12 must-read self-help books for self-improvement

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self-help books books for self-improvement

Honestly, I know just what you are thinking… “Urgh! Another list of self-help and motivational books recommendation. Just exactly what you do not need right now!

But hear me out! For thousands of years, people have been writing down their thoughts and understanding about life, which have led them to greater happiness and harmony. From Creative inspiration to emotional intelligence to financial success, which is one of the most vital aspects of our lives as beings – you name it!! Someone shared the secret. You probably just missed out on it. 

Today, we may and of course, be the greatest benefactors: 

everyone of all this guidance right at the edge of our fingertips, assuming our fingertips are quite far.

And all the self-help and motivational books on this list are should be on your bookshelf. Not your usual cliche self-improvement books especially the #6.

But wait…

Are self-help and motivational books worth it?

Of course. One thing about books, in general, is they expose to life hidden treasure to improve yourself in different angle of life, including finances, marriage, education, career, businesses, and society standard. Self-help and motivational books are no exception in any means. This article aims to expose you to 12 self-help book that you must read, even as a Nigerian. 

Top 12 self-help and motivational books for Nigerians

#1 – The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

Yes! You read that right. Give zero f*cks. Do not forget the asterisk so as not to sound rude.

 Brace yourself for impact as Mark Manson wastes no time in sugar-coating what it takes to be happy, in an echo driven “always happy” and “always perfect” world. He cuts straights to the chase on how we can remain realistic about self-improvement, with good humour leaning towards the real. If I were to draw a picture of this book: A very large hand filled with sand reaching for your right cheek and you know that hand does? Oh yeah! Slaps you right in the f*cking face! This is my number 1 self-help book for Nigerians. 

#2 – Atomic Habits

“I want to stop masturbating”. This is my only new year resolution for 2020. But as the year would have it, COVID happened and I had a lot of time on my hand and I definitely can say I had other things in my hand too. However, what exactly I cannot say. James Clear technically abolish the resolution thingy and more that he calls upon biology, phycology and neuroscience to establish how habits can greatly shape our lives. Yes, Habits. Whether your end goal is to also quit masturbation or get better at exercising, this book is written with you in mind.

#3 – Meditations

Imagine a self-help book written by the emperor of 1/3 of the world. This is technically what the book, “Meditation” is about. This self-help book is like the Holy-grail of self-improvement. This is your new Bible. Meditate upon his words day and night.  

Insight: See the 12 Books every Nigerian Women Should Read 

#4 – Stillness is the key

Ryan Johnson, known as the world foremost thinkers and stoic philosopher writes on the ancient philosophy of staying still in this ever-rushing world we find ourselves in. Whether you are an investor, entrepreneur or an athlete, Ryan Johnson is telling you Stillness is the key. Read this self-help book and know peace.

#5 – The Road Less Travelled by

“Life is difficult.”  With the book starting with this line, it is no less true that our lives, our difficult, each of us with our absolute unique problems from battling with masturbation with you constantly feeling like shit. M. Scott Peck is a classic combing through religious and scientific views to help you attain a higher level of self-knowledge; recognizing true compatibility, distinguishing between dependency and love. M. Scott Peck, will teach you how to embrace reality – although this is never easy – This is a must-read motivational book!

#6 – How to Win Friends and Influence People

Written by Dale Carnegie, published in 1936, having sold over 30 million copies worldwide. In 2011, it peaked at no. 19 on the Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential books and also, — just to impress you– this is one of the best-selling books of all time. This should have been the #1 self-help book you should read, but I do not give a f*ck.

#7 – The 48 Laws of Power

Selling over 1.2 million in the united states, and most popular within prison cells. Robert Greene teaches you ruthless pragmatism combined with cunning and instructive experience of life. This is a definitive manual for anyone wanting to become ruthless and cute as a button. What a combo!

#8 – Rich Dad Poor Dad

Arguably one of the most read financial literacy book in the world, including Nigeria. This book teaches you the practical differences between assets and liability. It is one of my favourite self-help books and I can confidently recommend it to anyone who is just driving into the financial world.

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#9 – Think and Grow rich

Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich is like the hallmark and foundation of self-help books. Most famous self-help book authors and successful businessmen reference this book as one of their primary motivators. You care to join this set of successful people, and improve yourself, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill is your surest grab.

Insight: Read the secret of starting small and earning big 

#10 Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion 

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion helps you understand the psychology of people who say “YES” to things and how you can adopt these principles in your everyday life, including business. Ethically, of course. Written by Dr Robert B. Cialdini, an authority in the field of influence and persuasion. With influence, you will learn the theory and concept of Reciprocation, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Liking, Authority and Scarcity. If you are the type who care to influence people’s opinion and relationship with you, then, influence is your number one self-help book. Along with How to win friends and influence people, of course. 

#11 How to talk to anyone anytime and anywhere

Are you the shy type that is always timid to walk up to anyone you admire as if the person will slap you for merely saying a “Hi”? Well, I have a solution to your problem. “How to talk to anyone anytime and anywhere” by Larry King is your surest grab. I read this book when I was yet to enter the university and believe me, there is no living human being I can’t engage in a conversation. Yeah, I mean, initiating the conversation. 

#12 Choose Yourself by James Altucher

Choose Yourself by James Altucher is one of the best self-help books every Nigerian should read. This motivational book makes you understand that YOU and YOURSELF is the most valuable asset. Hence you must invest the most time, effort, and resources YOURSELF. It motivates you to develop your talents, skills and every aspect of yourself towards attaining success. This book is a good resource for people with an entrepreneurial mindset.


All the twelve books on the list are great self-help and motivational books me, myself, and I have read. And, I can confidently recommend them to you. Some of them are great when read alongside some other books for proper structuring your mindset towards attaining a perfect man we all crave underneath. 

Also read:

1.  5 Essential Tips to become a successful entrepreneur in Nigeria

2.  Habit to maintain to live a happy lifestyle in Nigeria

3.  How to convert your hobbies into money in Nigeria

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About the Author

I, Igbasan Olasunkanmi, a tech enthusiast and a sucker for hardcover books. I am a writer, with several unpublished articles and poems. I’m an honest omnivert, who is open-minded without caution. Lastly, I know a little about a lot and a lot about a little.

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Op-Ed are articles published by guest authors. We no longer accept guest posts. However, we are still open to adding long-term content contributors to our team of insightful writers. To write for us, please check out inisght.ng/guest-post.

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