How often do you read a self-help book to help build your self confidence and you are left feeling overwhelmed? The self-help book industry was worth £30 million in 2019 yet people are still struggling with mental health challenges, so what is the missing link between self-help literature and the help they claim to provide?

I believe it is in having context for the books you choose. In order to build your self confidence, you will need to review different areas of your life to find out where your challenges come from and then decide which book will be most helpful to you.

I have put together a list of some of the books that I recommend to my life coaching clients to help them build their self confidence. For each book I let you know the context in which you should read it because without knowing which book can help with what challenges, you are essentially just increasing your knowledge of the subject rather than actually applying it to help you build your self confidence. Here’s my 5 top books for self confidence:

1. For Self-Esteem: The Chimp Paradox

This book helps you to learn how to identify your inner critic. There are a number of practical tools that you can apply to everyday situations. With clients, this book is an excellent tool to use side by side with life coaching. It can also be used to guide you beyond the contract to further build your resilience. It is easy to read and offers a number of insights into understanding our brains and the way we think. Psychiatrist Steve Peters knows more than anyone about impulsive behaviour or nagging self-doubt. Steve shares his phenomenally successful mind-management programme that has been used to help people conquer their fears and operate with greater control, focus and confidence.

2. For Belief in Your Abilities: The Art of War

The Art of War is so much more than a book about war. However, it will require you to read between the lines. This book will help you improve your communication skills whether it is romantic relationships, those with your colleagues, family or friends. If you can digest the teachings of this book, you will be armed (pardon the pun) with the tools to help you navigate situations so that they benefit you. This is not about manipulation, this is about navigating relationships so that you can feel better after your interactions. In life coaching, I use this book to help clients map out their goals for difficult conversations so that they may achieve the outcomes they want.

3. For Going Within: The Saint Surfer and CEO

Sharma’s books are easy to read, filled with a number of “aha” moments and opportunities for reflection. The pace at which Sharma writes lets you, the reader feel energised, inspired and motivated. This book in particular is an accessible read when you are unclear of purpose and meaning in your life. The style of Sharma’s books are that of a story so that you can immerse yourself into the teachings. Although there are no practical applications, I am pretty sure that you will be making lots of notes as you read each chapter.

4. For Courage and Determination: Loneliness

Loneliness is written by social neuroscientist John T. Cacioppo. This book is for those who feel lonely and also for those you do not. If you think a loved one might feel this way, you will learn more about the feelings of loneliness. It helps you build your self confidence by providing you with the knowledge to deal with anxiety and fear. The book also offers options for the future. Cacioppo unveils his pioneering research on the startling effects of loneliness. A sense of isolation or social rejection disrupts not only our thinking abilities and will power but also our immune systems. Therefore, can be as damaging as obesity or smoking.

5. For Tenacity and Insight: Rich Dad Poor Dad

This book is one of the most invaluable reads to build your self confidence in understanding purpose driven success. Understand the science behind making money, which is that it takes money to make money, rather than time for money. From a life coaching perspective, this book helps you to create goals for financial success. The book explodes the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you.