Time to Dive in: Self-Help and Business Book Reading List

I’ve been tip-toeing around an important part of my research because it is less appealing to me. I’m trying very hard not to be a snob, but my continuing resistance to really diving into the self-help and business book segment of my research is beginning to make me feel that I probably am one.

In addition to the books listed at the bottom of this post, I’ve read Daring Greatly, which I knew would be good because I had read The Gift of Imperfection, another book by the same author. Earlier in the year I had also read Austin Kleon’s great books on creativity, Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work. And that’s the sort of tip-toeing I’ve been doing; piecemeal forays into the genre from authors (or reviewers) that I already trust.

It all came to a head a week ago when I tried to defend self-help books in general to my dad, who called bullshit. “Go to a best seller list and read those books,” he said. He assumed that what I would find would be garbage, and probably exploitative garbage at that.

So I did what he said, and assembled a list of both self-help and business books, based on current best seller lists as well as some lists of all-time best sellers.

This is what I’m committing to read by the end of the year, at which point I plan to begin drafting the book:


I’m not looking forward to it. But I imagine it will be quick reading.

The business book part I’m less concerned with, though there are certainly some that look less than appealing:

Business Books

I’m going to read more than just what’s on these lists, though probably not more self-help and business books. I’m going to read Lecky, for instance. And the last book in Deirdre McCloskey’s Bourgeois trilogy is set to come out sometime this year; I will definitely read that. The above is basically market research for me: I want to see what sells in the category I intend to write in. It doesn’t mean I’m going to mimic what I find there, but you don’t have to mimic something in order to learn from it.

There are a few books that I read last year that I also intend to re-read. The Morality of HappinessHappiness for Humans, and of course, The Bourgeois Virtues come to mind. That may be a bit ambitious for my timeline; and I won’t let them stall that. I may end up opting for more selective rereads of specific parts of various books—in fact that’s quite likely either way.

Anyway, that’s after the…market research.

See you on the other side.

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Adam Gurri

Adam Gurri works in digital advertising and writes for pleasure on his spare time.