for $12.94, Barnes & Noble for $15.29, or your favorite local bookseller through IndieBound.

13. There Is No Good Card for This: What To Say and Do When Life Is Scary, Awful, and Unfair to People You Love, a book that will help you be a better friend when shit gets real (as it most definitely will).

Rachel Miller

I'm such a fan of this book, which, according to the authors, is "not chicken soup for the soul, but whiskey for the wounded." It offers thoughtful, practical, useful advice for being a good friend to people going through something awful — advice that's informed by empathy experts/research, and also the fact that both authors have gone through some really heavy shit. It's just a lovely little book about how to be decent, and how to show up and do your best, and I learned a lot from it. (You can get a preview of the tone/vibe here: 6 Not-Shitty Things To Say To A Friend Going Through A Shitty Time.)

Get it from Amazon for $14.28, Barnes & Noble for $23.39, or your favorite local bookstore through IndieBound here.

14. The Artist's Way, which will help you re-connect with your creative self.

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First published in 1992, Julia Cameron's book on creativity still holds up. It's where I first learned to do morning pages, which I also highly recommend! And it's not just for ~creative types~...Cameron actually says writers tend to struggle the most with morning pages, because they want them to be perfect.

Get it from Amazon for $11.55, Barnes & Noble for $13.86, or your favorite local bookstore through IndieBound.

15. Heart Talk: Poetic Wisdom for a Better Life, which will soothe your weary soul when you need it most.

Rachel Miller

This is an easy read but it's just so affirming. It's the kind of book you can pick up, flip open to any page, and immediately feel your shoulders start to come down from your ears. You'll highlight, you'll dog-ear, you'll post pics of relevant passages to your Instagram.

Get it from Amazon for $12.30, Barnes & Noble for $14.76, or your favorite local bookstore through IndieBound.

As we head into the new year, we're talking about all the ways to make your life and the world around you a little bit better. Read more Do Better 2019 content here.