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TLO Recommends: Our Go-to Self-Help Books    

TLO Recommends: Our Go-to Self-Help Books

Learning about our Self and discovering how to put the best version of that self forward is a lifelong journey.  No matter how much we’ve evolved over time, there is always room to learn more or be reminded of some of our favorite guidance, whether it deals with mood regulation, self-talk, or taking better care of the one body we have.  While self-help books often get a bad rap for being advertised as magic cure-alls, we at TLO believe that there are some real gems in the genre that can help shift your outlook, strengthen your self-awareness, and inspire you to get back on track with whatever mental health mission you’re currently focused on. We also know that a lot of books outside the traditional self-help genre can operate as such if you view them through the right lens. If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve got you covered with a list of the life-changing faves that our team turns to time and time again when we need motivation, advice, or even a little tough love.

Open by Andre Agassi and Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis

I think I gotta go with a tie between my two favorite autobiographies. While these may not seem like traditional self-help books at first - they both immensely helped me learn more about myself and the work that it takes to get there. I read these books as a teen and was absolutely blown away not only by both stories but also by the vulnerability and honesty that both men show. For me, self is being brutally honest with yourself and examining the deepest and darkest parts of yourself in order to learn more about who and why you are. Both of these guys were at the top of the world in their profession. Had enough money and fame to never work again. Yet it didn’t matter. There was work they needed to do in order to feel like they could be their true selves. These books continue to inspire me today and help me practice radical vulnerability. - Mason Spector, Co-Founder

How To Do The Work by Dr. Nicole LePera

If you have ever texted me on The Local Optimist Hotline, very high odds are that I have brought up this book to you. I cannot recommend it enough! Dr. Nicole has had one of my favorite Instagram accounts for years now, with her digestible breakdowns on boundaries, ego, inner child, shadow work, etc. Now, she has the most self-starter, empowering, do-it-yourself personal development book that gives you the tools to take control over your mental health. She teaches you how to recognize your patterns, heal from your past, and create your Self. - Meadowlark Monaghan, Mental Health Lead

King, Warrior, Magician, Lover By Robert Moore and Doug Gillette

I spent a lot of time last summer thinking about what masculinity means in 2020. The more I researched and talked to mentors, the more I realized that the challenge wasn’t unique to me. Many people had wrestled with this question and created guides for the next generation. This book outlines the four core male archetypes, their strengths, their shadow characteristics, and how they interact with each other. It’s given me a valuable framework to look at my own behaviors and gain an understanding of who I am and who I want to become. - Alex Brands, Head of Marketing 

Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, And How to Harness It by Ethan Kross

I first heard about this book from an interview with Kross on the Goop podcast (don’t judge me?) and was immediately intrigued. As someone with a pretty negative feedback loop going through my brain at all times, I’m always looking for ways to circumvent the way I talk to myself so that I can live in a happier, more optimistic headspace. Chatter makes clear just how important doing that work is with research showing how negative self-talk can tank our health, moods, relationships and career growth, and then helps us crawl our way out of our all-bad-everything mindset with no BS, easily adoptable tips. I’m a skeptic to my core but can honestly say this book has changed the way I relate to myself for the better. - Jessica Schiffer, Managing Editor

The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

As someone who tends to get hung up on some of my own flaws or imperfections, this book was a game-changer for me. It encouraged me to accept and learn how to love my authentic self, which I sometimes find challenging when living in a world with some crazy societal standards! Brenés words really reminded me that our flaws add character to who we are and make us unique. I always remember this book as the words that encouraged me to embrace my freckles. That probably sounds strange, but I used to view my freckly face as an imperfection; therefore, I would always cover up all my freckles with makeup. This book shifted my perspective about myself and my freckles, and ever since reading it, I stopped hiding my freckles and learned how to love them, and quite frankly, see them as a gift. - Hallie Belle Sheinbaum, Project Manager

The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron

Growing up, I was lucky to be immersed in the arts throughout my education. In elementary school, art classes always served as a solace for me — a place where I felt I could celebrate what made me different from my classmates. As I got older, my education within the arts allowed me to unlock and explore deeper, more complex ideas about identity and our relationships as human beings in ways I didn’t think were possible. Once I finished school and began working in “the real world,” I immediately felt a void in my life that stemmed from no longer having structured time dedicated to being creative. After many recommendations from friends, I began The Artist’s Way as a self-help guide to eliminating the restrictions in life that get in the way of inner creativity and growth. Promoted as “A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity,” the book includes tools, exercises, prompts, and activities to help restore your inner imagination, passions, and creative spirit. I’m finding it very powerful thus far, and have a number of friends completing it for the second or third time because of its profound impact on their daily lives. - Ravi Shah, Brand Marketing Manager

Which self-help books are your go-to’s? Let us know in the comments below! You can also connect with us about whatever’s on your mind by texting The Local Optimist Hotline at 310.299.9414.