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If you’re not much of an avid reader, you face a dilemma often.
“Which book shall I pick next?” you ask yourself as you scroll through pages of Amazon.
You find some which have a catchy title and an interesting synopsis, but the ratings seem dismal.
However, you don’t feel like picking the book with the highest rating.
When you ask people around for a suggestion on a good self-help book, you hear the same names again and again.
People repeatedly recommend the best selling names such as Think and Grow Rich, Power of Now, Rich Dad Poor Dad, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
But you have already heard about them, and you want something different and exciting.
What do you do?
Here is a list of 10 lesser known self help books which provide valuable lessons in all aspects of your life.
Make no mistake, many of these are best selling books.
If you’re an avid reader, you must have heard of some of them, if not all.
10 Best Lesser Known Self Help Books With Powerful Lessons
#1. Never Split The Difference, Chris Voss
When it comes to negotiation, you hear the names of the book ‘Yes’ and ‘Influence’ quite often.
Never Split the Difference is a book on the same topic with a unique flavor written by Chris Voss.
Guess what did he do for a living? He worked with the FBI and had to negotiate with the terrorists whenever there was a hostage situation.
That’s among the hardest deals to negotiate. He has convinced many criminals to surrender without a bullet fired.
In his book, he explains different tactics to persuade people using his real negotiations with terrorists as an example.
I have tried many of his techniques myself, and they work like a charm.
Most of his tips are unusual, unlike the ones you’ve heard before.
He bucks the usual trend of persuasion and provides unconventional ideas to sway things in your favor.
When I picked the book, I assumed negotiating with terrorists is way different than how things work in real life. It turns out, it isn’t.
Terrorists are also human beings who think a little different.
Chris Voss does a remarkable job of breaking down his ideas into methods anyone can apply in real life.
#2. The Art Of Thinking Clearly, Rolf Dobelli
Our brain is the most sophisticated object that exists today.
Scientists have only understood a fraction of how it does what it does.
You and I are vulnerable to many mental flaws that happen right under our nose.
Here are some examples:
- You see specific shapes in a cloud
- You assume that advice from a famous person is always right
- You stick to your belief by rejecting contradicting evidence
While you might argue saying, “No, I am better than that”, trust me, I thought the same.
It turned out that I was making all these errors due to my ignorance. No matter who you are, you are susceptible to these biases because every human being is.
You cannot completely overcome some of these biases either.
But awareness of your potential flaws helps you overcome a ton of mistakes.
The Art Of Thinking Clearly covers 99 such imperfections of your brain and how you can reduce the damage of those.
#3. Quiet, Susan Cain
An introvert has heard all his friends say, “You need to socialize more.”
Extroverts cannot understand how an introvert can spend a whole weekend by himself.
An introvert goes bonkers trying to figure out how an extrovert enjoys socializing with different groups for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In her book Quiet, Susan talks about the difference between how introverts and extroverts think, behave, and act.
The book speaks more from the perspective of an introvert because the author is one herself.
- Read now: Learn how to network as an introvert
That said, Quiet is a book you must read even if you’re an extrovert. You will understand how different people have their own way of viewing the world.
Once you read this book, you will allow extroverts and introverts to live the way they like without enforcing your style.
#4. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There suits best to those who have already made some progress in their self-improvement journey.
As the name indicates, the author provides tips on how to climb further up the ladder after reaching a certain level.
The book covers the classic mistakes people make once they achieve some form of success.
Once you have the taste of triumph, you start to believe in yourself far too much that it turns into arrogance and overconfidence.
For example, a successful manager believes he is the smartest person in the room with the best ideas.
People take the wrong message from such behavior and stop bringing up new ideas and thoughts to the table.
The book touches the topic of goal obsession, where the successful people chase their dreams, disregarding all other aspects essential to life.
The suggestions provided by the author are actionable and direct.
If you follow them, they will help you grow, both in your career and as an overall person.
#5. So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newport
You have heard about enough books which talk about following your dreams. The author, Cal Newport, takes a complete U-turn from this thought pattern in his book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You.
He presents why the passion hypothesis is flawed.
He goes on to provide examples of successful people to back his theory of, “Following your passion isn’t good advice.”
“Passion comes after you put in the hard work to become excellent at something valuable, not before. In other words, what you do for a living is much less important than how you do it.” – Cal Newport
He speaks about trying things to find the skill you can relate to before making it a passion.
He argues how the standard notion of passion first, mastery later does not work in real life.
By the way, he is not advising you to pick any random profession and turn into an expert.
He instead suggests picking something you can relate to and making it your passion.
