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20 Best Books For Building Confidence

Looking for the best books for confidence at work or personal life? Read this article to discover a curated list of the best books for building self-confidence.


“Be more confident.”

It’s what people often tell you when you express feelings of dissatisfaction with your appearance, social life, and way of being. In fact, it’s no secret that charismatic people attract more attention in society than their shy counterparts. With higher levels of confidence, you could find yourself acing job interviews, landing top-notch dates, and becoming more accepting of yourself in general.

If you’re a budding entrepreneur or business owner, you’ll soon realize that a confident nature is the key to mastering negotiations and building your credibility in a networking environment. For many people, however, confidence isn’t achieved overnight. Learning to assert yourself with poise in the face of uncertainty is a skill that is built both through learning and hands-on experience.

For those in the market to build confidence and reach new career and relationship plateaus, it may be time to look to self-help books to get the advice you need. Make the first step into leading a self-assured life by checking out our list of the best books for motivation and self-confidence.

Key Points:

  • From career scaling to maintaining healthy relationships, building confidence can help you in various areas of life. Use high levels of confidence to improve your communication skills and convince others of your courage and poise.

  • Reading self-help books is a great way to boost your spirit and self-esteem. Some highly-recommended books for confidence include Feel the Fear… and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers, and Ultimate Confidence: The Secret to Feeling Great About Yourself Every Day by Marisa Peer.

  • People with hectic schedules may need help to fit in time to read self-help books. The Headway app can therefore make it easier for individuals looking to improve their daily lives through confidence-building strategies.

Top 20 Books to Read For Confidence and Self-Esteem

Undoubtedly, one of the first steps to improving your self-image is keeping an open mind to new perspectives and ideas. To help get you started on your endeavors toward positive self-worth and becoming more in tune with your body and mind, here are 20 of the best self-help books for confidence.

The Self-Love Experiment: Fifteen Principles for Becoming More Kind, Compassionate, and Loving of Yourself by Shannon Kaiser

In her award-winning book, Shannon Kaiser shares her personal struggles with self-sabotage and overcoming her fears, and how she came to experiment with a solution. After coming to terms with herself and her past, Kaiser came up with a simple plan consisting of 15 unique principles designed to inspire self-love and manifest your greatest desires. The Self-Love Experiment, therefore, details how Kaiser was able to change her life through positive daily habits and a complete mindset shift.

What’s Right With Me: Positive Ways to Celebrate Your Strengths, Build Self-Esteem, and Reach Your Potential by Carlene DeRoo and Carolyn DeRoo

People are often so focused on what’s wrong with them that they forget to notice their good qualities and traits. In What’s Right With Me, readers are pushed to identify their life’s current blessings and find strength and assurance in their most revered qualities. All in all, this book is filled with comforting words and powerful ways to help you love every part of yourself and become more inclined to success and happiness.

The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt by Russ Harris

If you’re someone who often struggles with crippling anxiety and self-doubt, The Confidence Gap may be the perfect resource for you. In his guide, Russ Harris offers a solution to low confidence and self-esteem: developing a relationship with your fears based on the techniques of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This involves accepting your fears for what they are and using effective mindfulness strategies to relieve yourself of the anxiety that comes with a fearful thought. In time, you will learn to no longer associate thoughts with fear but rather acknowledge ideas you viewed as fearful as fleeting and without any direct influence on your being.

The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field by Nathaniel Branden

Without a doubt, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem is essential for those experiencing a sense of low self-worth and negative inner judgment. Written by Nathaniel Branden, who devoted his life to researching the psychology behind self-esteem, this book features six principles that serve as a foundational approach to achieving high self-esteem. Consequently, the six pillars are made up of the following practices:

  1. Living Consciously

  2. Self Acceptance

  3. Self Responsibility

  4. Self Assertiveness

  5. Living Purposefully

  6. Personal Integrity

Following these pillars will offer you guidance in developing a healthy amount of self-esteem to achieve confidence in your abilities.

How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing With People by Les Giblin

Have you ever felt like no matter what you say or do, you always seem to leave a conversation feeling like you totally bombed it? Dealing with people may seem like it comes easy for others, but the truth is it’s a completely acquired skill. One of the best books to read for confidence and work, How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing With People is a fresh perspective on achieving success through savvy communication. By maintaining the confidence that you have valuable skills and assets to give in exchange for someone else’s, you will eventually reap financial, relational, and other types of benefits.

