20 Classic Self-Help Books to Get You Through the New Year

Need inspiration for your New Year's resolutions and plans for reinvention? Consult these self-help classics.

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'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu's ancient Chinese military manual (it's more than 2,000 years old) was originally written for war strategists. Now it's touted by businessmen and women for its comprehensive essays on economics, politics and psychology. (amazon.com)

'Never Eat Alone' by Keith Ferrazzi

In this inspirational guide to success in business and personal relationships, Ferazzi, the son of a small-town steelworker and a cleaning lady, details how he used his ability to connect with others to land a scholarship at Yale, a Harvard MBA, several top executive posts and a network of relationships that include Hollywood's A-list and Washington's political elite. (amazon.com)

'French Women Don't Get Fat' by Mireille Guiliano

Luxury inudstry expert Guiliano (she was CEO of French champagne brand Veuve Clicquot and worked as a Louis Vuitton exec) caused a stir—and gave wine and pastry lovers hope—with this guide to eating and living well. (amazon.com)

'How to Win Friends and Influence People' by Dale Carnegie

First published in 1937, Carnegie's advice—on making people like you instantly, persueding others to agree with you and navigating just about any social situation—is perhaps the best-known motivational tome around. Read it again to refresh your people skills. (amazon.com)

'All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten' by Robert Fulghum

"Share everything. Play fair. Don't hit people. Wash your hands before you eat," Fulghum's iconic essay on the simple, life-sustaining things he learned in kindergarten is a sweetly sentimental piece of wisdom. (amazon.com)

'I'm OK—You're OK' by Thomas Harris

Harris's 1967 classic popularized transactional analyses (exploring personalities and understanding old decisions) as a method for solving life's problems. The book went on to sell an estimated 15 million copies. (amazon.com)

'He's Just Not That Into You' by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tucillo

Based on an episode of Sex and the City, Behrendt and Tucillo's liberating relationship lifesaver claims that men are not complicated and there are no mixed messages. Sometimes, he's just not that into you. (amazon.com)

'The Last Lexture' by Randy Pausch

A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." For Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, his last lecture took on even more meaning: he was dying of pancreatic cancer and had only months to live. In this funny, moving book based on the lecture he gave, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," Pausch writes not about dying, but living. (amazon.com)

'Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus' by John Gray

At odds with your spouse? Maybe it's because men and women really do come from different planets, as Gray posits in this classic guide to understanding the opposite sex. (amazon.com)

'Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office' by Lois P. Frankel

"Why do women stay in the place of girlhood long after it's productive for them?" asks Frankel in this book about how what women learn in girlhood can sabotage their path to success as adults. Here, her prescriptions for getting the corner office. (amazon.com)

'The Power of Positive Thinking' by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Sometimes, you've gotta have a little faith—at least that's the idea behind Peale's incredibly successful personal improvement manual, which encourages readers to, "Believe in yourself!" (amazon.com)

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

Covey's prescription for improving your life follows these mantras for success: Be proactive; begin with the end in mind; put first things first; think win-win; seek first to understand, then to be understood; synergize; sharpen the saw. (amazon.com)

'How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk' by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

"Living with real children can be humbling," write the authors of this down-to-earth, highly praised book for communicating with your kids. (amazon.com)

'Tao of Pooh' by Benjamin Hoff

A.A. Miline's beloved cartoon bear highlights the principles of Taoist philosophy in Hoff's slim, irresistible read. (amazon.com)

'The Secret' by Rhonda Byrne

A megamansion, good health, the corner office—The Secret, which follows the laws of attraction, promises to help you get everything you want. (amazon.com)

'The Tipping Point' by Malcolm Gladwell

Want to change your life? Start with the way you think about the world and read Gladwell's incredibly popular treatise on trends, social behavior and more. (amazon.com)

'Tuesdays with Morrie' by Mitch Albom

This heartwarming tale, about one man's incredibly important relationship with his college professor from nearly 20 years ago, will make you want to reach out to a mentor from years past. (amazon.com)

'Who Moved My Cheese?' by Spencer Johnson

Scary, inconvenient, unavoidable—if change has you running scared, this charming parable about managing life's surprises is for you. (amazon.com)

'Women Food and God' by Geneen Roth

If your New Year's resolution involves dieting, read Women Food and God, a fascinating book that explains how the way you eat is deeply rooted in your core beliefs about being alive. (amazon.com)

'Your Money or Your Life' by Vicki Robin, Joe Dominguez and Monique Tilford

Get out of debt, save the planet while saving money and learn to live well for less with this useful guide to getting financially fit. (amazon.com)


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For a slideshow of books on living with less, click here.

First Published December 6, 2011

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