#6. The Tall Lady With The Iceberg, Anne Miller
The tips Anne Miller provides in The Tall Lady With The Iceberg are primarily for writers to harness the power of metaphors to make a better impact.
However, anyone can apply them in their life to persuade people, draft a better resume/email or touch another person with their words.
You must have read emails full of sophisticated words and flowery language.
No doubt, you feel that the sender has a strong vocabulary, but you end up asking, “Wait, what was he trying to say?”
The same applies to public speaking.
What differentiates a boring speech from an interesting one is considering emotions and using the right correlations to make the point simpler and catchy.
The name of the book stems from the same principle.
She explains how, in one of her presentations, she made a suitable comparison with an iceberg. Years later, the audience do not recall her name, but they remember her as the tall lady with the iceberg.
#7. The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy
Darren Hardy presents The Compound Effect on a simple premise of consistency.
On the surface, you might shrug the topic off saying, “Yeah, yeah, I know what that is. I have heard how compound interest turns a small investment into a million over decades.”
But the book explains how to apply the power of marginal gains to every aspect of your life. It has little to do with the rate of interest on money.
You will learn how world-class athletes, successful business people, and famous actors used the method to get where they are today.
The book teaches you to achieve massive results using small actions every day.
“It’s not the big things that add up in the end. It’s the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.” – Darren Hardy
#8. Factfulness, Hans Rosling
Pick a random person and ask him, “Do you think the world is getting better or worse?”
Most people believe things are going from bad to worse.
For example, a popular misconception is that the population of the world is growing at an explosive pace and needs curtailing.
If you look at only the total population, that’s how it looks like.
If you look at numbers by century, we had 1.6 billion people in 1900. In 2000, the figure reached 6.1, which was a four-fold increase. By 2100, the number will hit 11.2, which is only a two-fold increase.
From a percentage perspective, the growth rate is steadily decreasing. A simple observation lies in the number of children your grandparents had vs. how many your parents have.
Hans Rosling argues how the world is turning into a better place. He presents 10 instincts which distort our perspective and make us see events in the wrong light.
Factfulness covers how to avoid such flawed thinking and evaluate any situation with a fresh pair of eyes.
#9. Why We Sleep, Matt Walker
In today’s world, the average hours of sleep has reduced by leap and bounds.
Very few adults manage to get 7 hours of peaceful sleep each night.
Matt Walker presents the magic that happens in your body when you sleep, in his book Why We Sleep.
Do you know why you grow intelligent with age? Has it happened to you that you could not solve a problem, but the next day, you have it all figured out?
Thanks to evolution, your brain accomplishes all this during your sleep.
Unfortunately, we do not allow our bodies to complete its job by sleeping fewer hours.
Matt Walker provides both mesmerizing and horrifying facts about sleep based on his 20 years of research on sleep.
I had a habit of sleeping under 6 hours earlier. After reading the book, I attempt to sleep 7 hours a day. Such is the impact the book has had on me.
If you read this book, I am sure you will make an attempt to sleep enough every day.
#10. The 5-Second Rule, Mel Robbins
You and I both procrastinate in various shapes and forms.
Before you put on your gym outfit, you feel the skipping workout today.
When the alarm sounds in the morning, you hit the snooze button.
When the episode on Netflix ends and you know you have work to finish, you still watch another one.
The 5-Second Rule is all about making a mental countdown 5-4-3-2-1 and doing what you plan to postpone.
When the alarm sounds, you count 5-4-3-2-1 and sit up. When the episode on Netflix ends, you count 5-4-3-2-1 and get to work.
As simple as the technique sounds, it is highly effective in beating procrastination.
The book explains various scenarios where you can apply the rule based on Mel Robbins’ experience.
There are 10 of the best lesser known self help books that will impact your life.
A few years ago, publishing a book required a lot of running around and convincing.
Today, you can publish a book sitting with only a laptop. This has led to a large amount of books available on Amazon today.
Picking a book is no easy task anymore because it is hard to sort the good material from the bad.
The problem compounds further in the self-help niche because many of the current books are regurgitation of the concepts written by other authors.
Picking the right book can save you valuable time and provide insightful lessons that help you grow.
So choose the right one.
If you are looking for a random book with high ratings, try this tool which suggests a book by category for you.
Author Bio: I am Maxim Dsouza. I turned down a corporate job in a quest to build something successful of my own. In this journey, I have been a part of multiple failed startups and few successful ones. I am yet to find what works, but my experience has taught me what doesn’t.
Today, I write on my blog Productive Club. I share tips on how to improve productivity, overcome procrastination, improve focus and overcome fear based on my lessons learned. My approach is never to run a sprint but take small baby steps like a marathon while enjoying the journey.