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18 self-help books to read in 2020

These books will help give you the extra motivation you didn't even know you needed.
Mixed Race Woman engrossed reading a book at home on the bed in the daytime
Justin Lambert / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

Now that most of us are staying indoors as a way to practice social distancing, you probably have tons of extra time to make a dent in the stack of books you've been wanting to read. While fiction and beach reads are always fun, reading a few motivational books can be super beneficial when it comes to making those massive changes you’re craving in life.

Fortunately, there’s one simple solution — and no, it’s not hiring an expensive life coach, therapist or career adviser.

Reading inspiring books is an ideal way to get started on your goals. Written by prominent thought leaders, successful entrepreneurs and leading health experts, some are brand-new, while others have been out for a while. However, they all share one thing: The advice and motivational spirit contained in their pages can help you achieve your goals, and potentially change your life in the year ahead.

1. "Girl, Wash Your Face," by Rachel Hollis

In this New York Times bestseller, Rachel Hollis dispels the lies that stop us from becoming who we're meant to be. In April 2018, she stopped by TODAY to chat with Kathie Lee and Hoda about how to break through the lies that are holding us back and shared the encouraging message that if you don't like your life, you can change it!

2. "The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying," by Nina Riggs

Back in Feb. 2018, Kathie Lee Gifford and Jenna Bush Hager revealed a few of their favorite things and Jenna's was the book "The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying," that she swears will "change your life." This New York Times bestseller has won tons of awards and is about the journey of a 38-year-old woman who comes face to face with death and destiny.

3. "The Clarity Cleanse," by Habib Sadeghi

Dr. Habib Sadeghi, spiritual adviser to stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Penelope Cruz, stopped by TODAY in 2019 to talk about his “Clarity Cleanse” plan for clearing the body and mind. He opened up about his experience with testicular cancer and his approach to dealing with negative people.

4. "The Wisdom of Sundays," by Oprah Winfrey

This book will give you a daily dose of Oprah Winfrey's life-changing wisdom and inspiration. In this collection of deeply insightful conversations with respected thought leaders (from Elizabeth Gilbert to Tony Robbins), you’ll find yourself reawakened and rejoicing in life’s possibilities. After all, no matter what challenges emerge, everyone can use an extra dose of positivity and inspiration.

5. “Crushing It!” by Gary Vaynerchuk

The latest book from entrepreneur, bestselling author and social media phenomenon Gary Vaynerchuk is a must-read for would-be business owners. Coming off the success of his previous bestseller, "Crush It," Vaynerchuk fills these pages with examples of entrepreneurial success, innovative advice and plenty of get-up-and-go motivation. What you’ll walk away with is a practical yet inspiring step-by-step guide to achieving success.

6. “Judgment Detox,” by Gabby Bernstein

In this six-part book, spiritual guide and bestselling author Gabby Bernstein details how judgments play a toxic role in our everyday lives. Now more than ever, these negative perceptions separate us from the life we’re meant to lead, she explains. Fortunately, you can follow her lead to learn how to eliminate those draining thoughts and reap the positive rewards in all areas of life, from better relationships to improved health.

7. “How to Get Sh*t Done,” by Erin Falconer

If you swear every year will be the year you finally finish your endless to-do lists and become a productivity machine, this book is for you. Plot twist: The first step to getting it all done is to give yourself a break! Author Erin Falconer shows you how to actually do more by doing less. Her advice will help you off-load the nonessentials in order to shift your focus to the areas of your life that mean the most.

8. "The Five-Minute Journal: A Happier You in 5 Minutes a Day," from Intelligent Change

A classic since 2013, this journal has surged in popularity lately thanks to people sharing their daily pages on social media. With structured, consistent and simple prompts (for example, write three things you’re grateful for today) that take only five minutes to complete, this journal is proven to help you gain a happier, more optimistic and more positive mindset.

9. "Year of Yes," by Shonda Rhimes

You don’t often think of introverts as being in show business, but Shonda Rhimes, creator of "Grey’s Anatomy" and "Scandal," breaks the mold. That’s why she decided to push past her fears and go outside her comfort zone and say yes to everything that scared her for a full year. This book chronicles her ensuing adventures with all the swagger, humor and honesty worthy of a "Shondaland" show.

10. “Big Potential," by Shawn Achor

Feeling stuck or stressed? (Let’s be real, who doesn't these days?) In his latest book, happiness researcher Shawn Achor illustrates the real secret to unlocking your highest potential. Rather than focusing on what you can achieve as an individual, Achor suggests that focusing more on how you relate and connect to those around you will bring you more success and happiness in the long run.

11. “The Healing Self," by Deepak Chopra and Rudolph E. Tanzi

If one of your goals is to take better care of your health, you’ll find the tools and tips you need here. Two luminaries in the world of medicine, Deepak Chopra (a leading integrative medicine expert) and Rudolph Tanzi (a neuroscientist who co-discovered three of the first Alzheimer’s disease genes), illustrate the important role the immune system plays in lifelong health.

12. "Tribe of Mentors," by Tim Ferriss

The latest title from Tim Ferriss, the bestselling author of "The 4-Hour Workweek," compiles tips, tactics and habits from over 130 of the world's top performers. Their personal stories can help you make better life decisions, achieve your goals and improve your business results.

13. "I'm Fine ... and Other Lies," by Whitney Cummings

When comedian and actress Whitney Cummings visited Kathie Lee and Hoda to talk about her book, “I’m Fine…and Other Lies" in Oct. 2017 she said she was diagnosed with codependence and wanted to write “a funny self-help book” — including the cover, which shows her beaming while holding her chin barely above rising water.

14. "You Are a Badass at Making Money," by Jen Sincero

Life coach and bestselling author Jen Sincero helps readers find true financial success through her combination of practical advice and deeply personal (and often hilarious) stories. In this easily digestible book, you’ll learn how to move past your limiting beliefs about money, discover what’s been holding you back from financial abundance, and finally take control of your relationship with wealth.

15. "Dare to Lead," by Brené Brown

A storyteller and researcher, Brené Brown has already been credited with changing people’s lives through her viral TED talks and prior bestsellers such as "Rising Strong," "Daring Greatly" and "Braving the Wilderness." In her newest book, she explores leadership and asks the question "How do you cultivate braver, more daring leaders, and how do you embed the value of courage in your culture?"

16. “The Hope Circuit," by Martin Seligman

One of the most influential psychologists of our time, Martin Seligman, examines the transformation that’s taken place in psychology since the 1960s, as the field moved from a focus on eliminating problems to empowering people to truly thrive. Through his personal and professional revelations, you’ll finish the book feeling inspired, enriched and highly aware of the unique importance of your mental health.

17. "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind," by T. Harv Eker

Are you looking for help with your finances, specifically to elevate your mindset so that you’re more of a money magnet? Though you can get all the financial planning help and budgeting support you need from a ton of books and professionals, one thing that sets this book apart from the rest is that it focuses on your money mindset.

18. "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," by Stephen R. Covey

Once you’re ready, pick up one of the most popular self-help books with over 25 million copies sold! Seven habits are broken down into bite-size chunks that are easy to read and understand. Adopt a few and understand the rationale behind why they work, and you’ll be on your way to living more efficiently and effectively.

Looking for other book recommendations, check out:

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