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life: The New Acceptance and Commitment Therapy by Steven C. Hayes

Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life is a testament to the major impact that the mind has on cultivating our self-esteem. In accordance with clinical trials, Steven Hayes urges the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to relieve yourself of issues with overthinking, anxiety, and depression. Recognizing pain as natural, resolving to let go of your suffering, and committing to a future based on what is most valuable to you are some of the key teachings you’ll read about in this book.

Ultimate Confidence: The Secrets to Feeling Great About Yourself Every Day by Marisa Peer

Marisa Peer is highly known for her appearance on the British TV show, “Supersize vs. Superskinny,” where people on opposite sides of the weight spectrum switch diets and lifestyles for a day. In Ultimate Confidence, Peer uses her knowledge of mind and body struggles to take readers through what she believes to be the best ways to tackle issues with confidence. This book, therefore, features a holistic program designed to erase negative thought patterns and replace them with positive self-talk and confident mannerisms.

Healing Your Emotional Self: A Powerful Program to Help You Raise Your Self-Esteem, Quiet Your Inner Critic, and Overcome Your Shame by Beverly Engel

Healing Your Emotional Self focuses on building confidence through healing past emotional turmoil caused by childhood trauma. Validating several of the psychological struggles children face from toxic parent relationships and painful circumstances, Beverly Engel shares her Mirror Therapy program to help adults overcome their shame and harsh self-judgment. This program will allow you to forgive yourself for the defenses you put up as a child and learn to grow from your mistakes in a concrete yet many-sided healing process.

The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by Dalai Lama

Published in 1998, The Art of Happiness brings forth a powerful perspective on the human experience in the light of Tibetan Buddhist principles. In this profound self-help book, the Dalai Lama aims to inspire busy people to slow down and reflect on their lives to gain a sense of balance and spiritual freedom. As the Dalai Lama states, the purpose of life is to seek happiness; in his wise way of thinking, this should be achieved through compassion, meaningful connections, and making an effort to see the positive in every situation. In turn, this will bring about self-acceptance and inner peace.

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz

In The Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz explains his belief that reality is largely shaped by the way you perceive yourself and the world around you. Some key concepts to take away include believing that success is always possible, never underestimating your abilities, and surrounding yourself with positive influences that will bring you fulfillment in the long run. Doubt, in the eyes of Schwartz, will lead you to failure through subconscious will; in this case, it’s important to control your thoughts and maintain positive outlooks to achieve confidence.

Body Confidence: The Scientific Approach on How to Shine From Within by Dr. Katherine E. Iscoe

Based on her personal struggles with body image and low self-esteem, Dr. Katherine Iscoe uses Body Confidence as a way to share her valuable insights on the best ways to achieve confidence within yourself. Through the Seven  Pillar Forever Approach, Iscoe introduces a philosophical and psychological process backed up by extensive scientific research. Readers are encouraged to change their perspectives regarding themselves into one that is more in tune with their feelings and emotional reactions.

The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent A Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin

No one ever wants to be unhappy, but for some reason, a vast majority of people find themselves in a daily cycle of misery. In The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin describes her journey to achieving happiness by drastically changing her life through very simple methods. They include eliminating clutter from your home and viewing money as health — having a lot of it doesn’t guarantee happiness, but not having to worry about it will make life much easier. Upon completing Rubin’s Happiness Project, readers should expect to increase their happiness and, therefore, see changes in their confidence and motivation.

The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance — What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

More than likely, most women can admit to experiencing some form of low self-esteem at some point in their lives. Crafted with the female brain in mind, The Confidence Code aims to help women to increase their confidence in all aspects —from the business world to personal fulfillment. In this book, you’ll learn what it means to be confident as a woman and how to have faith in your abilities to reap success and rewards.

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Written by one of the most well-known and influential female entrepreneurs, The 5 Second Rule is an exceptional book on how to overcome adversity and continue showing up every day. After seeing a commercial with a rocket launch on TV, Robbins came up with the following very simple rule to combat procrastination: “If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within five seconds, or your brain will kill the idea.” As such, readers can find courage and determination in this powerful psychological intervention.

Go Fearless: 10 Powerful Secrets to Help You Increase Your Confidence, Take More Action, and Live the Life You’ve Always Imagined by Atlas Rowe

Fear is one of the most troubling emotions; too much of it can often leave us crippled and unable to face certain important tasks. Luckily, Go Fearless is a daring self-help book based on the idea that simply taking action in the midst of uncertainty is the ultimate way to overcome your fears. Using just 10 reliable strategies, readers can increase their confidence and make their way toward a more fulfilling life.

