5 Most Famous Self Help Books of All Time

Written by on December 9, 2012 in Lifestyle - No comments | Print this page

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Self-help books are one of the most popular types of non-fiction literature. Designed to help readers overcome difficulties and improve various aspects of life, self-help books are available on dozens of subjects and vary according to issues addressed and the methods used to overcome them. The most common topics among bestselling self-help books include personal relationships, professional success, spirituality, happiness and personal growth.

Self-help books have become increasingly popular since their debut over 100 years ago. Self-help literature is found in abundance in bookstores and libraries, and is continually found on bestseller lists the world over. When it comes to the most popular self-help books of all time, the following five made the cut:

1. You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

Louise Hay’s bestselling You Can Heal Your Life has sold over 30 million copies since it was first published in 1984, making it one of the most popular books ever published of any genre. Hay’s philosophy on self-improvement and the quest for happiness and fulfillment lies in letting go of negative emotions like hate, jealousy and anger. Hay’s theories are supported by own struggle with cancer, of which she claimed to cure herself through the power of positivity and forgiveness. You Can Heal Your Life may have been published almost 30 years ago, but continues to top bestseller lists around the world.


2. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Since its publication in 2006, The Secret has sold over 19 million copies and become a household name. Byrne’s bestseller has also served as inspiration for several spin-off philosophies, films, websites and more. Focusing on the laws of attraction, The Secret encourages positive thinking in achieving personal goals that range from professional success to artistic talent and improved relationships.

3. How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Published in 1937, Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People has sold over 16 million copies worldwide and was one of the first bestselling self-help books ever published. In this book, Carnegie notes the power of influence and charisma in strengthening both personal and professional relationships. Through his methods, Carnegie claims that readers can improve relationships while maintaining self-satisfaction and happiness.

4. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Selling over 15 million copies since its publication in 1989, Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People continues to top bestseller lists to this day. This book highlights the advantages of attributes like honesty, integrity and compassion, and how they pertain to effective relationships and professional success. Further, the audio version of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which has sold over two million copies, is the bestselling nonfiction audio book to date.

5. The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

Like other titles of the self-help genre, Peale’s bestseller focuses on the art and effectiveness of positive thinking in the improvement of nearly all aspects of life. Published in 1952, The Power of Positive Thinking is an undisputed classic of the self-help genre. Also extolling the merits of self-esteem, The Power of Positive Thinking encourages readers to seek success through the elimination of negativity.

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This is a guest post.  Linda McDaniels is a family counselor and guest author at Top Counseling Schools, a site with guides to top-rated online counseling degree programs.

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