The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself by Michael A. Singer

Recommended by Oprah Winfrey herself, Singer’s book strives to help people through their journeys of self-transformation by focusing on improving the inner self. The Untethered Soul details methods of detaching from the ego and harnessing the inner energy that empowers us. In Singer’s perspective, this can only be done by letting negative thoughts flow through without any interaction; the same goes for limiting self-judgment, which has no real influence on your life. After all, criticism can easily bring us down just as much as reinforcement — but it’s most important that the latter comes primarily from ourselves.

Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristen Neff

The importance of kindness has been drilled into us since childhood, but the concept of being kind to oneself often is lost in translation. In fact, a large part of being confident comes from learning to speak to yourself with respect and openness. The book, Self-Compassion, teaches a valuable lesson on how to be understanding with yourself amid chaos or failure and eliminate self-judgment and criticism. By acknowledging our imperfections and vulnerabilities, Neff claims that we can begin to accept our humanity and find deep compassion for ourselves over time.

Feel the Fear… and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers

Everyone has had a moment in their lives in which they’ve felt immense fear and felt like giving up. In Feel the Fear… and Do it Anyway, readers are encouraged to examine this feeling deeper and learn how to handle it differently. By allowing ourselves to feel our fears and understand why they appear, Jeffers claims that we can continue facing uncertain situations with confidence if we simply shift our mindset. In the end, you will be able to overcome the victim mindset and tackle any task at hand.

The Unlimited Self: Destroy Limiting Beliefs, Uncover Inner Greatness, and Live the Good Life by Jonathan Heston

The Unlimited Self offers a genius way for people to do more of what they have always wanted: make more money, have better intimacy, feel more strength and bravery. According to Heston, living an “unlimited life” is all about performing the necessary inner work and developing the proper skills and mindsets to eliminate inhibiting beliefs and practices. In this book, you’ll learn that achieving greatness begins with changing your thoughts to reflect a more confident you.

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay

In an effort to teach readers the importance of self-love and leading guilt-free lives, You Can Heal Your Life touches on how to become mentally and physically free by changing our thought patterns. As Hay puts it, releasing negative states of mind, which can constitute anything from self-doubt to the inability to forgive, can allow us to heal from past emotional trauma. In turn, readers can find confidence within themselves as they navigate parts of their minds to let go of what isn’t serving them. 

Read the Best Books For Confidence With Headway

When it comes to building confidence, only some know where to begin. Considering how personal the concept of self-image is, the road to confidence may look different for everyone. Self-help books can therefore provide an outlet for people from all walks of life who are in need of guidance and inspiration regarding their own self-image.

At the end of the day, a confident person is someone who actively sets time aside to work on themselves and stay assured of their abilities and appearance. For anyone who is looking to take more time for self-care on a limited schedule, the Headway app is an excellent resource for becoming confident on the go.
On a mission to improve your self-image, become more confident, and learn how to make difficult decisions easily and painlessly? Download the Headway app to gain unlimited access to 15-minute summaries on the best books for motivation and self-confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can self-help books help me build confidence?

Although many would argue that confidence comes from within rather than an external source, the right self-help books can provide you with guidance and advice on how to deal with real-life situations. Depending on the type of goals you want to achieve, these situations can be anywhere from a job interview to a first date. After reading from various authors, you should be able to implement the strategies that work for you, leave the ones that don’t and cultivate a confident and meaningful lifestyle.

Which books are best for self-love and positive self-image?

Confidence is not just about building people skills and learning to communicate better — it’s also largely about improving the relationship you have with yourself. In this case, self-help books are a great way to gain new insights into the psychology behind self-esteem and may help you learn valuable strategies for creating a positive self-image. Some of the best books for this include The Self-Love Experiment: Fifteen Principles for Becoming More Kind, Compassionate, and Loving of Yourself by Shannon Kaiser and Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristen Neff. 

How many books should I read to increase my confidence?

The number of books required to become a more confident and self-assured individual will vary from person to person. For instance, many people find that one book will drastically change their lives by inducing a major upheaval of self, but others may read a number of books without feeling any difference in their mindset. This could be due to many factors, such as needing help finding a book that fits your desired needs. In this case, try reading various books utilizing different methods, therapies, and writing styles to find one that can satisfy your needs eventually.

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